Spring in Old Blighty

I can’t believe it’s only 2 months since I arrived back in the UK. So much has happened.

Having arrived back in February I was actually quite pleased to be met by some chilly weather after the heat of India. The first few days back home were the kind of clear blue sky chill that strengthens resolve, the kind of weather that Rocky would have trained in, that captain oats would have taken a cheerful last walk in perhaps.

The first thing on my To Do List was to give my love a giant cuddle, the next was to get my paragliding licence transferred from a Nepali to a UK version. I rang the B.H.P.A. and asked what I neeeded to do. They told me that I simply needed to pass a Club Pilot Exam. Now considering that we had not trained in a few things that are quite critical for flying in the UK (UK Weather, Reverse Launches, Slope and Top Landings) I thought that this was a little lenient, so I decided to get some further training. I thought that this would be a nice thing to do as whoever was willing to take me through my exam should get a little more than the few quid it costs for them to invigilate and exam.

So I set about finding someone to take me through some of the skills I had missed out on and allow me to take the exam.

I live in London, so my nearest flying would be near Brighton, The Devil’s Dyke for instance. I called up some clubs and found them to be a little unwilling to go out mid week (Golf being one hurdle as I found out) and the weather seemed to conspire every time the weekend came around. I had been spoiled by the good Nepali flying weather and the UK wasn’t playing by the same rules, so I decided to head around the country looking for a good teacher and some good weather.

After a few months everything came together in the lake district with Gordy from Air Ventures. We had arranged to do some flying but again weather stood in the way, so I did the exam with him and passed. A few weeks later went flying with an instructor he works with called Graeme, we went up Jenkins Hill near Keswick where I learned how to reverse launch and Top/Slope land.

It was also good chatting with other people about the UK weather, which is much more complex than in the winter valleys of Nepal. The sea breezes coming in from the Irish Sea over the lakes, the swiftly changing pressure systems etc etc, it’s something I find really fulfilling knowing what is happening with the weather, the skies are so much more interesting now.

Another wonderful thing to have discovered in the last few months is the Scottish Highlands, or at least one croft/farm that is inhabited by one passionate artist that lives with three horses, three dogs, a cat, an occasional son and survives on her wits. We had a wonderful few days together with another old chum, the three of us drinking way too much and singing way too awfully. Aye aye aye.

And the wonderful Keswick YHA, the lakes in Spring, the blossom coming out, the sprouting leaves, who’d be anywhere else than here right now…

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