Long time Flybubble friend and customer Lewis John took part in the X-Lakes 2021, a hike and fly, volbiv challenge run over the weekend of 26th and 27th of June 2021. He took part in the 'Day Tripper' event, which is the softer, one-day option, running in parallel to the 'Hardcore' two-day event.
The stated aim of the X-Lakes is for entrants to experience the wonders of the English Lake District whilst 'bagging' as many of the one thousand foot plus Wainwright Fells as possible, either by foot or paraglider.
Quoting from website: "The X-Lakes Challenge has always been intended to introduce pilots to amazing scenery and flying potential of the English Lake District. Although well known for its changeable weather, on good days, the Lake District can be one of the most spectacular places in Britain to fly and run." "Regardless of the competition element, helping to drive your ambitions and dreams, the event is really about having fun and gathering memories of adventure in a spectacular part of the World."
Lewis reports on the X-Lakes 2021 event: "Based on the breezy forecast for Saturday, the Day Tripper event was scheduled for Sunday.
Day 1: hardcore
Regardless, the Hardcore participants had to set off early Saturday morning, with the prospect of spending the next several hours hiking through the gales and cloud wrapped hills (which stayed that way all day).
Some brave and talented pilots stole the odd flight down in the lee but hiking was the order of the day, I believe.
Day 2: day trippers
Either way, we were all rewarded with a cracking day on Sunday - light North Easterlies all day and a great looking RASP for our flying arena, namely the Buttermere valley.
After a lovely hike up to Eel Crag (via tagging Grassmoor @ 852m), the day was looking really promising and the wind was good albeit coming from different directions depending on where you were standing on the hill (and which wind dominated - meteo wind, valley wind and/or anabatic wind!).
Happy at the prospect of resting my legs and notching up some distance flying (rather than hiking) I unpacked my Supair Trek Light (350g) backpack, laid out my new Supair Savage (3.8kg) wing and wriggled into my Supair Strike harness (2.1kg + reserve @ 1.5kg) before donning my Supair School helmet, all bought from Flybubble!
The photo below is of me flying over Loweswater, checking out the sea breeze front after getting to cloudbase over Mellbreak.
It was so nice to bag some Wainwrights from the air!
I'm really enjoying the Supair Savage and agree with Carlo and Nancy at Flybubble that it's a gem. I'd set off on glide across the Buttermere valley with bare minimum height but figured that if I landed in the valley then that's fine but if my plan worked I'd make it across with just enough height to scratch up the other (NE facing) side of the valley.
I needn't have worried - the Savage has a great glide and I made it with more height than I'd expected. With the NE wind flowing up the sun-baked hills on this beautiful day, it was a joy to soar my way back up, hugging the hill and enjoying the nimble handling of the wing before hooking a thermal to cloud base."
See the X-Lakes 2021 results.
The X-Lakes is a "Not for Profit" hike-and-fly, volbiv challenge run by pilots for pilots.
The event is a charity fundraiser in support of the Lake District Mountain Rescue Teams.
The X-Lakes will be back next year! Think you’re hard enough for a weekend of hiking/running/flying in the Lake District? Check the X-Lakes website later in the year when the 2022 registrations open!
Want to get perfectly geared-up for your hike-and-fly and volbiv adventures? Check out the lightweight gear on our website.