Glen Coe, Ben Ledi or Bridgend...all seemed possibilities earlier in the week as forecasts were surveyed but, in the end, the choice became a tortuous walk up Ben Ledi or meet at the Glen Café for coffee and bacon rolls before a gentle stroll up won!

11am saw 6 folk enjoying the coffee on the last working day before the café closed for the winter (the usual 'club house' staff were on a well deserved holiday) whilst watching the autumnal leaves being blown from the trees outside.  The forecast was due to ease by 1pm and turn N-Easterly so we all departed for Bridgend arriving to find Ian starting the walk up and Jed a silhouette on the horizon below take off.  Still fairly breezy at the base so a slow walk to the top followed.  We arrived to find Jed clipped in, facing slightly out of wind (it was still northerly)  before flicking the wing up and heading backwards in a sort of hop, skip, jump takeoff before trying the ground-handle from a prone position.  Still a tad strong then!!

Time to revert to the usual idle craic on the top of the hill whilst continuing to check the wind and sky. Most topics were covered, Brexit, Trump, when will the Gordon be open again, kitchen refits and man flu.  Bored with the idle banter Derek quietly sloped off and started to unpack lower down the hill before taking off and heading out into the sunnier side of the valley.  We all commented that the flying looked bouncy before noticing Jed take off and take a couple of beats towards Megget to gain height.  Both seemed to be enjoying the rolls and pitches whilst the rest of the Wingbeat psychology group watched the cloud bank rolling in from the east...with wet wispies below it!  Derek, who had been playing in lift towards the loch, had obviously seen this and appeared to be heading to a sunny patch on the far side of the loch although in reality he was heading for the landing field.  Jed pushed out into the valley and landed, just managing to get wet as he packed the glider.  

That left 6 on the hill wondering what to do, wait for the rain to pass and then either walk down or fly down.  Since Jamie had now arrived walking was only an option for Ian...actually walking was the only option Ian had since that is what he had promised 'A' before leaving home that he would save his knees.  The rest of us unfurled the wings in the hope that the wind would pick up from zero.  Tommy took the first hint of breeze followed rapidly by Fred and Jamie...2 took sled rides to landing while Fred searched for any available lift (none!).  That left Rob and me hoping, in vane, for a breeze to avoid the in-evitable forward launch. In the end we both used our newly acquired 'French' technique to launch at the same time and head to the landing.

All in all an uneventful day of mainly 'blather' on the hill, we could probably all have flown earlier but Derek's comment of 'interesting flying' after landing was probably a slight understatement and there will always be another day.

Fly safe.


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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.

Arrived late because of work stuff, so I assumed the day was over. Lots of cars, no people (Dave H, Sean, Fred, Alex et. al.). The sky looked great, so I assumed everyone had buggered of XC. The wind was very light northerly so I walked up the Hill a bit to try and find a decent face and when I crossed over to rough knowe I saw all the gliders on the ground.


In a moment of insanity at the end of our springtime SIV adventure, with the adrenaline still coursing through my veins, and in the sure and certain knowledge that my life was safe for a few more months at least, I said we really have to do that again. What I meant was, I never want to do that again. Fred however had other ideas and set about organising another trip. Shit. Fuck. Bugger. Bugger. Bugger. That's that fucked. Me and my big mouth. So with the well worn phrase "I expect it will be OK" running through my head I dully paid my deposit. Left the flights and accommodation to the last minute in the hope that Trump would have started WW3 by the time it came round to fly, but no such luck. Briefly toyed with the idea of claiming to have had a stroke or that the boss was turning up unexpectedly, but eventually girded my loins, kissed the children and booked the flights.