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A magnificent site with a glorious ridge run, suitable for all skill levels. Low airtime pilots will need a thorough site briefing.
Drive along the High Street in Minehead and follow signs for North Hill. At the top of the hill, on the right, is a campsite. Soon after, on the right, take the concrete track and turn left to the car park. Carry down the path from the car park to the large cleared area.
HG & PG- Easy takeoff, easy soaring. Assess true wind direction as the wind may be brought more on to the launch area by the shape of the hill especially when the wind is NE. This site is usually only flown during the winter months, October - late March, as the Bristol Channel exerts a considerable influence on the wind direction during the warmer months.
Both HG and PG pilots should communicate to ensure that there is no clash of disciplines. The take-off is small. The takeoff is in shelter and lower than the main ridge. The wind is usually much stronger than you think. Take care in anything measuring over 8-10mph at launch.
The PG bottom landing is at Greenaleigh Farm (BL1), immediately below take-off. This is also the emergency HG B/L. All the fields slope, so land across them. To retrieve, go half way down North Hill to sharp right hand bend with stone cross. Turn left there into track to Greenaleigh Farm. A better option is BL2, a grass triangle just before the harbour, unfortunately extensively used by dog walkers. Retrieve where road ends past harbour. Best option, BL3, is on Minehead Beach in front of Somerwest World holiday camp IF the tide is out! Don't fly into anyone on the beach, which is crowded in summer.
HG - Around the car park in the V in the road near Bratton Ball, West of take-off.
PG - At T/O. If busy, there are also many suitable areas near the tracks on the hill to the left of T/O, dependent on the height and extent of the gorse bushes!
Soaring from Minehead to Bossington Hill. Jump gap west to Porlock Hill for a 26 mile coastal ridge run to Ilfracombe. However there is a good chance of going down into the sea and rocks.
While top landing, never fly South of the road, as you will probably be blown over back of hill into rotor. Beware of steep wind gradient and spine-back.
Dr. P. Slade, Greenaleigh Farm - Bottom landing.
Exmoor Forest National Park -Takeoff