Today was supposed to be classic Thursday and the first really good day on the Long Mynd since we got back from Spain. It’s been a bit frustrating for us, watching all the good days up north, but today was going to be the day. The wind was supposed to be perfect and mostly blown out furher north. RASP indicated it would be an early day, and if we were still in the air by 2pm, a gear shift down would be required.

People were already flying at 9am and we were on site just after 10am and got ready and waited. By this time the wind had dropped nearly to nothing and every passing bird was flapping. A few people tried to soar, but the only one doing anything was Martin B, who tracked along to the north of the ridge. He happily thermalled around for an hour or so, while the rest of us didn’t want to risk going down. Extensive cloud was developing and then breaking, so there were long periods of the valley being in shade. It was also going more south.

I eventually had a punt, but lost the thermal and came to land back on top. The next good cycle took Kai to the start of another big triangle, and we launched too late into the following one, which took Martin K, Nigel B and Martin B over the back. Geoff unfortunately went down, and we broke our golden rule… if you go down you’re on your own. I thought there would be enough time to get him, but as we got back up to launch the next gaggle of three left. By this time we were getting a tad disenchanted with the day. We spent another hour sitting around in nil/SW wind until I saw a group of swifts. I know that you need to launch straight away to get into the good bit of their thermal, but I did a bit of dithering, checking if they were still going up, and by the time I was off, I could feel bits of lift, but I was too low to search for it properly. Geoff had said he would come and get me… another mistake, since two more got away as I was in the bottom landing field. By this time we were getting really cheesed off.

We did launch again, and I got to 1300′ ATO, but it petered out, the drift was taking me along the Mynd and the cloud was rapidly catching up with me. I could see the two guys that had gone landing in Stretton, so I thought, ‘what’s the point?’ As I pushed back forward, Kai was coming back after being out in the valley for about 4 hours and he thermalled past me and went off to extend his triangle.

Geoff had to slope land low on the ridge and was packing up, so I top landed and did the same. It was 4pm, nil wind and the cloud cover extended as far as you could see. It did get soarable again later, but by that time we were in the middle of the next round of the Limes badminton championships, which are still a draw.

Rubbish weather again now until the middle of next week.