Monday, August 01, 2005

I've just had an incredible weekend flying at South Cerney airfield near Cirencester. Andy took a group of paragliding students and club members from Green Dragons up for the weekend. The club flyers took part in the accuracy competition that was being held there, and the rest of us got some excellent coaching from Andy and Pauline in winch launching. Saturday morning was a bit frustrating, as we went though hours of ground-handling to get our forward launches sorted out, but by the late afternoon we were getting up into the air on the winch - at first low flights with no release, but as the sun sank towards the horizon higher flights (perhaps 500 ft? it's time I bought an altimeter!) with release from the towline and the chance to do some turns and look at the view. It was just an incredible feeling to be up there in the wind and the silence and the evening sunshine.

We were camping on the airfield but walked down to the local pub for an uproarious time (3 of the club are ex-paras with a good fund of stories), but I regretted the beers next morning. Beer on an emptyish stomach after a day of dehydrating activity is not a good idea!

Next day the flying was even better - winching up to 700 or 800 feet and doing circuits back to take-off made the headache disappear for a few minutes.

I'm really hooked on this sport now. I shall be rushing round the M25 this evening after work to catch another couple of hours on the winch at Green Dragons, I'm booked for more hill training next weekend, and I'm planning to take my wing to the French Alps in September to take it to the next level!


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