Today's entry is certainly a very different way to enjoy the beauty of the Dales. I haven't yet tried it myself though - still dithering about whether I'm brave enough!
Thanks to amazing footage by drone photographers we've become more used to seeing the Yorkshire Dales as a birds' eye view.
Take a trip with Dean Crosby and you can actually become a bird. Well, almost. Dean is a multiple British Paragliding champion and former National Team captain. He runs Active Edge, a paragliding company in the Yorkshire Dales, and is keen to encourage beginners to sample the exhilaration of paragliding and being borne along by nothing other than the wind. He's been flying and teaching paragliding and hang gliding from the Dales for over 30 years.
They offer Fundays as well as longer courses so you can enjoy a shorter session either as a one-off or before deciding if you'd like to learn all the skills. They welcome anyone over 16 year and there's no upper limit. A reasonable level of fitness is needed as you'd have to be capable of walking up small hills to get airborne.
I'm not exactly scared of heights but have a fear that I'll be high in the sky and then suddenly want to shout "get me down, get me down!". Dean explains that many pilots are actually afraid of heights, but once you've understood how a glider works and how to stay safe you will become comfortable with the idea of flying.
I like the idea that the training builds up height gradually. You start by running down a slope, staying on the ground and then do small hops and move a little higher each time you fly. Compared to the way birds seem to learn to fly straight out of their nests, not quite knowing if they'll make it, this sounds a much better idea!
You can choose a funday or tandem paragliding which sounds particularly good to me. Tandem paragliding offers a short flight of 20-30 minutes, chance to relax and admire the view and take photos.
As Dean says, the Yorkshire Dales offer some fantastic paragliding sites, with rolling hills, open moors and unobstructed landscapes for beginners. Their sites are mostly around around Settle, Ingleton, Hawes and Kettlewell so you'd be guaranteed to enjoy some of the most stunning green views in the country. For more details see Active Edge.