What a lovely start to the season.
We arrived at Kettle Sings to find quite a bit of wind and a fair number of pilot with more arriving all the time hoping to make the most of what appeared, on the forecasts, to be a decent day. Lots of catching up with people, chatting and rescuing of those brave enough to attempt launching and getting dragged about. Lots of pilots climbing up and disappearing off downwind on track for a possible task to Aberystwyth.
I rigged on the west face with quite a few others to stay out of the wind and then struggled over the top and well down the east face to find a launch spot. Thanks to Annee who disentangled a largish stick from my tip and straightened the wing for me and then I was off and away up, trying to push out before I got blown over the back. Once away from the hill and out the front things were a fair bit calmer and I managed to find and keep a decent climb. Decision time came quickly as each turn was taking me rapidly downwind so at 3500' I decided it was time to go.
The first 20k was great, climbing up a bit, moving to the sunny side of the cloud to stay out and gliding on, rinse and repeat, I loved it. Then my Ipad switched off and I couldn't get it to come back on - the general opinion is that it got cold and that's what these things do - losing precious height in the process, accompanied by a lot of swearing. With the danger area coming up I didn't want to risk blundering into it as I knew it wasn't that far away so I hung about waiting for a couple of other wings catching me up, hoping to follow along. But I need all my focus when I'm going XC and with no instruments I felt I was flying blind and I kept losing the thermal in trying to catch the others. In the end I let them go on and landed as it was too stressful and I had stopped enjoying the flight.
Packed up, dropped a pin and spoke to Neil who was close by and going to get the next bus but I was too far away from the main road and wouldn't make it so opted to walk into the village and meet Jack at the pub. The chef kindly booked us a taxi, so after suitable refreshment we were driven in style back to the hill in a super comfy Toyota hybrid estate.
Four of us then adjourned to the pub for more suitable refreshments and to await the arrival of the heroes of the day, Gerry and James who had flown an amazing 100k.
A grand day out Gromit, lets have more of them!