North Devon heaven!

Sunday 23rd November – what a great day! I’d last been out on my solo glider on 21st September so when, earlier in the week, I spotted the chance of a post-frontal northerly on Sunday I immediately thought of North Devon and a flight Richard Osborne had mentioned to me a while ago. I was busy on Telegram on Saturday evening and was pretty sure we had enough takers for one if not two cars.

It was a 2hr 45min drive from Bath so it meant an early start but we all got to the RV point at 0845 and arrived at Rich and Annee’s house for coffee at 1015. From there it was a 15 minute drive to the hill where a good number of other local pilots had gathered.

Although it was still grey and cold the wind felt perfect, and after the usual faffing I took off shortly after Alex Coltman and Andy Marks…

Up up and away!
Up up and away! (Photo: Julie Stapleton)

And so started a wonderful 3.5 hour flight first west over Combe Martin bay, then east past Lynton and Countisbury, then over Porlock Bay, then back to take off where the sea thermals really started working nicely, giving lovely smooth climbs up to 2,500ft.

Andy Marks takes the low route round Countisbury / Foreland Point

Rich came over the radio when he arrived back at take off and said “Shall we go for it?”. Heck, we’re only young once I thought, why not?!

Heading west now looking towards Lynton

Rich, Alex and Andy Brown managed to sneak away whilst I was concentrating on a phone call from Viv (Fouracre) (who was letting me know that Peggy (Williams) and her had landed at Porlock Weir), so I had to wait for the next thermal to come through. It wasn’t a long wait, and pretty soon I was gently circling under a nice cloud at 3,000ft drifting back inland! I almost had to pinch myself – this can’t be happening, it’s the end of November!

Oh yes 🙂

I stayed with the cloud for 7-8kms before it died, then set off on a glide. Sadly (but unsurprisingly given the time of day and time of year) nothing was happening, and I landed not far from Rich and Annee’s house after another 6-7km.

So a 60km coastal out and return, plus a 14km downwind dash, makes a total of 74kms! Not bad for the end of November 🙂

I took lots of video, but in advance of the main edit, here’s a little clip of Alex and me enjoying the sea thermals.

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