07/08/03 - Jim Mallinson, 38.7km from Martinsell

TO Martinsell 1550 hrs
LZ Near Buckland Dinham 1610 ST 752 502

Distance 44.8km

What an airmass! Climbed out in a ripper about ten minutes after taking off. It topped out at about 4100 feet and I thought that would be the ceiling - Weatherjack had said thermals would be a bit lower. So I bimbled along, very cold again, with gentle top-up climbs everywhere. The drift was about 10-20 degrees more southerly than the day before so I started to head out into Pewsey Vale towards Devizes around about Milk Hill. Now, the southwest facing Milk Hill is famously unthermic. Not in an easterly! There I was, gently floating along at what I thought was the ceiling, when the canopy rocked back and bit into a lovely solid 4 m/s core up to about 5600 feet where it was bitterly cold. Then I stayed between four and five and a half thousand feet all the way to Keevil, I got down to about 2500 before a weak broken climb took me over Trowbridge where it picked up again and got me back up over 5 grand. I stuck with it for a while, going round and round, staying high until I was just too cold and went on a glide to warm up.

Bad move. I could see that there weren't really any wispies till the Mendips so the sensible thing would have been to keep going round and round in the good drift. I found a weakish climb at about 1500 feet but it never picked up and I landed northwest of Frome. Lift into town, bus to Bath, train to Bristol, fantastic Public Enemy gig, top day!