I Eurotrain European Group Tours Under-2t) rail operator. Eurotrain. has introduced special rates for groups of ten or more travelling by rail in Europe and groups of over sixteen are eligible for free places. The ticket is valid for two months and stopovers can be made anywhere along the route. The company has also introduced a city breaks programme for groups of over twenty. such as a four-night stay in Brussels for £89 each. inclusive of travel and accomodation. More details from Student Travel Offices. Campus Travel or direct from Eurotrain on ()71 823 5517.


I.) I I Slow Walks In Barcelona Michael Leitch ( l iodder ck Stoughton £8.95). Published loJuly. Getting in on the act in good time for next year's Olympic Games. Michael Leitch guides you on foot through and beyond the standard tourist spots of one of Spain's most interesting cities. Taking you through 21 walks in and around the city. the book comes complete with detailed route maps and a basic dictionary of both Castilian and Catalan phrases. Informed and lively. the book gives you the chance to go at your own pace and to follow your own interests. whether that be the Gaudi-designed Palau Guell Theatre Museum or Nou Camp. home of Barcelona FC. Recommended. (MF) I Please Don’t Call It SovietGeorgia Mary Russell (Serpent‘s Tale £9.99) Mary Russell was one of the few foreigners permitted to visit Georgia after the massacre of 1990 and in this new book she charts the major changes in the region. as its people redefine their sense of identity. lmmersing herself in the lives of Georgian families. she charts the characteristics ofa nation which is distinct from the Soviet Union and whose political life hasan interesting parallel with that of Ireland and England. Loy ingly told and very readable. (MF)

l L

75The List 12—251uly199l

Flying High

Sue Wilson gets carried

away as she samples the delights of paragliding.

My flatmate is right, I decide, as I throw myself to the wet, muddy ground and roll over for the third time, I am mad to be doing this. But by the end ofthe day, I‘m a hundred feet above ground, soaring through the sky suspended from an air-filled canopy and I‘ve changed my mind.

I had gone for a crash course in paragliding at Sky and Air Scotland, the official, Sports

Council-accredited instruction centre for the sport north of the border. Not that there are any crashes on this course - the school places great emphasis on safety. and has trained around 500 people with no accident more severe than a couple ofwrenched ankles. Paragliding offers similar thrills to hang-gliding— both enable you to jump off hills and fly down but is easier to learn and considerably less hazardous. Nevertheless, like any airborne activity. it's still potentially dangerous. and training is thoroughly regulated. Beginners take a four-day course leading to the Student Pilot Rating, which involves learning safety checks and launch and landing procedures. understanr'ing basic meteorology, assisting other pilots and completing a set number of flights. Don‘t be put off by the prospect of all this training you learn most things by doing them. I went along as a complete

beginner and had flown four times by

the end of the day. In paragliding. your ‘wings‘ are

High tlier at the Scottish Paragliding Centre

known as a canopy. in appearance deceptively like a parachute. but far more sophisticated in design. Roughly elliptical in shape. it is double layered. with hollow channels running through it inflated. it looks a bit like a very wide air-filled duvet. The pilot‘s flying position is similar to sitting in an overgrown baby bouncer - you‘re buckled into a chair-like fabric harness with straps around the legs and chest, attached to the canopy by lines (risers) leading to the front and rear edges.

The canOpy is constructed according to the same principles as an aircraft wing; with sufficient forward motion, the airflow over the structure produces lift. Prior to take-off, however, the canopy must be properly inflated it has to be above your head, level and filled with air before you leave the ground. We spent the morning learning the ‘forward inflation‘ technique: with the canopy spread out behind you. you run forward as fast as you can. simultaneously pulling on the risers