Ending on a high

So it’s the last day of the comp and we’ve only managed one valid task despite lots of free-flying… What will this final task bring us?

The answer – a fantastic 68km race to goal including a trip to the Morgon (much less intimidating with lots of company!), two turnpoints on the opposite side of the valley which were pretty hard going, then a nice blast down the Dormillouse ridge and back before landing at goal.

The first few to take off slowly climb out

The race started at 1530 and I was in a good position in the top third of the field for much of the first half of the race.

Heading to the Morgon
This gives a good sense of scale of the huge W face of the Morgon
Gliding back to the Dormillouse

However I was low getting to TP4 (B20) and got stuck there for 30 mins losing valuable time and places. I eventually found a climb which got me high enough to join Jimmy Piper on his Delta on the small ridge behind.

This ridge saved my bacon on a number of days!

Working together we climbed out pretty quickly in a lovely 2.5-3 m/s thermal which took us up to 2600m from which it was an easy glide back onto the Dormillouse.

Thermalling with Jimmy

From here we were home and dry – it was spectacular cruising along the ridge in the late afternoon sunshine and a really memorable way to end what’s been a great week’s flying.

Heading back along the ridge to a TP at the far end

My race time was 3hrs 17mins (slow – 49th into goal) but because I made it to goal on both tasks, I actually did pretty well coming 43rd overall and 5th in Sports class.

In goal!

And what about the comp being Serial gliders only? Bloody fantastic! There was none of the comp gliders blasting off not to be seen again until they headed into goal when everyone else was only two thirds of the way round the course! It made the whole event much fairer and more fun, and I think the open class pilots who were forced to beg, borrow or steal serial gliders enjoyed it too, with John Ellison saying it was much more like a PWC with everyone on the same class of gliders.

Mark "Wagga" Watts is the 2011 British Paragliding Champion

More photos from the task here.

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