Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Tuesday 2nd July 2013 - Journey South

Tuesday 2nd July 2013

2.30am. Really. 2.30 AM?? That hurt! 

With little sleep I was up and on the road to meet Neil at Andover and Luke at Maidstone before rendezvousing at 7am with Andy at Dover to get the Land Rover packed with three gliders and kit. Having been reassured by Buzz that his Discovery was able to carry us all, I was still doubtful…

But my fears were soon laid to rest – it soon became apparent that not only was the Disco large enough to carry everything, but it was also going to do it in style. Well, that’s if you call the homemade wooden front support and the layers of foam flapping about to protect the gliders “stylish”. With everything packed, including the famous “Babs Raymond Retrieve Cake”, we headed down early to the ferry point and were quickly ushered through to get on the earlier ferry.

Result. 7.30am, on the ferry, sitting in the “TRUCKERS ONLY” café (where a full hearty breakfast with unlimited coffee and juice costs £3.99 – only drawback being that you have to somehow get through the swipe card entrance but a well-timed entrance behind a legitimate trucker helps).

No sooner had we said “bon appetite” then we were heading south on the autoroute to Annecy on what turned out to be a painless journey lasting about 9 hours, with the driving shared between Andy and myself. Painless that is apart from the rather poignant aroma that started drifting around the cabin after a few hours of being on the road. With a “team deodorant” now permanently left in the vehicle we won’t get a repeat of that.

Andy "Buzz Lightyear" Hollidge
Driving near to Dijon the sky was looking very active and we were soon heading towards a very black sky. The wind was starting to pick up considerably as a storm gust front came through. To safe guard the gliders, Andy ducked off the motorway at a Peage (the flags by the side were almost being ripped off their post). Just in time. A microburst from the storm cloud hit us, with winds estimated to be gusting up to 50 or 60mph. Good call Andy.

Back on the road and the landscape started changing as we approached Annecy, accompanied by the the inevitable craning of necks to look out the window up at the terrain, the assessment of landing options… It always happens. Driving round the edge of the town and the west side of the lake towards Doussard, it is obvious why so many pilots enjoy coming to Annecy. It is magnificently beautiful. I hope the pictures over the next week or so will do it justice.

Bomber, Skywalker, Buzz Lightyear, and The Boss... (I just veto'ed the suggested nickname!)

Et Voila! We arrived at Camping Nubliere just after 7pm French time (an hour on from UK). With Neil and Andy sharing one mobilhome, and me and Luke in the other, we donned our team T-Shirts (thanks to our injured pilot Tim King for getting the designs and printing organised) and headed off to a long awaited beer and supper. A good way to end the day. 

Pre Worlds Web Site:


  1. good luck guys will be following
    regards Nick Chitty

  2. Are we jealous ? you betcha.
    Have a great one guys & bring back some silverware.

    ; ))

  3. Good Luck Guys! See you on Saturday!

  4. don't forget the cake is for retrieve not Ben ;0)

    Tim and I will be with you next year xx