Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

August 25, 2011

Paragliding, Wether Fell, Yorkshire Dales

Almost after I'd given up hope of getting any good flying time in the UK, the wind dropped for a couple of days, and a local paragliding friend called up with hopes of a good day.  We drove up to Wether Fell near Hawes, popular because it is possible to drive up to launch (and therefore save yourself a large hike up only to find that the wind isn't cooperating).  Wether Fell is a good X-C (cross-country) launch zone, as well as having a long west-facing ridge great for soaring in steady winds. 

So we had an absolutely wonderful afternoon of paragliding.  Brilliant.  The wind was that perfect speed where it is easy to pull up the wing and fly, enough to not sink out, but not so much that there is any danger of being dragged.  The ridge has a nice gradual grassy slope, huge and long, ok the grass was about waist high but at least there were no rocks.  I practiced my top landings, probably had at least 40 landings, the hill was so wide I could take off, fly a couple hundred feet, land again, kite for a while, take off again, (repeat many times).  The wind was so smooth that I literally stood for 5 minutes in one spot with my wing over my head without moving my feet, just kiting and watching the wings fly by.  Had about 20 people out there, mostly just boating around, enjoying the sunshine.

Finally got a few thermals late in the day and got 700 feet above launch, but spent most of 2.5 hours just kiting and top landing.  Felt like I earned my new P4 stripes as I was doing sliders on the grass (avoiding bogs as well!) and showing off to all the locals.  In fact it was one of the best flying days I've ever had.  A very magical day.  Sort of reaffirms my faith in British flying ( although it might take another year to get a day like that again).   I didn't quit until I was so sore from kiting in my harness that I couldn't do it anymore! 

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