25/5/99 - Tom Mayne, 41.9km from Bell Hill

Hi Tim,

It was too windy for Frocester, or any where near Cheltenham, so I decided to drive south till it was less windy! ended up at Bell two and half hours later! There where a couple of people in the air when I arrived so at least I was going to be able to fly, but the sky didn't look great. The actual XC had quite a slow start, I climbed in about three separate thermals before I really left the hill (I kept flying forward as the sky downwind looked dead).

Finally a slow but consistent thermal took me out of reach of the hill, and I had too look elsewhere for the next one after I lost it. At about 6km I was getting a little low, and thinking, 'if I can just get another thermal, I can get to 10km and get the flight in the national league.' I found the thermal, and it was first one to take me to cloud base. From there it was easy, there seemed to be lift under every cloud, even the really scrappy ones. The drift was favourable, helping me to keep clear of the airspace to the south.

At about 30km I got low over a sea of crops with landing areas only possibly in reach cross-wind, but a good safe spot out of range downwind, I struggled to take any lift going just to stay up for 5 minutes till I was in gliding range of somewhere to land not in crop. My efforts where rewarded with another climb to base. The only problem was, that I was becoming desperate for a pee, so I really was going to have to land soon. I picked a spot across a river from a castle, but as I was making my approach I blundered into the biggest thermal of the day!, but I had to land lest I wet myself, I really am going to have to get one of those condom catheter things!

Any way the retrieve was rather like the flight, slow start, a 3 mile walk, then easy, 4 lifts in quick succession, taking me all the way back to the hill.

Date - 25-05-1999
Canopy - Nova Vertex 24
Site - Bell Hill
Take off grid ref - ST 798 085
Landing grid ref - SU 175 268
Distance - 41.9 km