10/04/00 - Mike Andrews, 15.8km from Ubley

A long cold wait in a wind, which was whistling in the pine trees on take off, paid off. The wind dropped at last and I launched in a lull. Within a minute I found a 4.5 m/s thermal which hauled me high above the hang-gliders. I worked back to the front of the ridge to catch a second small one which I took over the back at about 2.5 m/s. At one point Sean Woodward (?) was circling round me before he zoomed off to find stronger lift. I was committed and I lost this one before cloud-base but found more weak lift over the pig farms on the Mendips, finally getting another reasonable thermal off the top end of the Cheddar Gorge.

I had been warned that in a strong wind there was usually a big hole the other side of the Mendips, but I managed to climb to 2,300 ft. There was now quite a lot of cloud cutting off the sun from the ground. After that it looked pretty dismal with water everywhere. Again I did not know the area as it was my first XC from Ubley. I decided to head towards Wedmore, not wanting to land in a swamp, finding gentle lift on the way and using the strong NE wind. I got a low save from a bonfire on the last ridge before the real wetlands began at Heath House.

I decided not to risk using it because all I could see downwind was water-covered fields for miles. The only place to land would have been on the road. So I landed in the only dry-looking field beyond the ridge. Apparently the whole area was under a foot of water last week.

Ubley to Heath House ST 416 462, 16 km.

Landing Witness Rob Richley, who very kindly gave me a lift all the way back to Ubley

Best regards