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Peter Lake's Flying Log 2016

10 March 2016. Fan G.
Having seen Nick's plans to go to Fan G, I hiked up the front face in a cool breeze, expecting it to be blown out on top. I duly met up with Nick and Viv at the North Bowl take-off, and having seen Nick soaring the bowl, I stepped off into my first soaring flight of 2016.
Lift was abundant in the bowl, with disorganised thermals coming through. Nick and I pushed forwards towards clouds, but nothing really connected. After an hour of flying, and no longer able to feel any of my fingers, I decided to fly down to the lay-by to the car.
Just as I cleared the edge of the hill, I caught the most promising thermal of the day. Unable to feel where my radio PTT was (numb fingers!), I couldn't let Nick know! I figured I'd take the climb, and could always push back upwind to the car.
I managed to drift with the climb towards the big quarry, and from there a few tatty clouds prolonged my glide to Ystradgynlais. Another little climb as I crossed over the Tawe saw me heading down the Swansea valley, and I managed to squeeze the glide out to Ystalfera, landing across the road from Asda. 5km short of home, but a great bonus 1st XC of the year at 17km or 20km with turnpoints.
After 5 minutes of doing the cold hands dance, and blood returned to my extremeties, I packed up and caught the bus home, then picked the car up in the evening.

Abernant 13 March. 

Having taken a break from roofing my shed to go to the repack, I grew too impatient at the sunshine outside, and headed up to Abernant for a fly. I got there to see Rhun, Steve and Jon in the air, so ran up the hill to take off.
The thermal gods were smiling on me, as after one beat along the ridge, I saw a gaggle of birds climbing over the tip. Pushing forwards to connect, I was rewarded with the odour of decomposing household waste, and a climb that took me over 1000ft above take-off.
I then had a lovely boat around in climbs that were both wide and punchy - the highlight being circling upwards to 2500ft with a red kite sitting off my wingtip, then joining Steve and Jon in another thermal over take-off.
After about 40 minutes of thermal flying, I returned to earth, and got home in time to complete the shed roof before sunset. My reserve, however, still needs repacking!

Heol Senni 14 May 2016.

Arriving at around 1pm, I was pleased to see the blue sky, but the wind seemed to have disappeared.
With occasional cycles coming through, I followed Chris and Steve B off, but came in to slope/top land a few minutes later at the North and of the hill.
The breeze then picked up and the birds stated getting a bit more excited so I went for attempt 2. After some tight scratching, I found the thermal off to the North of the hill, and took it back over the summit to 3500ft. Due to the low drift, and a need to be home by 5pm, I chose to push out front and explore towards Sennybridge. Two more climbs  kept me topped up to over 3000ft. I then turned back to the hill, and top landed next to Mike.
After a quick lunch, another cycle came through, and I managed to connect in front of the quarry, with Chris just missing out. Reaching 3000ft above the summit, I headed South towards Fan G and was rewarded with a brisk climb to 5000ft. I pushed forward again towards a dark cloud, and had a pleasant float around the sky , returning to land next to the car.
A great 2 hours of thermal flying, and a couple of out-and-return flights for the XC league. And I was home just after 5!

Very impressive flying Peter, left us all standing


5th June 2016 - Moel Feity and Heol Senni 
With the East wind forecast, I headed over to try out Moel Feity. It look fairly promising, with a kite soaring up the hill as I arrived around 11am.
However, after two 5 minute top-to-bottoms, I was debating whether to give it a 3rd attempt, when I saw wings over Heol Senni, so I headed over in the car.
Arriving around 1pm, there were a couple of people soaring, so I took to the skies again. The wind was a bit off to the East, making the ridge rough low down. I pushed out, and started climbing. As I kept pushing, I kept climbing, with the odd turn in the stronger lift. Thoughts of out-and-returns to Pen-y-Fan were soon dismissed, as I noticed the towering clouds to the West and the darkening cloud growing above me, so I decided it was best to land before it got too exciting. I spiralled off 1000ft, and then had an interesting roller-coaster ride into the landing field. A rare occasion when I was glad to be on the ground.

03 July Fan G 
Hiked up Fan G, and thought I was the only one there, so got ready and took off, straight into a good climb. I then saw Nick and Viv on the SW face getting their kit ready. I dropped out of the thermal, so landed rather un-elegantly in front of them to say hello.
Viv then showed that the lift was out front, so I took off again, and after a little searching found myself circling up towards the heavens. Given the size of the clouds, and not fancying a trip to the white room, I headed off downwind below base towards Pen-y-Fan and the next cloud. The next 40 minutes were classic join-the-clouds flying, just touching the wispies at 4,300 ft as I flew over the large mountains toward Tal-y-bont.
At the end of the mountain range, there was a large gap in the clouds, so I went on an all-or-nothing glide to a small ridge before Llangorse Lake, and then managed to join together a few ridge-hops without gaining much height. The Black Mountains were almost in reach. After over 20 minutes ridge soaring, I went on a buoyant glide towards the big hills, but couldn't quite connect with the lift, and landed in the bracken on the edge of the mountain. 
A 2 mile walk out was rewarded with 4 lifts to Talgarth, Breacon, Sennybridge and then to the car- waiting only 15 minutes in total- my new 'Paraglider Pilot' sign worked wonders! A quick half in the Ancient Briton with Nick and Viv, and then I was back home.
2hrs20 , and just under 40km- a grand day out!

31 July 2016. Llety Siac 
Glad I followed Steve W's suggestion and hiked up to Llety Siac through the bilberrries from Rhos, just in time to meet Steve walking over from Bryncaws. 
The sky was a typical damp NWly, with large grey clouds and very little sunlight around. After a little time comparing Kobos, Steve took off at around midday, and I followed shortly after. 
The big clouds were working- but with a base of only 2200ft, a leap over the back seemed a little rash, so we pushed forward under the edge of a cloud which must have been at least 1km across. Popping through the wispies at the windward side, I decided to push further into wind for the next cloud, with thoughts of an out-and-return or triangle, whilst Steve turned back to the hill. The next cloud saw me back at base, with a few drops of rain, and approaching the main road at Ynysmeudwy. I decided to get a few photos of my house from straight above, but by then getting back was not an option, so landed in the nearest field to my house, and walked the 1/2 mile home.
As I set off back to Rhos for the car, I saw Steve landing on top of the hill after nearly 3 hours in the air.
A pleasant little into-wind 6km XC

15 August 2016, Bryncaws.
An early start given that the wind was due to increase during the day. I took off at 9:45 as Rhun was walking up to take-off, and was soon joined by him playing in the early thermals. As the clouds started to appear, I eventually made the leap over the back, with only 2700 ft, and headed for the big hill behind Godre'r-graig. After a little scratching around, I was rewarded with a climb up to base at 4,000 ft, and set off towards Brynamman. The next hour was a pleasant float over the Towy river, heading for clouds that duly dissipated, but were marking the lifty lines. Passing south of Brechfa, I dithered over which direction to head, not wanting to land in the forest, and soon found myself picking landing fields.
A short walk along the road, I helped two men in a van find the radio mast they had spend 3 hours searching for, and got a lift to a bigger road. A 15 minute wait, and a lift to Carmarthen saw me on the train to Neath, where Rhun met me and took me back up to the car.  Smile
A lovely sunny day in Wales- 43km in 3hr30

30 August 2016. Fan G.
A windy rollercoaster of a flight off Fan G is a brisk SW'ly.
Cumulus clouds were scattered to the North and South East, but Fan G was in the centre of a blue patch.
On arrival at the SW take-off, the wind was brisk but manageable for take-off. Once in the air, forward speed was minimal, making it very difficult to use any of the small punchy thermals coming through. I soon decided to head to land on the lower slopes, as both XC and outlanding seemed unwise choices. Having picked my landing spot, I spent a good 15 minutes trying to get down, as scrappy thermals came through and did their best to tempt me towards the reservoir.
Upon landing, lenticular-capped cumulus started to form over Fan Hir, so I enjoyed my late lunch whilst watching the clouds.

Tal-y-bont. 2 October 
Arrived just after 11am and started following the Avon crew up the hill, when I saw Steve W's wing popping up on the Craig y Fan Ddu take-off. I headed straight up the face, watching Steve have a little soar as I hiked up. 
The first flight was a brief 10 minutes, landing just above the trees. I hiked up the path to take off again, to see the Avon crew climbing out to base on the other side of the big bowl, and met up with Nick W. A second flight of 15 minutes saw me flying round the bowl, almost climbing up a few times, and landing at the base of the Cwar y Gigfran. Another hike up a steep face, and I was on the south face of the small bowl, waiting for the sunshine to hit the slope below. The breeze soon picked up, and I was airborne, and climbing. A cracking climb above take-off at 600ft/min took me quickly to base at 4,400ft  with great views to Pen-y-fan, Brecon and the sea. My planned flight over to Pen-y-fan was cut short as the clouds didn't quite join up, but I still managed to boat around for 35 minutes and take a couple more gentle climbs before landing near the car. 
A lot of hiking (1800 ft of climb!) was rewarded with a very pleasant Autumn flight- and I'll know to head straight to the higher take-off next time. Smile

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