Where to start, the weekend forecast was for a WNW/NW airflow across Scotland and after a short flight with Logan at the Moorfoots on Saturday when it was really a 'how do I get down' day decisions were slow on Sunday.
However the usual post breakfast calls resulted in a plan to meet at Tommy's to continue the debate. Arriving to find that Tommy, Logan and Jamie had enjoyed a mid summer BBQ with Dave we waited for Jerry and Rob to arrive before heading up the valley to Potburn - the plan for the day was to walk into Bodesbeck since MWIS gave a promising day with 12mph NWesterly. After arranging portage of the rucsacs to a suitable point we took a leisurely stroll up the forest track to the top gate, arriving there we saw Logan in the distance heading for the top. A gentle walk over the grass while debating why there were so many wheeled tracks (windfarm, forestry, fencing all sprang to mind) we arrived at the summit fence just as Logan was crossing and walked to the cairn in a gentle breeze.
Standing on the front edge overlooking the Moffat Valley we all felt the encouraging breeze hoping that a classic Bodesbeck day would follow. As usual we allowed Tommy to unpack and act as wind dummy - first up but not as much lift as expected as he scratched along the top shelf before slope landing. Rob tried followed by Tommy again and we watched as Tommy gained some height whilst Rob and the Carrera sank - Logan explaining that the Carrera was really a gliding machine!
I was next to follow, a couple of scratches along the face and then turn into lift, and turn and turn again as I locked into a thermal drifting back over the hill. The lift was broken but consistent as I climbed out remembering that airspace was at 5500ft, around 3000ft I smiled inwardly as I saw a light aircraft coming towards me in the distance, they must have heard what I said since they veered right and I continued to climb. A sharp gust and a rustle of wing made me look up to see the leading edge concertina and pop out as I watched before going back into Zen mode. The plan had been to drift down Ettrick to the car but the drift was taking me towards Ettrick Pen - time to make the wrong decision and head back to the hill, after all it was the first climb of the day and there would be more. Arriving over Bodesbeck with plenty of height I probed out across the valley before some gentle 360s to land back on the top. Rob mentioned something about an SIV!!
Back on the hill the weather seemed to be changing, a bank of cloud was building over the far hills - possible convergence which may have explained the slightly rough air and although it was thermic there was a lack of lift on the hill at times. Jerry had joined the Wingbeat outing for the first time and managed to practice a top landing with Logan's instruction (Bodesbeck is not the place to bottom land!). Dave arrived followed by Stephen and Gerald so that 3/4 of Wingbeat were on the hill. However we spent most of the afternoon debating the conditions. Logan and Jamie flicked wings up to test the air and ground handle before declaring it not to their liking. We noticed Gerald hobbling across the hill, evidently he had dived out of the way of Dave's ground handling, in his own words 'think Gordon Banks 1974 Mexico" and pulled a calf muscle. Rob and Tommy had a couple of flights, with Tommy playing his favourite game of wagga. Dave launched, sank a little and then pushed out and finding a thermal that he took over the back of the hill, before dropping out of the side and landing close to the top. At this point the windspeed on the hill started to increase to 22mph and a decision was made to pack and walk down.
It may not have been a classic Bodesbeck day but it introduced new members to the hill and I'm sure some will be practicing top landing. We have debated why there was less airtime that expected but, as the saying goes "it is better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than in the air wishing you were on the ground" It was still a good day to be in the hills in great company.