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Club History

The Beginings

As one of the oldest gliding clubs in the UK, we have a long history.  The Scottish Gliding Union was formed when a number of small, local gliding clubs amalgamated.  It became a limited company in 1938 which was the year of the first soaring flights from the Lomond Hills in Fife.

By the outbreak of WWII, the club had established a headquarters at East Feal farm  near Leslie.  This consisted of a clubroom, hangar and dormitory, and operated holiday courses for the public. This location was no longer available after the war so operations recommenced at Balado airfield, Kinross, in 1946.

Balado returned to military use in 1957, necessitating a further move.  The SGU purchased a narrow strip of land at Portmoak farm, near Scotlandwell. The members erected a  hangar and new clubhouse, and the new location proved to be highly successful.


The opportunity to buy the remainder of Portmoak farm presented itself in 1967. This purchase has provided the club with a large grass airfield, within easy reach of both Bishop and Benarty hills.  This unique combination allows ridge soaring in a wide variety of wind directions which makes it ideal for training.

The area is also suitable for advanced cross-country flying which attracts visitors from the UK and other countries. Flights from Portmoak have ended as far away as Ireland and the south coast of England.  A UK single seater height record of 36,100 feet was set at Portmoak in 1980, and stood for over fifteen years.

The club holds a significant number of UK records for speed and distance and the site is nationally recognised as one of the premier soaring centres in the UK.

We are now trade as the Scottish Gliding Centre, and are also known by the name of the airfield - Portmoak - so we are referred to by any of the following names:

  • The Scottish Gliding Centre (SGC)
  • The Scottish Gliding Union (SGU)
  • Portmoak (PMK).

The History Book

History Book Cover
History Book Cover

Ian Eason's book The Scottish Gliding Union, A History: 1934-2008 contains our history in depth.

Derek Piggott wrote the foreword which acknowledges the pivotal role the club has played over the years, and the importance of Ian's book.

He writes: "This book takes us through nearly 75 years of the SGU from 1934 to 2008 when gliding was developing from Primary gliders making hops timed in seconds, to John Williams' epic soaring flight in his Antares electric Self Launching Motor Glider in 2007. It is also packed full of interesting details of members’ exploits…"

Buy a Copy

You can buy a copy from the club, or direct from Ian via e-mail:

The price is £12 plus P+P as appropriate.  You can collect your copy from the Club.