During a whistle stop tour of Denmark decided that it was time to head for Nordjylland and the coastal dunes and cliffs around Lokken facing out into the North Sea. There are over 20km of cliffs ranging in height from 50 - 300 ft, most of the them with a wide beach that you can drive along.
After finding a campsite literally within a stones throw of the cliffs it was a case of parawaiting for the weather to change. Looked out the first evening to see an orange wing pass at dune height......but only 3 beats suggesting it was far too light so a quick chat with an Austrian pilot revealed there had been no flying for 2 weeks.
2 days later it all changed, after a morning walk along the beach suggesting the wind may come on and then a drive along the coast we returned to drive along the beach to see a mix of wings in the air or ground handling on the beach.
The wind was light and off to the W but just soarable. Stopping near an obvious group of pilots and after a few broken words with a German instructor to check conditions the wing was unfurled as I watched folk kite up from beach to a low takeoff. Doing the British thing and waiting my turn I walked up the sandy slope, flicked the wing up and took off into a light breeze, turned and just glided down to the beach. Walking back I tried to kite up a steeper slope but it became obvious that the wind was too light and folk where now taking off from the top of the cliffs, in the rotor zone so the only option was to walk up the sand path to the top and join the German school at take off.
An entertaining 20 minutes was spent watching the various launch attempts at the top and the term 'hande hoch' gained a new meaning as students pulled on brake in the rotor area and went backwards at an alarming rate before being 'dragged' forwards by the instructor. My turn next, walk back out of the rotor area, flick the lines, build a wall, gentle pressure on the risers and the canopy lifts overhead, gentle damp of the brakes then hands up and lean forward as hard as possible and try and walk to the edge. Suddenly my feet are off the ground so sit back in the harness......at last......flying the dunes at Lokken.
The beat into wind is slow and the lift band narrow, right along the edge as the wind slips along the cliff which means everyone wants to stay in lift.......especially the students with limited air time!! But the flying is good as long as you remember to look to both sides, and below you as folk are now taking off along the beach!!!. The flying is fun, wagging along the edge, in and out of the lift band, and area with model gliders has stronger lift so a little more height then a gentle wingover to turn and soar back with the wind behind......55kph with the dunes to my right and a wing coming straight at me, break right into the rotor area and hope he/she read the same rule book!!! Nope, continues to fly a straight line as I go over the field and then back out to the edge. The only option now is to shorten the beats and turn as another pilot comes towards you, luckily the ridge starts to clear a little as wings fall out of the lift.
I join a pilot on an orange wing soaring down towards Lokken, we wave acknowledging each others presence, and then soar almost wing tip to wing tip down the dunes, just how flying should be. At the end of the beat a final wave and he/she heads away and I have the cliffs to myself.....time to sit back and just enjoy the view, watching the waves break gently on the sand and play in the lift band as I soar up and down the cliffs. A final beat then turn towards the beach and land back by the car......a perfect flight on a perfect day at a perfect site.