12/04/03 - The Snowdonia BPC by Pete Taylor

We were all nonks really, just some of us were luckier than others. The task was a short race to goal (22Km) from Arenig Fach to the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel (Glyders bottom landing field). The prevailing winds were V.Light SE'ly meaning that the Snowdon valleys would sea breeze and limit any further track downwind (NW'ly).

The window opened at 13:00. Some early birds like Steve Etherington and Rudd Birkit left straight away and waited at cloud base for the air start at 13:30. (inc Nico Preston who was not in the comp, but fancied a laugh). The rest of us preferred to wait until nearer the air start time.

To cut a long story short, the sky was quite overcast and the thermals became few and far between after the initial 2 gaggles had left the Hill. It was extremely busy on takeoff with every-body jostling for position and some space to work the lift. Many pilots had to side land a fair way down the hill after avoiding mid-airs.

With the takeoff window closing at 15:00. Alex (also not competing due to lack of funds) took of on a demo of the Quarx 2 and flew eventually to the bottom landing field. It was pretty crap. Various pilots started lobbing off with the intention of a sledge ride down. Then as if by magic some thermals started triggering off, and once again the air became a melee of washing.

In the confusion, Avon pilots Gary Mitchell, Pete Douglas and yours truly eeked out a weak climb from either side of the hill.

For me, the climb became more consistent at around 3000ft amsl and took me to cloudbase. The vis was pretty poor, but I headed off in the direction of goal and some other pilots way in the distance. During the glide, it was apparent that the sea breeze was already coming in from the coast.

Halfway down the course, a second climb took me to the best cloudbase of my UK flying at 6600ft amsl. Woohoo. With ice on my gloves I headed onto goaland just made it on a looonnngg glide. There were loads of pilots in goal (10 plus) when I arrived.

About 10 mins after I landed, Gary Mitchell came in at about 1500ft above goal. Excellent. Pete Douglas almost made goal, but had to turn back to land after failing to clear the last ridge before goal.

Great to get to goal. The task was won by Rudd Birkit (Gin Boomerang) with Steve Etherington 2nd (Windtech Syncro).

Alex C, Jo Eades and Stafford Evans had a bad day with some bad luck but had a nice flight after the comp.

Congrats to everyone that took part. Sorry if I missed anyone else out.


Pete T.