Monday was forecast westerly so the original easy option plan was to head for Mountbenger. However local early morning drift suggested it was a tad stronger and Fred was heading to Dungavel. Negative psychology then kicked in over a coffee and paper work. A call from DaveH to say he was heading down to collect his glider and offering a lift was courteously declined (negative again!!). More coffee and common sense kicked in 'what the hell' let's head to Dungavel to join the throngs with Dave. Yet again the right decision for another days flying (3 in 7 days!!).
Arrived at Dungavel to see 6 wings, including Fred, in the air trying to gain lift under an overcast sky. Since Dave was driving he kindly said - "just go for it if you want, I'll pick you up". A gentle walk to the upper slope saw the number of wings increase, the intermittent breeze was light but 'smack on' suggesting thermic cycles. We both unfurled the gliders with Dave first to launch into the scratchy lift band, avoiding others trying the same. I slowly kited further up the slope and tried a couple of launches with short beats, slope landing each time to avoid a walk up (or pilot that had forgotten etiquette!!!!)
After sitting and watching for a while it was obvious there was a thermic cycle so I flicked the wing up, stood and waited for a clear takeoff, launched and after a couple of beats started to S in gentle lift . Ged had been asking after the weekend flight at Mountbenger when was the right time to leave the hill, 500ft, 1000ft......this time it was far lower, 360ing just above the hill in a gentle thermal watching a hot wing (D) climb out. Time to concentrate and just go with the flow joining ' D' in a left hand 360 but again watching some below switch between left and right hand circling!!!!!!!
The umbilical had been broken!!!!
The lift generator stayed to just below base at 3600' drifting slowly up the valley towards Coulter and Biggar . I had no real plan other than try and stay in lift, 'D' headed back towards Dungavel for more lift and I headed towards Biggar looking for anything that may trigger a thermal whilst being conscious of showers in the distance towards the M74. A short top up before Coulter gave an excellent view of Culter House and ride and I committed to flying down the valley in sinking air to Biggar checking fields for thermal breaks and landing options (mistake - should still have been thinking UP)
A small thermal over a plantation near the Symington road end gave hope of the next lift to base but was not to be so the next low save option was a housing estate but unfortunately the only beeps were down. Luckily 3 stubble fields were close by so, after checking for power lines and cables, it was a gentle turn into wind to land by the rugby club. It was only a short walk into Biggar to the Cross Keys and a pint or two while waiting for Dave and a lift home.
A good day out...yes :)
Satisfied with the effort ...yes
Lessons learned - think UP all the time...next time follow the hill line towards Broughton and east (Fred made Dawyck)
Thanks to Dave for the lift