Thursday, 4 July 2019

Gliding from Pocklington to Camp Hill

 I have designed a set of gliding airfields for X-Plane recently and thought it would be a challange to fly between two of them in a glider.  My choice of route was from Pocklington airfield in the Yorkshire Wolds, to Camphill in the Derbyshire Peaks.
My choice of sailplane was the Antares 20E.  This glider has an electric propeller that can be deployed to gain height in an emergency, but my intention is only to use the device as insurance.  A winch launch to 1000 feet is my starting point.
From Pocklington it is essential to fly in a southerly direction to Goole, then across east-south-east to Derbyshire and Camphill in order to avoid airfield no fly zones.  The glider will not make the journey in still air and out in the flatlands, rising air thermals are the only source of uplift.
Here, I have lift as I circle in a rising column of air.  The increase in altitude is slow and the thermals are not as frequent as I would like, but I manage to maintain an altitude between 1800 feet and 3000 feet for most of the flat terrain.
Heading southeast, the nav. panel shows the Camphill code ahead.  I just need to keep a general heading in that direction now.
Past the Ladybower Dams and with a little hill ridge riding on the air currents I am now in sight of the Cement works chimney near Castleton.  Camphill is on the left at the top of the ridge.  I am going in on a visual approach.
Down on the ground and I did not need the insurance pack, the aircraft batteries are still at full charge.
All, of the Navigation points for the flight were found and, apart from not setting the destination ground pressure to reset the altimeter, all went well.  Camphill is 1202 feet higher than Pocklington.  From a 1000 foot cable launch, thats not bad.

Monday, 1 July 2019


Now that we are pet free, we have been able to venture out for a short break without commitments.
 Taking a new car on a long run was an adventure in itself.  It certainly sorted out any minor problems, though I am still getting used to all of the warning sensors.  It keeps telling me that I am close to a vehicle when I park - I have always been used to looking out of the car windows for that information.
 Rippon Workhouse was our first main visit.  This is only one of 3 surviving workhouses and it has a greater content than the Southwell workhouse which we visited some time ago.

We also spent a day at Durham, walking around the riverside and into the town.  Our main aim was to visit the Cathedral and have lunch on site.  Durham is a splendid city with lots on offer.
We found Andy Cap on the coast at Hartlepool Headland.  It was a bit out of the way, but well worth the visit to see the old church there.
In Hartlepool is the Royal Navy Museum where we were able to board the Trincamalee - The oldest floating warship in Europe.  This museum is a world class venue and well worth a visit.
The next day we were off to the Beamish Museum, but the World Cup Cricket event at Chester-le-Street forced us to make a detour to avoid the traffic.  We found ourselves at Lanchester where there are family related records, so we stopped off at the church and had a walk around the village.  What a splendid place it is.
Then off to Beamish.  This is another "must see" open air museum with towns, villages, farm, mine, trams, buses, railways and etc.  The entry fee is steep, but you get free transport around the very large site, and there are a selection of locals to advise and explain the exhibits and events.  Something here for everyone.  If you walk everywhere you will need a serious rest the next day.
Saltburn-by-the-Sea is a custom built seaside town, high on the coast, with a seafront that has to be walked down to.  There is a Funicular Railway that will transport you up or down the cliff for a small fee, and a pier with an amusement arcade.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Testing my new car

Recently, our next door neighbour has become ill to the extent that she can no longer drive.  She offered me first refusal on her car and, having enough money saved and knowing the cars history, I purchased it.  It was something of a surprise as I had intended to keep my old car for a couple more years.
 I have never owned two cars before, so this is a new experience for me.  The blue one is a good motor and I shall put it up for sale next month.  Having sorted the documentation, it was time to give it a spin out.  This is the first time I have purchased a car without looking at it or driving it.
 A trip to Thornbridge hall near Ashby in Derbyshire to meet relatives was the tester.  The car drives very well, though it does have a smaller engine than the old motor, so it needs a bit more attention to tackle hills.  It is also a squeeze to get it into the garage as it is 15 inches longer than the old car.

Another trip out took us the the Peak Park wildlife experience near Leek off of the Ashbourne road.
 Meerkats are a treat for younger visitors.  They are in a zoo compound, so you can only look at them over a wall.
 The wallabies on the other hand, are in a walk through enclosure and  are within touching distance. (handwash provided on exit)
 The penguins are also in a walk through compound and there is an underpass where you can view them under water.
 Grey Heron - waiting around for penguin feeding time.
Of course, some of the animals, like this Black Ruffed Lemur are quite curious.  No, I did not have any lunch in my camera bag (one of Rosie's photos).

Thornbridge Hall  Excellent Cafe and plant sales.

Peak Wildlife   Very enjoyable experience

Monday, 10 June 2019

Garden Review

 Earlier this year I had a chitting Anya potato in the veg draw.  I popped it into a pot in the greenhouse and this is what I have now.  Veg flan, new potatoes and salad for dinner today.
 The greenhouse is looking good with tomatoes, courgettes and other veg growing on well.
 At the top end of the garden, I have tidied up the cat run and added a few more plants and seeds.
 The mound around the old Leylandii we took out is looking more like garden.  The ropes have been used to coax the Holly stems to vertical.  They should be coming out in the Autumn.
Just 3 Leylandii left - the big one will be removed later this year and the other two will be trimmed down.  The mound of soil is almost gone and the rubble therein has been disposed of.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Trentham Craft Fair

Today started out with blue skies and fluffy clouds.
After the morning flurry, we decided to go over to Trentham to take a look at the Craft Fair.  This was on the high ground at the site of the Old Hall.
The quality of the traders was amazing as always and I would have spent lots of money if I had it!  This evil looking fox is made from recycled wire.  The robin on the garden fork is also quite eye catching.
The one stall that stood out for me was the Wildwood LoveFlute offering with a wide range of hand crafted Native American style flutes, including a demonstration, which I found fascinating.
The Trentham Fairies have been absent for a few weeks, being renovated.  They are now appearing in the Gardens at different locations - we keep coming across old friends in new places.
As we were leaving the Gardens, we noticed two sets of Canada Geese walking off of the lakeside into the water.  The nearest had a brood of 6 very young  goslings and the furthest had 4 much larger offspring.  Could be first and second broods.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Cross Country

 I have just finished my airport model for the flight simulator, X-Plane 11, of Long Mynd Gliding Airfield on the Welsh Borders near Church Stretton, Shropshire.  This airfield sits on top of The Long Mynd and is surrounded by valleys and hill ridges.
 A recently designed airport for X-Plane 11 for Talgarth in Wales, East of Brecon At the northern edge of the Brecon Beacons, about 40 miles away from The Long Mynd.
Just for fun, I thought it would be a good idea to fly a glider between the two airfields.  This would need some consideration of the wind direction and speed, the hill ridges and updraught patterns and an eye for thermal activity if I was to manage a glider flight of 40+ miles.
 Takeoff is by winch launch at Long Mynd in an Antares 40E sailplane.  This gives a 1000 foot climb and a further 500 foot lift above the airfield as the glider settles to cruise speed.
 Using the local ridges to gain lift from updraughts, I was able to climb to 2000 feet with ease and set out across the valley hoping to catch a thermal or two to keep me above 1000 feet.  By the time I had crossed the valley, I had maintained a good altitude and was at 1600 feet.
 Hitting the ridge on the back end of the Brecon Beacons, the glider was able to climb to 2000 feet with the available rising air.  I spotted the Talgarth field at an altitude of 1600 feet and needed to use wing spoilers to loose sufficient altitude to land.
Talgarth is bit of a humpback field and you cannot see the hangar buildings from the end of the runway.  A long way to pull a big glider to park or hook up to a winch.
This was my first cross country glider flight on a flight simulator.  It brings back memories of the 1970's when I was doing this in a real glider.
 We had the luxury of a double decker control tower in 1975 with a wind sock on its roof!

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Happening at Trentham Lake

 Wow! a Grebe that stayed above water long enough to have a photo taken.  This parent was hunting for fish and feeding a youngster out on the lake.
 The Black Swans had 4 cygnets last week, they now have 3.  Hopefully, these are now big enough to survive to adulthood.
In the background, the Mallards are producing lots of ducklings.  These hardy birds are found everywhere.

In the evening, I put the usual bowl of food out for our local Fox.  She is raising cubs, but we have not seen them yet.  One of the Magpies was perched in a nearby tree to watch the fox carefully.  As soon as she took a mouth full of food out to the cubs, the magpie swooped down and partook of the free fare whilst the fox was away.  Any opportunity to feed their young.