The club in 2016
The Cairngorm Gliding Club was founded in 1966 by a group of ten enthusiasts including our President Bill Longstaff, and 2016 is therefore our Golden Jubilee year. It stands in an area of oustanding natural beauty and breathtaking scenery within the Cairngorms National Park, and is an ideal soaring location with superb conditions for ridge, wave, thermal and cross-country flying.
The airfield is situated 860ft above sea level and consists of a single grass strip 1000m in length, oriented 21/03, with the meandering river Feshie on the west side and forested mountain slopes to the east. The ridge works best in north-west to south-west winds, rises to 3.600ft and can be follwed for at least 10km to the south. At the back of the ridge impressive cliffs tower over the remote Loch Einich, and these massive granite buttresses can sometimes be soared in north-easterlies. There is also a smaller 'north bowl' which often works when we are operating from the 03 end of the runway.
The nearby peaks including Braeriach, Ben Macdui, Cairn Toul and Cairn Gorm itself provide almost unlimited mountain soaring opportunities. Wave can be encountered at any time of year, and in almost any wind direction, the current altitude record being 28,534ft. We also run an annual Munro-Bagging competition in which pilots attempt to fly accurately over as many Munro peaks as possible.
What makes Feshie special?
When you look out of a glider at 4,000 feet above the Cairngorm Mountains you will be able to see the answer to this question. We soar over some of the most breathtaking scenery in the UK. The airstrip is situated beside a two mile long west facing ridge, with a south facing 'bowl' behind it leading straight into the heart of the Cairngorm Mountains.
We fly over the spectacular Insh Marshes (an RSPB bird reserve) and the tranquil Loch Insh. The Spey Valley is just to the west of the club airfield and on a clear day you can see as far as the Moray Firth to the north and Ben Nevis in the west. Soaring eagles, buzzards and ospreys give us a clear indication of rising air.
Feshie is one of the UK's top 'mountain wave' sites. Wave is a smooth area of rising air downwind of a mountain range. It is often marked by high-altitude lenticular shaped clouds and a glider can climb in the incredibly smooth air of the wave to well over twenty thousand feet above the site. Many visitors from further south visit Feshie for these spectacular flying conditions.
When do we operate?
Feshie operates all year round, mainly at weekends.
Normally held during the first two weeks of May we run a full time operation for local and visiting pilots.
Normally held at the end of September through to first week of October. This is a full time operation for pilots to take advantage of the wave conditions prevalent at that time of year.
Booking is essential for both Mayfest and Octoberfest events. Please contact the Club Secretary. There is no booking fee.
We have a fully equipped clubhouse with cooking, toilet and shower facilities. Often we have dinner together in the clubhouse on a Saturday evening and discuss the day's activities. You may camp on site for free.
Please note that we are strictly limited to only three caravans on site at any one time, so spaces must be booked through the Secretary. There are excellent hotels, B&B's and hostels near the site and we can provide details on request.
About our Committee
Our President Bill Longstaff flies a DG-600M, Ventus, Dart and Swallow. He has a Gold C badge with two Diamonds, and was one of the founder members of the club.
Our Chairman and Chief Flying Instructor is Mike Morrison, who flies a Ventus and has a Gold C badge.
The Treasurer is Nick Norman, who has three Diamond badges and was formerly a training captain for Bristow helicopters. He shares the Ventus with Mike Morrison.
The Secretary is Phil Hawkins. A Gold C pilot with two Diamonds, Phil loves flying DaisyETA - his ASK21 two seater with his wife Fiona. Also occasionally a Mini Nimbus at his "other club" in Oxfordshire.
Tug Master is Ian Carruthers, who flies an immaculate DG 400 motor glider. He has a Gold C badge with two Diamonds.
Technical Officer is David Weekes. An active member of the Vintage Glider Club, he owns a Skylark 4 vintage glider. He has two Diamond badges, which he is keen to point out were both flown in a Skylark!
Hangar Manager is Andy Farr, who admits to being hopeless at DIY but has been known to fill in potholes on the peri track, and go stargazing at Achlean. He has a Silver C badge and Diamond height.
Safety Officer and Winch Master is Peter Smith, who works offshore in the oil industry. Likes Cairngorm sausages and flying the Vega. Silver C badge, Gold height and duration.
Our Team of Instructors
We have a very experienced team of highly qualified instructors with a wealth of experience.
Full Category Instructors
Chief Flying Instructor
Assistant Category Instructors
Diamond height (disallowed)
BI rated instructors
Silver C, Diamond height
Tow Plane Pilots
|Ian Carruthers (tug
||Nick Norman||Bob Forrest|
||Roger Fothergill||Paul Myers|
Fleet: Puchacz 2-seater, Grob Twin Acro II 2-seater, Grob 102 Astir, Robin DR400 tow plane
Main hangar with clubhouse, kitchen, toilets, shower
Two T-Hangars, blister hangar, workshop, winch
with its own shelter