Monday, June 27, 2011

First Swim of the Year

The last few days have been the hottest so far this year in St Andre (30 C / 85 F) and - after an energetic weekend - I felt a little lazy today. At 6.30 I headed to the lake for a short swim. Ray had told me the water was really warm - but he's training for a triathlon and wears a wet suit. I'd call it refreshing, not warm.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Best Laid Plans

Sunday didn't look great for flying, with a solid looking inversion just above 2000m. I was in two minds whether to fly, but I decided on a short flight before watching the grand prix. The flying turned out to be better than I expected and after about an hour I had a decision to make. Continue N up the Verdon to Allos (a flight I'd done a couple of times in the spring) or stay in the Thorame valley? I wanted to keep going, but I was a bit worried about the valley winds in the Verdon. And whatever I did, I was going to miss the grand-prix.

But then I hatched a cunning plan. Land at Thorame Basse and watch the grand-prix in the local cafe. Surely that would work? But I arrived at the cafe only to discover it was closed for the annual vacation. Grrrr!!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

First Evening Flight of the Year!

I'm a little bit shocked. The summer solstice has passed and I've just had my first evening flight of the year. While evening flights aren't as interesting as the afternoon ones, they certainly are more relaxing. It's nice to boat around in smooth ridge lift and watch the sun go down. It's more of social experience than afternoon flying - you share all of the flight with other pilots.

Gotta make more of an effort to get out in the evening!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

So-so flying but scenic hiking

After a really great start to the year, the flying for the last few weeks has been a little disappointing. I spent some time in Scotland (without my wing) and have been busy with work, but the main reason has been the poor flying conditions. A combination of winds, rain and afternoon overdevelopment has restricted my flying to "fish bowl" style flights - good practice, but not terribly satisfying. 
For a variety of reasons, I don't expect to do much flying in the next few weeks. So I need to hope for good conditions to coincide with my flying opportunities. 
The flip side is I've had some great hikes (see this and this) and bike rides. The rain in June produced some impressive wildflower displays on the mountains - and plenty of grass for the sheep. It's always a pretty time of year (e.g. see the river Verdon and poppies and wheat). And afternoon thunderstorms always make you feel glad to be on the ground…