I was unsure in the morning whether to go to Frocester or Haresfield. I didn't fancy Rybury or Milk with the hordes and also thought it may be too light there.
As I pass Frocester en route to Haresfield, I always call in for a look "just in case". A couple of pilots were already there having checked the trig and reported it WSW. There were six of us in total and once it switched on at about 11.30ish we were all airborne. Graham Richards, Tim Crow, Angus McLaren and myself got a climb out over the north of the gliding club as it was already going SW and off we went over Selsley and Minchinhampton Common. It was quite hard going for the first hour or so, which saw Angus and Tim both landing around 30km. Graham got his second low save at about 40km and I, having given up on my declared goal which was much further east, flew over him heading NE. Once he was up, he headed more east to get his goal at Northampton.
A really sweet low save at 60km near Shipton on Stour fired me up to keep going and I bumbled along enjoying myself now it was getting easier, until reaching Daventry at barely 2000ft on 97km. Having not yet got my 100km, I was certainly not going to be decked now! Smoke from a nearby fire started to rise in a thermal and I was up again. I'm not sure if the people of Daventry heard me whooping and hollering as I flew my first 100km over their heads.
Throughout the whole flight, I never got to cloudbase and I was now happily floating along under a 4500ft ceiling, leaving climbs at 3000ft and still going up as I glided on. The milky sky was catching me but there was still plenty of lift and blue sky in front. It was at this point that I spotted Graham Steel high off to my right, having seen him on FlySkyHy. He had climbed out of Haresfield almost an hour later than me. The milky sky overtook us at about 115km and Graham, having taken a climb, waited for me to catch up. There was still some lift under the milky sky but not enough to get me high enough to fly over Kettering, so we both came in and landed within a mile of the station.
My friend Sacha Dench had offered me a retrieve that day as I hadn't been enthused about flying far. When I called her she did offer to drive out and collect us. Not being that mean, I suggested that a lift from Stroud station to our respective cars would be a kinder option, Graham Richards having joined us on the train at Cheltenham.