Glider Flight and Ringing Outing
At the Guild 6 Bell striking competition last year the first raffle prize drawn was an opportunity to have a free glider flight at the Peterborough & Spalding Gliding Club. I was lucky enough to have my ticket drawn first, however it is a very long way from Barton to Crowland (where the glider club is) so it was decided that we’d make a day of it and combine my glider flight with a small ringing outing.
On Saturday 7th May a group of Barton ringers travelled the 2hrs south to Crowland and the glider club. The previous month it had been glorious weather with hardly a drop of rain so, as soon as we had got to the glider club the heavens opened. The very friendly members of the club showed us around and tried to ease my nerves. We then decided to head off to ring at Crowland while it was raining and then come back for the flight if it had dried out. There were 2 other ringers at the glider club who were very pleased to hear why and how we were there and they came to join us in ringing. We had a superb ring at Crowland with some excellent striking and several of our number got to experience the very long draught for the first time. The weather had brightened up and we went back to the glider club for my flight.
I was very nervous as I was being strapped into the parachute and went through the pre-flight training (how to bail out if necessary, what all the dials mean and what the joystick does). John, my instructor in the seat behind me was very good and calming and very clear in his instructions. The little tow plane towed us up with a very bumpy run along the runway and took us up to 3000ft to the accompaniment of a rendition of The Dam Busters Theme from the supporters. Phrases like ‘Tally-Ho’ and ‘chock’s away’ were also heard. Not long after releasing the tow rope John let me take control and I did a bit of steering for about 10mins or so. The views over the local area were breath taking and the sky was clearing so that we could just make out the Wash in the far distance through the haze. It was surprisingly noisy, bearing in mind that there is no engine, with the wind rushing past the little ventilation window in the canopy. John took over about half way through the flight to try to find a thermal to gain some lift but the weather was not right for producing thermals. John brought us in surprising fast for a safe but very bumpy landing. I was presented with a certificate and my 2 months free club membership before we all went back and sat outside the club house for a picnic lunch.
Our next stop of the day was the lovely ring of 8 at Market Deeping. Once again there was some superb ringing which does help make the day that much more enjoyable. Our final stop of the day was for a pub meal in the evening in Lincoln, half way home, where we all said our goodbyes at the end of a thoroughly exhausting, but absolutely magical day.
I’d like to thank Philip Green for organising the raffle prize in the first place, it was a very generous prize. I’d like to thank the people at the glider club for their hospitality and especially John, my instructor. I’d also like to thank the ringers of Barton who organised the towers, and pub meal and who came along to help make the day so enjoyable.
Back row - Geoff Bryant, Andrew Lord, Daniel Young,
Richard Hopper, Roger Lord, Jenny Bennett, Andy Bennett
Seated - Joy Lord, Ro Bryant, Joan Barton.