Dark Star

Finally a nice little XC flight for me from the Dyke. My launch was interesting and delayed by paragliders floating around in front of me. I do wonder what they were thinking, in the end I took off into what looked like space but had to pull in to dive under a couple of converging PG’s, which was ok this time but not to be recommended.

At first it was very scratchy and I flew right to the little NW ridge away from takeoff traffic but it was only good for maintaining height. I returned to where I could see some PG’s getting up a little but lost a lot getting there. I dug myself out the bottom landing field and climbing through the PG cloud, which at that time was the only cloud in the sky. My feeling that a circling hang glider would be predictable and noticeable as I climbed up through them seemed also to work then I pushed on vaguely towards Heathfield as I wanted to get away from the coast so I might observe, rather than be overtaken by, any sea breeze later in the day.

I took a climb from the petrol station on the A23 and progressed behind the ridgeline towards Lewes. I felt something when I was parallel with Ditchling so turned towards it, it took a while to find but eventually I established in the best climb of the day so far right over the village itself.

Having done this and without clouds to mark a route and seeing someone scratching low on the ridge so I looked to other villages as likely sources.

On the way to Chailey I did pass through something, I remember thinking at the time that my intent on getting to the village was too strict a thought and passing whatever that was form an indistinct source could be and maybe was a mistake.

Another thing that might have helped me would to have drifted at the top of the Ditchling climb for longer, waiting for clouds to show the way, as it was only about 20 or 30 mins after I landed that clouds began to form so drifting to the coast for a while might have prolonged my flight, so flexibility of thinking and the ability to recognise whats around you are key.

While I was de-rigging a passing farmer, happy to have a chat about this strange person in his field, suggested the pub we could see a few fields away had a fantastic guest ale on – so when Ozzie came to collect me we sat and enjoyed one of the best pints I’ve had in a long while.

Great day.

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XC Flight on May 26th: 50.910394, -0.121536
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