A good crowd of boys converged at my house at about 9.15am - Kev Will, Neil Rollings, Cathal Redmond, Daniel Gravier, Phil Whitfield, Greg Callum, Ed Delves, Kieran Campbell, Robin Williamson, Scott Kidd, Gavin Stuart. I felt a great deal of pressure to find them a workable launch in a very light NW forecast - not obvious where to go. We agreed on Carn Ban in Glen Strathfarrar, as it has a large S facing slope but enough of a N face to get a launch off. The plan was to launch into the lee! The convoy rapidly descended on Strathfarrar and we set off up the hill.
On launch there seemed to be a lot more W in the breeze than forecast, which made life easier. However, after a brief spell of good looking cu, it started to look a lot more ominous in the N. Dark, snow filled clouds threatened to shut us down. Cathal & Kieran took the lead and launched. I watched with some trepidation as they glided out and sank at normal glide sink rate. Nothing. Then Cathal's wing pitched back and he turned. Game on! By the time I got in the air a minute later, those two were half way to base. Most of us dived off the hill in a big posse and there were gliders turning and going up everywhere - a great sight to see.
As usual I was nervous for the first few minutes. The glider pitched and kicked in and out of thermals, but generally I was going up. Ed showed the way to the stronger climb and presently Neil and I were wing tip to wing tip corkscrewing up in a good strong thermal. I was nervously watching the weather approaching from the N and said to Neil on the radio that we should start to think about where to go next. We had talked about not leaving lift too early and the reply came back - shouted without radio - "JUST KEEP GOING UP! " Good advice - we climbed into the whispies and when I lost sight of Neil we straightened out and headed down wind. Fingers frozen until I managed to get the mitts on.
In once sense the flight was over from that moment on. We never managed to regain that height, despite finding weak climbs in different places.
Neil headed west up Strathglass. I went east and joined Keiran in a weak climb opposite my house. We clung onto it for a long time and eventually gave up on it and glided downwind towards a heathery slope at Kinerras that had been in sun. We arrived low in the tail end of a therm and I thought we would escape, but alas it died and we bombed.
Becky came up from my house and retrieved us. We went and rejoined the others - all having been collected from various parts of Glen Cannich, Strathglass and Strathfarrar. All apart from Scott Kidd, who has doggedly flown from sunny spot to sunny spot and made it all the way to Drumnadrochit! Great job Scotty!
Not an epic day but some xc was had, thermalling practice, stunning views, cold fingers, whispies and great company. Happy days.