10 September 2008

why wye?...

...because it's near by, that's why!!

Paul reports back from a solo foray....

'My last couple of years spent 'living at home' were at Challock in the mid nineties. Now I have found myself temporarily shacked up in Canterbury, Wye once again is my nearest southwesterly hill mileage wise.

Some of you Thurnham regulars have asked why I don't fly there more often, after all it's nearer to home, it's a hill, it faces south west. I find myself giving answers along the lines of 'it's ok, lift is about as good as here (Thurnham) but you never get anyone else up there'.

This is partially true, in all the years I've flown at Wye, I have never ever come across another flyer. Sure I've found the odd clevis, or bit of tape being blown up the hill at me, but never have I seen another sad one partaking in the lift. This however is not the only reason I don't fly there more often......

Wye Crown, in this picture, the west face is to the left of the crown, the south west face is to the right, note bumpy landing area top right and trees along the bottom.

The thing is with Wye Crown on first appearances it's a benign, cuddly, gently rolling rural comfort of a hill, but looks can be deceiving. Beneath that warm fuzzy of a chalk downland sweep of loveliness lies a premenstrual, psychopathic, mood swinging female of a slope.

ahhhhh, the rural bliss of the southwest face

mmmmm, the historic homeliness of the west slope

You see, returning to Wye is like returning to a girlfriend you left six months ago. Having forgotten all the reasons why it didn't work, you're lured back by all the things that attracted you to her in the first place, and all those things you've missed for the past six months but as soon as you've finished mounting her, things start to turn very nasty, very quickly! Neither of you have changed, and all the old problems are still there.

Everything about Wye is unpredictable, the lift, the landing, the terrain, the rotor...everything.

The majority of my flying prior to Wye was at Blue Bell Hill and Holly Hill. Both these sites have tight landing zones, so when I first arrived at Wye, I thought I was in slope landing heaven. But I soon learnt this not to be the case.

The lift would bear no relationship to the wind....ever. I was used to throwing off at Holly or Blue Bell and screaming up, Wye is more like Thurnham on one of those days when it's not really working, I don't know if it's the trees, or what. Don't get me wrong, there is lift but it tends to be lift of the third rate variety, and the thermals aren't all that either. I think the tree line must rip them apart.

So you cruise around kind of maintaining height, get chucked about by the turbulence on the left hand gully (that's always there) and decide to land. It's too tight to land on the hill side unless conditions are calm, so you have to do battle with the rotor from hell over the back, which inevitably dumps you in a neolithic excavation or slices you through the fence.

Looking back, I've suffered more creased wings, mashed noses, dented wings and general collateral damage at Wye, than at any other site I've flown!

the only flying shot I could manage I'm afraid

bumpy, choppy top

I don't know, perhaps I'm being too hard on the old girl, I've had some lovely evenings on top of her when the wind is low and the air is warm. The south west face has a lovely lip to stand on and do fast flybys, I even recall doing my first ever bunt there, and I suppose knowing you can fly there and see no-one else does occasionally have its attractions.

crikey! look at the hooter on that!!

So perhaps next time I'm tempted to save 10 minutes and 10 miles to get a flight in, I'll stop and think...think hard about the past, and all those reasons why it didn't work out for the two of us, and then I'll drive on by........and try out her big sister a mile further on and see if the Kneading Trough has the same unpredictable family tendencies!!'


  1. Deep man, really deep !

    More grist to the slope mill in any case, can't be bad.....

  2. deep!

    I thought it was extracting the urine all the way!! perhaps I'll have to work on something a bit more philosophical next time!!