I had a request from the chairman of a gliding club.
He'd read an article that I'd written about the fauna and flora on Halkyn mountain. I'd written it in my pre-MS days. I was a District and Community councillor back then and was disgusted at some folk who were dumping rubbish on our 2000 acre Halkyn mountain. I hope that my article would help more people appreciate some of the interesting beauty there.
Anyway, the gliding club chairman, Ken Payne, wrote to me because he wanted help getting publicity for the club. He said that I could have a free flight in one of their gliders if I would write an article about it.
I was happy to oblige.
Here's what I wrote in the article...
There is an old saying 'That if God had meant folk to fly, He would have provided us with wings'. Well, He didn't so folk get up in the sky in all types of aircraft.
The gigantic intercontinental airliners make for very boring long flights, I think. The longest that I have ever done was to Melbourne, Australia.
Then there are the monoplanes, from which I did my two sponsored charity jumps.
The double wings, Tiger Moths, on which I flew whilst on holiday in the Isle of White. We flew over The Needles.
The remote-controlled tiny unmanned aircraft for photographing fields.
But the ones I enjoy most are gliders.
The first glider I flew in was winch-controlled. This meant there was a winch about 100 yards away from the plane. A car parked near the glider would flash its lights, the signal at which the winch would begin to tow the glider along the ground. The glider moved very quickly and then bump-bump on the ground. Suddenly, we were up in the air and climbed very quickly up to 1000 feet. It made Concord's take-off seem sluggish.
The glider pilot would seek a thermal to fly on which would keep us in the air much longer. The deafening silence was truly lovely. I was so busy taking photographs that the time went by very quickly.
The next time that I went up in a glider it was towed up by another plane. The plane towed us up to 10,000 feet at which point the glider pilot released the towing cable. This would cause the glider to come to a complete stop. I thought we would plunge down to our certain deaths. But no, we would glide happily about.
Compared to my other favourite outdoor pursuits of sailing, golfing and motorcycling, gliding is without doubt also most delightful.