Head in The Clouds captures the heart and soul of free flying. It is a unique collection of stories and essays that documents the first 50 years of free flying – the adventure sports of paragliding and hang gliding.
Since the pioneer hang glider pilots took their first tentative steps into the air in the 1970s, free-flight pilots have enjoyed a golden age. Face in the breeze, arms outstretched, following the birds and soaring high up to the clouds. For 50 years we’ve chased and achieved humankind’s oldest dream.
In this hardback collection of 50 stories, pilots describe the highs and lows in free flying firsthand: from the beauty of sunset soaring in the mountains to tales of epic adventure and the fight for survival.
Whether traversing the Himalaya, being swept to 20,000ft inside a storm cloud and surviving, or simply the sheer fun of thermalling like a bird to the clouds, the stories convey the joys and challenges of this unique sport, which is enjoyed by tens of thousands of people worldwide.
The book is edited by one of Britain’s best paraglider pilots Hugh Miller and former BBC journalist Andrew Craig who between them have more than 50 years of free-flight experience.
As Hugh says: “Free flying is adventure and exploration at its best. These stories represent the very best of our sport, the heart and soul of free flying.”
Head in the Clouds has been received with much critical acclaim, including being listed as one of the top 10 outdoor books of 2023 by The Scotsman, Scotland’s national newspaper.
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
“The stories range from the sublime to the terrifying” – Roger Cox, The Scotsman
“Free flying makes me feel alive like nothing else does. This book’s got it all, from the thrill of a first flight, to the fear of the unknown, the brushes with the Gods, and the sombre reminders of the ultimate power of gravity” – Gavin McClurg, author and podcaster
“It’s all here: supreme exhilaration, naked fear, serious injury, winning, losing, extreme adventure, inner strength. Every mood and every situation this this rich sport can conjure up … A terrific cross-section of some of the most inspiring writing about the entire spectrum of our sport. It’s a seriously good read” – Joe Schofield, Skywings Magazine
“I absolutely loved reading Head in the Clouds” – Jess Cox, paragliding instructor
“Masterfully written and artfully assembled, Head in the Clouds is, at the same time, inspirational and a spine-tingling look at my greatest fears. This book has departed from the traditional paragliding educational format to bring us something closer to the aesthetic writings of Jon Krakauer or John Long” – Ben Horton, National Geographic Adventure photographer and TV host
“Not often I get involved in a book – a bonza read! Good on ya!” – a surfer and occasional flyer
“I’m really enjoying dipping into it. A wonderfully inspiring selection of colourful tales” – Tristan Gooley, the Natural Navigator
“Head in the Clouds finally landed! I love it. Of course I read my own stuff first, arrogantly perhaps, but moreover to take myself back there to those oh so special times…. it was both cathartic and emotional. The book is fantastic. You should be proud. I’ve been dipping and out and enjoying it tale by tale. Guy Anderson’s inimitable inner English gentleman’s tone had me in stitches as he crashed into the US outback. I’ve got the Croatian Survivor racked up next” – Bob Drury, editor of Classic Routes