Flying Story: Winter At Cloudbase

I like to be prepared. When I got my heated gloves as a prize from Flybubble last August I stashed them in the glovebox of my car, so they were there, ready for a cold snap. I mean, if they are in the car, I can’t forget them, right?

I get to Crete Road (DFHGC) to find pilots in the air with good height; it looks a bit ‘up & down’ but hey! I’ve come to fly. I grab my wing and hurry over to set up. It’s chilly on the ground so with four layers and the merino buff plugging the gaps I’m ready. I rummage in the harness for the gloves. Well slap me with a snowball if those aren’t my summer gloves – the heated ones are in the car!

The sky is stuffed full of cu, I’ve gotta get off the hill! It’s not that cold, it will be alright…

It’s windy on launch. My growing hatred of cameras on sticks is boiling nicely. I also manage to take off with both brakes wrapped around their respective riser too so that’s a C minus and a ‘must try harder’ as well.

There’s some friskiness to the air and it’s consistently rough low down but once 500′ above takeoff (ATO) it is easy to stay there and more pleasant. I finally hook the one that gets me up: tight low down and needing to be cranked right in, but the last 1,000 ft to ‘base was smooth. Up up and away, it feels good!

20 mins later and the one thing I’m fantasizing about … is sitting in my glovebox. I can’t feel my fingers! After hour an hour at 2,000ft ATO in something like 4 degrees C without factoring for windchill my right hand makes a mutinous decision and spirals me down to the joyous prospect of a warm cup of coffee with Terry (aka The Pirate of the Carabiner).

We swap tales for analgesia. He has had a disagreement with a lump of flint. And I have discovered that it’s still winter at cloudbase.