Sunday 30th September

It was cloudy with an increasing south to south westerly wind, but the south ridge started working.  Peter Sm rigged his new toy Lak19t but decided against a first flight due to the lowering cloudbase. Adrian flew his DG100 for the first time.
Roy B, Dick St, and Les H located a replacement part for the Skylaunch which broke on Saturday and with some ingenuity and much hard labour removed the winch drum and refitted it all ready for use. A sterling job, much appreciated.

Saturday 29th September

There was a clear sky and a strong north-westerly wind and a busy launch point with members and visitors - a glorious spring-like day at the end of September. Small cumulus started developing early and forming streets, but the ridge was not working and early flights hurried back in heavy sink - a sure sign of wave about.
Pete St Discus 230 nearly got to Eaglescott but lowering cloudbase and heavy sink meant he turned back 9kms short. John P in FZF Junior and James in ENW ASW20 managed to find the wave and climbed to base of the airway.
ENW above cloud near Cullompton
Others who got to cloudbase found it quite easy to stay high but could not transition into the wave systems which were moving around as the wind changed during the afternoon.
In the late afternoon, the crosswind relented somewhat allowing some early solo pilots to fly and flying continued until dusk.
A late walk home from up the field
Mark C wants credit for this photo as he had to lie in the damp grass for ages waiting for the sun to go down.

Thursday 27th September

The morning had a few shower breaks, but the ridge was working with the north westerly surface wind and then some nice streets set up. Longest flights were by Aston in K21 and Pete St who had rigged 230. Adrian and John Si filled DG505 fin with water and managed to spin it following a high aerotow.

In the late  afternoon, wave clouds formed to the east and there was a fascinating cloudscape at sunset.

Wednesday 26th September

A damp start but we were getting full height launches by the time we started flying, most people flew before the rain started at mid-day.
Mike R was working on the bent bumper on the Disco with help from Les H. - JSt.

Saturday 22nd September

The quiet before the storm!  There was a typical cold north easterly wind to start which veered south easterly during the day and calmed enough for our early solo pilots. Welcome to Roger - an Exeter Uni. student from Rattlesden with a Silver C.
The top cover thickened significantly in the late afternoon with the first autumn storm expected tomorrow.

Thursday 20th September

Don't you just love Thursdays! The weather was 'quiet', light wind straight down the strip, overcast sky with medium level cloud and cumulus clouds at times at 2000ft - perfect weather for training flights.
And a bit like London buses you wait for ages and then 3 come along.
Congratulations to  Mike H, Ray D and Ruth who all soloed today after final check flights.
Mike and Ray after their first solos
Ruth completing today's trio
 Well done to Ian H for completing Bronze exam and flying test. and Pete St flew his first new type for a long time after blagging a ride in Robin's ASW27.

Wednesday 19th September

Various forecasts suggesting that this could be one of the last good soaring days of the year. The early sky showed areas of thick bands of cloud - which didn't look too promising. It improved significantly at lunchtime with cloudbase up to 3500ft, and north westerly streets and wavey looking clouds.
Pete & Jill Duo Discus OL and Dylan LS7 W7 each had 3.5 hours staying fairly local.
The cloudscape seemed to change every time we got to the top of the thermal.
North west streets over Wimbleball Reservoir
 At the end of the day, there was a visitor from Aerosaurus Balloons.
Balloon 'taxiing' across the airfield
 Congratulations to Lisa for turning St Catherines Point IOW with Nympsfield ridge guru Trevor.
More details of where the 3 musketeers (Matt, Pete St and JB) ended up - to come.

Matt and JB jumped on to the St Catherines Point (SCP) bandwagon but both thought better of it when they got to Portsmouth and headed back for NYM – still a goodly task. Matt landed at Kemble and aerotowed back, to help with the retrieves.
Pete St went on the club set task of NYM-ALT-MAR-BAS-NYM(320km). Was going well but the dreaded spreadout and large blue gaps started appearing which meant long glides between thermals at best L/D which of course cuts the x-c speed down and then day switched off quite rapidly.
Apart from 2 open class gliders that launched first (Lisa being in one of them with Trevor), everybody from NYM landed out today, either actually or by turbo start or cut their tasks short.
Still a great day fro the 3rd week in September.

Saturday 15th September

There was a lot of moisture in this 'nice ridge', which had the effect of reducing cloudbase to below 2000ft for most of the day - so disappointing for cross-country flights and for the trial lessons expecting aerotows.
Recent early-solo pilots consolidated their flying once conditions permitted, and the trial lessons were given winch launches instead.
For a short while, Pete St Discus 230 and James ASW20 ENW enjoyed a short run of sea-breeze front.

Friday 14th September - Nympsfield

Just the promise of a good day's ridge soaring was enough to get JB and Chris Heide to Nympsfield by 8.30am in the rain! (All the best Nympsfield ridge days seem to involve us driving up the M5 in the rain thinking "What are we doing here!") Chris had managed to get a seat in their DG505 with Tim McFadden, ex CFI of Nympsfield, to sample the Cotswold ridges for the first time. Sadly, in all the early morning excitement JB forgot to take any cameras so we don't have one photo to mark the day!

Trevor Stuart, (Nympsfield's main ridge guru) was forecasting a repeat of Tuesday's weather and set the task - NYM.BAT.LCL.BAT.LCL.NYM for 360k. Basically up and down the ridge twice from Bath Racecourse to Lower Clompton, a small hamlet NW of Evesham lying just below Meon Hill. (Meon Hill is a little 'hillock' which requires an extra measure of Trevor's optimism to consider as soarable!)  Upon arrival we had a nice cup of tea while Trevor and Steve discussed tactics with their lead and follow pupils, both flying DG300's and both called Alan (no chance of any confusion there then Bruce!)

The rain stopped and we launched into the 23kt wind at about 11am. Tim and Chris went first and set off for Bath along the ridge.  Thermals were popping off the ridge all along the way and they were there and back before the rest of the pack set off. Trevor and Alan flying as one pair, Steve and Alan as the other pair and JB just mingling. As we all set off for Bath, Chris and Tim in the DG 505 headed north for Lower Clompton. We all stayed down in the ridge lift for most of the time and used the abundance of thermals to give us a bit of extra hight to make the jumps into wind and also to make the run from Broadway out to Lower Clompton and back a bit more comfortable. The ridges between Broadway and Lower Clompton are somewhat vague and odd patches of sink from thermals can cancel out the hill lift, which is a little disconcerting when you're tiptoeing along at minimal height!

Chris had a great time in the DG and really enjoyed flying with Tim who he said is really laid back which helps to build your confidence. Chris said the 11k jump into wind from Stanton to Bishops Cleave looked impossible but Tim said "it should be ok and there are lots of good fields along the way so keep going!" They arrived at Bishops Cleave at about 200 ft above the hilltop and the ridge was working well, so no need to use the conveniently positioned airstrip at Cheltenham Racecourse.

Flying the ridge for the first few times is very demanding and after completing the first run from Nympsfield down to Bath and back then north to Lower Clompton and back again, about 180k at between 200 and 800ft above the ridge, top Chris and both the Alans decided to stop for a rest. Chris spent the rest of the afternoon on the cable retrieve and helping at the launch-point while Trevor, Steve and JB to continued with the second stage of the task.

Trevor had already turned Bath and was stuck on the way back at Hillersly. Something was messing up the ridge - probably wave - and he was unable to get the 800ft needed to make the into wind jump to Wooton Bowl (5k), bearing in mind that with the wind at almost 300 degrees the bowl might not work and he would have to continue on to Tinsdale (6k) or even Stinchcombe (10.5k). Hearing this JB decided to play it safe and use every thermal he could find along the way to stay high. JB and Steve shared a thermal just before Bath and took enough height to dive under the 1500 ft Bristol airspace at 110kts to turn Bath and get back to the thermal that was still working. Steve climbed up and headed west to Yate to try and avoid the 'hole over Hillersley'. His ploy worked and he was first back from Bath, but the sky to the NW did look rubbish so JB took a good climb and followed the ridge. Trevor had just got to 800 and set off as JB approached Hillersley getting lower and lower on the ridge to arrive there at about 300ft!

'Dig in and don't give up' was the order of the day and after about 10 minutes, which felt like half an hour, a morsel of lift came along and he grabbed it and slowly clawed back up to 800ft and set off for Wooton Bowl. A brief dip into the bowl confirmed that it was not working... so press on to Tinsdale. That wasn't much better so on again to Stinchcombe. This had been working well when he went round last time, but this time he arrived just above the trees and was surprised to meet Trevor at the same height coming the other way!  Hello 621!

Trevor had been stuck there too for a little while and couldn't get above about 250ft which wasn't really enough for the 4k jump back to the home ridge. But as JB arrived it seemed to perk up a bit and they both got to 300. Trevor was off like a robbers dog, using the side of wheelbarrow hill for a bit of extra energy before arriving back well below the top of the home ridge. "No bother, I could have left lower!" he called on the radio. So JB set off too. These robbers dogs don't half shift and he arrived back on the home ridge at the bottom of the tree-line with 80kts for safety and a climbing turn along the ridge which was obliged to work at that height - the wind had nowhere else to go but up - and as the top of the ridge came into view it was time to relax and enjoy the view again! What a bummer - no camera - That last 45 minutes would have made some epic footage!!

After all that excitement JB decided to abandon the last turning point and just go up to Bishops Cleave, about 50k less than LCL. The thought of another 'adrenaline-filled-11k-into-wind-jump-from-1000ft-if-you're-lucky' with the chance of an field-landing at the end of it, was loosing its appeal. At last the wave started to be a bonus and after only 13k JB found a very smooth 6kt thermal that took him up to cloud base, from where he made a gentle glide out to Bishops Cleave (Nottingham Hill actually) before following the ridges home for a 120kt final glide from Painswick. What a day!
Thank you Trevor, Steve, Tim, Dave and all the XC Nympsfield gang for making us North Hill wanderers so welcome! - JB

Thursday 13th September

With blue sky, light winds and 18 members on the two-seat list - it was going to be a busy day! The entire club fleet was busy and with 5 private gliders out, the two Falkes and the Tug we needed the the duty launch point marshall. Initially set up for the south westerly wind  but as it became soarable we moved across the field. The wind picked up during the day and the west ridge was kicking off strong but turbulent thermals to the 2000ft cloudbase.
There was lots of local soaring, the prize goes to Mark L in Cirrus 477 with 3hrs 30mins (practising for his 5 hours). Congratulations to Mark E on his first solo, and to Rhodri who flew the family LS7 for the first time.
Mark solos the K21
Adrian P converted to the Junior after his years away from the Club. Ian G and Ray B (from last weeks course) consolidated their solo flying.
Many thanks to Instructors - Simon, Ron, Chris, John and Pete for getting round the two-seat list - lasting well into the evening.

Wednesday 12th September

The day started with low cloud but by the time we set the field up we were getting full height launches,  fewer members turned up today as a result of a poor forecast, all members flew despite several breaks due to light showers.
Mike R & Ian K re-soloed after long breaks in flying, Ian G who was on the course last week added another couple of solo flights to his score, we handed the gliders over to Simon and Stu for the evening flying. - JSt.

Tuesday 11th September - Nympsfield

An email from Trevor Stuart (Nympsfield's renowned ridge guru) forecast Tuesday to be a cracking day for the ridges, and with the wind just a touch north of West and blowing 20kts, the run from Lower Clompton to the north (a few miles north-east of Evesham) down to Bath Racecourse in the south would be possible. 
I decided to go at 6.30 am Tuesday, collected my glider from the club and headed for Nympsfield.

Trevor was already in his glider waiting for a cable when I arrived at 9.30 but he said the task for us (the main rabble) was NYM (Nympsfield), LCL (Lower Clompton), BAT (Bath Racecourse south), LCL, BAT, NYM = 360k. He had declared a 444k with remote start from LCL and remote finish at BAT, which including getting to the start and back from the finish points was 560k - hence the 9.30 start and some serious early ridge running up to Lower Clompton (LCL).

It was just gone mid day when I was launched and the thermals were going well so I climbed up a bit and headed north, cloud hopping along the approximate the line of the ridge until Bishop's Cleave just NE of Cheltenham Race course from where I departed the ridge line and just headed for the first TP. Conditions were pretty good with all the likely looking clouds delivered strong lift making the run back south to Bath uneventful. None of the usual ridge top excitement that seems to be the norm on all my previous visits to Bath Racecourse!
4M/s - 7.5kts on the averager - They must be french thermals!
Then back north again to LCL sharing the leg with Steve Eyles (LS4) who thrashed me by 3 or 4 minutes!

On the second run back down to Bath the high cover was shutting out the sun and the thermals began to fade. On the radio I heard that Trevor and Kia were having a tough time on the ridge by Wooton Under Edge so I decided to take weaker thermals and maintain my height - there might be plenty of opportunity to play with the ridges on the gentle slopes in and out of Bath!

Heading for Bath Racecourse top left - What ridge? It's barely visible from the luxury of 1200 ft!
 The lowest point in the whole flight was about 800 ft leaving Bath for the final leg home - That did feel a bit low to me after an afternoon romping along up in 'the gods' - but having crept along that bit at 300 ft in the past I wasn't too worried!

Low point - but nice sky!
 Then along came a one knotter so I took a few hundred feet and mozied along north until I bumped into another that took me back to 2500. Now safely back at Nympsfield I flew about a bit and smoked wheelbarrow hill and the main ridge a couple of times before getting the gear down and going into land.
Not a bad day for me - 360k at 77kph - real slow given the conditions but hey, WE FLY FOR FUN!!

See the BGA National Ladder for Tuesday. Clearly there was a lot of fun to be had!

Sunday 9th September

With the start of the day and the mostly blue skies providing optimism for a day of flying, a small but enthusiastic group of Club members, including some potential new Junior members using their Quarterly Membership to good effect, got everything ready - the day started brightly with a number of training flights from the NE launch point. However the low cloud which had previously been ominously close during the morning eventually decided to put a stop to the fun and with no real confidence that the weather would improve a number of booked Trial Lessons were postponed for another day.

However a decision was made to 'keep the faith' and early lunches were had ahead of possible weather improvement during the afternoon.

Those Club members who had stayed then had their patience rewarded with the skies clearing sufficiently to achieve full height launches and with good teamwork all round those ensuring that those who wished to fly did so during the rest of the day.
Jonathan S flew 877 for a couple of circuits before putting her to bed (hopefully not for long) and Mike R took Pete W for a few windy circuits. Newish member Adrian P took Guy for a ride before the diminishing ground crew put everything away around 6pm. - Mike Sl & Jonathan

Saturday 8th September

A crisp start with quite a few people seeking training was followed by a sudden visitation by orographic cloud dramatically moving up through the trees from the valley. An aerotow was abandoned and tea was taken in the clubhouse.
Orographic cloud encroaching on North Hill
 After that the brilliant sunshine and blue sky continued to tease members with the promise of something to fly in. Conditions were good for training, but with no thermal activity, it was circuits or nothing. Several people took aerotows in almost unnnaturally calm skies, but nothing defied gravity and it was a matter of returning to earth slowly but surely.
Congratulation to returning member Adrian for re-soloing after a long break from gliding. - Jonathan

Friday 7th September - Course week

Some courses fizzle out after the delights of the Thursday night dinner, but this course ended on a real high!
The placid conditions made it a perfect day for early solos  and so, like an "Olympic Super Saturday" when the medals keep coming, course members kept on soloing.
Andreas with a cheesy grin
 Just before lunch, Andreas and George V did their first solos within a couple of launches of each other and after a suitably festive meal carried on with more of the same.
George (left) congratulated by Paul

Towards the end of the day, Ray B joined the illustrious re-soloing.
Ray (left) congratulated by Paul
 Ian followed up his re-solo yesterday by converting to the Junior, clocking up seven  launches in the day. 
Meanwhile Glyn  continued to make good progress in the K13.

Many congratulations to everyone for achieving their goals.
Thanks to the weather, this course probably surpassed the previous one, with almost 150 launches in the week, 14.5 hours in the air, two first solos and two re-solos.
Thanks to Paul and JB for the back seatery and to helpers Les, Dick, Nick, Tom and Jonathan for the winching and all the other sundry tasks that kept things running. - Jonathan

Thursday 6th September -Course week

Another bright sunny day allowing plenty of flying but due to the high pressure there was very little soaring. The sunshine had course members up bright and early and most of the kit out ready. Even after a presentation on spinning, the first launch was before 10, and Thursday regulars were there to profit from some pleasant conditions. The course plugged away and had a full day of flying.
Ian G - new member, ex-RAF pilot  (and just solo in  NW France where he runs some gites) enjoyed his first British solo just after lunch, and  all the course members  made progress in the benign conditions with weak thermals in the Broadhembury valley.
Ian (left) congratulated by JB

The club flying list was long and there was plenty to do  in the way of check flights and spin training. In the late afternoon, there were some trial lessons who were treated to the sight of the inversion from above - beautiful in the evening light, even though it also underlined why soaring was almost non-existent.
After flying, course members, Instructors,helpers and hangers-on went for the traditional end of course dinner at the Keeper's Cottage. - Jonathan

Wednesday 5th September - Course week

Another typical North Hill day - where the weather delivered a lot less than it promised. Early promise and some soaring was gradually replaced by scrappy thermals then blue nothingness. Quite a few private owners rigged and flew, with varying results. Matt ASW20 M5 made it to Taunton and back.  Pete & Jill Duo Discus OL went looking for some blue wave but to no avail. Mike F had one of the longest flights of the day in the Junior.

Course members had a good range of flying conditions - blustery cross winds, launches and landings at the west end of the field some soaring and one or two launch failures.- Jonathan

Tuesday 4th September - Course week

After all the flying of Monday, the instructors (and the weather gods) decided that hiking was better use of everyone's time- from remote parts of the field to the launch point.
The morning was unflyable, and was usefully spent with lectures on launch failures and circuit planning. Then around 12, the first launch went into cloud at about 300'. And the second... The first full height launch was at 4pm. So the instructors found many and various ways of giving everyone launch failures.
In all 30 launches, 45 mins airborne. Roll on sunny Wednesday. - Jonathan

Monday 3rd September - Course week

Perhaps this week is going to be the summer we haven't had. Certainly 6 course members, 2 instructors and the ground team thought so as they arrived on Monday. Unusually the valley had the cloud and North Hill had the sun. The day started with short flights, just circuits, but around lunchtime the thermals started popping and flight durations rose steadily. After lunch most course members, and even some helpers got extended flights. 
There is a cautious optimism that this is only the beginning! - Jonathan
Photo from Graham

It was good to see Mike & Barbie's Cub arrive back at North Hill after its long refurbishment.

Saturday 1st September

The day started with very few members and the cloud was on the ridge.  Les and team took the opportunity to do some cable repairs to the winch. 
We started launching about 11 ish into a 1000ft cloud base, Mark C ASW20 ENW, Stuart LS3 KMV,  Andrew L K6 GDE and Phil G B4 all hoping for the ridge to work but it did not, and the first few flights were extended circuits. Then a few thermals started and a few of us enjoyed local soaring up to 1700ft - not epic, but Stu managed to fly for over 2 hours for the longest flight of the day, Mark took a 3000ft aerotow and got into a bit of wave. 
A sky full of spaceships / lennies looking east from MUD
it was good to see John P flying solo again with a nice soaring flight.
The day ended with the ridge working in  beautiful sunshine and all having good flights, Henry finished off the day taking his first flight in his newly acquired Cirrus enjoying the ridge after a 3000 ft aerotow. - Stu