zen and the art of thermalling

The forecast had me and all those around me excited and expectant for a day when it felt we would be taken by the conditions on the cross country flight of our lives.

For me this did not materialise, I found plenty of lift all over the site but found that some way up I would begin to lose the core would try to search for it but then would scurry back to the safety of the ridge to start again.

Me-54

Even actually thermalling felt hard today, at times I did feel connected to the glider and the air but mostly I was fighting. This made me also tense and to pull in on the glider so I think I was flying way too fast almost all the time.

Eventually I started to feel a little nauseous and found the idea of landing leaking into my conscious thoughts  so fairly soon I was on the ground. A nice landing actually on my feet for once.

Later

After helping Oz and having a drink and a chat with him and some others in the pub I thought to have another go. Not many were up and those that were were struggling and most of them bottom landed.

I waited for the shade to clear and the sun to arrive always watching the sky for signs of lift of which now there seemed few. I launched eventually into a little gaggle of swifts and had a scratchy marginal flight.

What I liked about this one was my feeling inside me – calm and relaxed – smooth and connected. I was much better at coping with a difficult scratchy flight than a booming one.

Most of the time I was at ridge height or below and when I did eventually connect with something and gained a few hundred feet I cashed that in for a top landing. The air objected to this and it was a struggle to get down. Grant Crossingham’s wife who launched as I landed and was taken, thermalling beautifully, right to the 5500ft airspace limit. However I was happy with the sense of peace I had inside me and de-rigged feeling peaceful.

For me the moment early on when I circled under Oz, Taka and Steve Cook together with a Buzzard right on my wing tip – we were together for a moment doing what we both love was beautiful.

You may also like