Monday, 16 February 2015

Dunnichen Hill

The last time I had a decent sport fly was back in November and "things" kept getting in the way. A nice easterly forecast for Saturday looked promising but the day turned out hazy and misty and trips to Kilspindie in similar weather have proved most disappointing with the slope completely shrouded in cloud. It might have been clearer later in the day but I was needed elsewhere!

The forecast for Sunday was for a good south-south easterly but that misty clag was still blowing in from the North Sea and although the south corner of the hill is flyable at Kilspindie it isn’t great.

So, having spotted a potential hill only 20 minutes away I chucked my Weasel Evo in the car and headed over to Dunnichen Hill. (Apparently and long before Mel Gibson, in 685AD Dunnichen Hill was the site of a  decisive Pictish battle against the Northumbrian hordes).

Bonnie walk.
A nice easy walk up through some old woodland and past a couple of small fishing ponds saw me on the edge of a promising looking slope. The lift in a 25mph SSE wind is very good and my Weasel was scooting along really well. Yippeee! I was able to easily climb the model until it was a speck and dive straight down and along the edge for a couple of ballistic runs before it slowed to a more normal speed. Weasel lacks the momentum of a ballasted F3F model. It was brilliant to finally get some decent stick-time even if it was only a foamie.
Weasel Evo over the landing area which is tighter than it looks.
There is a stand of trees down the bottom of the hill which seemed to cause some turbulence but not too bad. However, the line of trees along the back of the slope is more of an issue. There is a smallish area in front of the trees for landing but it is tight! Having got my Weasel a bit close to the trees on several approaches I would be cautious about trying to get an F3F model down there. The three main parts of the Weasel are held together with magnets and the parts will separate if the ground is smote a little too firmly and this aspect was explored more than once!  My old Spark will be getting taken along next time though. I will need to coax it out of its hiding place in the shed after the last expedition we had together! There is a largish flat field behind those trees but the turbulence felt fierce near thre teees and fat calm farther back. I would be wary. If you walk about 200m west there is an area where there are no trees and there is a promising landing area to be tried next time ;)
Hazy out the front
It was great to get a good fly and I was well pleased. Smiled all the way home!

Postscript. One concern I had when I was walking up to the slope is I spotted several feeding stations for game birds (Don’t get me wrong, I do like a game bird). There were notices too, saying “No Fires” “No camping”. I kept an eye open for an irate gamekeeper turning up and chasing me off his land for scaring his pet pheasants. Sure enough, as I was walking back down the hill to where I left the car I heard the approach of what turned out to be a couple of quad-bikes ridden by a suitably attired gamekeeper and his son together with a mud caked spaniel. Here we go I thought! However, the chap could not have been nicer! He was interested to learn that I had success flying there and left with a cheery wave.   

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