Freedom to Fly.
It appears that my "gap year" has added a new dimension to my flying. I have long applied DT's advice about clearing the mind of negative thoughts and ensuring that your subconscious doesn't impact on you achieving your goal for the day. One of the main ones being fear of a long walk out or no/late/awkward retrieve. I now have no job and no responsibilities that require me to pitch up on time after a days flying. An overnight in the wilds of Scotland or a significant walk out is now something I can look forward to. I have removed a word from my route planning dictionary. Boonies.
Tarmachan is the site of choice today. Surprisingly littleTelegram chat and no one joins Martin and I for the walk up. The sky looks decidedly poor, with complete cirrus cover and 4/8 cumulus. My XC optimism is somewhat dimmed.
I tend to head for Tarmachan when wind directions are anywhere from east to south-east. Today it looked to have a tad too much south in it, but on launch thermals were clearly pulling through.
We set up promptly and had a quick chat, deciding on Fort William as our goal. The direct route takes you over Rannoch Moor and the Grey Corries with lots of potential for long walk outs. We planned to drop back to Glen Lyon and cross wind westward before heading north, in doing so we would avoid much of Rannoch Moor.
My favourite style of climbout ensued. Straight to base and off downwind. Now approaching Glen Lyon and no sign of Martin, no coms. To boot. C'est normal. I really am rubbish at flying with others.
My next obvious climb is actually off to the east of our planned route. Hey ho off we go. I climb to base and glide downwind. Now heading towards Rannoch Moor and a roadless wilderness. As I transit the intersection of the lines of Loch Rannoch and Loch Ericht I have the most magnificent view along the length of both lochs. It is an unexplored area for me, a route I would never have planned, indeed a route I didn't plan. I am able to linger here in a weak climb and I take in the vista with a huge grin on my face.
My weak climb strengthens before long and I find myself struggling to stay out of cloud. I notice that clouds are forming with distinctly differing base altitudes. My next glide is through fairly strong lift which allows fast progress on bar without much loss of altitude. I can see Corrour Shooting Lodge in the distance and recognise the range of hills that we fly from, north of Loch Laggan. The air feels distinctly different from this point on, thermals weak and generally duller. Rain due, I think to myself. I bimble on, luckily without much sink around. Over the Laggan road and now heading for a sunny hill east of Glen Roy. I failed to find a convincing climb and ended up landing in Glen Roy, by a clachan called Bohuntinville. What a beautiful glen. Nil wind and full sun. I could have been in any alpine pasture.
True to form, my retrieve, as if prearranged, arrived in the form of a district nurse en route to Fort William. A chance to take the train over Rannoch Moor to Crianlarich, for the first time. Rendevouz with Martin, who chose to fly the Killin locale after we lost contact early on.
A grand day out.