The Beauty of Coastal Gliding

The UK has an expansive coastline which gives rise to some excellent coastal flying sites, especially in the south including Perranporth, Chapel Porth, Ringstead bay, Sennen cove and Woolacombe bay- just to name a few! These sites are enjoyed by hang glider and paraglider pilots alike, described below is what makes flying at the coast so enjoyable.

Video from Jack Emery flying his paraglider at Chapel porth, Cornwall

The great flying conditions seen at the coast are due to the sea breezes. The sea breeze is often a gentle wind blowing landwards from the sea, developing due to differing heat capacities of the land/ sea causing differing air pressures over the land and sea. The cool, stable airflow creates calm and smooth conditions for flying. The ridge lift created by the cliffs often makes it pretty easy to stay up, which is demonstrated in the videos below!

“Coastal flying in Cornwall and Devon holds a magical quality for me as a paraglider pilot. Ever since my first flights, the sensation of floating around above the cliffs, sharing the air with seagulls, and looking down upon awe – struck onlookers never ceases to evoke pure joy and excitement. Chapel Porth is a fantastic site. On a good day you can get spectacular views of the Cornish coast from Holywell to Godrevy, not to mention the dolphins which like to hang about in the waters below!”

Charlie King flying her hang glider at Ringstead Bay, Dorset

Ringstead Bay is a beautiful place to fly. After taking off of a small ridge, you fly across to the cliffs which provide reliable lift and therefore soaring conditions. From the lower cliffs you can glide along, taking in the beautiful views as you gain height above the higher cliffs to the East. From above the cliffs you can see the whole bay and of course the ocean glistening in the sunshine, the videos don’t really do it justice!”

Charlie was inspired to take up hang-gliding at 16 by her dad. After just a week of training she began flying with a club and five years on is now taking part in the British open series competition and expanding her cross-country experience. She aims to encourage young people to try the sport, and prove that it’s possible to juggle work, study and flying!

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