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On 19th June, our Kent Vintage Glider Group left the club at 9am and headed oop north for Camphill, Derby and Lancs Gliding Club, where the Vintage Glider Rally was being held. Dad and I hitched a ride with John Norman who along the way told us all his stories of the air force. A short while later, (only 9 hours), we arrived at Camphill, welcomed immediately with a gratefully received pie and a pint. The friendly atmosphere, good humour and kind nature set the precedent for the week ahead.
A couple mornings later once the rain had stopped at "Damphill", we rigged the toys and brought them out for playtime. The wind was 30 knots, (yep, thirty!) blowing due West perpendicular to the magnificent ridge. I'll never forget the image of being in a K13 below airfield height, fast, with a screaming vario. Later, Malcolm climbed in the Olympia 463 and showed us who's the boss at the infamous "rock polishing". Having a low tailplane, the fin was just visible on the horizon as if a shark was swimming amongst the fields.
On the 24th, I scratched an hour and a half in the Skylark 4 and won a bottle of wine for the best flight of the day. The minimum sink of the Skylark is just -1.04 knots and can be thermalled at 40 knots with 45 degrees of bank. I also flew the other Kent Vintage Glider Group aircraft which are the Olympia 463 and the Slingsby Prefect, and Camphill's K18. When not in the air, people who aren't manning the excellently organised launchpoint that ran like clockwork, congregated in the launchpoint bus where there was hot drinks and food and stories being shared among people of all age groups.
The flying is great, but that was only half the holiday. The other unforgettable half is of course the evening entertainment and events. A crowd of probably 50 came together most nights for talks about birds of prey (from which came the inspiration of many airfoils), a quiz night, a BBQ, a couple parties etc.
So far, all these things have been good but if I was to remember just one thing about the week, it would certainly be the people. Camphill people are different from any others. As soon as I arrived, I felt welcome and at home. I always felt well-informed and involved in social and group activities. Go out today in the south and count the frowns. Large number isn't it? I didn't see a single frown that week as the Camphill folk are the most friendly and joyous people I've met.
Note: we now also have an Olympia 2b in the fleet.
A week oop north at Camphill,
We came here not
For the flying thrill,
But for the people
We remember, still.
Long will I remember,
The evening events,
The fun nights and laughter,
Valuable time spent.