Monday, 20 April 2015

#4 Paragliding

Fly like a bird!  What a dream.  I've always wanted to know what it feels like to be that raven, swooping on the breeze- playing with the updrafts and teasing the earthbound creatures below.
Wally gave me a voucher for a funday with Flying Fever for my birthday.  Now I was one step closer to the dream.

The weather on Arran is beautiful just now, so a quick message to paraglinding school instructor Zabdi Keen last night, and the plan was made...

Zabdi Keen coaching my first faltering steps
We headed to Bennan Head in the Southend with Zabdi and her partner Maurice, and fellow student Malcolm.  There were gorgeous views out to sea, wall to wall sunshine, and a subtle breeze, but it was never going to be quite right for a tandem flight, so instead I got the chance to learn the lines, quite literally, with my own wing for the day. It was hard work, lots to learn, tons of safety chat, and just getting to grips with handling the paraglider on the ground and feeling it testing the wind.

Even in a light wind the thing has some power!
 These baby steps were great for me, I needed to be led, slowly and gently, towards a point where I felt ok about running helter skelter down the hill.  Finally I felt a lift, a small hop, skip and a bounce,  and my feet were scuttering over the tops of the reeds. I managed to scoot above the ground a couple of times, and it was good to learn that I could brake and pull the air out of the wing whenever I wanted.  I'm still a long way from feeling like a bird- it turns out that this is one step on a journey, not the destination, and I'm looking forward to finding my way.

Bigger steps, running down the hill, almost a moonwalk

Tickling the tops of the reeds.

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