27/06/00 - Rich Harding, 16.9km from Talybont

Had a sweet afternoon (starting) at Talybont today - the only place to go with no noticeable wind and it really is only a half hour walk up to the point above the car park (even with an unfit Rich Taylor in tow). Arrived about 1, I guess - several people there already and Matt from SW Wales (the chap I came joint 51st with in last year's XC league) had just bombed out at 8km apparently. Nick Roberts soon turned up - so, confirmation we were on the right site :-) - flying an Omega 5, would you believe. Truly horrible orange and grey colour scheme but after a post office uniform I guess you don't care!! He did a 10km out and return over the back of Fan G at 7-8pm last night apparently!

Anyway, one of those days when you needed to be ready at the right time - around 2.45 as it turned out (having previously done some scratching - put the needle on the record when the drum beats go like this!) sorry, sorry - some of the haze went and the clouds got all fluffy and quick developing. Nick took off, followed by yours truly and about five others, including a well-spoken bloke with short fair hair whose name I can never remember, demo-ing an Octane - said he was flying Llanberis slate quarries on Sunday - and a black guy with The Sick and The Wrong logo on his dark blue Swing (I think) wing - dunno if anyone knows who that was?

No matter, lifting all along the hill (what slight breeze there was was ESE or even E, I guess) and Nick flew into the western corner of the big coombe and started going up - no surprises there then. Two of the guys were climbing together and everyone else was in their own bit of lift. Having taken off last I had to catch three of them up - Nick was already heading off towards Pen Y Fan - and then one of the Swings went off downwind too, although only at about 4 grand asl. I caught the remaining gliders up and they must have been ashamed at being outclimbed by a clapped out old Flame 'cos they both immediately headed back to the front even though we still had a constant 2-up. Then they went down - their choice I guess!

Anyway, the drift was almost non-existent so I kept working it for an age and eventually was within a glide of making Pen Y Fan with height to spare (I had about 4500 asl) and it had been in decent sun for a twenty minutes. Got there with about 500 feet over the top and went straight for the summit convergence ... which was there ... and it was sure beautiful - 6/7-up constant all the way to base at 5800 asl. Worked the clouds for a few km but they went all raggedy and crap due to over-development - should have gone downwind earlier probably - never mind. Final death glide from 4 grand, over Heol Senni, to land in the Fan Gihyrych landing field - actually I cut it a bit fine and flew almost behind a coach to get back across the road :-) Nothing new there then.

If Mr T Mayne would care to pay special attention now - had a nice chat with an Irish woman in the lay-by whilst packing the glider up and then started wandering up the hill towards Crai to get a signal on the mobile. Had gone fifty yards when I heard two vehicles behind me, turned, stuck the thumb out, the first guy stopped and gave me a lift all the way back to Talybont village. (Also gave me a couple of rollies, which was nice as I'd forgotten mine.) And I have my 'sunglasses obligatory' yellow trousers on too!

So, there you have it, a most enjoyable day, easily my most satisfying XC of the year although it was only 17km. I will be very surprised if Mr Roberts didn't make at least 40 though, but who cares? - it's only a game :-)

Toodle pip!