After an early warning from Dudley, Fred put an email on the group saying that Bishops looked possible on Saturday. Unfortunately my daughter was in the lego robot heats, so I could not make it. Only kidding. I made it clear to the buggers that if it was a flying day, I was going flying. Best to get that one out of the way early and don't let them get any funny ideas.
Anyway, set of early and driving over Sutra the wind looked fine, if a bit strong. Pretty much as forecast, 15 - 20mph WNW at about 2000 feet. I thought about going to the Moorfeet, but also thought it might be a bit light and a bit West low down (it was as it turned out). After a chat to Fred, and some directions I carried on to Bishops.
I met Fred and Ian at the school and we kitted up and got on our way. The climb was pretty easy even with the snow as I had my sticks. A bit more tricky for Fred who had forgot his. He had also forgot his warm coat. I on the other hand had remembered everything and had gators to stop snow getting in boots and batteries for my gloves. Looking at Fred the thought, that's what it must be like to be me floated across my mind, and this is what it must be like to be everyone else.
Met a particularly handsome chap on the way up who stopped to exchange the civilitys of the morning. Also his eaqualy handsome owner and her friends who were out for a walk. Flying for so long you kind of take it all for granted and talking to non pilots about flying brings the magic back a bit. Anyway, after a bit of a haul we made it to the top. The wind was very light and of to the North though, so we walked along the hill a bit and had a bleather with Tim who was on his Chilli 4.
Tim took off and floated backwards and forwards above the cliffs for a bit, before heading off along the hill. Looks good, so me and Fred got ready and Fred launched and started sinking. So much for the Nova phantom I thought. Tim's Chilli was doing fine. There is nowhere to land really so he followed Tim down the ridge to land a km so away.
A little bit of a breeze picked up so I launched...into sink...never mind I will side land I thought. I seem to be above a cliff I thought. I essentially have no plan B I thought. Bollox and arse buggery. So I followed Fred along and landed 20 m lower and short of him. Instant karma. The thought why did you do that crossed my mind as I hauled up to where Fred was. We ground handled for a while waiting for the wind to pick up.
You could actually see the inversion decaying a bit in the smoke from the chimney's, but there never felt like enough to fly, so Fred called it and glided of back to the car and I followed him. However there was a tiny amount of lift and when we got to the cliffs we could just about maintain. I had a slightly better line and a little bit better sink rate and managed to climb above the cliffs.
With a bit of persistence Fred was up with me as well after a while much to both our delight I suspect. We messed about over the wind sculpted snow covering the cliffs for 20 min or so. It was very pretty under the blazing sun and blue sky. Almost alpine. After a while some other people with gliders arrived and I moved of down the ridge to the next spur, as I thought it might get a bit crowded. I tried to come back after a while, but sunk out in the lee of the spur so went and landed. Fred followed shortly after.
I did not mind though. I had got what I wanted out of the day and it was really about as good as it gets for a day out in the winter. My daughters team also got through to the UK robot final again. I hope she does not die. She would be a bastard to replace.