Over the long long winter I have set myself a challenge of going through all my old Gopro footage and making a compilation video showing all the amazing places that paragliding has taken me.
Spurred on by last years Wessex Club video competition, I have discovered that shorter videos are far more entertaining. No one wants to watch 30 minutes of someone ridge soaring the local ridge! I have decided to limit myself to 3 minutes unless I have a good reason to go longer (a story to tell or an instructional video).
To make it extra hard for myself I had chosen Isla de Encanta by the Pixies as the music for the video, a fast paced number that only lasts 1:41! Squeezing nearly five years of paragliding experiences into that time has been very tough and time consuming but I’m proud of the result…
I tried to sneak in an after work fly at Stubbington (Dune de Meon). It had been very windy all day but forecast to drop in the evening. I arrived just after Alasdair and the wind felt good but by the time we had set up it had started to drop. At stubbington, there is no where on the top of the cliff to take off so you have to kite the wing to the base of the cliff and then run like hell along the cliff until you get lifted off of you feet. This takes very good ground handling skills and this site is definitely not for beginners!
Well I ran and ran and ran, most of the length of the cliff like a madman but there just wasn’t quite enough wind. After walking back a bit with a mushroomed wing I spotted a route up to the top of the cliff. I left my gear at the bottom and climbed up to take a look. The wind felt much stronger up here (even though it is only 30ft higher!) but there just wasn’t enough room to lay out a wing.
Ignoring this inconvenience, I carried my wing up to the top and laid it out as best I could. There wasn’t enough room in between the fence and the cliff edge to launch normally so I stretched the lines out along the cliff and did a cobra launch. Luckily the launch went off perfectly, they was zero room for error. All those hours of ground handling paid off again 😀
Unfortunately I was only rewarded with a 10 second flight to the bottom lol. Oh well, better luck next time. Winter will be here soon though 😦
Good old Ringstead produces the goods again! After convincing Pablo, RJ and Kieron that it would be worth the long drive down to Ringstead (two and a half hours each way), I was hoping that we wouldn’t be disappointed! With four people, four solo wings and a tandem in one car it was a friendly drive but we were greeted to the sight of hang gliders flying as we drove up the road to the car park.
The wind on launch was off to the west a bit and quite strong. It seemed doable so the four of us set up and one by one launched and flew out to the cliffs. It was an easy lifty glide out and the usual massive lift band once on the cliffs. I grabbed some photos and flew around a bit but with the wind not south enough you couldn’t venture round the corner and down the coast, so it got a bit dull after a while. A few wing overs and spiral dives broke up the flight nicely and some induced collapses were good practice. Unfortunately the only one that came out on film was a rather tame frontal. After the excitement we all came into land for lunch.
Pablo decided now was the time to get the tandem out so I volunteered to be ballast. After a bit of faffing about with the reserve we were clipped in with RJ acting as anchor. At this point the wind had picked up and was very top end. Another tandem picked the wrong moment to launch and was dragged across the field, narrowly missing us. They managed to get it under control with just a few muddy marks to show for it.
It was our turn now and the cobra launch didn’t go quite to plan. The wing overshot and started pulling us across launch. We both managed to stay on our feet with the help of RJ and Pablo experted got the wing back over our heads and we were away. It was great fun to be in the front seat and just concentrate on getting some good film angles. Afterwards, Pablo took Kieron up for a bit too.
An excellent day and we all got a good couple of hours airtime in. Kieron started the day with 10.5 hours total airtime and left after his best ever day flying with 13.5 hours!
A small window in the current ‘drought’ was predicted for Friday afternoon, so I set off for Barton on Sea. I arrived to see the usual suspects getting ready to launch (wind had just dropped to flyable, talk about perfect timing!). We were all soon in the air and getting good height. Various people achieved xc’s, jumping the gap to the west and flying down to Milford to the east.
I pushed my luck too much on the flight down to Milford in theweakening wind and bombed out at the east end of the beach huts. I tried relaunching from the cliff top above the huts but in the weaker wind there wasn’t enough lift to stay up. I walked west to wear the huts end and lay out my wing in front of the barbed wire fence (eek). Unfortunately there was no magic spot to avoid the rotor so I couldn’t get the wing inflated.
Luckily for me a nice gentleman saw my plight and came out of his house to help. With him holding the centre of the wing in the wind I was able to relaunch and fly back to Barton, saving me a long walk. It remained flyable up until about 7pm until the wind dropped. All in all not a bad days ‘gay’ coastal flying!