Thursday’s weather didn’t appear any different from the weather we’ve been having for some time now except that there was a subtle difference in the air mass and the fact that the general flow was from the NW and not the east.

RASP was forecasting a good day with possibly some spreadout but with the best areas to the east – something I really should have paid more attention to.

Day started hot and blue but by 11am small cu were popping off to the north and by mid day it looked pretty epic north so I changed my planned 500km bid to the east and went for one of my other ambitions – Snowdon.

Quick tow from TC and at 900ft contacted a really good core so released and easily climbed to 5000ft (all hts given are amsl).  Flew back to the club to get a start and off I went north flying between 5-6.5k under some meaty looking cu’s thinking well this is going to be easy!  

But as we all well things are never easy because as I got to Lyn Cleweddog (just north of Llanidloes it all went blue ahead and I had suspicions that the sea breeze had already set up thwarting my Snowdon attempt.  

So after abandoning my task I set off following the best looking sky for a bit of unplanned XC fun. 

My journey took me over Newtown, Knighton, Shobdon, Leominster, Worcester and eventually down into the Cotswolds and Moreton-in-Marsh where cloudbase was an amazing 7500ft.  I did get “low” once at 4500ft and ridiculously started to get concerned before realising that I was higher than on most normal XC’s in the UK.  The whole flight was a fairly easy “romp” as Clarkie would say and I do have some regrets that I didn’t go for the 500km task – but hey ho.

On my way back to TAL I had a quick tot up of the Km’s and realised it was going to be under 300km so I added Brecon for the extra mileage (kilometerage!) 

However, to my dismay as I came over the Black Mountains (ooo err matron!!) it had overdeveloped and a great grey mass of cloud blanketed the area.   

I didn’t have enough height to get to Brecon without making things very squeaky for myself so I hung around in zero’s for ages hoping for it to re-cycle and sure enough after about 30 mins the sun started breaking through, the cloud evaporated and the whole process started over again.  

I eventually got to Sennybridge and then Hay-on-Wye before calling it a day after a 6+ hr flight and 366km around recognised turnpoints and 387km for an OLC optimized flight distance. 

Mike Codd was still in the K13 training at 7.15pm and we had a land out arrive form Aston Down in the late evening taking part in the Enterprise competition (Douglas Gardiner I think), the second one this week.

The K21 skippered by Dave Jefferies with a student pilot, apparently doing most of the flying and navigating, did a Tal-Shodbon-Usk-Tal triangle – yes you read correctly the K21 DID AN XC!!!

Alan Thomas solo’d in Jon’s SZD which I think he now has a share in, Andrew Richards spent a few hours in the Junior and I think I heard Robin Scott over the radio in it but can’t confirm that.  Oh and in Phil Swallows words “I did a trial lesson”! 🙂  

Other good things were going on at Bidford including John Clark doing a 300km in a really fast time and Chris Short successfully completed his Gold distance and Diamond Goal flight of 300+km – nice one Chris.

Things I’ll remember of the day – very hot, very high cloudbase, still very hot, a sound from my vario I’ve never heard before as it went into overdrive with 7.5kt on the averager, not having a pee for over 6 hrs (de-hydrated due to it being “very hot”?), landing after 6 hrs feeling exhausted but realising there was at least two hours good XC weather available and seeing Mike C’s big smile after another day at the office!, Finally, slowly and quietly putting things away with that glow and satisfied feeling you can only get from gliding – wonderful.

Martin P