Something fishy going on…!

Another weekend (in October) and another great flight from a new (for me) Wessex site… This time I went to Telegraph Hill (aka Batcombe) in Dorset with Ben F and Nick S. It’s a beautiful NW’ly site, and we arrived at 1100 just as the first pilot was taking off. The sky was looking good, although base was still low at quite a bit less than 2000′ asl.

I took off at about 1130 and explored the full length of the 2km wooded ridge, sharing the sky with up to about 10 other gliders and lots of buzzards who were fantastic thermal markers as always.

After about an hour two cloud streets set up in front of the hill which enabled a few of us to push up to 2km out in front.

Base was now about 1200′ ato (2000′ asl) and the flying was beautiful though it was clear that it was still too low to head downwind with any confidence. I came back to the hill and enjoyed the ridge flying with everyone else.

I’d been flying for a couple of hours now and could have done with landing for a pee but I knew that if I did I would lose at least 3-4km from my flight after my foray out in front under the cloud street, so I tried to ignore it and carried on! It was clearly the right thing to do because at about 1330 half a dozen of us were hovered up to about 1500′ ato in the best climb of the day.

Before too long I found myself on my own and pushed forward towards another nice looking cloud street that had set up. It took a while to connect with it (during which time I was buzzed by a light aircraft who circled me at a safe distance), but once I did I had a lovely run in and out of cloud for about 7 or 8km.

I was beginning to feel that another trip to the coast might be the order of the day, however at about 17km downwind and at my best height of just over 3000′ asl, I popped out of the end of the cloud street into some serious sink, and before I could get my wits about me and turn around I had lost hundreds of feet. This was my big mistake – having been in cloud at the time I hadn’t seen the end of the street coming up. If I had, I would have just loitered around drifting with the brisk WNW breeze. However I had half bar on and just popped out and carried on, thinking that I’d make the next cloud in front where the cloud street seemed to continue after a bit of a gap.

A cloud too far? (Bere Regis in the centre)

However it wasn’t to be and although I got a small climb to the SW of Bere Regis (over the dark brown hill in the right of the photo above) there were no miraculous low saves this time although I did manage to scrape over some big powerlines to the NE of Bovington Camp to extend my glide another couple of km before landing 27km from take-off. From the point where I took this photo I’d be interested to hear where you would have headed? Over the light brown field in the centre possibly? Who knows?!

You’re probably wondering what the title of this article is all about then… (or maybe you’ve forgotten, and in case you have I’ll remind you – it was “Something fishy going on…!“). Well, let me explain. My first lift dropped me off at the roundabout on the A35 just to the north of Bere Regis, and there was a fisherman there selling Portland Sea Bass, and I was sorely tempted, having tried and failed to catch them myself over the summer. The only trouble was that it was going to be a while before I got back to the car, let alone Bath, and I didn’t want a smelly fish spoiling my chances of getting a lift 🙂 But the thought of baked bass for supper was too great so I nipped into the garage to buy a newspaper to wrap it up in, and the fisherman then expertly wrapped it up with some ice and not a trace of fishy smell! I stuffed it in my rucksack and actually got another two hitches almost back to the hill very easily!

Sadly I got back to Bath a bit too late to start cooking it, so it’s in the freezer, but at least when we do have it it will bring back memories of a lovely flight!

I’ve got more photos on flickr here. Flight tracklog etc here.

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~ by Tim Pentreath on October 11, 2009.

One Response to “Something fishy going on…!”

  1. […] of you may remember reading about a flight I made from Batcombe back in October 2009 where I ended up hitching back from Bere Regis with a […]

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