Mike H and I began the day battling through the Bath rush hour traffic heading north to Worcester Beacon, but canned that plan (because of the wind) whilst still on the M4, and decided to turn round and head south and give Whitesheet a go instead.
We arrived at 1130 and there were already 7-8 Wessex pilots getting ready on the hill. The sky looked good, and the wind was certainly not too strong…
Within five minutes of taking off I was climbing out with at least half a dozen other gliders, and it didn't take long to get to base, this being the best climb of the day!
Frustratingly there were lovely Cus east and south (and west) of takeoff, but not to the north, but N was where we had to head at some point if we wanted to avoid getting pinned by S'ton airspace. Ian Hobbis made the transition N early on, boldly heading to a lone Cu on his own, however I stayed with the gaggle (which was thinning out already and was really just Gary and Steve N at this point). After a bit of a glide and scrabbling about in some weak lift, Gary, on his M6, was quite a bit higher than Steve and me, and so Steve and I worked together to get back up again after having been down below 2000' for quite some time.
We had been heading more or less due east until we passed to the S of Salisbury, but now was the time to push N if we were going to avoid airspace. Working together (we had overtaken Gary by now) we made good progress NE, but by the crux point at the NW tip of S'ton airspace we were low, down to 2000'. A 500' climb helped briefly, then another 1000' climb, but by 67kms we were down to 1200' and in desperate need of a climb. This was were we split up - I found a weak 1500' climb that I drifted with for 7kms, and I lost sight of Steve.
From here I glided low over Alton and found a nice climb up to 3500', but that was it - my goal was Guildford, only 20kms or so away and I thought I was in with a shot at it, but I was drawn towards Farnham thinking either it would kick off, or else I'd land near a station. In the event it was the latter - perhaps I should have headed in a more direct route and I might have found something… I'll never know… But what I do know is that I would have extended my 93.2km straight line distance to beat Ian's 93.8km, which is a new site record! Not that I'm bitter or anything: -)
I landed at 1545 and was home by 1910, in time for supper - all in all a great day out: -)