A couple of hours earlier, a takeoff in similarly dodgy conditions (this time, a following wind), which would have added an extra 10 km to the flight, resulted in an unceremonious bomb-out followed by a quick hike-up (with pack on) to retrieve the car. So I got my aerobic workout in too!
This is really a classic line hopping the ridges which extend into the south-east side of the Hitoyoshi Basin. In the afternoon, west winds usually make for a reasonably straightforward flight to Mt. Ichifusa, a tall mountain located on the main spine of Kyushu. Continuing from here is possible, but it involves crossing tens of kilometers of pure tiger country.
Today, having reached Ichifusa late in the afternoon, with the inversion under 2000m and therefore much too low for committing to going downrange, I was quite happy to boat around Ichifusa's famous 'knife edge' ridge, enjoying the evening wind and views for a couple of hours.
Looking from Kyushu's spine back at the rich farmland of the Hitoyoshi Basin. The rays of the setting sun reflect from flooded rice fields, while approaching frontal clouds add to the drama. Although headwinds intensified to over 20 km/h, by picking my line carefully I was still able to creep out over 10km to the plains, landing there in the gathering dusk.