With the national lockdown continuing to restrict travel, I am again reminded how lucky I am to have access to local flying. Although it’s definitely not the most spectacular mountain paragliding Scotland has to offer, just being allowed take to the sky and enjoy the views on a clear winter day is a treat.
Last Saturday I was lucky enough to spend the day with my friend photographer Barrie Williams in the Pentland Hills. A couple years ago we tried to shoot some speedflying together at Hillend. Bad weather and equipment failure unfortunately conspired to end the day prematurely with little to show for it. This time conditions for both flying and photography were much better allowing me to soar the north west side of Scald Law while Barrie shot some excellent photos from the hill.
As the wind speed increased slightly propelling me higher, I soon found myself nearing the lower boundary of the controlled airspace above me. Reaching the vertical limit of flyable sky was sort of a surreal moment. At that point in time I realised I was at the highest place I could legally be. I was alone, on top of a very restricted world, an invisible cage the boundaries of which could be clearly seen before me.
Paragliding usually gives me the feeling of limitless freedom, but this perspective on the current situation left me with mixed feelings. In these strange times everyone is restricted by invisible lines. Crossing these lines can seem so tempting and often even inconsequential. But like with controlled airspace, good reasons exist why we must obey the rules and respect these invisible lines.
So for now I’ll stick to flying and skiing in my local hills when conditions allow, eagerly awaiting the return of freedom once again. Thanks for the great photos Barrie!