Cambridge Gliding Centre

The Cambridge Gliding Centre in rural seclusion at Gransden Lodge held an Open Day and invited a variety local politicians as well as members of the public to find out more about gliding – and, weather permitting, to go up for a taster lesson.

Alas there hardly could have been a less auspicious day. Drenching rain, impaired visibility, and a stiffish breeze meant there was no aerial activity. However the club very hospitably furnished us with mugs of coffee and sticky buns before sitting us down for a fascinating talk about the basics of gliding. The presence of a UKIP MEP meant that impacts of proposed EU regulations were discussed.

We were astounded to discover the kinds of distances that gliders can go in a day – a round trip to Wales, hopping from thermal to thermal is not unknown. I have one been hot-air ballooning and found that exhilaratingly peaceful, apart from the occasional roar of the burner. With gliding I think there would only be the sound of passing th

There followed a visit to the hanger to see a variety of one- and two-seater gliders. They are very sleek and elegant craft, and I was pleased to try out sitting in one. At the end of the visit Margaret and I signed up to go for a complimentary lesson in late June – it would have been nice if we could have booked a day of soaring thermals. However, clearly gliding is one of those sports that is very weather dependent, and its practitioners will drop everying at a moment’s notice to go flying if the conditions are good.

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About Ian Nimmo-Smith

Mayor of Cambridge 2011-12
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