I am sure all paraglider pilots spend their life with one eye on the weather and one on everything else and Wingbeat members are no different.  Early messaging on Saturday suggested that Tommy intended to go to Witchie Knowe  and I have to admit I secretly questioned why since Witchie is a SW to SE site and the forecast was definitely for westerlies!!

After a morning of 'domestics' an early afternoon SMS from Tommy said 'Witchie' and 'flyable' so 5 minutes later I was heading out via the Ettrick road.  Turning at Kirkhope I could see no sign of any wings in the air and thought Tommy must have decamped to Mountbenger but no...  as I crested the road I could see him flying on the Yarrow side of the hill almost camouflaged against the background of heather. 

A quick walk up the lower stretch of Duchess Drive brought me to a low take off above a shallow bowl looking down the lower Swire into Yarrow.  Wind was definitely west and reasonably strong so layout, check, clip in and try the air.  A couple of very short beats suggested it was working and I then followed Tommy downwind scraping the contours of the hill - not for the feint hearted lifting legs to miss the heather on the downwind leg!

The air was surprisingly buoyant on the far side of the bowl and we both enjoyed boating around playing in broken thermals before landing by the track for a chat about bees with a local couple.  Chris had arrived and the wind seemed to be picking up a tad.  A quick chat whilst we watched gulls thermal out of the bowl and we all decided to fly again, Tommy first, I followed and then Chris took the plunge along the hillside.

Tommy played the thermals in the bowl gaining and loosing height with ease, Chris boated around thoroughly enjoying the air and I was swearing at my vario which had managed to go into keypad mode on the locked touchscreen.  No matter, I was gaining height, enjoying the vario's song and  watching gulls circle below me so went to join the party trying to ignore the fact the thermal track wasn't visible on the vario and the air was a little too lively to fly hands free! 600m later I lost the thermal and wondered why Tommy had landed.

Air was lifting all over, the sky had changed and I noticed the wind speed had increased from 23kph to 30kph so pushed out into the bowl to avoid being blown back and then noticed the wind was only 8kph and lenticulars where forming upwind and overhead.  Chris was way below me keeping below ridge height and looking for sink whilst  I was still boating around in fairly active air 300m higher playing the lift and then looking for sink and thinking about alternative landing options just in case.  Eventually I flew out into the valley to loose sufficient height to come back in below ridge height and use the updraft to gain height and land beside Tommy dropping vertically as I made the final turn into wind.

Wingbeat numbers have been increasing recently so we have now found a 'new' site to ease the feeling of crowding and maintain the ratio of sites to members (we prefer 1:1)  Witchie has also proved that it works in a variety of wind directions and has a house thermal generator.

We will be back for more after a great intro to a new site.


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Wind. Lots of it. All from the East or North east. Do people not understand that it's not a great day if it's 27deg but bl**dy windy?

Ok rant over. well. maybe. Stupid Cheap Weather!

Got lots on this week but thought there was a chance of some flying before it got dark. At this time of year its about 10pm so there is plenty of scope for evening flying if you are not in too much of a hurry.

Monday was double-booked so no chance of me getting out flying. Then hospital appointment was over double quick, and work can always wait, so took the early 4pm finish and headed up Hillend. Strange that it was working there - perhaps a continuation of the baffling weather forecasts? - as the whole of Scotland seemed to have some sort of southerly and only Edinburgh had it NE. Bizarre.

Proof is in the viewing, and reassured to see Ian K soaring back and forth, with some scratchy moments. So up the hill on the moonwalk tow and jog to the top making it from house to launch in 35 minutes and still with some breath left in the lungs for a change.

Took off, and normal hill above the ski slope was not working so well, so shot over to the crags to take a look, arriving quite low, so very relieved to hear the beeps getting stronger as I tucked into the face. At times it was big and lifty, others very sinky, so enjoyed a right good roller coaster of ups and downs, having to work quite hard in at the face to get back up, or pushing out and east and connecting with big climbs further than I have ever got before.

After about an hour it became more scratchy than lifty, .so went for the final fly down and managed to find and work lots of little bubbles on the way to give a really extended flight. A really enjoyable bit of flying and less than two and a half hours door to door! Certainly made up for yesterday's disappointment at Singlie despite the lovely cloud streets.



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Forecast implied we might get some flying in earlyish on sunday morning but we all know forecasts change. Was getting ready to head out when rob said it was raining with him (lovely sky here in lockerbie).

A quick check of the rainfall radar. Doh! timings had changed and it looked wet not long after I would get to the hill.

Not long ago, we rarely flew MountBenger. Don't know why not, cos it just seems to deliver the goods every time. Once again a Wingbeat half dozen (Fred, Dudley, Derek, Rob, DaveH and later Alek) gathered at the Mount and took advantage.