One flight, eleven Wainwrights  

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Ennerdale Water. Pillar on the right beyond the end of the lake.

About this article

At the time of writing Rick Livingstone was already an experienced intermediate pilot and had made many mountain XCs before this one. This is a forum post Rick made on 4th June 2012. The pictures aren't Rick's but show parts of Ennerdale where some of the flight took place.
Flight details - Take off: Burnbank, Landing: Seathwaite
Turnpoint distance: 28.5km, Duration 1h 46mins

Flight on the XC League l Flight Doarama

Yeah - bit epic yesterday. My brain hasn't fully recovered yet.....

I got away from Burnbank second flight, after waiting for sunshine and a good cycle. I hooked a gentle thermal and got over the back and on glide to Great Borne. Wind 12mph NE. It stayed that direction for the whole flight.

Too much east in the wind to make Red Pike and the Buttermere Fells easily, so I went over the back again above the east end of Ennerdale Water and connected with the south side ridge near Iron Crag.

Then turned West to bag Crag Fell (Wainwright bagging has added a whole new dimension to my XCs!). I nearly decided to land down near Ennerdale Bridge as landings/walk outs from high up the Ennerdale valley are not my favourite occupation. But a nice thermal right over the top tempted me to go back east.

West over Steeple
Looking west over Steeple to the sea

Plenty of lift at first but then, deep in the bowls near Haycock I found myself bombing. I flew out into the valley hoping to get to the nice flat fields at the east end of the lake when I bumbled into a snorter....the vario sounded like a little wounded animal for a long long time, I just screwed the wing in tight and hoped I wouldn't get spat out. I could see my cloud shadow was small-ish so I just let it wind me up.

I suppose I was bombing cos the thermal was pulling in everything from all round and had snuffed out the soaring breeze??

Couldn't believe it, 6600ft when I chickened out and big eared north!! Right over Pillar but well over twice it's height, so high I'd no idea if I was in the 200M radius to bag the summit and too jittery to press the right buttons to find the waypoints map on the GPS!


Great Gable
North face of Great Gable from the ground, near Windy Gap

I was cloud dodging now in big sink and too much rustling nylon for my taste - but no 'letting go' collapses - brakes near me bum a few times though.... over Kirk Fell down to about 3500ft again, still thermals but scrappy so I went straight for Gable.

Arrived about level with the summit but no wind (4mph on my trusty 5020) and sinky. I was beating down the north face next to loads of climbers!! The bail out plan was now Moses Trod or as far over toward Drum Hause and Honister as I could get. But a gust and another scrappy thermal took me over Gable summit.

Unfortunately it evaporated (or more likely I lost it) and I took another rustling nylon episode only 200ft above the summit plateau - scary - and now I couldn't get back to the windward side due to too much wind... So I had to turn & run without enough height and on a quick decision!

In sink again and terrified of being rotored I flew as fast as I could, towards Great End with, thankfully, no more probs - apart from lack of height and, by now, brain seizure! So I flew down and landed in the nice big fields at Seathwaite.
Freezing cold and thankful.

A nice German chap gave me a lift to Keswick where my retrieve collected me after a refreshing cuppa at S&W.
Eleven Wainies, according to our webmeister, and my best flight ever; but sobering!! Cheers, Rick.

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