It was a bit of a late start for me on Saturday, and I got to the hill around 11, just as Ian and Gerald were parking up.
Ian carried on walking to the sensible steeper face of Torfichen Hill, but I couldn’t be bothered so opted to start from the shallower slope of Broad Law where I spent a few minutes helping/hindering Dave H as he stood in bemused frustration trying to untangle his lines. I left him to it, lobbed off and punted across. No bother to get around the corner onto the face of Torfichen Hill, and I was soon climbing up in front of Ian who had just launched.
The sky looked excellent – almost spring-like and full of good cumulus.
There were plenty of gliders already in the air further down the ridge, and I think some people had already headed off downwind before I arrived.
The thermals felt a bit broken and punchy low down, with the wind making them feel a bit ragged. I eventually got a decent climb out and noticed Sean coming in below me, together with another Advance glider I didn’t recognise (someone on an Iota I think?).
Sean headed off while I stuck with the climb for another couple of hundred feet before following. I couldn’t get that extra few hundred feet to cloudbase though, which was maybe just as well, since ATC had given clearance to 4500ft, but the Letter of Agreement for the Moorfoots is only to 4000ft. Hmmm.
I had planned to basically aim for the Eildons, i.e. home, and celebrate with a pint in my local but the ground was in shadow for a fair distance downwind and I was flying into a large blue hole. Plan B then – aim for the sunshine that Sean was in.
Sean was low by this point but had entered what looked like a nice sunny bowl. That’ll do, I stupidly thought, so off I went in sinky air. Five minutes later in the northwesterly bowl of Windlestraw Law, I was re-evaluating my life choices – fecking windy, broken lift. Bollocks. I think Sean was probably thinking much the same by this point. He eventually landed high on the slope, as I was standing on the speedbar to keep some forward speed.
After a fair bit of fannying around, I managed to get a couple of hundred feet above the tops and turned and ran down the line of hilltops and over into the valley down to Walkerburn. I daresay that I should have made more of an effort for a low save over the town, but I’ve never been a fan of wind so was happy enough to land beside the rugby pitch.
On the plus side, I got a better view of Walkerburn than I’ve had before – it’s actually quite nice down by the river. Who’d have believed it.