Cross Country Travel Guide 2020

Cross Country Magazine’s annual international travel guide to some of the best paragliding and hang gliding sites around the globe. Packed full of information and stunning photographs the 100-page guide is full of up-to-date information about where to fly, when to go and who to talk to when you get there or before you go. Whether you want inspiration for your next trip or reliable, fact-checked information about flying sites around the world, you’ll find it here. A must-read for any pilot who wants to hit the road.

United Kingdom
XC Media
1 Issues

in this issue

2 min
travel the world

Welcome to the 2020 edition of the Cross Country Travel Guide – our annual guided tour of some of the world’s best flying spots. It will not have escaped your notice that travel and how we do it has become a hot issue. The environmental and social challenges travel, and air travel in particular, present are not new, but they have moved up the agenda quickly this past year. You can’t hop on a plane from Europe to Colombia in 2020 without either feeling a little bit guilty, or annoyed that someone somewhere is trying to make you feel a little bit guilty, about your carbon footprint. In Sweden they even have a name for it: Flygskam, flight shame. As pilots we are of course not immune to any of it, even…

1 min

Dougie Swanson-Low, 29, is a senior design engineer at DMM, a climbing gear manufacturer. He lives in North Wales, “Within 10 minutes of work there are five great mountain sites for all wind directions,” he says. A committed climber in his early 20s, he started flying four years ago and never looked back. He’s since flown in the Himalayas and Colombia and last year flew his first long vol-biv through the Alps with friend Tony Blacker – read all about it on p36. Joanna Di Grigoli is a pilot and translator – she heads up Cross Country en Español for us – and is a veteran of long-distance campaigns in the northeast of Brazil. Over the past few years she has spent weeks waiting for conditions in Quixadá, and this year…

4 min
how to… choose a trip

The difference between a good guide and a poor one is you having a great day and flying 100km, or bombing out and spending the rest of the day scratching at the dust with a stick while the rest of the pack flies overhead at base. I’m lucky enough to have been on several different guided trips and advanced XC or SIV courses. Here are my top tips to make the most of your precious time and money. 1. Go with the people you know. If you are a new pilot who wants to fly as much as possible and build hours, then your school will often offer just this type of trip. The advantage is you know them and, more importantly, they know you. They will accommodate your shaky take-off style,…

3 min
living your best #vanlife

Vanlife? It’s easy. You’ll need a VW van, a well-conditioned beard, and a girlfriend/boyfriend who’s perpetually in a sarong. Shoot a few videos at sunset for your YouTube channel pondering the freedom of the simple life, and then beg viewers for a donation in your Patreon account. Ker-ching. #Vanlife awaits. Oh, and get a dog too, ideally a shaggy mongrel with a neckerchief. There are actually a few people who do make a living out of living in their vans, but the reality of following your passion on four wheels is some distance from the manicured online fantasy they present. As someone who has spent years at a time living out of a van while touring paragliding flying sites in Europe, Asia and the US, there are a few hard-won lessons I’ve…

1 min
road tripping

Bassano del Grappa, Italy. One of my favourites, this is a good first stop to test out your camper. The club is really well organised with regular shuttles, the flying is reliable, and you can get a hot shower from the hotel next to the landing for two euros. Talloires, Lake Annecy, France. Another easy spot. If you ask kindly or keep a low profile, you can park in the gravel car park next to the landing field and it’s just a short walk to the bus stop where the shuttle leaves for the take-off. There’s a similar option at Doussard, on the southern end of the lake. Tolmin, Slovenia. You can park next to the paragliding clubhouse and check the weather on their outdoor screen without getting out of bed. All…

4 min
travelling light

Free flight takes us to some of the world’s most beautiful and unspoilt landscapes. But getting to – and sometimes even just visiting – them can put their very existence in peril. Climate change, overtourism, plastic pollution, littering and overdevelopment are all part of the problem. Certainly, chasing the flying season around the world from Europe to Brazil to India to Australia and back again will send your carbon footprint rocketing – so what to do about it? Getting there When it comes to travel, flying has by far the largest impact. The aviation industry currently contributes around 2% of emissions globally. According to Atmosfair, a return flight from London to Munich, for example, generates around 176kg of CO2, while a round-trip to New Delhi will release 1,181kg of CO2 into the atmosphere…