UK Paragliding XC Season 2015 Summary

Flying cross country (XC) on a paraglider in the UK offers many challenges and unique experiences. In this article Flybubble’s MD and Chief Flying Instructor, Carlo Borsattino summarises the action from the most successful UK paragliding XC season in history… so grab a cuppa and enjoy the lengthy report at your leisure! There’s lots to learn from reviewing the days that worked well, and what pilots chose to do.

The Pilots’ Tales section offers a unique perspective from some of the leading pilots in the UK. To make it easier to read we refer to the 2015 UK Paragliding XC League as ‘the League’ and have rounded all distances to the nearest kilometre.

Over to Carlo…

Introduction

Few pilots fly cross country because of winning XC leagues, but it is as a nice way to share flights with others and be inspired by them. When choosing my flight objectives for the day, I try to work out what the most enjoyable flight would be in the given conditions, then I set an ambitious yet achievable goal based on this. This way I get the most out the day’s flying and, if I’m lucky enough to achieve my predicted goal, I’ll do well in the league as well.
 
The longest distances and highest scores don’t necessarily mean the best or most fun flights, but for the sake of simplicity I’ve focused on the highlights. I don’t have the time to write about all 2116 flights logged in the league, but I’m sure most of them were wonderful experiences!
 
You can study all the flights on each day by using the Daily Flights table on the league like, for example, 31st August 2014.
 

2015 UK Paragliding XC Season
Preparing to fly XC on one of the best days of 2015.

Winter 2014/15 XC Paragliding in the UK

Since each year the League season actually runs from 1st November to 31st October, the first really notable XC day for the ‘2015 season’ was the 23rd November 2014. Several pilots in North Devon managed impressive coastal turnpoint flights ending with inlands XCs totalling over 50km. Top flight of the day was by Richard Osborne, who managed 55km on his trusty Advance Omega 8 from Trentishoe, getting to over 3000ft above sea level (ASL) and landing in West Buckland. Richard’s partner Annee Breckenridge also managed a great flight of 51km on her Advance Sigma 8.

Annee recounts: “A clear chilly day, a lovely northerly forecast and a still warm sea, it was the perfect day for our North Coast Run. A posse of pilots took off from Trentishoe and bagged the first turnpoint as far across Combe Martin bay as their nerve and the cracking sea thermals allowed. The run was on! Easterly along the coast, crossing ever wider coves and the craggy spines over the Valley of the Rocks. Next we crossed the wide Lynmouth Bay and took a moment to top up before crossing the formidable Foreland Point and England’s highest sea cliffs. Then only the trees to surf to Porlock Weir. Some landed there but we turned and, despite a slight head wind, took the stunning run back. Initial sink over the trees, a hard into wind push round the point then increasing thermals and over 1600ft, looking down on take-off. There I landed and proceeded to mop up the lads who had been unable to resist the final lure of heading inland.”

Annee Breckenridge laps up a perfect day in Devon

Annee Breckenridge laps up a perfect day in Devon for a North Coast Run!

We had to wait until 2015 for the next notable day: 27th February. I took the new Gin GTO 2 for a test drive, and ended up having a surprising, freezing XC from Devil’s Dyke on the South Downs. Read my write-up of this flight