Flight Logs

Where and when we've been flying

Wednesday 18 September - Border Reiving at Hownam Law!

Strange how things happen but Tommy has always fancied a trip to Hownam Law and we no other plans we both decided to head towards the Border for a bit of a raid.  I should explain that Hownam Law is listed as an NHPC although it is planted well and truly NORTH of the English border so a bit of 'reiving' seemed in order!!.  Tommy tried to contact the farmer to no avail and there was no answer at the door when we arrived just after lunch so we headed quietly up the farm track (quietly because there was a muscle bound bull in the field).  We found a westerly face/bowl maybe a third of the way up the hill so sat and pondered the wind, 15 - 22mph, maybe a tad strong especially since there were signs of lenticular clouds to the west.  Leaving the wings we wandered to the top of Hownam Law to take in the panoramic views and explore the hill fort, oh, and check the wind which was still 15 - 22mph.  At least the wind was consistent so as we wandered back to the wings we decided it was time to fly, take off in a lull and see what happens!  Tommy off first  for a quick gander before slope landing, everything seems to be going up but fairly smooth. I'm next, pre flight check and I untwist a twist riser, take off and go up only to find I'd actually twisted and un-twisted riser!!!, no problem but can't use the speed bar so back in to land and un-twist!!!!!!!!!!

What followed as perhaps an hour of gentle playing in the lift which extended well out in front to the Kale water and round the bowl before we both landed in a freshly cut silage field (with some interesting power lines) before walking back up to the farm and thanking the farmer for an excellent first outing to Hownam.

Thursday 19 September - Mountbenger

Another sunny day, signs of an inversion and DaveH hinting the MB may work in the afternoon and he had a tandem passenger lined up.  Arrived on the west face to find Dave and passenger sat pondering the wind strength and thinking it's a tad strong for tandem flights and there are time restrictions for his passenger.  So down they head while I do some para-snoozing while waiting for the wind to ease and Dave to return with a single wing.  Around 4.30 wind seems to have eased ( at least dropped below 20) so we both set up for a committed launch.  Dave's first attempt probably lacked full commitment as the wind curled over whereas mine was probably too committed as a took off vertically with a slight tip deflation!  No issues though as the tip popped out and I went up in 'jiggly' air which eased as I pushed forward.   A few circuits across the valley suggested the air was OK and Dave soon followed to enjoy the flying.  Thermals seemed fairly active but there was an inversion clearly visible on the horizon so height gain was limited to around 2500ft before it became slight lumpy.  However it was another great day to 'make spaghetti' pushing out towards the other side of the valley and flying circuits along the ridge and bowl just playing with the wind.  After an hour it was time to land back by the cars which was easier said than done since there was lift even 20ft above the ground requiring a little more concentration than usual to spot land.  Dave won the prize by flaring in the layby, I'm sure he said he meant to do that!!………….another fun day.

Friday 20 September - Witchie Knowe

Things to do today so I had said I wouldn't be flying, but arrived home mid afternoon to find that Daves L & H and Stephen W had gone to Witchie on the promise of a southerly breeze so what else could I do but join them.  I arrived to find folk launching by the parked cars but only for short beats on the front of take off.  The wind had a slight easterly element so I set up, waited for a slight thermal and took for 2 or 3 beats before finding lift.  Quick decision to head over to the SE bowl and see if it was working.  Slope landing above the lower lip followed by a combination of kiting and walking got me to a suitable take off with the wind definitely stronger than the lower take-off.  In comparison to the last couple of days the air was silky smooth with plenty of lift but limited height gain but enough for an hour of spaghetti flying.  DaveH managed the transition to enjoy the flying before changing to the tandem for a top to bottom with his passenger whilst Stephen and DaveL stayed on the lower face.

3 days, 3 sites.....and its late September in Scotland



Aye just call me Mr fabulous. In the past this date has proved a very successful flying day out and what you are about to view is no change, I did post that i wis gaun oot and wasn't being a sleekit eejit.

Two cups of coffee, fruit and toast and still I want to go back to bed. It’s an ungodly 7 am and I'm up to head north for a red and yellow rasp day. It’s suddenly all too much too early and I make yet more coffee, rub anti-inflammatory on my knee and then some more, and decide to head to the borders for less driving and more roads when you get there. A call to Dave Thompson and then to Jed in Hawick and we’re to set to meet in Hawick to dump a retrieve car and head to Tudhope.

After flying both Saturday and Sunday with the weather due to break it seemed that there may be a small window of opportunity to fly at Witchie today. The morning saw a grey sky that broke to give blue sky and fluffy white clouds....perfect except that as I headed to Witchie mid afternoon the sky darkened as the small Cu became CuNim in the distance.  However as I approached Witchie the sky to the south seemed OK and I could see Jed on the hill with the wing above his head and a buzzard thermalling several hundred feet above at the south takeoff.  I was trying to ignore the 'I don't want to be up there' sky to the north!!!!!!.

Following the usual review of all available weather sites a decision was made to head to the Moorfoots, at least that is where Fred was heading so I used flock instinct and followed!!.  I arrived to find cars parked on the corner and one pilot walking up the closest slope but no one else around or in the air.  It seemed breezy so I walked along the ridge to Torphichen Hill to find a number of folk sheltering well down the slope out of the breeze.  As the breeze eased slightly (or Graham proved it was flyable by gliding across from the quarry) the small group launched whilst I was still setting up.  After a pre flight check, I flicked the wing up and launched into lifty air conscious that some pilots were now settled high above the ridge whilst others were struggling to jump the gap.  The air was 'interesting' but once settled in I played in some of the thermals conscious that I was drifting back with minimal height whilst turning back into wind gave a low forward speed with a fence line below me. Caution prevailed and I slowly pushed forward and made my way to the far end of the ridge, turned back and followed a yellow glider that was slowly climbing out, the only problem being I was in the sink cycle of the thermal so decided to slope land rather that make the downward glide to the ridge base!!  By this time Fred had disappeared downwind on a venture.

A few day before me an Ian went to fly the border facing ridge but it was just a fly down Scotland in to England to much north that day. 
In years gone bye the club members would have been itching to be out in force on a May zing day fly, But our old friend the weather made choices complex.

A Grand Day Out

A forecast of light southerly under the edge of a high pressure suggested a trip to the big hills up North on Sunday. Sods law that it was the night the clocks went forward, so an early start was made ruder by the loss of an hour’s sleep due to the clock change.
Fred & Rob were also up for an adventure so the plan was to meet at the Mhor 84 hotel by Balquidder.
By the time that a couple of coffees had been downed, there were about a dozen keen souls milling around.