The North Yorkshire Moors Soaring Club flies at the Hole of Horcum which is between Pickering (famous for the start of the Steam Train Journey) and a Whitby. I had wanted to visit for a while due its fame in slope soaring circles, and the venue for F3F Winter League events in the North.
I booked a hotel called the Black Swann in Pickering and arrived on Friday night. I rang Michael Kitchen who was organising the event, because there were no postings I could see to say where we were to meet the following day. None of the people I knew were attending from the Orme, so I wanted to make contact with the group. Michael kindly gave me directions to the Westerly slope of Levisham, where they fly Westerlies.
There is a car park within a short walk of the slope, but not as close as I am used to, thus making my assembled choice of about 10 models somewhat redundant.
The wind was meant to be gusting to 20mph, but there was only a slight breeze when I arrived. I was able to fly the Vulcan which is very light, without a problem. The lift was strange, and, I think somewhat variable due to thermals. Certainly the temperature varied from very warm in the afternoon to cold enough for gloves.
I met Chris from Whitley Bay when I arrived. He had some amazing 30 year old 10 foot wing span large models, a Lancaster, and Wellington in particular.
First of all, he flew the Lancaster, which soared away effortflessly when all others were struggling, to great effect. It had such a presence in the air. When he came to land, he lost control of ailerons and the model sadly crashed into Roger Taylor, another modeller who was walking to the site. Chris couldn’t see the model and it was a chance in a million. He was mortified. The wing barked the front of Roger’s shins but saved it from crashing into the wall. Fortunately it was not a walker who frequent the area.
Undeterred, Chris brought out his Wellington, which looked very impressive and can be seen on the photos. I launched it for him into the now blue cloudy sky. It looked so imposing, and its big wingspan with low loading coped effortlessly. Thankfully, Chris showed his skill by landing perfectly near the front of the slope with scale flaps.
Both models had operating bomb doors, and had been built 30 years ago when all mechanisms had to be mechancial rather than digital. Chris had other models which remained in the car.
You can see that there was a profundity of ferns which not only camouflauged my Vulcan so as to make it difficult to find, but also save my Jet Provost, which twice lost signal, or stalled out of control with minimal damage
In addition the local club had brought a collection of warbirds, and A4 Skyhawk, and a very nice scale Hawker Hunter, which I think was from the days when PSS events at the Hole were very well attended.
Finally, we were all bemused by the presence of Highland Cattle on the walk to the slope. They are so docile and pose helpfully for photographs.
The forecast was more suspect on the Sunday, with the chance of rain put at 30%, especially around midday. Also the wind had moved round to the North, so it would be colder, and maybe windier.
The meeting point was at the car park at the Hole of Horcum where one can no longer fly in view of the trees and the traffic. The only people to turn up were me and Roger. It is possible to park a little way down the road closer to the slopes off the road, and I found a handy layby. Before too long, who should turn up but John Hey with his Dad. Glad to see a familiar face. We waited, but no one else turned up. All the locals stayed away.
There were already a few short light showers but we decided to risk it. We set off for the North East Slope which was very close to the road with a clear flat approach from Fylingdale Radar Station.
I had a fly with the Vulcan but it was a bit lumpy. The wind then moved round and John appeared, so we moved round the hill to the North/North West slope.
I had one flight as did John with his foamy Spitfire, and then the rain descended. I recorded the wind speed at 15mph. We hunkered down but got soaked. It was enough for Roger Taylor and we walked back to the car – not the most successful day but a good weekend.
To see my photos of the weekend, see the Gallery Page