3rd day at Gréolières



First to relieve the minds of those wondering if their worst fears have come true: these words are not being written from beyond the grave - or even from a hospital bed: I'm still in one piece, alive and kicking.
Saturday was just arrival day: looking at the village, doing a bit of ground handling practice, having an excellent evening meal together and dropping into bed exhausted - most people had had an early start to the day with the flight departing from Helsinki at 06.40.
But Sunday: what a day! The take-off point on "our " mountain is about a 45 min uphill walk from the village. As our packs weigh in excess of 13 kg, and the climb is well over 200m up a rough track, you can imagine what a refreshing start to the day this makes - although on this occasion three of the group (yes, your "ancient" among them) managed to hitch a lift on a pickup truck with a local French pg. pilot!
And then the tension mounts as we await the magic moment to take to the air: who will be first, show the way? Being the least experienced has its compensations - I wasn't expected to rush forward. Soon our first team pilot "took the plunge" and, much relieved at his success, we soon followed him in quick succession. The flight would be my first lauch from a hill - and some hill! But it turned out surprisingly well - the conditions were perfect, and we all got lift from the hill, and more interestingly, thermals. My first thermal flight in a paraglider - unbelievably satisfying. All too soon our watchful instructors thought it best to call us in to land before landing conditions became too rough. Down we went in single file, one after the other to the landing field beside the village, final turn over the school, into wind, nice round out with brakes and plomp! safely down again. Almost half an hour in the air.
For the afternoon we drove to the big hill above the delightful little village of Gourdon. This was quite different from the morning: the wind at take-off was brisker and the landing field was more demanding, especially its smaller size and L-shape! My take-off was startling and alarming both to me and our watching group - but my good angel must have had his eye on me, and soon the flight continued normally - the landing wasn't perfect, but I had some field left when I'd come to a grinding halt. Not the same feeling of achievement as the morning, but many valuable lessons learnt. Then home to Gréolières to another good meal and bed. (Photo is of our terrace at Gîte du Cheiron,where we are staying.)
2 Responses to "3rd day at Gréolières"
Anonyymi said :
19. huhtikuuta 2011 klo 23.27
Wow.., magnificent to get your first thermal filght after that "jump" to thin air. Best BD present, I guess ;). Happy BD from all of us in Roi to you!!
Anonyymi said :
23. huhtikuuta 2011 klo 0.39
sounds great :D That pic is straight from a travel guide. I guess France really is that idyllic.
See you soon :)

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