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Cumbria Soaring Club

Please make sure you check the online site guide for any updates before flying

SSW - WSW

St. Bees

Key Facts

Status : OK
IMPORTANT - Restrictions on use Please DO NOT ground handle in the public park/play area north of the Beach Café - due to risk of injury to the public and at request of the locals.

If you intend flying from the 'South Head' (NW of the St Bees caravan park) please do not take off, land near or unduly disturb any farm stock (unless it is an emergency situation). There are adequate take off places west of the cliff-top fence, which avoid rotor and away from stock in the fields. Note the footpath has been re routed into the fields, but pilots can use the old footpath to get to the suggested take off areas (see photographs).
Last Updated : 22/08/2017 at 19:19 by Rick Livingstone
Wind : SSW - WSW Nil Wind : N
Grid Ref : NX962117 Height (AMSL) : 30' / 9m
Site Code : none Top to Bottom : 30' / 9m

Location

W Coast - nr Whitehaven

Details

The area south of the café is suitable for novice CPs as long as they don't stray from the site and they respect windy days. The cliff area to the north of the beach is more unfriendly and less suited to novice CPs.

South of the beach café at St.Bees is a 6 - 15m clay cliff that is eroding and taking the golf course onto the shingle/sand beach. The site offers an area of coastal ridge soaring that is useful when inland sites may be blown out.

North west of the caravan park leads to some impressive sandstone cliffs further north. 340ft vertical height but very committing with no safe slope or bottom landing!

Site Officer

Chris Little : 07966153668

Access

Postcode for Sat Nav Systems

CA27 0ES

Seacote Hotel. This is right by the main car park.

Getting There

From the main A595 turn off for St Bees at any signed junction. At St Bees make for the huge St. Bees Beach car park which is at the start of the Coast-to-Coast walk - west of St Bees Railway Station.
The Seacote Hotel kindly allows us to park on their property adjacent to the old car park we use for take off. Please consider giving them some business!
An experienced pilot has told me he's never ever paid to park in the main car park and never been fined (despite the signs...)!

Getting to takeoff

South of the beach café: Take off is next to the café or a gentle walk further south along the path between the clifftop and the golf course.

North West of the caravan park: Follow the obvious cliff-top footpath for half a mile to take off. The lower cliff-top take off is in a corner of the fence next to a bank of gorse, to the west of the fields and the fence. There is a bigger (but sloping) take off area higher up the old path which can be accessed as in the photo, or by walking down the old path from the gate at the top of the hill (this avoids any erosion). Note that currently there is no active erosion anywhere along the old path. (See photos) Or take off out of the fields, subject to not disturbing stock.

XC potential

To the south: On a good day you can cross the gap at the south end of the golf course and fly 5km South down the coast and back (beware of power lines, the railway line, Sellafield no go airspace and the UKAEA Police!).

To the north: The cliffs north of the old pillbox are experienced pilot territory (where the cliff angle changes from facing SSW to WSW). There might be a landing at Fleswick bay if the tide is out but you would have to be desperate to try it - best stay above the cliff top and top land while you can! On the right day, with skill & care, you can fly to the St Bees lighthouse and even beyond to connect with the Haig site.

Permission to use site

St Bees School (owns the golf course area).
Mr A Crichton, The Mill (behind Rottington Hall), Rottington, St Bees. (Cliff-top fields NW of St Bees caravan park).

Briefing

Hazards

The area south of the café is suitable for novice CPs as long as they don't stray from the site and they respect windy days. The cliff area to the north of the beach is more unfriendly and less suited to novice CPs.

Most of the take off locations require groundhandling skill to launch across a busy footpath; please be careful, considerate and polite at all times.

Please DO NOT ground handle in the public park/play area north of the Beach Café - due to risk of injury to the public and at request of the locals.

The state of the tide should be always be taken into consideration.

To the North, this site has some committed take off areas with limited landing options due to the beach boulders (or no beach!). If you lose height and can no longer top land, it is a significant glide back to a safe landing.

Take Off

SOUTH of the beach café; take-off is normally from, or in front of, the old car park and requires some ground handling skills and crossing a busy footpath. There are further take offs to the south, some of which may be gentler on your wing than the car park, if you use these please take care not to infringe on the golf course or interfere with play.

If you intend flying NORTH of the beach, from the 'South Head' (NW of the St Bees caravan park); From the fields, please do not take off, land near or unduly disturb any farm stock (unless it is an emergency situation). There are also adequate take off places west of the cliff-top fence, which avoid rotor and stock in the fields east of the fence. Note the footpath has been re routed into the fields, but pilots can use the old footpath to get to the suggested take off areas (see photographs). The lower cliff-top take off is in a corner of the fence next to a bank of gorse, to the west of the fields and the fence, there are bigger (but sloping) take off areas higher up the old path (see photos).

Landing Areas

Land back at take off in the old car park.

Or land on the beach, above HW mark if you can, note salt water and dry seaweed are not good for your wing or lines!

Or, with care and consideration, land in the public park/play area north of the café - but not on busy days please - there have been incidents with injury to the public here!

DO NOT LAND ON THE GOLF COURSE if at all possible!

Flying

SOUTH of the beach café; Take care, to get established at soaring height you will need to carefully fly close to the cliffs after take off, otherwise you'll be on the beach. On a good day, if the wind is a little off to the south and with height, you can fly across the gap north of the café, onto the south head and back at will. Great fun but be ready to set up to land if you lose too much height and beware turbulence when joining the cliffs at the north end of the beach.

NORTH of the beach is a much larger sandstone cliff, facing SSW and then WSW, with a footpath along the top. Take-offs are committing (no slope or bottom landings). There are only large slabs below, so you will need to top-land, or glide to the beach, or to the park north of the café (taking care of the buildings, lamp-posts and the public) or to the take off south of the café. When soaring the far WSW cliffs further north and out of view of the beach, be aware of the state of the tide in case you come back too low.

XC potential

To the south: On a good day you can cross the gap at the south end of the golf course and fly 5km South down the coast and back (beware of power lines, the railway line, Sellafield no go airspace and the UKAEA Police!).

To the north: The cliffs north of the old pillbox are experienced pilot territory (where the cliff angle changes from facing SSW to WSW). There might be a landing at Fleswick bay if the tide is out but you would have to be desperate to try it - best stay above the cliff top and top land while you can! On the right day, with skill & care, you can fly to the St Bees lighthouse and even beyond to connect with the Haig site.

St. Bees Map