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Paragliding

St Bees is very popular due to its two sets of cliffs, which give good lift in the prevailing SW wind. The lesser cliffs to the south are glacial moraines up to 30 metres above the beach. To the North the sandstone cliffs rise 100 metres. There is public access and paragliding is from both. There is a code of practice not to over-fly the concrete promenade in between due to past incidences of boots flying past holiday-makers faces as they stroll along the prom. This is an area of poor lift.

On two or three occasions a year, the local Lifeboat crew hold an exercise with the Air Sea Rescue helicopters. All paragliding should stop during these times.

During a recent exercise, despite being warned, one person did take off, thinking he was clear, being some 5-600 meters downwind. He was lucky to only be 20 feet or so off the ground when he learnt the hard way that the air is turbulent some distance away from the helicopter!

There have also been at least three accidents in recent years where paragliders have crashed in to the South Head, so although (I am told) the area is a good one for trainee pilots, it is not without its dangers.

 

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