A group of Petersfield-based Sky Surfing Club members headed to the Massif Central – a region of mountains and plateaus in the south-central area of France – in search of consistent flying conditions.

Dave Harvey, the club’s chief coach and owner of Liss-based Albatross Paragliding, organised the group, which included newcomer Andrew Dalton.

“The flying trip was a resounding success – lovely weather and the people with me really enjoyed it,” said Harvey. “Andrew did amazingly well, especially considering his total time flying at the start of the trip was measured in minutes rather than hours.

“We had him soaring high above the grassy slopes of the Puy de l’Angle, then popping over the back with us to try to glide all the way to the lake at Le Chambon. We didn’t quite make it, but Andrew managed a safe landing in a field he hadn’t seen before – which is a stunning achievement for such a new pilot.”

The group also launched from the Puy de Sancy – the highest peak in the Massif Central at more than 6,000ft.

“We took the cable car up early in the morning then walked for another 15 minutes up to the peak, admiring the steep and jagged rock faces beneath us,” said Harvey.

“We had to launch in a tight, steep spot. There was no opportunity to relax once airborne as we needed to glide through a saddle between the summit and the cable car station. Happily we all made it across the saddle.”

Some pilots aired their wings on sites in the East Meon area – Derek Luffman was among a few on Teglease Down. The next day a small group of pilots enjoyed the air above Wether Down.

Brian Parkins