After getting a lucky climb from out front of the E/SE face of The Blorenge, I eventually topped out at approx 3500ft ASL just behind T/O. Considering various wind/weather factors, I decided to attempt an Out-and-Return (O&R) and/or Triangle XC flight. First I pushed up-wind towards the small hillock out front of the hill which, from looking at my Memory Map digital OS maps, I think is called "Ysgyryd Fach" - not that I can even begin to have any clue of how to pronounce that (although I imagine it involves copious amounts of saliva)!
I chose my gliding track upwind very carefully, to follow underneath some very well-formed cumulus clouds, climbing most of the way there, only stopping to thermal for a short while about 2/3 of the way across. After that I flew around the edges of the clouds, keeping my height (or even gaining) all the way until I arrived over Ysgyryd Fach. Having reached the end of the nice line of cumulus clouds, my next glide was to be across a Big Blue Hole (BBH) towards a very distinctive flat-topped spine-back hill, known locally as The Skirrid (marked as "Ysgyryd Fawr" on my Memory Map digital OS map).
I arrived at The Skirrid quite low and found a scrappy broken thermal near the south end of it. After a lot of scrapping about, I eventually managed to find the bit that was working at climbed back up to 'base, which was approx 3500ft ASL. This is where I think I made a mistake, and was not nearly patient enough, as I decided to quickly push on towards Pandy which, although totally in shade itself, had an OK-looking cumulus cloud about half way to it.
Once fully committed to my glide, the OK-looking cumulus started to collapse and became a rather crap-looking cumulus. I scratched and scrabbled about but never quite managed to find anything I could climb in (mistake: I should have perhaps stayed in this area longer, and been more patient) and so, now lacking any further strategy/options, pushed on towards Pandy which, as I mentioned earlier, was totally in shade (mistake: should have gone off-course to a sunny area!).
I found no more lift whatsoever on my glide and so decide to land on top of Pandy takeoff, rather than search around in the 100% shady Pandy valley and almost certainly land at the bottom, next to a few PG pilots who had already been waiting there for awhile, had a drink of water and a sandwich.
The sun came out, a few birds thermalled out front, so I launched again and caught a weak climb. The guys who had been waiting around all launched after me and I ended up thermalling up with one of them (Alan Davies) to around 3000ft ASL before I went on my merry way, heading back towards The Blorenge, landing just to the north of Abergavenny.
What a fantastic Birthday! 🙂
Flight date: 12th April 2009.
See some photos I took whilst thermalling with Alan Davies.