A windy NW forcast and Selsley was blocked by Fairford notams that meant it would be unlikely that a route through would be possible. Where to go? At the Avon club meeting someone said 'Liddington' and it was the obvious choice. The slightly sloping cowfield so often works when it is too windy elsewhere.
Pre-placing my car at Bristol Parkway is something we do regularly and it was needed today.
There was 100% cloud cover and it was blowing a gale but it was soarable. I was totally pinned for a while and I had little faith that we would get away. Then a sunny patch came through and things started to improve. I contacted a screamer and went over the back, committed after two 360s. I struggled up to 2000ft and very slowly gained height. I would find little areas of lift but they would disappear after a very short time. Looking upwind, Peggy W, Tom C and Alex K had waited a bit longer and got 4m/sec right up to base at 4500, while I minced along, desparate to get high.
When I finally got to 3,300 I headed for a cloud and a town and neither worked probably because of the shade. I headed for warm looking fields and they gave a decent climb to just over 3,300 again, but I just couldn't find proper lift to get me to base. Meanwhile, all of my mincing meant that the others had overtaken me, way up high. I headed for a slightly sunnier area, (it had been mostly overcast so far) and imaging an area where honey would flow 'upwards', I finally found a proper 3 m/sec up to 4300. Following from non working cloud to cloud I was soon low again, along with RJ and Gary Holtby who were ahead. Another lowish screamer from low down got me properly to base, after 50km!
From here it was easy, I could see the coast approaching, and a long street was leading to goal. All of the clouds were working as there was now lots of sun on the ground. I just need patience, but just circling gave a drift of over 25kph.
When I declare a goal I always have a look on Bing maps at the OS map, and also the Google Earth image, and the proximity to the train station the night before. (I of course check the trains on Trainline. Com, both for price and frequency). I recognised the goal area from way up high and allowed myself to stay in a sinking area to lose the massive height I had. It was breezy on landing but fine, and a good train ride back got me to Bristol just after 8pm. Great day out, and B gliders are just as good at doing big distances! I saw Graham Steele and Richard Osbourne ahead over my goal, and they had overtaken me but not by a great amount.