£460 + Travel. Pay a £100 deposit today!
Join us for a mountain flying trip to the Massif Central, flying over extinct volcanos and 1800m mountains in central France.
The price includes: accommodation, home cooked food, up to one XC retrieve at the end of each day, and guiding from experienced pilots Dave Harvey and Michel Carnet. The price does not include travel.
Massif Central, France – One of the best known flying sites in the region is Puy de Dome, an extinct volcano with a mountain railway, in the north of the Massif Central. Takes all wind directions. Big grassy takeoffs. The train runs every 40 minutes so it’s easy to get back up the mountain. Epic XC flights towards Mont Dore to the south. There are countless other mountain sites in the area, surrounding the Puy de Sancy (highest peak in the Massif Central) and the Plomb du Cantal to the south.
If the weather is bad in the Massif Central, we may change the destination at the last minute. Other possible destinations include Val Louron (French Pyrenees), Mevouillon (Southern French Alps), or the Scottish Highlands.
About £140 return if you travel by road with us (paying your share of fuel, ferry, and motorway tolls). This is based on 3 or 4 people per car, and we’ll ask for volunteers to share some of the driving. Or you can take a plane and we’ll collect you from the airport in return for the fuel and any motorway toll cost. The best airport for the Massif Central is Clermont Ferrand – but please don’t book any flights until the destination is confirmed.
Albatross Paragliding – a BHPA registered Air Experience School. The Chief Instructor is Dave Harvey, assisted by the very experienced Instructor Michel Carnet. Please note our instructor qualifications are for tandem flying rather than teaching newbie solo pilots.
We request that XC pilots attempt to make their own way back (or nearer) by hitching or public transport (but not expensive taxis). We find that hitching works very well in the mountains especially with a paraglider shaped rucksack. At the end of the flying day we will collect anyone who is still not back. Extra points if you can fly straight back to the holiday house.
Pilots including lower air timers looking to grow their confidence in a mountain environment. The opportunities will range from gentle top-to-bottoms to challenging XC flights. You must be confident in your forward launching technique and ground handling – we can give you coaching on this before the trip if necessary. You should also be prepared to walk up to an hour with your glider. These skills can easily be perfected on our local sites. Please talk to us before booking if you’re not sure if you’re ready for this trip.
Dave Harvey organised the last two Sky Surfers Mountain flying trips. In 2016 we went to the Puy de Dome, and in 2018 we flew in the West Highlands of Scotland. In 2019 we returned to Puy de Dome, where we also flew mountain sites in the Monts de Cantal and around Puy de Sancy. In September 2020 we did a trip to the Bavarian alps in Germany (see the video here). All trips had excellent weather with flying every day in awesome landscapes.
Chris Drabble came with us to the Puy de Dome and says: “The club trip was great fun and a super way of getting to know club members with all levels of experience. We all worked together to make sure everybody felt supported and had the opportunity to fly in areas suitable for their level. I can really recommend this to anybody who wants to fly and enjoy a good holiday.”
Justin Simmonds came with us to the Highlands and said: “We flew every day and saw some amazing sights. Scotland was where it all came together for me, learning to thermal under Dave’s watchful eye and guidance. I would recommend the trip to anyone wanting to meet likeminded paragliders and learn new skills. Dave is also an amazing cook”
Michel Carnet used to be the CFI of a large paragliding school in Brighton and has in the past organised many trips in France, Spain, Greece, and Switzerland. His experience is invaluable.
Spring thermals in the mountains can be strong. Low air timers and those not used to strong thermals may wish to have a long lunch break. We may also plan the day around this – eg. by using the lunch break to travel to a different site.
This trip is inspired by the trips Dave Harvey previously organised for the Sky Surfing Club. The aim is to keep it simple, friendly, and cheap. We’re doing this more for fun than to make money. Be aware also that we’re not offering the same level of teaching or retrieve chauffeurs some other trips might offer: one retrieve per day, and guiding rather than instruction.
We’ll help you to make your own decisions: we’ll research the flying area, talk to local pilots, look at the forecast with you, and discuss. But we will not take responsibility away from you nor make decisions for you. Neither will we be teaching you entirely new skills – rather we’ll be giving advice for you to build on what you already know.
It’s important that you take out insurance to cover search and rescue, medical expenses, and repatriation. We will ask to see your insurance as a condition of coming on the trip. Albatross Paragliding is not covered by the BHPA’s insurance when we offer guiding – this is not considered a problem by the BHPA, but it does mean you need to be certain you have your own insurance, which covers paragliding.
Make use of our coaching and guidance, but don’t switch off your own decision making! You know yourself, your capabilities, fears, and desires. Just because more experienced pilots have judged the weather to be OK, it might not be OK for you, and the weather might change, or the more experienced pilots might have missed something that you’ve noticed.
Breakfast: Tea, coffee, granola, cornflakes, fruit, yoghurt, pancakes, maple syrup, and (if we’re not having an early start) english breakfast.
Lunch: we provide fresh bread, sandwich fillings, fruit and a dessert for you to assemble your own packed lunches.
Dinner: simple home-cooked food such as roast chicken with mash and greens, mushroom risotto, pasta carbonara, steak and chips, etc.
Simple holiday accommodation with shared rooms. We have an option to reserve a holiday home in the village of La Bourbole, near the Puy de Sancy. It is possible to land in nearby fields. We will confirm this destination a few days before departure, once the weather forecast is available.
Consider bringing the following extra bits of kit:
1 week or more before departure you can cancel with a full refund.
If you wish to cancel after that, you may do so with a full refund if you need to isolate due to Covid. Otherwise, we may keep your deposit (£100). We will try to ensure this is not necessary (eg. by finding someone to replace you). In the very unlikely event that the trip becomes unviable for any reason, we will offer to refund everyone in full.
The price of this trip is £460 not including travel, you are paying a £100 deposit. A balance of £360 is due 1st May 2020.
Important: Please describe your paragliding experience (hours flown, any mountain flying experience) and confirm any special dietary requirements (please say whether life-threatening). We will also require an emergency contact, please provide us with a name, phone number plus any other contact details you wish to share.
In order to stay safe on this trip, you should make use of the guidance provided, but don’t switch off your own decision making! You know yourself, your capabilities, fears, and desires. Just because more experienced pilots have judged the weather to be OK, it might not be OK for you, and the weather might change, or the more experienced pilots might have missed something that you’ve noticed.
This trip includes guidance rather than instruction. This means that we’ll research the flying area, talk to local pilots, look at the forecast with you, and discuss. But we will not take responsibility away from you nor make decisions for you. Neither will we be teaching you entirely new skills – rather we’ll be giving advice for you to build on what you already know. You awareness of this will help you stay safe.
With Covid cases rising, we've decided to pause flying. Tier 4 rules allow us to fly, but we feel it's right to wait until Covid cases are not rising before we return to the skies. Stay safe!