Friday 14 October 2016

Expedition round up

The weather this year has been unusual because of the stationary high pressure over Scandinavia which has blocked the lows out in the Irish Sea and provided easterlies. In the first part of the week this produced warm sunshine and opportunities for thermal soaring over the Cairngorms, but in the last couple of days we have had rain. However, this area provides plenty of alternative entertainments.

The River Dee which passes by the airfield has changed as a result of the epic floods last December, it's now rather wider and the fishing hut has disappeared. There was heavy rain last night and today so the water level is back up, below are pics from earlier in the week and today.

The Dee transformed
...and after the rain
Glen Tanar, the other side of the ridge to the south of the airfield, was the place to go wave hunting when there was some south in the wind. It's also a great place to go for a walk, with several trails of varying lengths.

Fishing lake in Glen Tanar
Braemar seemed to have been taken over by knitted fish and other sea creatures, and the walking trails also had orange stripey fish at intervals for no apparent reason. The walks were good though, and the cafe.

Braemar bridge

Loch Muick is the place for wave in a northwesterly, which we haven't been fortunate enough to experience this trip, but it's a great place to go for a walk - almost 8 miles all the way round.

Loch Muick panorama

When the rain is too much for walking, there is the Grampian Transport Museum in Alford, which has a fine selection of steam and motor vehicles, and a steam organ.

Back at the airfield, there has been a lot of model flying, much to the alarm of the local bird life.

Surprised heron
And finally........our loyal readers have it seems been disappointed in the lack of culinary reports. The local restaurants and takeways have been doing good business but culinary expertise has been in evidence......

Add some peanut butter - delicious

Sunday 9 October 2016

Interesting weather

Today was very calm, warm and sunny, ideal for site checks for new arrivals. The early morning mist filled the valleys and also produced an unusual phenomenon, a fog bow, pics below.

Saturday 8 October 2016

Scottish sunshine

The warm weather has continued, with some nice thermal soaring - and wave for the lucky (or skilful) on Thursday. Since then there have been alternative entertainments. Model flying passes the time quite nicely - as does fixing them when they crash. The pic below demonstrates the need for a good look out.

Tundra and Radian flypast
There hasn't been much by way of soaring weather since Thursday but there is plenty else to do. Craigendarroch by Ballater is a rocky hill left over from glaciation, the summit offers great views towards Lochnagar, and the circular walk halfway up is also very interesting. In the other direction, the walk up to Tom's Cairn at Finzean (pronounced something like Fing'un) gives a 360 degree panorama of the Dee Valley. And there are good cafes near both sites for post-walk restoration.

Tom's Cairn - or one of them

Thursday 6 October 2016

Waving over Scotland

Late on Monday reinforcements arrived in the shape of Richard and Callum with 316. Tuesday wasn't very inspiring in terms of weather so there was circuit practice for Callum and alternative entertainments (cafes, walks etc) for the rest. Wednesday was very windy so the flying was mostly in 2 seaters. It moderated slightly towards evening and Dave and Nick found themselves unexpectedly at 15,000ft after launching in 316. Those on the ground enjoyed the stunning sunset.

Today there was wave for the early birds but most of us enjoyed good thermals in the light southerly.

Tuesday 4 October 2016

Booker expedition to Scotland

The annual expedition to Aboyne, where we are guests of Deeside Gliding Club, is well underway, with everyone settled into their accommodation and getting familiar with the local eating places. There have been some changes as a result of the devastating floods earlier this year, with some old favourites no longer in business, but there are new places to explore.

Many of the expedition members are staying in Birkellun, which for readers who have not visited, is a very comfortable Norwegian log cabin with a grass roof.

Sunday provided wall to wall sunshine, it started chilly but as the day progressed it heated up and people shed their warm layers. The flying was thermals, ideal for site checks and familiarising with new aircraft.

Phil and Dave waiting for the tug

First launch
On Monday we had southerly wave, which produced good lift to 10,000ft, higher later in the day, above Glen Tanar and along the Dee past Ballater. Later the wind shifted a bit and made some wave along the lee of Morven. The views were excellent, and the flights very calm and peaceful until the final minute when a bit of attention was required to deal with a spot of turbulence, to be expected in a southerly

Somewhere over Scotland
Today a front is producing a bit of cloud with the occasional rain spot but it is fine for circuit practice for new arrivals.