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Three Days in Lanzarote

This Janurary I went to Lanzarote for a bit of winter paragliding. It was fantastic; a few hours from London, cheap car hire and spectacular sites made it a perfect winter get away. I was there for just three full days and managed to fly on all of these days at four different sites.

I went to Lanzarote with fellow pilots Xander and Tom, we stayed with the with the wonderful Zan at Villa Amatista, a lovely villa with numerous rooms situated in the centre of the island. Also in Lanzarote was the Flight Culture team who were at the end of their trip, we managed to cross over for a few days. A big thank you to John for all the advice and site briefings, without this we would have been quite lost! In this blog post I will outline how we spent each day.

Paragliding in Lanzarote, Photographer Tom Maddox

After a delicious breakfast on the Friday we went to lower Famara take off, it was a relatively low site with a small bowl to soar. This was the first flight on my new wing and I managed a little bit of soaring before heading to the landing, it was light, just enough to stay up for a little while but not really worth staying.

In the afternoon we went over to Tenesar, a coastal site. There are several take offs along the ridge, we used a small higher take off in the hope that we’d be able to stay up and soar (the wind was quite light) after getting airbourne I didn’t stay up for long, with no other wings staying up we decided to head to El Cuchillo.

At El Cuchillo we first went to the Easterly take off, the wind was totally crossed so went over to the take off in the centre of the bowl. It was quite strong and the wing came up very quickly, this led to me having two failed take offs and being picked up/ dragged back slightly. Also as my wing is new I was still getting used to it. Luckily John and co were on take off to lend a hand and by the third attempt I managed to get in the air. It was wonderful, I flew for over an hour, reached cloudbase and explored over the back a little.

El Cuchillo, Lanzarote

On Saturday after collecting Tom from the airport we went to Upper Famara to meet John who gave us a great site briefing. It was very light and a few people were taking off but not staying up. Then over the next couple of hours more people would take off, get a little bit of height and a few moments later all the wings would slowly start to descend, this went on for a little while. I decided to take off during a moment of stronger wind, as it dropped off I was able to practise top landing a few times. An hour or so later the conditions improved which allowed most pilots to stay up relatively easily, in was then that I got to base and decided to head down the ridge. About 40 minutes in I got stuck on one part of the ridge, I needed to be above ridge height to make the crossing to the next part, sadly the more I tried to scratch the more height I seemed to lose. Eventually opting to land in a field with 3 other pilots.

They had a van and kindly offered to give me a lift to the beach where I waited for my wonderful flying buddies and retrieve drivers to collect me, we then all rewarded ourselves with an ice cream :)

On Sunday by 9am we were at El Cuchillo and gearing up to fly. Xander and Tom were ready first, they both took off and had a lovely boat around, the wind then seemed to drop off and the lift they were in stopped working so were forced to land at the bottom. Luckily I managed to stay in the air and had a wonderful 30 minute flight with the ridge to myself. Once the boys had hiked back up to take off they quickly geared up and joined me in the air. About an hour later the conditions seemed to pick up quite a bit with thermals being turbulent and below we could see the hanggliders arriving. We decided to land and head over to the coastal site Tenesar for the afternoon.

El Cuchillo all to myself!

Tenesar was beautiful, it felt quite windy and lots of wings were in the air, we opted for the lowest take off – Xander took off first but sadly there wasn’t enough lift to get him around the ridge so he had to land. Tom and I decided to checkout the other take offs. We opted for the third take off and managed to get around into the bowl area and climb up, it was wonderful and a great afternoon of coastal soaring.

Paragliding at Tenesar, Photographer Tom Maddox

Lanzarote was perfect for a little winter getaway and I am so glad I managed to make it there. As in my previous post my goals of this trip were to perfect landings and take offs and to practise some of the safety manoeuvres with the Swift - I feel happy that take offs were good and I was able to practise taking off in high wind conditions at El Cuchillo. Also I am happy that I was able to practise some top landings. With regards to manoeuvres I did the basics with the swift; big ears and speed-bar, spiral dive etc. All in all Lanzarote was great for getting used to the new wing and for practising in the first thermals of 2019.

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