Bell Hill CuNim Dodging

Bell Hill 19th February

The forecast was for strong winds but also good thermals. It looked like it would be blown out until at least 3pm, and the further west you went, the quicker the wind was dropping. With that in mind, I thought Bell Hill was the best bet. My usual wingman Neil was hung over so I decided to go it alone. Al Jones and Andy Hasler had headed off to Combe but I thought the chance of flight was better at Bell.

On the drive to Bell I could see huge CuNims over Dorset and I drove through a few heavy hail showers, not a promising sign! I arrived at Bell Hill around 2pm to the site of Craig landing on tandem. The wind was flyable but a little gusty for comfort. The CuNims were keeping everyone else grounded too.

By 2.30pm the clouds looked like they were loosing energy and the gusts were no longer as strong. Derek Sadler was the first into the air, not bad for someone in their 80’s! Everyone quickly followed and there was soon around a dozen wings in the air. It was surprisingly gentle in the air, a nice change from Butser on Friday. Gentle thermals were coming through and you could push way out over the road and just waft back in lazy circles, fantastic! After about an hour the lift died and everyone floated back down to land on top. Everyone, that is, except for the speck that was Alastair Florence! He had managed to connect with a cloud street out front and was following it away from the hill. After a while even he started to descend, eeking out the last of the lift to scrape over the bushes onto top landing.

It seemed to be all over and most people packed up and left. I took the opportunity to practice some ground handling. The lift picked up a bit and Sean Staines (back from a 25k xc on his hang glider) took off on his paraglider. He seemed to be doing ok so I took off and joined him. I managed another 15 minutes or so of floating around in the last of the lift. I packed up in the last of the light and walked back to the car satisfied.

Photos here.

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