In my mid twenties I learnt to fly. I know, it kinda makes sense, being top mama bird an‘ all.....but truly, it was something I’d always wanted to do......to soar through the skies, free as a bird, with the wind in my face and my feathers ruffled. No machinery, no noise, just me and an inflatable wing.
So the opportunity arose, whilst I was travelling in India in 2000, to tandem paraglide in the hills west of Pune. Spiralling in the lift bands of rising air at the edge of the range, as the sun set. I was hooked. Instantly. Just magical.
Later that year I learned to fly solo, and on arriving in Australia, I retrained to get my Australian paragliding pilots license. For a few years I travelled around to flying sites along the east coast in my spare time. The highlight, and my longest solo flight was near Manila in rural NSW, where I flew up to 6000ft above the earth, and with just the power of nature flew 30km’s across the countryside. I shared a good part of the journey with a wedgetail eagle. It flew in the slipstream created by my paraglider and terrified the living daylight out of me....its claws a constant threat to deflating my wing.
The earth looks so very different up there. You get a whole new perspective on the lay of the land.
So when I saw these divine aerial photographs by Dutch photographer Gerco de Ruijter it brought back lots of lovely birdy flying high memories.