09/05/03 - Tim Pentreath, 33.9km from Merthyr

Frantic phone calls to work at 9am to explain that I wouldn't be coming in today (and yes, I did take it as holiday...), before heading off to Merthyr to join Fi and Alex. I arrived just as Alex took off, and the spent the next 30 mins getting my glider blown all over the place as I tried to get ready! Not at all stressed as I eventually got off, by which time Alex was 5km downwind!

Probably only 10mins ridge soaring before Fi and I found our climb out which took us up to 4K8 I think. We were under a wide cloud and were actually a fair distance apart, and Fi lost it first and glided off. I lost it myself a short while later but by the time I reached where she was climbing nicely the thermal was petering out.

We finally met up properly whilst climbing over Ebbw Vale, but this fizzled out and we headed on a glide towards Blenavon. I pushed ahead and scraped over the high ground south of the Blorenge with only a couple of hundred feet thinking that I could get another km or two and land in the valley behind, but I found a gnarly climb out on the leeside which got me up to about 3K again, but nowhere near base. I soon lost this but found another climb shortly afterwards which got me up to about 3K5, but that was it, the rest was a glide into the bundu north of Raglan desperately trying to fly over some sunny ground for I was under a large area of cloud blocking most of the sunshine.

I eventually landed a mile from White Castle (which looks like a great place to visit with the kids sometime). True to form, the sky improved massively once I'd packed up - I reckon if I had been maybe 20 minutes later I'd have been in this better air and would have been well on my way to a really decent flight, but hey, I can't complain, this actually turned out to be my 4th best flight!

After initially dreading the retrieve it was actually very easy, with just two lifts taking me to the bottom of the track up to take-off. It was a pretty unpleasant walk up through the rubbish, and when I reached the top it became apparent that the only flying I was going to get in now was with my Zagi, and I have to say that was pretty exciting - after 10 minutes I decided to stop before I completely trashed it!

So all in all a great day out - it certainly beats working!