Dr George Johnson from Swansea University Medical School, has shared breathtaking footage captured while paragliding over the Gower coast.
Stunning drone footage of the Gower coast has been captured by a paraglider and Dr George Johnson; associate professor in Genetics at the Medical School. Dr Johnson regularly paraglides off the Rhossili coast in Swansea.
Dr Johnson's role at the university is to teach the genetics and biochemistry degree schemes and to do research within the in vitro toxicology group, where he works to ensure that the human population is well protected against potential carcinogens. When not teaching or at home with his wife Natalie and children Amelia and Louis, Dr Johnson enjoys capturing the gorgeous Welsh landscape.
“My dad is the reason behind my love for paragliding, for my 16th birthday, it was a present from him to go paragliding and ever since then I haven’t stopped,” said the 36 year-old.
“I try to paraglide a couple of times a month, depending on the weather and if it’s not too windy.
“Rhossili is the place I go the most, it’s one of my favourite cross-country spots in South Wales and it’s easy to fly.
“I can relax, take in the views and try out a few tricks now and again.
“Rhossili is extremely popular with flyers, last weekend there were people from London and Herefordshire there, people travel all across the UK to fly here, it’s a famous site,
“The views are breathtaking."
“I find paragliding nice and relaxing and also exciting at times, the perspective you get from up there is great,” he said.
Mr Johnson moved to Swansea in 1999 and has worked at the university since 2007.
“When researching universities in the UK, I found that Swansea and the surrounding area had the best paragliding and surf spots.
“It was one of the reasons why I moved to Swansea and went to university here,” he explained.
Paragliders often find themselves learning from the surrounding wildlife.
“When you are up in the sky you feel like you are one of the birds, I don’t bother them, I let them get on with what they are doing, I also enjoy watching the wildlife.
“I often see groups of wild horses hanging out on the ruins up there.
“I like flying with the kestrels, who are quite happy to fly quite close and keep hunting while we are close by. When describing it to my kids, I say it is like a giant swing in the sky, and when talking to walkers I tell them how much ground you can cover on a paraglider, taking in even more interesting views,” he said.
According to Mr Johnson, paragliding is very safe. “Paragliding continues to become safer and safer, with improved technology keeping the wings at high performance but with greatly improved safety aspects. There are also a lot of advanced schools, where you can pay to go on trips with guides and experts to hone your skills in acrobatics and to learn how to do loops and spins.
“You also practise how to get out of tricky situations with various deflations, I have never been hurt before.” The 36-year-old’s children are keen to follow in their father’s footsteps.
“My children want to do it and I have no problem with taking them but they are too young at the moment. I have taken my wife paragliding but she didn’t like it.” During Mr Johnson’s 20 years of paragliding, he has landed in a few strange places. “I once got stuck between two houses in the French Alps, that was amusing. My dad has also got stuck between an electric fence.”
When observing the wonderful views, the professor’s canopy has a speed range of 20km per hour to 50km per hour, but some of the higher performance wings designed for higher winds can reach over 65km/h.
“I love doing a variety of different turns.
“I used to go really fast but I go a lot slower now I have a family to look after,” he explained.
- Wednesday 12 July 2017 15.29 GMT
- Wednesday 12 July 2017 14.41 GMT
- Emma Turner