The day started pretty poorly, as I got lost on the way to the hill and ended up on a horrid track that my VW Up is not really designed for (do NOT trust google maps if going to Dodd! ). This put me in a very bad mood, I was even considering just going home. But I got up to the hill, met with our crew, calmed down and went to take off and got into my routine. This helped get me in the right mindset, and I hadn't missed anything yet fortunately.
Then we had a 2 hour wait. Got to love paragliding! Martin, Rob and Dave bravely tried to pave the way, and did some really nice flying to stay in the game, but no good climbs. Eventually Dave was more successful, and I joined him. He took it over the back, whereas I pushed forwards and Pete D, Pete L, Jake, Joseph and I all climbed out together. At last, a flight not on my own!
We were then presented with the best convergence line I have seen. Surfing alongside a huge cloud street for 90 minutes, amazing. We caught up to Dave too, great to share this with these guys!
At the end of the line, Jake and I turned around to try and get back to the hill, but the headwind was too much so we opted to go for the "down-winder". Except after the convergence, the wind was all over the place. I saw NW, W, ENE and SSE winds in the space of an hour.
There was a tricky section where I had to work a very light thermal fairly low down, but patience prevailed. I flew to Harrogate, expecting to land there. However Pete D was behind and high, and Chris F joined him, so I battled to get high again over Harrogate. Happily I made it up to them!
The final phase of the flight was wonderful, still wacky winds but it worked so well. Climbing to 6000ft after 18:00 was brilliant, and the evening light made for stunning views. The three of us tried to get to York, but of course we hit a headwind on the final glide (easterly wind now), meaning I landed just short at nearly 19:00.
John E kindly picked us up and thanks to Martin and Dave for moving my car. A wonderful flight, possibly my favourite so far due to the sheer variety of experiences, and for sharing it with a great group of pilots. Very well done to Dave and Richard for doing an epic out and return.