The weather forecast was seen to be very light in most areas, but to be slightly stronger in SW of Scotland and having SE influence on the Day. It was too good a day to miss so I decided to give an old haunt being Carsphairn another shot as it’s only a one hour drive from where I am.
So I’m on site for about 12:15 parking the motor at Garryhorn’s Old Lead Mine (It’s handy if you have a 4 x 4, but my front wheel drive with a bit of ground clearance got up no trouble at all, it would have been a different issue if it had full snow cover) to make the 20 minute walk up onto Knockower hill. Reaching take off the wind strength was a little more than the expected 5/6 mph, but doable.
First time wing was up I was off my feet and away however that was just the compression zone effect and once out from hill I lost some height and had to go in closer to get it back. Then it was easy as I gained height and move up the slope onto Coran of Portmark, maintaining height wasn’t an issue as like the Ettric Pen party wind speed had increased and I at times found my ground speed read out on the instrument fluctuating between 0-9 mph, so it was coming in gusts. I also had an issue later on with visability as the bright sun got lower I was having a problem spotting the hill side behind me. There was no risk of hitting anything at 3-400ft above ridge, but I needed to be reasonably well forward for safety as being blown over the back was a possibility (a small one). Played around with speed bar quite a bit, and tried applying brake when gusts came through to maximise height gain average rate was around 1/2 up and it went up to 1.2 max.
Well it was nice and fresh to say the least and within the 1 ½ - 2 hours I had, before the cold got the better and drove me to land, I had explored many options out front to go a little distance having nearly made a couple of times across the glen onto front face of Meaul to have a shot of running south onto Corserine and perhaps Meikle Millyea, but I lost too much height on the crossing. I have to say I maxed out at 2.4k and base estimated around 2.5k although well clear of any hard obstruction I never had enough to drift over the back avoiding any rotor issues and of course clearing the loch.
With quite cold fingers I landed at the mine next to the car, and yes I too had a damp glider, but thankfully the fleece lined leather winter mitts saved me from the hot aches!!