1/09/04 - Jim Mallinson, 57.9km (72.4km with bonus) from Combe Gibbet

TO Golden Ball SU 123 638 1405 hrs
LZ Port Meadow, Oxford (next to Adrian T's house) SP 494 083 1700 hrs

Distance 57.9km = 72.4 with goal bonus.

Tempting fate by declaring a goal (usually results in not leaving the hill) I was all set to make it to Oxford. It wasn't easy going - most of the climbs were pretty raggedy and I often had to glide upwind to find the good bits on the edges of the clouds. Flying with Emil made it a bit easier. We got quite low over the Lambourn gallops but stumbled into a good one. I then glided out into the Vale of the White Horse while Emil tracked along the edge of the escarpment and went down by Wantage.

I could almost hear the Boer curses as I got a low save from about 200' above an industrial unit north of the town. Red kites were marking the way again. I then flew very conservatively, carefully going around Abingdon (and of course finding out later that I could have gone straight through it) and having to keep topping up because I couldn't glide straight to the goal field - Brize Norton airspace was in the way (doh! should have thought about that when setting it).

I got a climb over Boar Hill which gave me enough height to go and have a look at the Bodleian Library where I should have been working and get to Port Meadow with 2000' to spare. A few half-assed wingovers had me on the deck and then Adrian and Sue appeared, taking Lauren, their baby daughter, for a stroll around the meadow.