After heading for the cliffs above Woolacombe in the Peugeot 208, paraglider Lawrie Noctor shares his thoughts on the importance on keeping energy levels up and how important his hobby is to him…
There’s something both extremely visceral and equally terrifying in watching a grown man hurtle past you at a rapid rate, descending from hundreds of feet in the air to inches away from your head. Lawrie Noctor is an accomplished paraglider, recently appearing at the British Championships in Macedonia and is looking to compete in the upcoming World Cup. We ask him why he chose paragliding, what he enjoys the most about it and how he’d sell the sport to a non-paraglider.
How did you get into paragliding?
It’s been in the family as my dad was a paragliding and sailplane instructor. We used to fly model aeroplanes, then once I left school and was deciding whether or not I wanted to go to Uni I started paragliding. This was about seven years ago, and I haven’t gotten bored of it yet!
How would you sell non-paragliders into the sport?
It’s like no other sport I’ve experienced. It’s completely all-encompassing, you need to be fully into it and focussed in order to avoid crashing, let alone do well at it. It doesn’t matter what else is on your mind, once you’re off the ground all you’ll be able to concentrate on is flying. The scenery is always amazing, which helps you get out there and enjoy it even more. It’s fulfilling, mentally and physically, making it a complete workout.
What are your favourite paragliding locations?
The Alps. I absolutely love flying between the mountains, there’s nothing else like it. Back home in Derbyshire, it would probably be Bradwell Edge. Good scenery, and a great mix of hills and fields makes it a perfect location for paragliding. Other than that there’s the location we filmed in at Woolacombe in Devon, which is incredible.
Can you describe the feeling when you paraglide?
It makes your mind completely clear. It’s exhilarating, challenging and completely different from any other form of aviation I’ve experienced. It’s incredibly variable, which can be frustrating, but it’s also extremely fun as a result. The scenery helps, but it’s like nothing else when you’re in the air.
How do you keep your energy levels up with such an active hobby?
Paragliding helps to refresh me from my daily life. Even though I’m oftenphysically tired, I’m usually mentally refreshed when I finish. After a long week at work it really helps to focus my mind and lets me forget things. I look forward to it as a stress release as much as a sport, so rather than needing energy to go paragliding it provides me with the energy I need for the rest of the week.
What are your paragliding goals?
To keep improving and not stop improving, and to make sure I don’t ever stop enjoying it. At some point I want to get to the World Cup, which takes place all over the world and is in Brazil, Italy, Portugal and France in 2016. Success there can lead to the Super Final, which I’m hopeful I can appear in at some point. I’ve competed in the British Championships before, and want to keep appearing in that before I get to the World Cup.
Many thanks to North Devon Hang Gliding and Paragliding club for all their assistance before and during filming.