Who's bright idea was it to run off the edge of a rocky cliff of a sunny Saturday afternoon? Taran's, obviously.
A few weeks back I was presented with my birthday gift, via a youtube video of a B&B on the Isle of Wight, which specialized in, yep, Paragliding.
I was surprised and a tad bemused. I'd never thought about doing it before, and so up until the day we flew, I decided not to over-think it.
Then, all of a sudden, came the moment we sat in a windy field overlooking the sea, and I was volunteered to go first by Taran and the flying man Josh who tandemed with me and prevented my untimely death.
Helmet on, reinforced by a hat, then it was into the giant backpack/parachute thingy, strapped in and checked over.
Josh behind me ready to steer and Dave the owner of the B&B and Butterfly Paragliding, in front of me telling me to look at a patch of blue sky and focus on that.
He could probably sense the fear. And then we started walking, running, and I took a tumble, forgetting I had to provide a run-off to get us off the ground.
Then we were running again, and suddenly, the edge is approaching fast; this feels unnatural and crazy and I probably looked the most terrified I ever have. We go off the edge, and we fly! We don't drop like lead balloons, we actually fly, and soar through the sky.
Three words to sum up the 15-20 minute session; unbelievable, beautiful and nauseating.
I began to feel sick around the same time we gained height and I was looking down at nothing but the vast open ocean.
I felt light yet terrified to move so kept my hands still and my legs tightly bent.
Then we came in for landing, and lowered over a field and a fence in a perfectly-timed and smooth descent, thankfully. The first thing I did was stare silently at Taran who was waiting for me, forcing a nervous smile, and then I found myself crying a little bit...loser.
So I went and had a lie down so my stomach and legs could remember what it felt like to be, well, not flying and twirling through the sky, with little more than some straps and string to stop yourself falling.
I didn't yet know how I felt about the whole experience, as I watched Taran prepare for lift-off...
I rushed in to take Hannah's seat and get in the air before I could really think about what I was doing..
The feeling you get when you feel the lift pull you up into the air is an incredible feeling, and is made even more amazing (if not quite terrifying) by the view down below your feet!
Unfortunately we didn't have any cameras to take with us and we didn't want to drop our phones, but when you start to gain some height its really inspiring to look at the landscapes.
Towards the end of my flight we moved in front of the landing area and hovered in the same spot, looking out to sea and into the strong wind that was hitting us!
We got blown around quite a bit, and I have to say I was quite nervous, I then looked up at the wing and noticed the ends were folding inwards under themselves which I didn't like the look of, but was reassured that he was doing it on purpose to lose some altitude in the strong wind so we could land.
As we came in to land the wind forced us to make an off course landing in the field behind which was full of nettles which was when I regretted wearing shorts :P
In the end, I think my favourite part was the taking off. That was the easiest yet most frightening part, but wow, I can't explain the feeling of doing something that would, in any other circumstances, be certain suicide.
Scary things are the most fun I suppose. Why else do we watch scary movies and force ourselves to ride horrible roller-coasters?
We are Taran & Hannah from the South of England. After meeting online, we realized our mutual passion for travelling. Follow us, as we prepare to travel the world and set off on little more than our wits and a few £s, and maybe get inspired to see a little more of the world as
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