Unexpected Coastal Run

The remnants of the Avon mob ascended Penmaenbach early in the afternoon, several having left after the stunning previous couple of days from Eilio (I flew up and over Snowdon, then took a climb opposite P-Y-G on to Siabod, then returned to Hafod Y Gwynt) and Berfedd (my flight was a 4 /12 hour odyssey over Snowdon from Berfedd in a single, direct thermal, up to Caernarfon using the sea breeze, then trying to push forward along a bit of a NW convergence to Bethesda, before retreating to Llanberis).

We sat it out for an hour, as it was a little strong for taking off, although probably flyable, and then Steve from Bardsey Island turned up and we all decamped across to Conwy Mountain. Steve was first off, about 3:30pm, swiftly followed by me, into smooth, hugely buoyant ridge lift, combined with sea thermals as the tide started going out. Having flown over Penmaenbach and then along all the way east to Conwy, I returned to the cliffs above the A55, where a consistent 300fpm under the 2000ft asl overcast was too much to resist, so I climbed over the back and ended up several hundred feet above Foel Lus.

I stayed there for a few minutes, until something else came through and took me over Penmaenmawr to the cliffs to the west of the town - in eighteen years of coming up here, I've always wanted to do this and never achieved it - where I spent a short while before crossing back to Foel Lus, just for the LOLs :D Over above the quarry again, I saw Steve leaving Penmaenbach for Foel Lus, then continuing on to where I was, with a few spots of drizzle now falling.

He carried straight on, pretty much, and had a ludicrously flat glide to the hill behind Abergwyngregyn. I waited until the drizzle stopped and followed, arriving as he tried to negotiate the high voltage lines and back on to Moel Wnion. We spent an hour here, hoping that the wind would straighten up more to the north (it was still NNE at best), so that we could take a decent climb back, but this didn't happen - although it was bizarrely easy to stay up considering how far off the hill the true wind was. Eventually we flew out over the village to land together on the shore of the straits.

Two and a half hours of entirely unexpected, low-level XC. I spent most of it chuckling to myself - and occasionally out loud!


Rich Harding.