09 May 2012

Shower dodging in the Dales

Sunday gave me some challenging flying in the Dales. The sky was classic by 10am and over developing by 11! On Staggs Fell it wasn't even soarable, so my first attempt lead to a drilling, a hill side landing an uncomfortable walk up with a bundled glider.
Back on top, there were showers everywhere and the day looked finished. The only bright bit was our section of the valley, so a few of us were able to have a few hops, but no more. Then suddenly, one of my flying buddies climbed out on something really weak and headed east along Wensleydale and into the blackness. 30min later I was on my way and heading away from a big snow shower to the west of Staggs Fell. It was weak but patience was rewarded. With the state of the sky, I made a decision to stick to the blue or to the very edge of clouds and also to leave climbs at 3000' amsl. Walls of showers to the east, west and north pretty much defined my route, but there was enough space to fit in an FAI triangle. Between Bainbridge and Aisgarth, I nabbed the first turn point and set off to cross Wensledale to the south. As I approached Semmerwater, for TP2, a pilot on the ridge was building a wall ready for launch and I was allowing myself to think about closing the triangle. As glided in his wall flopped to the ground, shortly followed by me! This is getting repetitive; that is the third time this season I have fallen one climb short of an FAI triangle!
Later I was to learn that Hamish had left Staggs an hour later, as some of the showers dissipated and managed 70+km up towards Durham. Great decision making!

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