Archive for the 'Kites' Category


The sun's out and the weekend looks like it might be our best chance to get out and do something worthwhile. I'll let you know if anything interesting happens. Meanwhile, here are a few BGbytes:

Long-drawn-out endings...

Days after the close of the wildcamping e-petition, the total's gone up again. It's now at 2021.

Long lines...

The kite line disaster has been addressed - we've shuffled the lines down and replenished at the top, so Anna's 1.2m now has Ella's 30m 50kg braids, Ella's 1.6m now has my repaired 30m(ish) 70kg Protecs, and my 2m Imp's standard 18m 100kg Dyneemas have been supplemented with 30m 110kg and 30m 180kg Ozone Dyneemas. Hopefully we'll get out and give our rehashed setups some test-flights in the next few days.

Long stories...

For those still interested in Zooomr, I found Zooomrwatch via my blog's visitor stats.

Long hikes...

For those interested in Iceland, the CDT, the PCT etc., I found Phlumf while following another link in my stats. There are some impressive pics in there, I recognise quite a few of the places in the Iceland photo set.

Pings and cracks

Posted by on May 27th 2008 in Kites, Weather

As usual, the good old British weather kicked up a storm for the WHB*, with winds of 20-40 mph tearing boughs from trees and flattening whatever we were hoping to grow in the garden. Of course, it also banjaxxed our hopes of a pleasant seasonal day out the kids, but eventually we couldn't stand being cooped-up indoors any longer, so we grabbed coats and kites and headed off to Bosworth Park.

We set up Anna's 1.2m foil first, let it go and it was overhead no time, pulling hard but still manageable.

Next we started to set up Ella's 1.6m, but part-way through a good gust caught Anna's kite, it was too much for one of her lines which promptly pinged and snapped. We decided to put Ella's stronger lines on Anna's kite and arranged for them to take turns with it, on the basis that Ella's kite would be too much for Anna to hold down.

All seemed to be going well with them, so I unpacked the Ozone Imp and had a think about which lines to use with it...

On breezy days I usually fly it on a pair of 30m 70kg Climax Protecs, these lines have virtually no stretch and are really thin and slick, meaning that there's a lot of control and it's easy to wrap/unwrap twists made during spins. The longer length also means that it's easy to find more wind at the edge of the flying window. On windier days I tend to stick with the 18m 100kg braided Edelrid SK75 Dyneema lines that came with the kite - they're thicker and heavier, meaning that there's more wind-drag on them, cutting down the responsiveness and feel, but the shorter lines allow a more direct contact with the foil, there being less slack than an equivalent long line.

Decisions, decisions...

In the end, I set up with the Protecs. Chris had the controls while I held up the kite and launched it. It went up like a rocket, but Chris couldn't control it and it was soon back on the ground. Chris didn't want to fly it any more, so I took the leashes while she put the foil into the air. Yet again it went straight up without complaint, so I started to hunt around to find where the good and bad air was. Right at the top of the window I ran into some slack air and the kite-cells emptied, resulting in a fold-up and a relatively gentle fall back to earth. I gave one of the lines a gentle tug to free a minor wrap-around and the thing was back in the air immediately, pulling like a good 'un. Then...


The left line snapped a few feet below the kite which started to spin out of control 50ft up. The one remaining line now had to contend with the full force of the wind combined with the force of me recoiling from the breakage...

"Is it still attached?" asked Chris.

I looked up at kite. I looked across at the line.


It was hanging on bravely, but it was all too much... there was a slackening in the line...

"Err... NO!"

And it was off, over the field, no longer fighting the wind but being whisked away by it. It went up and over a huge oak tree, showing no signs of coming down beyond it. I was transfixed, in utter disbelief.

And all of a sudden Chris was off too, charging over the field in hot pursuit! I was doubly-transfixed, and in utterly utter disbelief! I've never seen her move so far so fast - she must have covered 250, perhaps 300 yards in well less that a minute, which is impressive for an asthmatic wearing walking-boots and a full complement of Paramo "waterproofs"!

She caught up with it when it snagged in some bushes at edge of the housing estate, bundled it up and strolled back in triumph, muttering things like "have you any idea how much I paid for this?" and "I can't believe that you just stood there and didn't chase it yourself."

Ella and Chris went for a walk around the park while I packed up and retired to the car, disgraced, to untangle the mess and salvage whatever good line was left. Anna came with me, she'd had enough fun for one day.

Next time I'll use the 100kg lines, or the replacements that I'm considering.

*WHB: the result of a brilliant "triumph of mouth over brain" by a Radio Cumbria presenter back in the 80s. I was checking out the weather forecast on the car radio while site-camping at Castlerigg Hall near Keswick when I heard "... and here is the weather forecast for the wank-holiday beak-end...". I laughed so much that I ached for days. I do hope the lass didn't lose her job because of it, but I never did hear her on the radio ever again.

OM Meet – Beddgelert

Posted by on April 29th 2008 in Great Escapes, Kites

We left the sunny Midlands just before midday and headed up the A5 into the gathering gloom. The sun was lost as we crossed the M6, and the rain had set in by the time we arrived at Beddgelert (after a detour to Wrexham, as Ella the Navigator missed the Llangollen turn-off).

After meeting up with Paul, Beth and Jake the Dug, we mooched around the site for an hour or so trying to decide where to pitch - the Forest Holidays site's not particularly level or well-drained, and it looked like we were in for another weekend like the Braithwaite Mudbath one a while back. Terry arrived and we scouted the site together, he had gone for a pitch with an electricity hook-up, so he was banished to the top end of the site where the posh people hang out. Eventually I decided to pitch in the lower field, where Simon and Russell were already set up, and which was soon nicknamed "the submarine pen" for obvious reasons. The rain was incessant while I was pitching the tent and I was soon soaked right through, Ella sat in the car watching and thought that this was hilarious. Well, it wasn't cold, and I wasn't going to get dry if I donned waterproofs, so I just didn't bother with them.

Jerome and Sharon arrived just as we were finishing up, so we helped them pitch and then it was pub-time. Having no other dry clothes except for the proper walking gear, I reckoned that my soaked clothes would dry quicker in the pub than in the tent, it seemed like a good idea at the time. We passed the newly-arrived Matt and MoS on the way out as we went down to The Tanronnen for a pub meal which was OK but nothing spectacular. After getting some minor hassle from the landlady regarding the ordering of our meals and also about payment by plastic, I didn't feel quite so guilty about my clothes soaking every seat that I sat on. To be honest, I was glad to leave there and head over the road to The Prince Llewelyn to join the other half of the group, and where I met more new faces (Lawrence and Rachel) mixed in with those of the usual suspects. I like the Llewelyn, it's much more my sort of place.

Anyway, soon it was time to head back to base for some shuteye.

Saturday morning was much better weather-wise. Low cloud but no rain to speak of. The tide had gone out by the time we emerged from the tent, and plans were soon made. Ella was feeling a bit poorly, so the original plan of going up either Tryfan or Moel Siabod was ditched and we decided to have a gentle stroll around Cwm Idwal. Jerome was up for this too, so we went off together while Sharon had a day of shopping and other lowland stuff.

The walk around the cwm was good fun. We watched the helicopter above Tryfan (we thought that the chopper was on exercise but it turns out that it was up there for a real emergency - they aided in the recovery of a Worcestershire teenager who was rushed into intensive care with head injuries and broken limbs, it was on the news on Monday (this info is courtesy of Jerome, there's a report on the Grough site here)), we watched the climbers on the Idwal Slabs, and we took loads of photos. We even found some sunshine!


The view up Afon Llugwy, snow above Cwm Lloer


Idwal Slabs - count the climbers.

I make it 16 in view, many others are out of sight at the foot of the slabs.


Lunch was taken at the back of the cwm in the lee of the large boulder, where we introduced Jerome to the delights of flying the Imp. The kite-flying was challenging in the swirling, gusting wind, but I'll certainly be taking it into the mountains again.


Too close for comfort


Back at base, there was time for a quick SS&S before socialising with the others and heading off for Mike's BBQ, where we ate royally and had much fun talking banter and b*ll*cks before the warden decided that the BBQ had become a dangerous forest-destroying wild inferno to be extinguished without delay. Which was bad timing, really, as Helen and Colin turned up to a wet steaming mush rather than the homely fire that we had just been enjoying.

We held out for a while longer but a light rain started so we headed back to the tent for the night.

As usual, Sunday started with more rain. IIRC, all of the OM meets that I've been on have had rainy Sunday mornings. Coincidence? Probably not. Anyway, we packed away and cleared up, said our goodbyes to friends old and new then headed off, pausing only for a few photo-opportunities at Llyn Dinas and a small shopping session in Betws (thanks here to Matt for his kind help at Cotswold Rock-Bottom), before finding somewhere for lunch (the nearest Little Chef).


Boathouse on Llyn Dinas


Of course, it rained all the way home after leaving Betws, and it's hardly stopped since. It's now Tuesday and the tent's still in the wet-bag awaiting the chance to hang it out to dry.

So, no grand peaks surmounted, no classic ridgewalks, no daring deeds done. Nevertheless, it was a great weekend. Thanks from us to all you others that made it so.

Kate Flaying

Posted by on January 28th 2008 in Kites

Yesterday we had another fine breezy afternoon, so we went to the local park for another session flying the Imp. I'll let the pictures tell the story...

Elanor learning the ropes

It's up there somewhere

Going in under the radar

Taking the strain

Heads up!


Chris takes control


Beating a retreat

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