The weather forecast for Dartmoor wasn't very optimistic and there were puddles by the hangar following the heavy overnight rain. Not promising. But the blue turned into Cumulus and then started streeting from the West at 12 Knots.
I launched just before 1pm and got away from an unimpressive 1150' launch. I climbed and then followed the street downwind across Dartmoor. It got better near cloud base at 2,500' QFE (3,350 QNH) and I pushed on. Trevor Taylor in the Jantar 1 who was 600' below me on the way towards Princetown encouraged me, not verbally for once, but just by his presence.
I was well in the groove when a challenge came in sight. Some quick maths and then I dived out into the blue and turned the radio mast at Princetown, some 600' above its top, for the very first time - 5.6 Nautical miles from base, downwind at 2,050' QFE. It focused the mind especially as the crags come up to meet you on the way back. A horrible thought crossed my mind; what if they come up so high that they obscure the
glide path back to Brentor?
A good bit of dolphining and concentration and all was fine. Once over the site and relaxed I pushed on into wind and headed to Launceston in the other direction for about the same distance.
I turned back level with Lifton. Roadford Lake looked very beautiful in the winter's light. I returned to the airfield and burnt off height with various stalls and sideslips to keep in practice.
I gave my syndicate partner a go after an hour or so in the air but I could have stayed up for at least another hour (like the Jantar 1 did) just exploring the streets; but Martin and I were on a schedule that involved a reporter and photographer (but that's another story - or twelve) and he needed a go before they arrived at the airfield.
I certainly felt I had pushed the boundaries that day - encouraged by Trevor in the Jantar 1 below - he later admitted that he was ridge soaring as the ground rose up to meet us!