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Day 6 – Mikolaj Kocot

Published on
02 July 2022

Day 6 started slowly. We decided to wake up later than usual as we slept just below a high take off – Peña Montañesa. We got up there still far too early to fly, but that way we could escape the sun a bit. Around 1pm the thermal activity finally showed signs and we took off direction France.

What a flight it was! No clouds, wind direction quite unexpected at times, thermals rather messy and spread out… At times we managed to get up to 3300m, but most of the time we stayed around 2500m. It definitely made it easier to fly it as a group, although clearly everyone had a different approach…

On the main ridge to France, we encountered valley winds of 40km/h or more, so we had to gain a lot of altitude before making the jump to the lee side. It was a bit scary at that point, but that was it, no way back. I crossed the ridge and floated above the clouds covering the sky in the north. We made it to France!

But there conditions were completely different. As the sky was covered in clouds, we had to descend below them to gain visibility. However, there we encountered strong valley wind from the north (before it was coming from the south!) and no thermals. While the transition was smooth, it was just really hard to keep going against the wind: in places we were not moving at all.

So after an afternoon of flying, during which we covered most of the distance to Arbas, the majority of our group landed, with no forward speed. An intense experience, that is for sure!

I lost some time chatting in the landing just to realize it was already pretty late. I had to rush to the closest take off if I was still to fly one last time before 9pm. So that is what I did. I ran up and managed to squeeze one final glide at 8:40pm, despite the back wind. Landed just short of 9pm, close to a fellow pilot, Keith, for another night of party in the mountains.

Overall a very good day. Less walking, more flying and I even managed to get up a few positions on the ranking.

Day 7: here we come!

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