Round Two, Long Mynd
The forecast showed that the weekend would be blown out so there was no rush to get there, so I saved a day off and drove up on Saturday to arrive and setup camp and be there for the meal.
I ended up camping in the Powes Arms – it was a small field but there was plenty of space particularly with my small tent that I realised is now nearly 20 years old.
There was plenty of wind and so it was soarable, I got off ok a little late thinking that I did not want to be maintaining at altitude for hours before the start. I had a good launch managed to start to climb, people were spread out so there was space but I did not manage to get to base for 2 full hours. In the end I got tired and despondent wound off the height I had and started an approach to the top field.
This is when I was hit by the best climb I had found all day, 3up to base, once there among the whispy bits I felt on top of the world. Maybe having given up a little in my head I was at last relaxed enough to climb better, maybe I was simply lucky.
This did not last.
I set out on a glide without anything to aim at, the sky was overcast with alto stratus, quite thin but dull, I remembered something John had said about picking a line and blundering into something so I did that. I saw a whispy cloud forming off Wenlock Ridge on the way and tried that but nothing. So it was now selecting field time. I set up behind a village thinking that it might work but it didnt so then focused on a grass field and made a pretty crap landing bending an upright. Looking back when I was high I should have stayed with that cloud and let it drift me along the course. An clear indication of groundspeed would have been useful at that point.
Challenges to my sanity
While walking out the field with the glider rigged I caught the trailing edge on a gate and broke a batten. Then I found that I had forgotten my phone. I had to take a deep breath at this point and visited a house where I was able to phone the pub after looking it up in the Yellow Pages then I went back and de rigged. It was about an hour or so and a cup of tea with my saviour local later when my car arrived and I was retrieved.
Tuesday was very light, only the front row of gliders got off in the only thermic activity that day, I was too far back and too cautious due to my landing problems to risk a bottom landing to launch this is a huge handicap so I scored a fat ‘0’ and deserved it.
On this last day the briefing had been indecisive, partly as there is no internet at HQ, so no forecasts, this indecision left me not feeling happy initially, there were lots of negative comments floating about launch and in the briefings… however you retreat a little inside yourself at these things so I got ready anyway and waited.
The day did start to feel better and I got dressed and clipped in, my launch was good and I established quickly in lift however the thermal was much busier, I got a bit distracted by missing people and fell out.
Later I had a chance to go with Ollie but chose not to as I felt we were not high enough, inside me I felt I wanted to get to base first before I went. However he was on radio with me, and we could have tried together to find something, at least then I would have tried. Not long after that I passed takeoff in sink and took a low approach for a top landing, I was down safe and ok if untidy, Ollie made 8km it as did Gordon Rigg and others it was a tricky day.
Looking at the tracklogs I was in a position to leave on all my flights, but did not, was unsure if I could and let myself drift. I’d have had a chance to try to stay up if I had been more focused on getting away. Although at the same time I do need to be getting to base faster. Much faster.