Sunday 20th June. We we’re staying with friends in Wooton-under-Edge on Saturday night so I didn’t have time to head over to Wales on Sunday to join in the BCC fun and games at Hundred House, so with a light northerly wind the obvious choice was Westbury. I arrived at 1330 ish to the sight of lots of parawaiting going on. A few people had flown but had said it was very rough, however I could see two wings thermalling over Westbury so it was obviously working.
I took off at 1355 and after a few minutes started climbing with Polish Tom on his Omega 7 and another pilot on a red Advance glider. Staying out of the Danger Area is always tricky and I know I clipped the edge of it as I was approaching Upton Scudamore, and at this point Tom headed back to the hill. I carried on and found a nice climb near Upton Scudamore, and then again over Warminster. The other pilot was always further east than Tom and me (ie. well into the Danger Area!) and I believe he landed to the SE of Warminster. I certainly didn’t see him again.
I got quite low after this but found an area of gentle lift near “The Park” gliding field – a passing glider then started thermalling about a km away from me 500′ higher than me so I risked a short glide to it and was rewarded with a nicer climb.
At this point I really thought the coast was an option, but after Gillingham I failed to find any more decent climbs and ended up landing in Shillingstone which is a few kms NW of Blanford, not far from Bell Hill. If only I could have made the ridge I’m sure I would have got up again, but it wasn’t to be on this occasion…
Despite needing four lifts to get me back to Westbury the trip back was good fun – it turned out that the first guy who stopped for me had done a few days paragliding in South Africa and just needed a bit of a kick start to get him back into paragliding – hopefully he’ll follow up on my recommendation of Andre Pearce of Flying Frenzy.
At home later that evening I found out that the first two pilots who left the hill were Simon Fouracre and James Lynch – they flew to near Swanage (81km) and near Dorchester respectively! Fantastic flights both of them, and I’m pretty sure a new site record from Westbury.