15/08/03 - Jim Mallinson, 80.2km from Kettle Sings
I had a lovely flight on friday; here are the details:
Glider Proton GT M
TO Malvern SO 768 421 1330hrs
Total distance 83km
GPS witness for all.
Eleven of us climbed out and Mark Watts, Graham Steel, Ken W, Abigail Barr, Mark's friend Paul and I forged ahead. For about 40k we didn't go below 4000', with good clouds and the sun on the ground marking the way. Base was about 5600' to start with, topping out at 6200'! Mark and Graham did most of the leading, and since they've both won the XC league I reckoned they were worth following. After Ludlow Mark glided towards Church Stretton which was looking very dark. I decided to head to the east, into the middle of a valley which was the only place where there was any sun on the ground. I lured Graham and Abigail into it but was soon cursing as we got pretty low.
I could see Mark climbing from very near the deck and was sure we were going to be landing when I got a whiff of smoke and the vario started beeping at about 1000' above the ground. Mark and Abi got it higher up and were soon back at base and on their way while I took a long time to get up. I didn't make it to base and glided west, towards a hill to the east of Church Stretton. It was in the shade but I got a good climb about 500' above it. It had a 4m/s core and it seemed strange to be steaming towards cloudbase at 5.30pm with no sun on the ground anywhere near me. The thermal was being blown by a strongish southerly wind up to a long line of convergence cloud stretching towards Shrewsbury.
I cruised along it and when I got to the end expected an easy glide to land near the town but suddenly realised I was gliding into a strong northerly headwind! Convergence it was. I thought about cruising back along the cloud the way I had come but was knackered after four and a half hours in the air and peeled off to the west, landing almost vertically in the strong north wind.
See you soon,