The Tinto Round

September 4, 2009

8 August 2009

The Lanarkshire and Lothian round of the 2009 Scottish Nationals took place over the weekend of the 8 and 9 August.

Well, the eighth at least, as it was pouring down on the Sunday.

No matter, we had a fairly windy day at Tinto so a ground handling task was set involving a slalom course and alligator infested river crossings between a set of start finish gates. Points were not awarded for time. They were awarded for persistence, as Richard proved by attempting the course on as many different wings as others would allow (given the amount of sheep poo liberally spread over his own). Many pilots completed the course, with many losing feet to vicious alligators in their various attempts to do so.

The points awarded on the day were :-

Richard Vereker 501
Alistair Bowman 500
Alistair Brown 500
Kenny Cooper 500
Gerard Giraud 500
Dominic Job 500
Stephen Kerr 500
George McGhee 500
Iain Miskin 500
Khaled Nassan 500
Robert Sarnecki 500
Cliff Smith 500
Gordon Smyth 500
David Thomson 500
Alistair Tytler 500
Tina Wood 500
Dawid Szamocki 400
Logan Nisbet 300
Mike Jardine 200

Congratulations to Richard – hope the cake prize wasn’t too soggy. We then decamped to Wiston Hall, where we found a bbq, booze, great chat, booze, hang glider pilots (summering in Scotland, a rare spotting lol), booze and the latest outing for the Border’s cover band of choice ! (creep – nice !)

Sunday proved to be a victory for the Rain People and our plans to chuck Andy off a hill were put back till another day. Overall a super day was had by all (yes, even Al despite his attempts to avoid sleeping alone lol) and more points on the scoreboard.

The overall results for the 2009 Nationals are now :-

George McGhee 3200
Alistair Brown 2350
Gordon Smyth 2350
Kenny Cooper 2100
David Thomson 2100
Logan Nisbet 2050
Dawid Szamocki 2000
Tina Wood 1850
Mike Jardine 1800
Rob Beattie 1600
Dudley Kitching 1600
Johan Kritzinger1600
Robert Matthews 1500
Sean Figgitt 1350
Tommy Bryson 1100
Cliff Smith 1100
Ed Delves 1000
Mark Robson 900
Simon Lucas 600
Richard Vereker 501
Alistair Bowman 500
Gerard Giraud 500
Dominic Job 500
Stephen Kerr 500
Dave Lyal 500
Andy McGregor 500
Iain Miskin 500
Khaled Nassan 500
Julian Robinson 500
Robert Sarnecki 500
Alistair Tytler 500
Derek Traynor 400
Matt Church 250
Graeme Connolly 250
Scott Mather 250
Scott Rigg 250
Adrian Smith 250
Tom Kemp 250
Tim Reader 100

Apologies for the lack of photos – there were quite a few taken and I will update the page with them fairly soon.



2009 Scottish Nationals – Borders Round

July 27, 2009


25 July 2009

Looks like our sacrifices to the weather deity of choice paid off as the Saturday turned out to be a cracker. Over 20 eager pilots made the meeting point in Ettrick Valley before travelling North to our chosen venue for the day, Mountbenger.

Mountbenger looking West


The earlybirds took to the sky to show that it was working well and the sky was beginning to open out, giving a hint of the excellent day it would turn out to be.

First in the sky





Following a consultation with the finest paragliding minds in the country 🙂 Tommy and I then set about setting a task. Although aware that the day was shaping up to be a biggish distance day (as some proved), we focused on the core aim of the Nationals, to encourage pilots new to xc flying to push their experience envelope a little, and set an achievable for most task of 15k to Selkirk.

Setting the task - Mountbenger to Selkirk

Our wind dummies were clearly showing the day was developing into an excellent xc day, so we decided to open the window early and leave it open late to encourage multiple attempts on the task.

Looking good !

Despite my dislike of delivering briefings, the deed was done, setting out the task, retrieve, safety and weather information with a minimum of fuss and thankfully a minimum of questions 🙂

briefing !!!

Briefing over, 23 pilots then rushed to their wings like a ‘scramble’ signal had just come through from headquarters – as David said in his later email, I don’t remember setting the task as a race to goal but that seemed to be the way it was panning out.

Reach for the skies :-)

Within 30 minutes of the briefing end, every pilot was in the air and heading for cloudbase in a weak but giant thermal, which seemed to cover the entire hill – great to see such an enormous gaggle in a Nationals round and an early sign that the day was going to be big on point scoring.

Looking down the course - East along the Yarrow Valley toward Selkirk

Likely due to the mass of pilots in the same climb, 10 out of 23 of those who signed to fly made goal in Selkirk – the field to the left of the brodge in the next photo, not the rugby practice fields to the right of the river which Kenny decided was goal for the day once he landed in it 🙂

For some excellent footage of the flight by Logan, why not check out his video at  looks great !

Goal in Selkirk

To be fair, it was by far the safer choice of landing area, as getting into the actual landing field could have proved a bit ropey – evidenced by those who flew over, recorded a tracklog above the field, then chose to land somewhere else. Obviously by this I mean myself though sadly my choice of landing spot wasn’t quite so good as I had to avoid a field with horses hiding under trees till the last minute, who in an attempt to steer clear of, I landed in a field with five foot thistles and a nice barbed fence to catch the glider – mmm 🙂

Someone who had a much better time of it was Dawid, the provider of every photograph on this page and, until Saturday, a goal virgin. I didn’y hear the *pop* myself but his smile through the rest of the day made it obvious he’d had a good one. Well done you !

Dawid popping his goal virginity

With almost half of the field in goal and an interesting retrieve in Tommy’s land rover (some kind of record for pilots and gliders, using the Hilary method from the Aberdeen round, for those who remember it lol) we headed round to Cacrabank for a barbeque.

the barbeque kicks off

Following the devouring of food and a game of football (of which thankfully no photos have been passed on) where myself, Kenny (and latterly Dave Hutch) and a team of children roundly thumped a group of grown men
10-5, we all sat down for a small drinkie and light entertainment.

around the campfire

…and by light I mean light – Flaming Lanterns !!

the lantern which refused to fly - till a gas burner was shoved up its jacksie :-)

…and the songs of David and Tommy

got those Cacra Campfire Blues

…then yakking late into the night by a blazing fire

the end of a bloody good day !

So, to the good bit – the scores for the Borders round :-
Alistair Brown  1600
Rob Beattie  1600
Kenny Cooper  1600
Mike Jardine  1600
Dudley Kitching 1600
Johan Kritzinger  1600
George McGhee  1600
Dawid Szamocki  1600
David Thomson  1600
Robert Matthews  1500
Logan Nisbet  1300
Tommy Bryson  1100
Sean Figgitt  1100
Gordon Smyth  1100
Cliff Smith  600
Tina Wood  500
Dave Lyal  500
Derek Traynor  400
Tim Reader  100
Which means the overall result for the Nationals so far are :-
George McGhee  2700
Alistair Brown  1850
Gordon Smyth  1850
Logan Nisbet  1750
Rob Beattie  1600
Kenny Cooper  1600
Mike Jardine  1600
Dudley Kitching  1600
Johan Kritzinger 1600
Dawid Szamocki  1600
David Thomson  1600
Robert Matthews  1500
Sean Figgitt  1350
Tina Wood  1350
Tommy Bryson  1100
Ed Delves  1000
Mark Robson  900
Simon Lucas  600
Cliff Smith  600
Dave Lyal  500
Andy McGregor  500
Julian Robinson  500
Derek Traynor  400
Matt Church  250
Graeme Connolly  250
Scott Mather  250
Scott Rigg  250
Adrian Smith  250
Tom Kemp  250
Tim Reader  100

Sadly Sunday turned out to be not quite so good but I think a great day was had by all on Saturday – here’s hoping the next round at the Tinto BBQ
(8/9 August) is just as good – see you there !



2009 Scottish Nationals – Highland Round

July 14, 2009

11/12 July 2009

First Highland round of the Scottish Nationals – not the biggest attendance we have ever had but a success nonetheless – I think we probably had the best weather in Scotland over the weekend – the views of Skye, Plockton, and the area around Lochcarron were sublime. Sure helps to base your competition near the highest road in the UK !

George McGhee - highest road in the UK
By the time Gordon, Tina and I got to Lochcarron, Andy and Ed had already gone up the Bealach for an evening fly down. After a quick retrieve to the pub, we encountered a motley collection of Aberdonian and Welsh golfers having a singing and drinking competition – wee note to self not to drink SheepShagger again – the Saturday morning thick head took a while to subside – Ed claimed the cider doesn’t have this effect but it didn’t look like it at breakfast.

Andy McGregor above Kishorn

It could of course be his secret to success, as he took first place in his first ever comp and managed to survive the 8k coastal walk (no proper paths and at the wrong end of the cliffs) to get back. Best not mention the path to Applecross about 200 yards in the opposite direction from his landing spot 🙂

Mark Robson - Beinn Bhan looking North

We set an ‘open distance in any direction’ task as the wind direction was straight to Applecross 14k away. Ed followed the coast round to the SouthWest while Mark followed the line of hills to the North. Andy, Gordon, Tina and I all came down within a kilometer of each other at the fishfarms across from Plockton.

Looking over the fishfarms to Plockton

Great weekend had by all and finally proof that the Highland guys DO get thermals now and again.

Gordon Smyth in the pass

So, the scores for the first ever Highland round of the Scottish Nationals :-

Ed Delves  1000
Mark Robson  900
Gordon Smyth  700
George McGhee  600
Tina Wood  600
Andy McGregor 500

Top marks of course to the venue, scenery and entertainment 🙂

Andy McGregor - Kishorn and Plockton background

Which means with two rounds gone, the overall scores in the Nationals are :-

George McGhee  1100
Ed Delves  1000
Mark Robson  900
Gordon Smyth  950
Tina Wood  850
Simon Lucas  600
Andy McGregor  500
Julian Robinson  500
Logan Nisbet  450
Alistair Brown  250
Matt Church  250
Graeme Connolly  250
Sean Figgitt  250
Scott Mather  250
Scott Rigg  250
Adrian Smith  250
Tom Kemp  250

Gordon Smyth and Mark Robson walking to launch

Next round is the Borders on 25/26 July – see you there.