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  • Brogdale Cider Festival 2016

    August bank holiday weekend sees the annual Brogdale Cider Festival. For once the bank holiday weather was good to us, and despite a couple of showers on Sunday we had a great weekend, possibly the best we've ever had at Brogdale.

    This year we were teddy parachuting and making kites as usual, but we had also been asked to fly some oversize kites. Now I'm not exactly sure what an oversize kite is. All the kites I have seem to be just about exactly the right size. Still we did our best.

    Saturday we hot - heading towards very hot, or even scorchingly so. In fact, it was so hot that the relays on the electic winch used to launch the teddies burnout out, so all windong had to be done by hand. Well done to all invloved for the excellent effort in keeping a steady stream of teddies flying. One tried to escape by drifting over into the cherry orchard, but was eventually recovered, apparently no worse for his adventure. But as we had been asked to fly some large kites, perhaps this is what they had in mind?

    Unfortunately, with the tricky wind conditions, and teddy parachuting being the main event, there isn't a huge amount of room to fly a lot of large kites. To wash away the dust, a rather nice glass of Turners Cider had to be tested. Well it seemed like the thing to do! And along came Sunday, a rather different day, bearable (!) temperature,a fair amount of cloud cover, and even a couple of heavy showers. But with kites already aloft, and only being showers, we left them where they were and they blew out dry. Sunday seemed a lot quieter than Saturday from our perspective. We still managed to put some bears into the sky. The wind wind had moved round almost 180 degrees from Saturday, picked up to brisk, and was decidedly tricky. In fact, we did manage to put two kites into assorted orchards. Both were recovered without damage to the kites, though one needed some attention to its bridle, as in a complete rebuild. And again, we managed to put some large kites into the sky, which attracted some positive attentiion.

    Nothing planned for enxt week yet. I think some of our members will possibly be heading up to the Layer Marney tower near Colchester for their kite event. The following week, we will probably be flying at Palm Bay near Margate, and the weekend after that, a lot of us will be enjoying the delights of Dieppe kite festival

  • Teston Kite Weekend 2016

    Here we are again and another Teston done and dusted. As usual Teston kite weekend is a very relaxed affair, about chilling with family and friends and flying a few kites into the bargain.

    This year, camping numbers were down on previous years because Portsmouth Kite Festival had moved their dates and now clashed. So many flyers were heading down to Southsea for the weekend rather than coming to Kent. But Teston has its own charm no matter how few or many turn up. And there were a few newcomers on site who seemed to be enjoying their first ever visit - including a parrot!

    Millie.

    Saturday had dawned as a beautiful sunny day, but as the day drew on so the cloud built. Fortunately this kept the temperatures down a little. As usual for Teston, the winds were a little unpredictable or testing!. But we did manage to get some kites into the sky, including this flock of swifts.

     

    And also this rather nice rokkaku, that had been bought a couple of weeks ago at Dunstable Kite Festival.

      Touch the Sky

    A few people also flew Kiteability kites in memory of Ron and Pat Dell, who organised the event for so many years and supported kite flying throughout the UK. We were also treated to a low level fly past by the Red Arrows on their way somewhere - perhaps Eastbourne. Wherever, read your notams next time chaps, we had clearance to 1,00 feet, and I rather suspect that the "second wave" were testing that one! The day closed with our now traditional club barbeque.

    Sunday was a bit like Saturday in reverse. The day started cloudy, but soon the cloud cleared and the temperature soared. Unfortunately the wind stayed away for large parts of the day, occasionally teasing us. So for most of the day it really was a time for chilling. But as the sun went down the slightest breeze pcieked up and we were able to get some kites into the sky broefly. So that's it. Another Teston for another year. Next year is the 30th year of Teston, so it will be the only place to be.

  • Dunstable Kite Festival 2016

    Better late than never, but its been a busy week. Unfortunately, this year I was only able to attend the Sunday of Dunstable. There was a good turn out of Kent members, and an even better turn out on the Saturday apparently. For those who have never been to Dunstable, it is a truly magnificent place, not just for the kite flying. There is so much more that goes on there. In the valley is the gliding club and in the morning there is a constant stream of gliders being towed aloft, then in the afternoon, we hear the wooshing as the gliders come back in to land. In addition, there are the paragliders, who fall off the hill at the far end of the site, and float around so serenely. It's a minor miracle that there aren't mishaps.

      P1000222

     Paraglider

    But what about the kites? Well this year, the wind was coming off the valley so climbing up the side and getting a bit turbulent at ground level, particularly at the bottom end of the arena, where everyone was based. However, once we got above the turbulence, it was wonderful flying conditions, and once again the weather really couldn't have been better. A good breeze to keep us cool, and occasional sun.

    There's plenty of space for everyone to fly, but the point is made that general public are restricted to 100 feet AGL, whilst invited flyers are allowed to get much higher. With such a busy airspace, this is a wise precaution. The arena displays start at around 11am, and of course are totally weather dependent, but in the conditions, it stayed pretty much on track. And there is so much going on.

    There was a mass launch and of Carl Robertshaw serpent deltas

      Nest of serpents?

    Also a mass fly of Skybums kites (handmade by Paul and Helene Morgan of course) who were trading on site for the weekend

      Skybums Display

    There was also a magnificent display of David Ellison's kites

      David Ellison Display

    But the high point for me were the magnificent flute kites created by a gentleman from Vietnam whose name I can't remember unfortunately. I know some of our members had the opportunity to fly these kites on the Saturday, and they looked and sounded wonderful.

      Vietnamese Flute Kites

    But of course it isn't just about single line kites. The day has several display teams flying, including Team Spectrum; Airheads; Flying Fish and, of course, Flying Squad - well this is their home turf.

      Energetic Airheads

      Flying Fish

    Flock of Swallows

    If you can get there next year and the weather is favourable, I can't think of a better place to be.

  • The Ron Dell Kite Festival 2015

    In a world of ever increasing chaos there lies a little oasis of relative calm that is Teston Bridge Country Park. And for the second weekend of August each year, it gets converted into a kite picnic site. This year, the weather gods were kind to us, delivering lots of warm sunshine throughout the weekend, but very little wind on Saturday.

    So it is that the major event on Kent Kite Flyers calendar takes place beside the river Medway on a small grass patch dominated by a mighty oak tree. It was good to see kite flyers from across the south of England, from as far away as Dorset and Norfolk coming to enjoy the weekend, meet old friends and remember old friends who are no longer with us.

    Typically Saturday is the quieter of the two days. Obviously shopping and other chores get in the way of people coming out in force, though there were several large picnic groups on the site, but no-one really interested in flying kites. Games of rounders or football seem much more important to them.I feel a little sorry for the kite trader and caterers who come to events like this and whilst there is a reasonable number of people around, none of them are buying anything. There was very little kite flying undertaken as the weather was too calm and too hot, so we lounge around chatting. For us Satruday eveneing ends with a barbeque, and this year chef Bill and his team of sous chefs did us proud once again.

    Chef and sous chefs

    Sunday, as usual, is the busier day. But once again, the picnicers were out in force, but very little interest, and in some cases ourtight hostility towards, kite flying. So whilst the wind was definitely more present than on Saturday, it was a typical Teston wind, best described as difficult, making flying at low levels difficult, so unless you were willing and able to take advantage of the ample height clearance, the afternoon would always be a challenge.

    Something fishy

    All good things must come to an end, and all too soon we have to think about packing up and heading for home. It was great to be joined for the weekend by Mike and Linda from Kiteworld, able to relax and enjoy the sunshine with none of the pressures of trying to make a profit. To the kite flyers who came from far and wide, representing various kite clubs, a big thank you for making the effort. I spotted Kite Weekenders, Great Ouse Kite Flyers, Essex Kite Group, Brighton Kite Flyers and Poole Kite Flyers. If I have missed any, my apologies. Thanks to Jai from Hizakite for coming and selling her wares. This is her last year as a trader. Finally, thanks to the KKF committee, and particularly Malcolm for organising the event.

  • Brogdale Cider Festival

    This weekend saw our intrepid furry fauna jumping from a kite hopefully with the aid of a parachute, though not always so! We had been invited to participate in the Brogdale Cider Festival for the Saturday and Sunday of the bank holiday weekend. We could also use the site for general kite flying, and were also running a kite workshop.

    Now the concept of teddy parachuting at a cider festival seems wrong to me. But I suppose the idea is that it is a family inclusive event, with plenty of activities for the younger participants, as well as many different varieties of cider for the older participants to try and buy.

    Saturday was a warm sunny and breezy day. Unfortunately the breeze was blowing across the field to wards the minitaure railway, which restricts the amount of space we have to allow teddies to drop. So the short rig was chosen. And was soon aloft. The breeze whilst strong at times, was not always constant, so we had to keep a constant eye on the kite as it would come down over the railway if left to its own devices. There seemed to be a lot of children about during the afternoon, and we were kept busy parachuting bears, both borrowed and owned. We were also treated to a display by Peter's pod of dolphins. The kite workhop also had moments of high activity, so all in all a pretty good day.

    Sunday was less successful. It started as a gloriously sunny day, but with absolutely no breeze. Trying to work out where to set up was the first challenge. We ended up set up in almost the same place as Saturday, having moved around the field a few times. The enxt challenge was kite selection. We tried just about everything, from power sled through rokkaku to mega delta. All had brief moments in the sky, during which they were able to support enough weight to launch a couple of bears, but each one came back to the ground in fairly short order, in the case of the delta and power sled, rather to brikly, resulting in breaks, both of which have been repaired. So the day was pretty much a write-off for teddy parachuting, though the kite workshop was again busy at times. On Sunday Peter's dolphins were replaced by Kevin and Wendy's garden of lowers, and very pretty it was too.

    Next weekend we are parachuting intrepid furry friends at Sellindge fete. Come and find us there.

  • Arty at Woodchurch

    Sunday saw us running around on the green at Woodchurch. the forecast was for strong breezes and showers and they weren't wrong. A couple of times we had to scurry for the shelter of cars, and one downpour in particular kept us there for some time. But afterwards, the sun came out and it turned into a pleasant afternoon.

    So it seemed like a good time for some of our members to show off their latest acquisitions. Kiteability were reknown for their hexagon kites, and a couple of members had fine examples to display, and there was also a rather stunning rokkaku with a well known image of Jimi Hendrix on it.

    All in all a very good afternoon. Next weekend we are parachuting teddy bears and running a kite workshop at the Brogdale Cider Festival in Faversham. Come and find us if you dare.

    Optical Hexagon by Pitprops on Flickr

    Celtic Knott Hexagon by Pitprops on Flickr

    Hendrix Rokkaku by Pitprops on Flickr

  • The Ron Dell Kite Festival

    Teston Bridge Picnic Site is the scene, where the “Big Kite Weekend” had been renamed in honour of the man who organised so many of the events in the past and who sadly passed away earlier this year. Unfortunately the weather gods were threatening all manner of bad things. And on Friday night over an inch of rain fell in a couple of hours. So we were expecting to see a rather damp field and unhappy campers on Saturday.

    Kite

    But the sun came out and the wind blew away any misery our canvas loving friends might have suffered. The wind was blowing down the Medway valley, and was rather lumpy and unpredictable, but was not going to dampen our spirits. At least there was wind, which in itself is a bit of a rarity for this event. Numbers of campers seemed to be down on previous years, but most of the clubs from the south of England seemed to be represented, including Poole Kite Flyers, Brighton Kite Flyers, Solent Kite Flyers and The Kite Weekenders. Jai was again trading, but in addition Mike and Linda Howard from Kiteworld came along to join us, not as traders, but just to enjoy a relaxing weekend. We were even joined by Batman at one point.

     

    As said, Saturday had a good breeze and warm sun, so most of the kite flyers managed to fly something. There was also a fine array of workshop kites built at the workshop run by Slideaway, the children’s charity. In addition, Dom and Dot Cox, long-time friends of Ron were running their tombola stall, and managed to raise £200, which they split between Slideaway and the Isabel Hospice, which cared for Ron. As usual, the best and most consistent flyers seemed to be the plastic sleds and “easi-fly” deltas. At the end of the flying activities, chef Bill produced a fabulous barbeque for club members and invited guests.
    On Sunday, the remnants of hurricane Bertha tried their best to disrupt proceedings. Heavy rain and string winds kept most people away during the morning, and the public never really materialised. A few people did come out in the afternoon to make the most of the brief sunshine and strong winds, but Saturday had been by far the best day, so if you missed it – unlucky. Thanks to all who supported the event, I’m sure Ron would have been smiling down on us and "sharing the love".

    Batman Len

     

  • Brogdale or Bust

    This weekend saw us bear bunging at the cider festival. To cut to the chase, Saturday was a complete washout. Almost no wind. We put a delta up very high, much to the displeasure of the miniture railway's health and safety man, but that came down again and nothing else would launch. Then the rain came and brought proceedings to an early close.

    Sunday was different. Good strong breeze and occasional warm sunshine, We started with a "Slide Away" 2 metre rok to test conditions, and as it was flying so well, though leaning slightly to the right, we stuck with it and put the teddy rig up on that. It stayed up until the wind really did pick up, when it started performing tricks on its own so we changed it for a 4 metre pilot. Again not entirely stable, but less likely to cause damage.

    Lots of children chased bears, both ours and their own. We did manage to put 3 bears into the orchard. Well technically it was 2 bears, but one enjoyed the experience so much he wanted to go again. We also managed to put several into the hedgerow. All were recovered safely. The ice cream was nice, the cider even better. The curry was very tasty, and I think everyone enjoyed the day. Janet did try to decapitate Barry at one point. Thanks to all who came to entertain Joe Public, we got lots of good feedback from parents.

    KKF Teddy Team P1170726

  • A tale of KAP mishaps

    Sunday 18th August saw us once again using the fields of Brogdale for our monthly club organised fly-in. I have to say the turn out was pretty poor, its just as well we had a full compliment of Palmers to make up the numbers.

    When I arrived there were a few kites in the sky, but the wind was decidedly tricky. It seemed to be a rokkaku afternoon. I had brought my autoKAP rig along so wanted to give that a try. Launching a small (56 inch) rok, I soon had the camera rig attached to the line. With the camera loaded, and set in Intervalometer mode, turn the rig on and the motor ran, but the rig didn't rotate. A slipped gear in the gearbox meant it no longer engaged. Ho hum. It meant this session was going to be with the camera pointing in one direction.

    The wind was decidedly frisky, but the kite flew well over the buildings and on recovery I had 100 images of varying quality, but a couple were usable. After a break for lunch, I decided to have another go with a video camera mounted. Again the rig took to the skies with the camera pointing straight down. This time a fair amount of walking around ensued. I got about half an hour of video footage, but I'm not sure any of it will be usable as the camera was being buffetted by the wind.

    Again we came back to earth. After another break, I had repaired the rig, so that it was rotating again. With the camera reloaded, off we went again. I could see the rig rotating as the camera flew out over the buldings once again. This promised to be a much better session. Unfortunately, when I recovered the camera I found that I had not correctly started the interval mode, so had a single phot of my (not very) nobbly knees. Such is life.

    Meanwhile there were others playing with sports kites and power kites, finding that flying below the hedgerow is tricky and the wind suddenly gets full on as soon as you get above them. It was good to see more people flying two line and even 4 line kites.

    Next week we're back teddy parachuting all weekend.

    Miniature Railway Station and Playground IMGP0068

  • Teston Kite Weekend

    KKF

    This weekend saw the reincarnation of Teston Big Kite Weekend. The event had been abandoned by Kent County Council, so Kent Kite Flyers took up the baton, and though we were being charged by KCC for the use of the site with now discernible source of income, after much soul searching and breast beating, the weekend went ahead as usual on the second weekend in August.

    The kite gods obviously viewed the decision kindly as, despite forecasts of sunshine and showers, we were blessed with sunshine but no showers. Not only that, but unusually for Teston, there was a tollerable amount of breeze. It must have been very rewarding for the organisers to see so many old friends turn out to support the event. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, kites were flown, barbies lit and ice cream scoffed. There seemed to be very little to complain about, apart from the contractors roadway cutting off the field nearest the bridge. The work at the river has overrun. Will they ever finish? So many congratulations to Malcolm for keeping everything together and organising another successful kite weekend.

    Personally, I was babysitting on Saturday, so brough along my infants, Dylan, Jasper and Maddy to meet people. This rather limited my kite flying, but I did bring along the KAP banner for others to photograph. I hope some got some decent images of it near the bridge and hope to see them soon. Friday evening I had a provate KAP session with the banner at the ruins of Thurnham Castle.

    IMG_1141

    As usual, the committee had organised a barbeque for the Saturday night. I wasn't able to attend as the children would have scoffed all the food, but understand it was a great success.

    Sunday I was able to attend and fly and had a great time. Conditions seemed to be ideal for trick flying. Both Bill and I enjoyed sessions on Talons. And a few new kites were on display. Also, a few old faces came along to enjoy the sunshine with us.

    Knitting circle Chairmen past and present 3do

    So next weekend is our usual club fly in at Brogdale. Hope to see some of you there, from about mid-day Sunday.

  • Strange Sunday

    What a strange day that was. We were due to be flyng on the village green in Woodchurch, having been advised that there was no cricket match scheduled. Having arrived at the field, others were already flying, but it was interesting to note that there was a freshly cut and marked cricket pitch on the square.

    Sure enough, just before 2pm, the local club and their opponents for the day arrived and we had to move on. Gerty headed down the road to Appledore to check that the village green there was available and so we all upped sticks and moved three miles down the road from one pretty Kentish village to another. But not before Len had taken this photo of the Worldwide KAP project banner beside the square.

    KAP Banner on The Green at Woodchurch Kent UK 4.8.13.

     So having decamped to a new location, we set about fling some kites in a location that we have never used before. Gerty lent kites to a couple of local children, and we soon had several kites in the air, though conditions were far from ideal. A good variety of kites were flown, single line, dual line and four line, and we even spotted a couple of parachuting teddies.

    So, I hear you ask, what's this banner thingy all about then? Well, a couple of years ago, Ramiro Priegu from Argentina had the idea of a project to bring kite aerial photographers together. After much discussion on the KAP discussion forum it was agreed that some form of token should be passed between participants who would attempt to photograph it, and sign it, before sending it on to the next person in the chain. Bas (I wont attempt to spell his surname) from Holland volunteered to make a banner. If you have had the privelege to see some of his kites, you'll be aware of the quality of the banner. And so the project was born. The banner has toured parts of continental Europe, parts of North and South America, and has made its way back to the UK. In the UK, it has been to Devon, the North East, Scotland and the Scottish islands, the Midlands and now Kent. 

    wwkp banner

    Worldwide KAP project banner comes to Appledore

    You can see more of Len's photos here and more of mine here. Next weekend is Teston kite weekend. I hope to still have the banner to take along. See you there.