When I looked at the forecast on XC Weather like you do, then BBC Weather, which is also very helpful, the wind was pointing in a Northerly direction and forecast to blow at around 12mph. So the question was – where to fly?
- Should go up Bosley Cloud? Northerly is not a good direction for Bosley because it tends to blow onto the point over the quarry where there are massive areas of sink and turbulence. North West is good, as is North East albeit beset with rotor, and the hike up the hill would be severe, up those many steps carrrying a rucksack of lead, lunch, and 3 models.
- Rushup Edge, next to Mam Torr, Castleton Peak District has a wonderfully steep Northerly slope, which generates massive amounts of lift, but it is a straight face which does not respond well if the wind is not quite on it. Later in the day it was forecast to move a little to the East – only NNE. Also the wind was only light, and on a previous occasions when it was a little to the West bad rotor developed over the landing area, which is why I will only take foamies up there.
Keith and I had a debate and opted for Rushup Edge. We were, however, expecting to be hindered by the Paragliders in that the wind was so light.
Keith had his National Trust Card so at least we didn’t have to pay the £3 it costs to park there. We had a gander at Tree Cliff Cavern slope just in case but the wind was not far enough East.
Loaded up, we trecked up the hill huffing and puffing. When we got to the top no one else was there, and the hang gliders were a thousand feet up, rather than batting up and down the slope looking for thermals. So there must be some good thermals.
I tried out my JW60 which flew very well until the wind dropped, when panic set in and it dropped down. I managed to land out on the side of the extremely steep hill. It was a death defying feat to retrieve it involving sliding down on one’s backside then hiking up on all threes, the fourth – my hand, holding my model, until I reached the top again.
I tried my SAS Fusion which was also not playing ball, so got out my trusty Easy Glider, which will go up in anything and if not there is always the motor. Didn’t need it – the thermals it picked up were awesome, ascending like lightning up into the clouds within seconds, such that I had to do 3 controlled spins to lose height. Quite satisfying.
Keith flew his Phoenix which also turned into a small dot in the Sky very quickly, but which needed the motor when the sink arrived. We both found the landing behind easier than previously with little sign of rotor in the very light wind.
Other flyers joined us. One flew his RCRCM Sunbird succesfully until the wind dropped. His friend had a quadcopter which he flew from a touch screen viewer. It circled us automatically taking high quality video. Quite amazing. Some chaps from Leicester arrived with a Ron Broughton home brew which needed more lead in the nose on its maiden and another foamie which was like a Bluto.
Anyway, after several hours flying, we packed up and returned home somewhat sunburned – yes it was cold in the wind, but hot in the sun, having marvelled at the beautiful countryside and eaten our packed lunch albeit bought from Tesco in Whaley Bridge.
It was an odd day, with massive thermals, some reasonable wind, which then dropped away leaving no lift at all and sink, almost every possible condition in one day.