11/04/03 - Pete Taylor, 19.7km fom Moel Eilio
Pete Douglas and I travelled upto Snowdonia a day early to try and get some flying in before the first round of the British Paragliding Cup (BPCup).
Pete D had a burning desire to fly over Snowdon, so we headed to the Glyders takeoff (south'ly side), but after a walk up, it was obvious the wind was off to the south west / west. Eventually, after parking in a farm at the south side of Moel Eilio we walked up to the top 1/3rd of the hill (mountain if ur Welsh). The sky was overcast and there seemed to be very light sw'ly winds with little aparent thermal activity.
After a long wait, we launched for what I thought was going to be a one way ride to the bottom.To my surprise it was soarable and slightly thermic. After working our way up to the summit of Moel Eilio we headed off se'ly flying parallel to Lake Cwellyn and towards the big stuff. Unfortunately Pete D got sunk out and lower down the thermals were very weak so he landed near the ranger station.
Meanwhile, I could see a nice large hill with a lovely bowl. I set off down a ridge of high ground and made my way upto the top of this good looking hill. As I approached the top, I could see what I thought was a cafe. Great I can landed for a great view and a cuppa. Then I suddenly realised that the Cafe was actually the railway up Snowdon (what with the rail track and everything!!). Doh, anyway, it was such a surprise to be level with the top of Snowdon. I flew out of the back of the nw'ly bowl and after a good climb to around 4500ft amsl, headed south toward Beddgelert. Approaching this village, it was obvious I was hitting quite a headwind, but in the far distance I could make out the Estuary at Porthmadog and realised that if I kept heading that way and crossed the estuary I could may Harlech and the campsite where the BPCup was based.
Wow, the kudos of flying into the campsite from Mt Snowdon. With my blinkers on and use of lots of speed bar I headed cross-wind / up wind in towards my goal of Harlech. The scenery was great and after thermalling with some swallows I tried to cross the estuary, but ended up turning back due to low height and landing in Penrin- deuadenum.. dalek.. agh.go.goch or whatever. Pete D picked me up just as I had finished packing away. Nice one Pete.