Mountbenger delivered the goods again! It was a disappointing start, with just a breath of wind and nowhere near the soarable speeds forecast. So the wingbeat crew (Sean, Tommy, Rob, Dudley, Derek, Fred, DaveH and the loverly Linda) did what they do best - parawaiting along with a bit of para-showing based on the fact that most folk had brought along recent purchases (gloves, jackets, instruments, lightweight harnesses, crispy wings....).
Conversation was punctuated with the odd groundhandling flutter, until gently, very gently the light breeze became just a little more insistent. Rob was eager to try his new Sigma 10 so was first to launch off the ridge near the SW face - and probably a bit too eager as he had the shortest flight of the day to just below take off. But conditions had started to improve, probably due to the sunshine finally breaking through. Slowly others followed, playing join the dots with the very limited pockets of lift. Soon the Sigmas and Cures started to find good lift, and Derek found enough to glide off the end for a landing by the pub. The rest of us stayed and played for twenty minutes or so until the sun disappeared and the lift went soon after.
Back to the waiting game. And then, with all the signs that the day was closing down, we all set off for a final fly down. When Dudley went, he had to forward launch, and that left just me, struggling to get off with a running reverse launch, so expectations were very low. With the Sigmas marking the lift, I raced over across the bowl and started scratching, but very low. There was consistent but light lift and with a combination of intent and persistence I managed to scratch my way half way up the hill. I looked up and the others all had good height, so I set a target to get myself back above launch. It was slow going - doing long beats along the ridge, occasionally pushing out when there was good lift - but sure enough I got myself above hill height.
By this time, Fred was still playing around higher up, but I was cold and the light was fading so I pushed right out on a lifty glide across the road almost reaching the opposite hills. As I got lower and set up my approach the light dimmed so I tried sunglasses on (detail but dark) and off (light but no definition) and neither suitable - did not see the invisible power lines below me!. Must remember that in future. Luckily, chose the safe landing option. Eventually Fred came down and we could all head off to the Gordon for refreshments and a lovely end to a surprisingly good afternoon of flying.
(Can I also mention the chips at the Gordon Arms. Nice crispy texture, light golden colour, piping hot and a big boy portion. Sigma 10 was nice to. Rob).