The west-facing slope of Butser Hill near Petersfield recently provided a welcome escape from the rain for local paraglider pilots of the Sky Surfing Club.

A passing ridge of high pressure introduced a spell of settled, sunny conditions; the moderate breeze allowed several pilots to get airborne, including Chris Drabble, Rob Gargaro, Ranald Macaulay, Paul Groom, Jan Henslow and Andy Ruff.

Gargaro said: “We were blessed with clear blue skies and a steady north-westerly wind and enjoyed a tranquil day, soaring through the air and gently drifting above the picturesque landscape.

“The favourable weather conditions allowed each member to blow away the winter cobwebs that had accumulated over the past months. It was great to catch up with members in the unexpected break in weather, even if it did mean dodging the cow pats on take off!”

Chris Drabble’s return after a ten-month break allowed him to take full advantage of the conditions.

He said: “Getting back in the saddle is never easy, especially as you get older and the joints start to creak.

“For various reasons my last flight was nearly a year ago, and as time flew my nerves rose until the excuses were outweighing the reasons to just get airborne.

“With the sun shining and the wind co-operating, I ran out of excuses and drove to Buster Hill.

“It was so good to see so many old friends, and after a few nervous moments I was airborne again - not just physically but also emotionally; my mood soared with the lovely kestrel that flew alongside, the cherry on the cake. I just wish I’d done it sooner.”