We are very excited. We are also quite tired, mildly sun-burnt, and covered in odd little scratches and bruises. We just got back from two days paragliding in Hemsedal, central Norway (about five hours north-west of Halden, half-way between Oslo and Bergen). This picture was taken last year in Austria, but I’ve included it in order to give you non-paragliding types some idea of what it’s all about. Basically it’s connecting yourself to a big kite and flying with it. The wing folds up and fits in a backpack, along with your helmet and harness. You then drive, or climb, or ride a chair lift up a mountain, set it all up, take a few steps, and you’re in the air! That’s me, launching.
This trip, the snuggle-car performed admirably, as you can see below. Not only transport, but a home away from home.
Hemsedal is gorgeous. The tops of the mountains are still streaked with snow, which as it melts pours down the mountains in streams and waterfalls. We met up with the Oslo Paragliding Klubb. They gave us a lift up the mountain in their minibus, and then it was a 20 minute slog up to the launch site, pictured below. Very very pretty – mountain tops all around, purple flowers on the heather, patches of snow. But I was concentrating on carrying my 15kg backpack.
Here’s the exciting bit – we got 5 flights over two days!!!! (Once, in Austria, we got 7 flights over three weeks.) Until now, I’ve flown with radio contact, but this time I did it all myself! One of my launches went wrong – I was dragged along the rubble and have a grazed elbow to prove it, but that didn’t stop me getting up straight away and trying again. The landing site was on a golf course. We were told to please not land on the greens. The hardest thing about landing is judging when to come in. I got it right most times, but once I was too high, which meant I missed the landing field and… landed in the green. Oops. I stood up sheepishly, and about fifteen Norwegian pilots were staring at me. But I did it right next time. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to fly. To just step off a mountain and into the air. I love it. Love it. Here is the lovie coming in to land in his beautiful brand new Atis II.