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This is exactly the opportunity that was presented to Colin and me following a conversation with our partners where they had mentioned that they wouldn’t mind a week doing the “girly things” leaving us to amuse ourselves doing what we do best. After cautiously ensuring that they weren’t joking, a holiday cottage was booked before they realised what they had agreed to and changed their minds. As if Ladies would?

Due to a desire of Colin’s the location chosen was the Gower Peninsular. Colin’s decision had I feel been influenced by various articles extolling the virtues of the Rhossili hills overlooking the western end of the Gower. Then plans were therefore made and the cars filled with a variety of models to cater for all wind levels and on the first week in August we all departed to the wild west of Wales. The Cottage was quite comfortable with the senior citizens occupying the ground floor bedroom with the youngsters upstairs in what could have been a converted hayloft. This sparked off thoughts of “my lady making free with Mellors the gardener/stable boy” but modesty insists upon a veil of silence.


On the way to Wales the journey was broken by an overnight stop in Ross on Wye. Upon our departure the next day it was noticed that our chosen route would take us past the Bwlch just above Bridgend. What a coincidence. Unfortunately our plans were thwarted when we discovered that BARCS were using the site for their Slopeglide weekend. Therefore we went to Southerndown on the coast and managed some stick time between the squalls and rain with our Weasels before being dragged away to complete the journey. Once we had unpacked and devoured a fish and chip supper, as the weather was good it was agreed that a walk down to and along the cliffs would settle the meal nicely. It was of course completely by chance that the wind direction was on the cliffs and that the Weasels came too. However pride does come before a fall and during my flight I risked the “rotor” on the lip of the cliff one time too many and was treated to the sight of my weasel being dashed into the cliff face. Thinking that the model was lost I cautiously peered over the edge and found that the model had lodged on a ledge about ten feet below the top. Colin then came to the rescue and scaled down and recovered the model with me as a “heart in mouth” spectator. In the past Colin had gained a certain reputation and the nickname of “Chopper” Waite but this has now been amended to “Chamois” to reflect his agility.



Wind Southerly and very light with brilliant sunshine. An Ideal day to fly either Free Flight, Thermal or anything that doesn’t require a wind. In the morning we parked in the private car park right on the Peninsular. The girls departed to explore and Colin and I decided to check out the flying site on the top of the west facing Rhossili hills. After a short but rather strenuous walk, for me at least, we discovered that the site was a slope soarers Nirvana. A 45 degree drop of 400-500 feet to the sea combined with a rounded top and what can only be described as the smoothest and level area of heather to land on. Pity the wind was nowhere near being on the hill. After the trip down we picked up a couple of models each (Wannabes and Thermo Speed Kings) and hiked about a mile around the point to where the very light wind was blowing onto the cliffs. Luckily the variation in height of the cliffs ensured that providing you gave a hard enough launch you could in the absence of lift circle around and land slightly lower down. In this vein we continued for about an hour with flights varying between 30 seconds and five minutes of very gentle “stick stirring” which in some ways both Colin and I find quite challenging and satisfying. Enter stage left a party of German female students who made a bee line towards us explaining that they were interested in the models and could we fly them again. Colin immediately went into his Ex-RAF instructor mode and explained that at the moment the wind was not sufficient. Whilst Colin was in full flow I noticed that the wind had picked up slightly and threw the Thermo Speed King off. In fact this was the best flight of the day with enough wind to gain height for mild aerobatics or as the German ladies would say “Salto” Unfortunately when Colin had finished his impromptu lecture to his audience the wind totally died, our partners arrived and swept us away before we could be tempted further. Young German ladies and model flying, life doesn’t get much better, or so I thought.










MONDAY. Wind Westerly about 15mph with bright sunshine. This time with a bit of local knowledge we parked in the Church Car Park and deposited our gratuity in the collection box. We paid the same as the Private Car Park but it was closer to the hill footpath and it was going to a good cause. Colin decided upon his Pilatus B4 and Mini Milan and I ventured forth with a SHK and Mini Milan. Did I mention before that the climb was strenuous? Try it with a Bergen, ¼ scale SHK, Mini Milan and wind. Upon arriving at the top we found that the Para-gliders were out and liaised with them. Shortly after one of the local flyers arrived and explained that the information given to us about the location of model flying from the Para-gliders was somewhat economical with the truth. Enough said. We were then able to fly from the best part of the hill with a good lookout maintained to prevent any clash between the two groups in the air. What was the lift and flying like. Absolutely b*****y fantastic. The lift was huge without a trace of turbulence and extended out over the sea to the point that it was still working when the SHK was at, for me the limit of visibility. As previously mentioned the landing area was prefect again without any rotor or turbulence. If there is such a thing as an afterlife I hope that this is it (must put more in the Church Car Park box). The three of us then spent the rest of the day flying in beautiful surrounding with a view to die for until we had to make our way back to the car. Once we had dissembled the models we then decided that as there was some daylight remaining to go part way up the hill with the Wannabe’s and we managed about another 45 minutes flying as we watched the sun go down. Even without the young German ladies life certainly doesn’t get any better than this.


Rain, rain and even more rain. Due to the weather we decided that we should gain some smartie points and accompany the ladies who wished to visit Swansea. Have you ever witnessed a reluctant dog being taken for a walk? Well I think that we gave a pretty good impersonation. The only good point was that we could be on immediate call to prevent severe damage to the credit cards. Not only that upon being dragged into a craft/sewing shop I came out with some really nice building pins and Colin a lovely pair of scissors for cutting glass cloth.


Wind South Westerly and very light. Once again we parked in the Church Car Park and thought upon which models to take up the hill. Colin decided upon his Pilatus B4 and a moulded Luna whilst I decided upon a ¼ scale Standard Libelle and a moulded Typhoon. On the way up we passed a large party of Para-gliders who were waiting for the wind to develop. At the top of the hill the wind unfortunately was almost non existent. So we too waited. Shortly after the large group of Para-gliders joined us. These were a much more social bunch which was only to be expected as they were from the Joint Services Centre at Crickhowell. We then spent some time with them enquiring and exploring the different needs, restrictions and limitations of our various flying interests. Occasionally the wind would stir sufficiently enough to prompt us to throw off the two moulded models and with the assistance of any passing thermals enough height could be gained for the odd bout of aerobatics. At irregular intervals individual Para-gliders would lay out there wings and with a good run inflate it and take off. As the wind was insufficient for them to maintain height and was effectively a “one way ticket” to the beach we were able to always maintain a safe distance between us. The two Scale models remained firmly grounded as neither Colin or I fancied landing and retrieving from the beach. Ever the hero Colin volunteered to return to the car to collect the two Thermo Speed Kings. Unexplainably I mentioned that I would also need my Futaba TX as well which Colin also collected. This I can only put down as a senior moment with resulted in me having an extra TX which was not needed. I did think of asking Colin to nip down and bring up a model for the TX but pain was never a strong point with me. The day continued like this until we eventually made our way down to the cars. We did however out last the Para-gliders who had departed earlier.


Wind very light from the East. Light winds we could deal with. East winds we could deal with. Light East winds did make it difficult around Rhossili. We therefore decided to drive to the Bwlch and upon our arrival the wind had moved to the South-East which dictated a trip to the slope on the rear of the Wrecker overlooking Nant-y-moel. We both decided to take our Solanges which whilst being a general all round/aerobatic model could also handle light winds. Once again the flying whilst not thrilling was nevertheless satisfying, consisting of mainly cruising the edge of the hill with the odd thermal assisted foray to enough height for some aerobatics. Shortly after we commenced flying a couple which had arrived on a motorcycle sat down on the hill about 50 yards away. As the grass was medium length they sat down and proceeded to enjoy a nice picnic complete with a bottle of wine. Whilst we were flying it soon became apparent that the wine had reached other parts and their clothes were soon off and by the movements you didn’t have to be on Mastermind you understand what was going on. This did provoke a chain of thought connected with a different approach to model competitions. However for the life of me I could see no way of calculating the various K Factors involved. I don’t know if it was connected but once the lady had replaced her knickers the breeze dropped. We then departed the hill detouring only for a very nice ice cream on the way down.


Once again the wind was very light and from the East so we returned to the Bwlch. As the wind was East this time we flew from the Wrecker slope. For those who have never flown from this area the Bwlch was the centre for RAFMAA slope events for a number of years until the availability of accommodation at RAF St Athan disappeared. The Wrecker is very well named and is an almost sheer drop into the valley above Treorchy. Due to the sheer face and the sharp lip when the wind blows a fierce rotor is created therefore you need to land well back from the edge and never, never overshoot. On the plus side the car park is right on the edge with only a low wall between you and the drop. However the wind was light so the rotor was not a problem. What was a problem was ensuring that you were always in a position with enough height to land if required. Colin decided to use the Thermo Speed King whilst I once again used my Solange. The flying was again adequate but not thrilling. A word of warning, do not fall for a sob story delivered by a local lass concerning her broken down car. I did and ended up being used as a free taxi between villages before I caught on and ejected her. I rather suspected that she was visiting her drug dealer, but such is the rich tapestry of life. Upon my return, Colin set off to collect his model which was about 100 feet down on the gentle side of the Wrecker. After lunch I assembled my little Speed Astir wing twist model and launched off during a brief interval of breeze. Big mistake as it headed earthwards faster than a division one footballer in the penalty box. At least I managed to drop further that Colin’s model so could claim the moral high ground in the exercise stakes. As before, we departed via the ice cream man before heading to the cottage to first pack and then head out to cerebrate Colin’s birthday.


Wind from the East, 15-20mph. Typical as this was our last day and we were departing Rhossili that morning. However after some pleading and much promising of various shiny things the route was planned to go via the Bwlch. This gave me the opportunity to introduce Colin to a slope that he had never flown before. The Crest is a very large and steep/sheer bowl just around from the Wrecker. Due to the strength of the wind it was time to break out the Dudes and the Jarts for some serious big air time. On our arrival there were some local flyers who when the wind shifted slightly moved further around the bowl. As we were restricted by time and could not afford the extra mile or so walk we stayed and flew from the centre which apart from some landing turbulence and occasional rough air to the right of the area was more than adequate. Now over the last year both Colin and I have always wondered what all the hype about these Jarts was. To be fair, to date we had never had the opportunity to try them in really big air. The grin on our faces indicated that at last we understood. The speed and size of the manoeuvres was awesome and acted as an incentive to finish off our other Jarts which will have a faster wing section and the capacity for ballasting. For me the best moment was once again being able to fly both the Dude and the Jart in conditions in which they really belong a sentiment I think that Colin shares. All good things unfortunately must come to an end and only too soon it was time to pack up for the journey home.

Despite the lack of wind and unseasonal directions experienced I counted the week as thoroughly enjoyable. The size and scale of the Rhossili hill is fantastic. It is our intention to repeat the format at probably the same location and I am at present canvassing support via the RAFMAA RC Groups site for other interested parties. Concerning the after thought on the title we managed to squeeze twenty four models into the car with room for I think another four. Whoever has the most toys when they die wins?

Neil & Colin


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