Monday, 22 October 2012

A final days flying and then home

Those brave and intrepid flyers who hung on until the end (following 5 rather wet days) were able to have one last flight at Aboyne before the end of the 2012 expedition. After a calm and slightly misty start to the day, the sky opened up although there was no evidence of the forecast south westerly wind over the Grampians.

The expedition has been joined by some of our friends at Thame and it was Henry Ollis who showed the way by launching first and being the only person to contact wave over Ballater and climbing to 5,500 before the convection started which seemed to destroy the wave but wasn't strong enough to soar in. Henry topped out by having the only wave flight of the day and the longest.
Henry climbing in wave passing through 5,000

Between Ballater and Braemar
Then it was a case of derigging and the drive home (ready to return in 2013).

"No muddy boots or Bobble Hats"
JH towing home
The weather at Aboyne hasn't been the best this year (as evidenced by the lack of ladder flights and gloomy faces of the Deeside Gliding Club members) but this doesn't seem to have dampened everyones enthusiasm at flying in such glorious scenery and with so much else to do. The Deeside GC members have been friendly and welcoming and our thanks go out to them for hosting us yet again.

It has possibly been the least "wavy" year at Aboyne since 1993 but when you look at all the achievements and great flying that has gone on in all the other years it should not put anyone off - I for one cannot wait to return.
Early morning mist over the airfield

Friday, 19 October 2012

"You have control!"

Finally after 4 unflyable days (which has enabled lots of walking and visits to local features) we finally managed some flying this afternoon. We we treated to William doing a series of touch and goes and Jane being checked out on the SuperCub under Bob's excellent tuition.
"OK Jane - you have control!"
Low pass down the runway
Local wildlife spotted includes sparrow hawks, buzzards, deer and red squirrels.

Red squirrel spotted at Linn of Dee
We have also been joined by some of our friends from Thame, one of whom is showing us how tough they breed them at Haddenham - he is camping on the site and has to scrape ice off the inside of his tent each morning after temperatures of -7 being reported - brrrrr!

Des res - heating system needs updating
Bucket of ice removed from inside of tent

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Wave, thermals and dinner

After a morning waiting for the conditions to improve and the occasional shower and low level cloud to pass through we started launching around 14:00.
"There's the wave"
Rolf was first up in the K21 and was one of the few to contact wave with a short period of good lift between Morven and Logie Coldstone before the wind dropped to nil and the convection broke up whatever was left of the wave.

Rolf climbing over Logie Coldstone
Snow on top of Morven
Most folk then ended up thermal soaring and at one point when several gliders had congregated in one thermal it felt quite like the start zone in a regionals.
In the 'hold' before landing
The landing area became very busy for a period and all three runways were used as a large number of gliders fell out together but everyone behaved and mostly rolled to the end where willing ground crews moved them out of the way.
Parking up at the end of the day
In the evening dinner was hosted to the capacity of Clearfield Cottage where a superb 5 course meal was enjoyed.  
A healthy salad starter leaving room for .....
the less healthy but delicious Bread and Butter Pudding

Monday, 15 October 2012

Showers, departures and arrivals

We have had a couple of days of heavy showers interspersed with dryer spells which have resulted in most of us going for walks through some of the glorious countryside around Aboyne to burn off a few of the 7,000 calories that seem to make up Breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.

We also saw the (repeat) departure of Geoff in his RV to Booker. His progress was reported back by DI Craig who was sightseeing at Sterling castle "at 14:42 a suspicious looking character was observed in an RV6  proceeding at high speed in a southerly direction at a height estimated to be around 1,000ft..."

 And the arrival of Jim W.

Not to be outdone, the models came out and at one time there were 4 in the circuit. Alas one made a 'landing' that made Felix Baumgartner's descent look positively pedestrian (E does indeed equal MC squared!).

Today holds out more hope (plus scones and tea).

Friday, 12 October 2012

Wet Friday and last night's guests

A very good turn out at the Black Faced Sheep by all accounts.

The Black Faced Sheep


Craig made a new friend on his trip to Grantown

Dinner at Birkelunn peaked at around 7 courses. Our guest of honour, MiniGat seemed a bit overwhelmed by it all.

Tuna pasta bake with salad courtesy of Craig.
Our resident pastry chef Rolf produced Tarte Tatin followed by Cheese straws served with Champagne. Cheese plate and then the Whisky selection with After Eights.

Guest night at Birkelunn

A record 17 visitors sat down for dinner at Birkelunn:
Fish pie with a lasagne alternate cooked by Tessa, followed by Bakewell tart and ice cream courtesy of the co-op, HobNobs with a rice pudding topping created by Doug. Then cheese, biscuits, port and whisky.

Here Comes Trouble

 The Booker Vigilantes rolled into Ballater on Thursday afternoon, sweeping the American tourists aside in an effort to get to the tea shop scones first.
 (L to R, Glen Alison, Bob Davey, Rob Turner, Rob Munro, Sheriff Craig Cairns, Doug Hilton, Denis Campbell, John Hubberstey, Jane Moore, Geoff Tabbner) Pic taken at the end of our six mile walk around the bridges of Ballater. Rolf Kern and Barry Michael rested, Dave Byass worked, Simon and Tessa Vardigans went for the shopping and Glyn Read went home to get his bike, but never managed to catch us up.

Jane was task setter and despite some discord and the usual difficult questions during the re-brief, she managed to get all competitors round in a similar time.  The walk was a great way to work up an appetite prior to the traditional all inclusive meal at Birkellunn.  I'm sure there will be a food report any minute now. so check back for the menu and full review.

We are expecting a couple of no-fly days whilst some bad weather goes through, so it is off to the distilleries and castles today.  New arrivals - Steve the Baker, John the Plumber and Mike the Student.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Aboyne day 4

A sunny day with a variety of activities

Circuit practice for some

Craig went cross country

Eventually had to pick a field

The model flyers

The models

High flyer at Loch Muick

Dinner day 4 Courtesy of Tessa.
Lasagne with a tossed salad followed by apple and sultana crumble served with custard and cream

Red sky tonight - We set the shepherd's house alight

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Birkelunn dinner day 3

Regrettably the mushroom risotto starter was eaten before we could photograph it, but suffice to say another fantastic presentation from our pastry chef, and a great chicken pie from Tessa.
The photos tell the rest of the story:

OMG! Who cut the nose off the cheese?

and to finish: