Thursday, 7 July 2011

The July Edition of the Competition League

After a pretty long time the weather gave us some hope for the July edition of The Competition League. The day before the competition the forecast looked promising: SSW 3-6m/s. But at the same time we received information
that the top of Mt Leinster was inaccessible for the weekend. The venue was changed for the south slope of Keadeen Mountain near Baltinglass - not many of us had ever flown there. The meeting was
arranged for the small village of Kiltegan near Baltinglass at 11am.

After coming to the meeting place I noticed way more pilots than usual - Was it about a new place? After a quick meeting we went off to Mrs Lois's farm where we left our cars. Now we only have to climb up
for 30mins:) and launch.
There were about 20 pilots including 11 of those taking part in the comp at the take off.
 I was second to take off just behind Lubor as the sky was getting overcast pretty quickly and my poor position in Comp League overall pressed me for a good result ! 5 mins later most of the pilots were in the air. My plan was to get first to the start waypoint, check the hill and maybe some xc if the weather permits. After an hour of flying most of pilots left the hill.
I spotted some sunny spells I thought it was time for me. I hooked up to one good thermal in front of the hill, made it to cloudbase and left the hill in a Northerly direction, flying at the edge of the cloud. Once I passed Keadeen, over the big valley my thermal disappeared. I decided to head towards the nearest hill in hope of a thermal
but being already very low in the valley and that I had nothing but sink I turned to NE where I noticed a pretty shallow slope but bathed in sunshine - actually there was nothing else I could do with my altitude.
I was about 20m over the slope when I got there so I tried some ridge soaring but because of the shape of that hill there was no lift. In addition I realised that there's another hill 1k away to the South which meant I was in the lee side of it. I stayed airborne thanks to a lot of bubbles but I couldn't get higher that 100m over the hill and fly North.
Because of rotor flying there was pretty tough. After 30mins of struggle I was literally a few meters over the ground luckily I found a really strong bubble that saved me from a few hours of walking.  45 mins later I was still in the same place:(( Once I managed to get at 100m above the hill I flew towards the South getting more height over the
ground. A few minutes later I found some weak lift and my altitude allowed for a 360. After a few 360's the lift got stronger and I was higher and higher. I cored it to cloudbase at 1170m and I could see
Blessington to the North. There was a small valley and then mountains till Lacken in front of me.I was heading towards a pretty big hill well in sunshine so finding a thermal wasn't a problem. At cloudbase I was over Lacken and my next goal was Sorel Hill. I got there at a pretty big altitude and after a few turns I found another
thermal which I had to leave early because of Dublin CTR. There I changed my course to NW towards the N81 to avoid restricted airspace. I avoided thermals and decided to land in a  pretty big meadow 2km away
from Brittas. My GPS showed 35.6km from the starting waypoint:) so 15 mins later I was enjoying well a deserved pint in The Blue Gardiena Pub in Brittas.

Rafal Mac

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