20/06/02 - Mike Andrews, 47.5km from Fochriw

Hi Tim.

There are advantages to giving up work! Another PB. 47.5k. I only got to the Merthyr Common road at 3.30 and by then nobody was flying. I went to Fochriw and arrived to find every body packing up. The day had not been as good as expected, it was cloudy and cold, nobody had got away. Having come that far I sat and waited and within 20 mins the wind had eased. WNW about 10-15 k. I radioed Rich who was waiting still on Merthyr (as I don't like flying alone and nobody else was there). I had a pleasant cruise for over 45 mins, in weakly thermic air, practicing deflations and weight-shift only turns.

At first I was the only person there, then some other flyers turned up who seemed oddly reluctant to launch. By the time a couple of them did I was at about 150ft ato and from there picked up a series of lift which allowed me to climb above the site. I had not expected to have the chance to get away so was surprised to find myself at a cold cloudbase of 4,700 ft. still almost over t.o. I saw sun on the slope above the cemetery above Cwm and got a second climb out there. It was then that I saw I was on the edge of the sea breeze front with clear sky to the south and a series of cus to the east. I had never used sea-air convergence before but now it worked. A more experienced pilot would have made better progress, but I was using half speed-bar on the glides. The lift was mostly not strong (my max integrated over 15 secs was 4.2 m/s) and I spent a long time circling in weak lift. This was as often under blue sky as a cloud - hard to work out what was going on.

I tracked south of Blaenavon and the Blorenge - with splendid views - often with the cloud forming behind me in the lift I had used. I got a good climb again over Garn Clochdy, the peak s of the Blorenge, then out over the river and road. The front was edging north-east and my track was now over the farmland well north of Raglan, getting a fine view of the pretty village of Llantilo Crosseny. It was possible to cruise in zeros some of the time but cb was now little over 2000 asl. The clouds were getting wispier, I was tired and cold, and perhaps I should have tried harder, but realising I had passed Monmouth, that it was 18.30 and balloons were flying, I was pleased to land at a big country house, thinking I might get a drink! It was not to be - they were away, but I did get a ride into Monmouth.

Fochriw SO 098 048 to Bernithan Court past Llangarron SO 544 216. 47.5km. 2hrs and 37 mins. Swing Astral. I took photos and will get them processed today.

I have now done an XC on 5 of the last 7 days I have flown. If you include the (unofficial) Pandy flight the average is 28km.

Best regards