So the first one wasn’t just a fluke!

Bell Hill – 25th July 2010

A beautiful day in rough conditions at Bell Hill.

Spent most of the day floating around Bell in fairly bouncy conditions, sometimes lots of lift, sometimes dashing quickly back to take off! The wind was fairly strong so anytime a thermal came through you had to be very committed as you were past the point of no return very quickly indeed. This kept me tethered to the hill until 4pm when I picked up a thermal to the west of take off in a very blue sky. I overflew Neil Withers (skysurfer) and shouted for him to join me as I thought, sod it I’m staying with this one!

After circling over the back field very low in this pitiful climb it finally picked up and took me right up to a little cloud, the only one for miles! I floated around under this for a while watching Neil skimming the ground behind Bell but somehow still in the air. Once the lift died off I turned downwind for what I thought would be a glide to the deck, sometimes hitting the odd bubble but not enough to stay up. Having read stories of tractors kicking off thermals and thinking it would be nice to land near to someone in case I have a bad landing, I pointed at a nice brown field with the farmer ploughing. I arrived over the field with what seemed like only a few hundred feet and on cue the glider pitched back and the vario started making the right noises again. The thermal was so rough I was struggling to stay in it and gain height but slowly I creeped up until it smoothed out and shot me to base again.

I was starting to get close to Poole harbour now and a quick check on the gps showed my path heading towards airspace so glided cross wind in an attempt to avoid it. The wind was more westerly here and the sea breeze front was just in front of me. If only the airspace wasn’t in the way I could surf the front to the east. As I flew through the front my ground speed went from 60kmh to 5kmh and I got tossed about a bit!

With the lift and my forward speed gone I spotted a nice big field next to Sandford and put down next to a load of kids playing football who all wanted to know where the plane I jumped from was.

25.4km and a new PB!

Neil somehow managed to scratch his way to 7.1km for his first ever XC and then came and picked me up from Sandford, top man!