We, pilots from Skopje have one thing in common, we dream of flying from our take off on Vodno all the way across the country to Ohrid. It’s one of the first questions that student pilots ask “Is it possible to fly all the way to Ohrid?”. For me also was like this, flying from home all the way to Ohrid would just be too good to be true.
Of course for the trained eye of a paragliding pilot, this challenge is not something from the mythology books. Yeah, it doesn’t have an alpine ridge to follow but still a lot of mountains to fly on, little bit technical but for sure doable. For sure doable also because there are 3 people before me flying super close to Ohrid and one of them flying all the way to the border with Albania.
This year was my first in the last 2 years that I am in Macedonia for the spring, and this year I have to do something. The forecast for 24th of April showed super good weather for this challenge, very high cloud base calm weather with some north wind at altitude, I knew that this might be the only and last chance to do this flight this year because I am doing tandems all summer so no time for XC. I went to bed the night before, very excited knowing that tomorrow it’s going to be a day of adventure.
We went on Vodno on the east take off and the day started very slow, struggling to climb the first thermal and taking the first leg of flying to Tabahon together with Joe and Pero, together we found out that this is going to be one of the strongest thermal day we have ever flown in. After that I managed to stay high and connect to the peak of Dobra Voda where the high cloud base was. Until now I haven’t crossed the city of Gostivar, I was never confident in my skills to continue in this not familiar and hard to retrieve terain, however on that day I was in the zone.
After that I had really good text book flight with finding thermals on the west facing slopes and going on very long transitions, all the way to Kosel, the villige before Ohrid. Alto it feels like I have made it, the dream doesn’t stop here, next time the goal will be to connect to Galicica. Macedonia is small but we still have a lot of new lines to fly and this is very exciting for our generation of paragliding pilots.