Woke up on Saturday knowing I had a free day and that I was heading out to a hill somewhere regardless of what it was looking like. Had a wee check on the group to find that there were a couple of different opinions/locations afoot then decided to give Sean a call. With there being an issue on the motorway and that it was quite a drive, we decided to meet up at Gargunnock just after 10am instead of making the trip down to Bodesbeck or even the Eildons.
I headed along pretty sharp, never having been to Gargunnock before. I parked the car up where Sean had explained to me and walked back down in to the village for a lorne sausage roll before walking back to the car to wait on Sean arriving. It had only taken me 30 minutes to get across, I had plenty time to spare!
The wind, what there was of it at that time, was still looking NW so we left my car at Gargunnock and took Seans around to the Stronend side. This gave us two easier options should the wind come round more northerly for a ridge run back to Gargunnock.
We parked the car and started the walk up the NW face. It was quite the stroll!
The sun was beating down on us, a central belt of blue and not a breath of wind on the ground. It wasn't looking good. After we had got up the first climb and stopped for a break, we could feel a nice wee breeze coming around the hill. At this point it seemed to be more Westerly slipping around the side of the hill. We kept climbing, using hands at times to steady ourselves and pull ourselves up.
My fitness, or lack of it, was telling and regular breathers were required. We topped out just after midday to find a nice nor'westerly breeze coming up the hill. The kit was coming out.
Just as we were both ready and thinking about launching the wind died to nothing and remained that way for the rest of the afternoon.
Whilst waiting, clipped in, for a launch opportunity we caught sight of a couple of other guys with paraglider packs however they went round the west side. After a short time, we unclipped and decided to have a walk to see who they were.
The two were Bob Gair and Paul (no surname, Sean do you know?). We sat atop the westerly side for a while blethering about this and that, being entertained by Bob's stories. The decision came that we wouldn't be getting much out of the day so a glide down to the cars it was.
We left them to it and walked back over to our kit which was laid out all ready.
It was to be an alpine launch. My nerves kicked in a bit, it must have been a year since my last alpine launch. I got my wing ready, myself ready with numerous chants to settle myself down then I ran.
My wing came up straight and true, in a few steps I was off the hill and away.
The air was as smooth as you like, it was a very nice glide down. I was around two thirds of the way down when Sean launched, closely followed by Bob from the west side.
I set up to land as far away from the sheep as I could, luckily they saw me coming and huddled in the furthest corner away from me. Nil wind landing, flare and run off. Lovely, grand wee flight down from a site I'd never been to before.
With us all landed, Sean and I waited for Bob and Paul to get packed away before we all trooped down to Rubharb and Lime in Kippen for a cuppa and a bite to eat. They were offering some complimentary Beaujolais Nouveau for tasting however it was only Paul who partook since the rest of us were driving.
The entertainment was super, with many more stories passed around the table from Bob.
Altogether, for me, a fantastic day. Good exercise, cracking company and a nice, safe flight on a new site I can add to my log book...oh and my dinner ready for me when I got in the door to home! What more could I ask for?!
Cheers Sean for a good craic!