ONE of the world’s top paragliding locations has been hosting plenty of aerial action this week during the annual Manilla XC Camp at Mt Borah.
The hefty mountain located just outside Manilla has attracted 74 pilots from 15 different nations for this year’s event – which kicked off on Saturday, however, flying was postponed until Sunday due to strong winds and poor weather conditions.
Organiser Godfrey Wenness said the “phenomenal” conditions of the days since then have enabled the paragliders to travel some real distance.
“A lot of the pilots are doing personal bests to win the day,” he said.
On Monday the contestants got as far as Moree and Narrabri, where the localised flooding made it difficult for on-the-ground helpers to round them up. Mr Wenness said yesterday was an “identical” course, however, they were able to coordinate the flight better around the floodplains.
He was “leading the local charge” in holding his 4th place position so far, and the next local working at getting a solid ranking was Tamworth local Peter Dunst.
The unique mountain has been a continual subject of international interest since the Paragliding World Championships were held there in 2007. Mr Wenness, however, said the high Australian dollar meant less oversees competitors had come for this year’s event.
“Half the field is still foreigners but normally there would be about 80 per cent from overseas,” he said.
The flying will continue until Saturday, when Mr Wenness will host a big “Australian style
He praised the community for making out-of-towners feel welcome as they descend from the local skies.
“We always appreciate the friendly faces of farmers when the paragliders walk out of their paddocks,” he said.
“They’re told the country codes of leaving the gates as they found them and not to scare horses.”
“The friendliness of the local population is what makes Manilla really attractive to visitors.”