October 31, 2014

Last flight for October

Conditions are not so good now. We’re still, for the time being, enjoying warm weather for the time of year with today’s high being 27 degrees Celsius, which is amazing really. However, the sun isn’t rising anywhere near as high in the sky as it was even just a few weeks ago and although it only interferes with your flying when you’re flying directly into it, it makes any photographs that you take flat and featureless.

There’s a good chance that the decent weather is about to come to an abrupt end, with rain forecast for next week and also the real possibility that temperatures are going to fall off a cliff, back to what they should be for this time of year. So with that in mind, I planned to make the most of it today with a flight towards the south, taking a few photographs along the way.

Here’s a shot of my actual track with the names of the various waypoints and places that I passed along the way marked on it.

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A right turn-out from Galinat took me first down to the village of St Geniès. This is a very small village that is dominated by the church in its centre, which you can see in the following couple of shots

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I then adjusted course by a few degrees to the right to head for the village of Salignac. This is bigger than St Geniès but still not that large and is again slightly dominated by its large church, which is again visible in the two pics below. Above the church in the shots you can also see the Chateau de Salignac that has been undergoing repairs, especially to its roof, for some time now and hopefully these should be completed in time for next year.

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I then turned a bit more to the right to head down to St Julien, which I only flew past a few weeks ago but which was a convenient waypoint for today. Not long after leaving Salignac behind, I took a picture of the view to the east in the direction of Souillac, and here it is.

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Just to the north of St Julien, I flew past the small village of Carlux. This is slightly noteworthy for its XIIth century chateau perched on the side of a low hillside. As far as I know, the chateau is partially destroyed but it still remains something of a tourist attraction.

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And then on to St Julien. As I mentioned above, I flew past St Julien only a few weeks ago and took several pictures at the time. The colours now though, are completely different, so I took another and the comparisons between then (Summer) and now (late Autumn) are quite striking.

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Leaving St Julien behind, my track then headed west along the course of the Dordogne river. Along the way, I took a shot of the village of Veyrignac on the south side of the river, which I thought was interesting for the amount of smoke it contained. We are in that time of the year now when wood-burning stoves come fully into their own down here and as you fly along with the smoke rising up to you (not today, because the smoke was hardly rising at all) you frequently get to enjoy the delicious scent of burning oak.

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And then on to what for me was the highlight of the whole flight – Chateau Beynac perched high on its rock overlooking a sweeping bend in the river Dordogne. I made the most of it by flying a full circle of the chateau taking photographs as I went and here are a few of the best ones.

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The harsh sunlight didn’t do it justice at all and I made a mental note to make sure that I return for some better shots next year, when conditions are better.

And then I headed back to Galinat via Les Eyzies, which for several months of the year is usually heaving with tourists. But not now, and the most impressive feature today was the smoke from a bonfire which was again refusing to rise and was just drifting for hundreds of metres across from one side of the town to the other.

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The flight lasted 55 minutes, at an average speed of 55 mph including take off and landing. The air was very smooth and although I popped a sweat shirt on before taking off, I hardly needed it as it was so warm. I’m sure that we will get several good flying days over the coming Winter months but a lot depends on how wet it becomes. Last year, Galinat was unusable for several weeks because it became waterlogged, so it remains to be seen what will happen this year. I hope that I’ll be able to keep flying the whole way through, but I’ll have to just wait and see what the weather gods have in store for us.