My first ever cross-country flight on a paraglider took place at Bell Hill on 23 July 2011. A round of the BCC (British Club Challenge) was in progress, but I wasn't on the Wessex Club team. I just planned to fly around and stay out of people's way. Imagine my excitement as I hooked into a thermal and gradually climbed out to nearly 2000 feet above take-off. Beating off a mild wave of fear I realised that flying back to the hill was no longer an option, so I turned downwind and set off on glide for the first time, touching down in Winterbourne Stickland, some 7km from take-off. No big distance, perhaps, but an important first step...

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