Western Australia, Australia
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-31.8511, 116.76533 : 280.0 m
Australian Western Standard Time (+0800)
Probably the best thermalling hill within 1000km of Perth, nice high takeoff, and good cross country possibilities. Can be dangerous due to some very violent thermals in summer, also adorned with numerous antennas. Very sensitive site due to some surrounding landowners and council has been lost to paragliders before. There are 3 launches and it is important to use the correct launch for the conditions. “To the Nyungar people the taller mountain overlooking York was called Walwalling (Place of weeping) and the lower hill Wongboral (sleeping woman). Long ago in the Dreamtime, the Hills People used to meet the Plains and Valley People at the foot of Walwalling for games and sports.” All pilots are required to log in at the box by the house, donations for the landowner can also be left at the box, $2 suggested. It is recommended to advise the skydiving operation of flying operations before you go up the hill. It is not compulsory to contact the owner of the access road, but it is polite to do so, especially if you see him while passing through the property. There is a strict 30km/h speed limit on the access track at the owner’s request. Please respect his wishes and keep your speed very low. Walking pace is an appropriate speed near the house and sheds. Mt Bakewell is near York in the Avon valley, about 1.5 hour drive east of Perth, access requires a 4WD (or a high clearance 2 WD) or a long climb on foot (approx 40’). If you haven't been here before, contact Cloudbase Paragliding Club or the local SSO (Rod Merigan), organize your first flight with a SSO or SO who has good knowledge of this site. Access to this site is through private land. The site is very sensitive and could easily be lost. Please engage 4WD on the track to minimize damage to the track, and observe the 30kph speed limit (much slower near the house). Access is now also possible from the lower launch. REMEMBER TO LEAVE THE GATES AS YOU FIND THEM. Launch Options There are two main launch options on the top of Bakewell, as well as the lower (Lou's) launch The Top Launch is generally preferred and is the biggest launch area. It is best with an E wind direction, but is usable as far around between east and south-east. If the wind is from the SSE or S there may be rotor in front of launch. If the wind is strong from the south then conditions may appear perfect on the Middle Launch when they are far from it – check the wind on the bowl or S launch too, if the wind is howling up the bowl and gentle on the Top Launch it is because the Top Launch is in rotor. The Middle (south) Launch takes wind directions from ESE to SSW and is best on a south easterly. It is safe and pleasant in SSE conditions when the top launch is in rotor, but is little lower.
Takeoff: There are 2 takeoffs on top, see launch options above. On the ESE launch it is usually easier to inflate a paraglider as far back from the edge as possible, the airflow near the edge causes the glider to overshoot and requires a sharp run toward the edge before the glider is flying properly. Landing: Preferred landing area is on Lou’s paddock, if you can’t make it there the paddock in front of the ESE launch (Check current access before landing, the land owner can be very unpleasant). The racecourse is a decent glide away, so with a paraglider you really need to head out as soon as you drop below take off height. DO NOT LAND ON THE PROPERTY IN FRONT OF TAKE OFF TO THE RIGHT OF THE GRAVEL PIT; you may cause loss of access to this site. Lift: Thermals may be very strong; in thermic conditions the thermals will generally overwhelm ridge lift. If you are sinking out, flying away from the hill and trying to connect with a thermal in front is often more effective and is much safer than scratching close to the hill side. In light winds thermals will pop off from the tree line and may not come over take off, so nil wind launches may be required to connect with thermals in front. The gravel pit, the bowl, and the knoll on the ridge to the east of the S takeoff all provide relatively good thermal triggers. The site works best with a reasonable amount of wind to bring thermals onto the hill from the flatlands; ESE winds produce little ridge lift but bring the thermals in nicely. Airspace limit is 8500ft. In particular days you will get glass off or "magic lift" (restitution) in the evenings where a huge area of smooth lift extends in front of the hill, making for perfect soaring conditions on the hill. The site is suitable for novices in these conditions with suitable supervision from advanced pilots with experience of the site. Good skills are still required to launch due to the cliff launch. Due to the steep face a delicate touch is required to inflate a paraglider in stronger winds, as the glider will surge as it comes through the wind gradient if not controlled.
As with any inland site this hill can feature strong lift, strong sink and turbulence. Beware of powerlines and aerials, with attendant guy wires near the top launch. In addition to the obvious powerlines on the spur to the right of the east-southeast launch there is another running up the gully to the left of launch, this powerlines has very few poles and is very difficult to spot. There is a strip of paddock in front of launch west of the powerline and east of the gravel pit access. This is not a permitted landing area, as the constriction of powerlines and trees on three sides and a significant slope mean it is easy to get into trouble if your approach is not perfect. The gravel pit landing is very small and has numerous large painful obstacles it should only be used by intermediate pilots. All pilots should inspect the gravel pit on the ground before flying Bakewell for the first time. There is a large commercial skydiving operation behind the hill. Watch out for the plane and don't fly over the airfield, which is also the drop zone. It's a good idea to check in at the skydivers before flying to let them know you are in the area.
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