Friday 17th February
It’s always nice when the forecast lines up for a bit of after work relaxation in the air. Unfortunately this time the forecast was strong and for a direction suited to Butser West, a site not exactly famous for its relaxing flying!
With nothing else planned for the afternoon, I thought it was worth a try anyway. Alasdair Jones disagreed with me and decided to stay at work.
Arriving in the car park, I could see two wings in the air, always a good sign. On take off it was strong and pretty gusty but seemed doable. A man and his daughter were asking me questions about paragliding so I thought it best to show rather than tell. Thankfully my launch was text book, although I was barely making headway in the venturi. A quick squeeze of bar got me out and away from launch and I quickly climbed up to meet my fellow flyers. There were weak thermals coming through, which was pulling the wind anywhere from NW to SW. This was causing quite a bumpy ride at times and I had my first collapse for ages. It was only a little one and I reacted well (even if I do say so myself) so it was a non event. I took a little climb in one of the thermals to a couple of hundred above take off and decided to try and push forward to Oxenbourne. This is a ridge to the south west of Butser and takes a north west wind. This little flight is a bit of a right of passage at Butser and I had never done it before so I was determined. The glide over was quite sinky and I had to use half bar to make good speed against the wind. I arrived quite low but soon climbed back up. It was much smoother than on Butser so I stayed a while before an easy glide back to Butser.
I made it over to Oxenbourne again just to prove to myself that the first time was a fluke. I made it over easy but the wind dropped and I couldn’t quite make it back to the ridge lift. I ended up landing in the bottom side field. When the wind picked up a bit I almost managed to take off from this field but there wasn’t quite enough lift.
A nice afternoons flying all in all and it was nice to finally get over to Oxenbourne.