Gliders at Portmoak, Scotlandwell. – Watercolour in a Watercolour Moleskine
I have always been fascinated by aircraft and joined the RAF Cadet Force when at High School. This led to a number of flights in various aircraft and, had I stayed in the cadets long enough would have undergone pilot training. About this time, in the early 1960′s, I would cycle from Kirkcaldy to this small airfield on the shores of Loch Leven to watch the gliders. I must have been keen (and fit) for its a 35 mile round trip.
Last week, returning from Falkland Palace, we made a short detour to revive some childhood memories. The Scottish Gliding Centre is still here and we watched some nice flying on a hot sunny day. I shot a small video of our visit which is not very good as I was having difficulty pick up the machines at long range against the white clouds. My video shows the two methods of launching namely gliders being towed by a light aircraft or towed by a winch. You just might make out the winch cable in a couple of shots which has a parachute just under the glider. When the glider is released, the parachute allows the cable to to be recovered without killing anyone. When the gliders are set free they invariably head for the slopes of the Bishop Hill where a combination of updraughts and thermals can keep these things aloft for hours.
The Scottish Gliding Centre have a great information web site. This is their Home Page. On it there is a brilliant wee video. If you watch it you will see many lovely shots of this area including Loch Leven. Around 5.00 minutes you see some islands on the loch. The small one, to the right, is where Mary, Queen of Scots was imprisoned in the small castle in 1567.