Blue day at Swanborough

Chris on his Litespeed S flying at Swanborough

The forecast did not point to a great day, it was to be easterly and light, added to that Will has rape in both landing fields so bottom landing was banned. I suggested that we go to High and Over but that was closed for lambing so Swanborough it was to be.

Nothing about the day felt urgent and so I rigged and chatted for a while but eventually it felt good to go so we began to launch. Mine was nice and smooth into generally lifting air. There were bumps and hints of thermals but things were not so good given the wind was off the hill to the east. I was cautious about flying on the lee side of the spurs and tried to keep my shoulders relaxed and loosen my grip on the base bar so I could feel the air.

One thermal took me up and back to 1000ft it was great to circle and think about all the tips I have read recently. It was shortlived however and soon enough I was back at ridge height again. Just then the air felt like it slackened off and rather than hang around waiting for it to improve I took a landing. When i mentioned that decision to Steve Cook he suggested I should stick with the scratching as its here where I will learn useful skills rather than landing where I will learn none.

So on the next flight things were less active and although it was easy enough to stay in touch with the ridge I did eventually find I was slipping below takeoff height. I tried to keep into the terrain, more than at other times. I was tipped into the ridge once and it took sustained pressure to keep on heading but in the main it was ok. Eventually I felt a bubble of lift, enough to give me the margine I needed to land and I took it. Very satisfying indeed to have prevailed this time.

I started to pack up but others were arriving all the time, when I left there were pilots in the air and others rigging, the day seemed to have stabilized and all were managing to stay up without any problems. Looked like they could stay there till sunset.

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