I haven't flown this hill for about 15 years and remember it as quite tricky with strong thermals intermittently roaring through - it hadn't changed much!
Lots of bracken on the top making rigging challenging, so attention to detail needed here.
A few took off in the lulls, and flew around for a bit but it wasn't inspiring with high cloud and no cu's, very gusty. The hill has a nice flat top for landing but if you fly to the east of the aerial you risk getting washed around the side of the hill and getting back is nearly impossible.
Three of us set a task of Newtown but in the back of my mind I thought of the campsite at Abergavenny if things didn't go to plan. Tim P took off, shortly followed by Rich Harding, Rich heading straight out away from the hill, he knows it quite well and quickly found a climb. Others headed out to join him and gradually they climbed away.
I waited for a lull and took off into some quite spicy air, heading out but not finding anything and then spent a little while hunting around, some of it below the hill. Eventually I found a decent climb, a couple of others joined me and up we went.
Two other wings disappeared back to the hill and the third headed off somewhere else so I climbed on my own to about 3500' but couldn't get much higher and cloudbase didn't seem to be much above me so I headed off downwind over the towns and valleys behind. I'm not keen on flying over the high ground without decent height and I am very respectful of the Welsh valleys.
I had a couple more decent climbs back to 3500' but each thermal seemed to be shut off by the clouds pushing in and shading the ground to I pushed on. Recognising the Skirrid and Abergavenny, I thought I would head for Sugar Loaf and see what I could find as the sky looked ok that way. Nothing to be found over Abergavenny but there was a nice bit of lift out in front of Sugar Loaf which I worked for a little while but again the valley shaded over and cut off the lift so off I went to the campsite.
A fun flight, not long, some knarly air at times but it's my first XC of the season and I'm back on the horse!