Sunday, 27 January 2013

Snow Scar

Well after heavy snow on Friday night, the weather improved with Westerly winds forecast to go South, so we gambled that Tow Scar might be on and with the sun shining in sunny Lancaster I set off hoping for success. There was little snow left on the ground around Lancaster, but as soon as I hit the Yorkshire Dales everything went white pretty quickly.

The first challenge of the day was that the trusty Fiesta car started slipping and sliding at the start of the climb to the hill, so I had to reverse up and leave it at the bottom of the hill and proceed on foot. The road had a thick covering of snow only marked by farmers landrover tracks and footprints from other hardy souls.

Eventually I got to the gate which was the start of the path up to the slope, here the path was hidden by deep drifting snow several feet deep in places, the virgin snow was undisturbed so I had to remember where the path was under the snow, until half way up I met a woman with her dog who had trail blazed a path for me.

I was tired when I got to the top, wading through deep snow really takes it out of you. I sat down and had a quick cup off coffee from my flask to revive myself, Vicky and Paul turned up just as I finished my caffeine fix and it was time to assemble gliders.

First up was the Cyril, the wind was off to the right but blowing about 20 mph so plenty of lift and she carried plenty of ballast with ease. Landing was a bit abrupt, but the soft snow provided a gentle landing. Paul soon had his Needle 124 up in the air carving through the sharp cold air in the lovey bright sunshine and blue skies.

The Xenon was re-maidened after a mishap last year, a few clicks of trim and she was back to her old self, its nice to fly different gliders as they all have their own particular flying traits. The Xenon is smooth and stable compared to the Cyril.

Vicky amused herself with building snowman, a few more flights later and the bitter cold started to set in it was time to make the long trek back to the cars. On the way back it was noticeable that the snow had lost some of its depth, so the thaw had already set in, roll on spring!

Snow Scar from Tom Foreman on Vimeo.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Snow Parlick

Went for a quick blast up Parlick in the snow, the wind was quite strong from the East putting me in the East bowl. Was quite a struggle clambering up the hill as it was icy, there were a few people out sledging and I got asked the usual questions about snowboards, as I use a snowboard bag for carrying my gliders.

Once on the top there was a couple of inches on snow which had drifted to a couple of feet in places, like the bunker where I could hide out of the wind. I filled the Cyril full of ballast and launched hoping for some smooth lift, but it wasn't to be and it was lumpy and rough just like last week. I got about 30 min practice before it got really rough and bumpy so I decided to go for a landing. She came down with a bump in the rough rotor nearly disappearing in the snow but she survived intact apart from the tape that holds the wings on cracking and splitting. I guess it had become brittle in the cold.

So decided to call it a day as I didn't want to risk another landing in the rotor and I came back down the hill.

Managed to find a different way down that avoids the main path that has worn out now and is quite treacherous, followed the tracks in the snow left by all the fell runners. Bonus is it avoids the rocky ice steps of death that I had to struggle up on the main path, will remember that way for next time!

Parlick covered in snow

Snow drifts on the East Bowel
Trusty Cyril, shows up well in the snow

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Parlick Practise

Strong cold Easterlies put us on the East bowel of Parlick, Mark, Pengy, Paul, Gonzales and me. Mark and Pengy flew the lower slope further round the bowel, which was square onto the wind while the rest of us stayed on the higher main bowel where you can hide from the wind in the dyke or dug out as we call it.  The lift was strong although a little bumpy as the slope was getting blown out at approximately 50mph windspeed but with bright sunshine and the ever threatening dark clouds on the horizon never reaching us a great day out was had by all, although you needed your winter thermals to keep warm!

Parlick from Tom Foreman on Vimeo.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

HoH WL Rd 3

Yesterday we had our club winter league round 3, Paul and I arrived at the Hole of Horcum to see a clag free slope with wind, looked like our luck was in. We thought we were late as people were already on the slope practising and it was only 9:00 a.m.! We rushed over to join them and get some free practise in.

The SSW wind put us in the South Bowel for a change which is one of the more popular sites compared to Levisham. The bowel helps to straighten the wind up and accelerates it to generate good consistent lift than would be possible with a normal straight edge.

Conditions were light to begin with but got stronger as the day wore on, before tailing off towards the end, we managed to get 8 rounds in although we lost round 9 due to wind swinging too far west.

A large turnout of 18 pilots with quite a few travelling the length and breadth of the country meant that it was a competitive day with times being quite close in each round, however Mark Redsell managed to rise to the top with tight consistent flying making the most out of the lift to take the top spot hotly pursued by Simon Thornton and Peter Gunning.

A great day out with great weather considering the time of year and some fantastic competition to keep everyone trying their hardest, well done everybody!

1 Mark Redsell 6982.96 1000.00
2 Simon Thornton 6660.96 953.88
3 Peter Gunning 6623.35 948.50
4 Martin Newnham 6581.29 942.47
5 Paul Upton 6570.73 940.96
6 Rich Bago 6556.51 938.92
7 Greg Dakin 6371.14 912.38
8 Tom Foreman 6355.41 910.13
9 Paul Garnett 6307.56 903.27
10 Mark Treble 6279.67 899.28
11 Dave Wright 6132.26 878.17
12 Keith Wood 6108.64 874.79
13 Paul Middleton 6021.98 862.38
14 George Young 5952.70 852.46
15 Jon Edison 5722.70 819.52
16 Roger Groves 5051.89 723.45
17 Ronnie Lampe 5044.86 722.45
18 John Tideswell 3777.86 541.01

Newcomer John Tideswell getting to grips with his Needle 100

John concentrating hard on his Needle 100

Mark Treble went well with his new Toxic

Martin Newnham preparing his Freestyler 4.3

HoH WL RD3 from Tom Foreman on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Barbon New Years Day 2013

Had a technical problem with the camera, forgot the memory card so only had a small bit of internal memory to record video with, so its low res and short, but we got some great lift in between the rain showers. Blowing about 30 mph, square onto the hill. Lift always a bit strange and blustery at Barbon, unlike Tow Scar, Barbon seems to get better the stronger the wind, but EM works better than reversal. The rain pulled the wind around a few times and we had to retire to the sports brella a couple of times to escape the odd rain shower that you could see coming in on the horizon.

Pity I forgot the memory card as the sun came out eventually and we got some awesome light with the dark black brooding rain clouds giving some good contrast. Eventually the wind got quite turbulent with the more frequent rain showers, complete contrast from yesterdays sublime smooth lift of Parlick, but classic F3F conditions make good F3F practise!

Barbon New Years Day 2013 from Tom Foreman on Vimeo.