Hot Air Balloon Experience
So this happened…I went up in a hot air balloon!!! ✅ Ticked off the Bucket List!
The Evening of Tuesday the 14th June, it had been a reasonably nice day with plenty of cloud but heavy showers at odd times in the day. I received a call at 5.30pm (just as i got in the door home from work) from my granddad who works for the balloon company, asking me if I could make that nights balloon flight at 7pm, in a panic I cancelled my plans and called upon a friend to come along (after calling my sister first- who didn’t answer the phone in time!) I called my granddad back to confirm ,so there we have it I was about to take to the skies!
A massive rain cloud lingered over our heads as we arrived at the meeting point where we then got chauffeured to the take off destination. At this point me and Sarah (my friend) were wondering whether we would actually go if the dark skies above don’t clear soon. We headed in a 7 seater land rover with the balloon trailer towed behind to Crosthwaite in The Lyth Valley Cumbria. A place I am all to familiar with, with my family living there including my granddad. We were accompanied by a lovely French couple for the trip who were staying in Troutbeck, Windermere.
When we were given the go ahead, Graeme and the crew got us involved in unpacking and preparing the balloon for take off. It is quite a task, the basket has to be prepared with the correct strings and equipment, the balloon has to be dragged out lying flat across the field, then a fan blows air into it as two people hold it up to let the air pass in, Graeme & Nicola (the crew) head inside the balloon and start to drag it out creating more of a ballon shape to get the air circulating etc, the french couple were anchoring the balloon incase it happened to take off with Matthew (my granddad) assisting them as well as other tasks.
The next thing it was up and ready! “Quick scramble in the basket to add weight into it” We were then briefed on how to get in the balloon, there’s a square whole in the basket you use to climb in, and then briefed on the landing procedure and what to expect. I never quite realised how hot it would be, our hair felt like it was on fire at first from the flame (it wasn’t we were all fine!) and the noise of it too is louder than expected.
The next thing we knew we were in the sky, it was surprising to me just how smooth a flight in a hot air balloon is, I didn’t even realize we had left the ground until I peered over the side of the basket, I was shocked to see just how high we were in the air. It is the closest feeling you will ever get to walking on a cloud. I am not one for heights normally but this experience didn’t phase me, maybe it was the adrenaline and the excitement I’m not sure but I barely got jelly legs, only when I first looked down but it soon passed, as the peaceful atmosphere once your in the sky is just breath taking. The views are spectacular, the tranquility, its like as if time stops still and your just drifting by with not a care in the world.
Graeme & Nicola were amazing, they certainly know there stuff, and turning the Balloon at times to ensure that we all got some pictures. It was great to see familiar farms I knew from a birds eye view, at times hard to tell whats what until you find a feature you recognise.
Before we knew it, it was time to land. *sad face. Except, Graeme & Nicola had to find a suitable place to do so. Knowing the area and who’s land you can land in is quite something, they have landed in many a Farmers field. Which is what we did. Apparently landing in a Hot Air Balloon, it is very common for the basket itself to land on its side – which I was very apprehensive about, after this has happened to my mum before. However, our landing in a Farmers field was a tad bit bumpy but the basket remained upright! Yey!
Once Graeme had given the go ahead we were able to take it in turns to get some pictures of the hot air balloon upright, even with the flame! It was great opportunity and I took some great shots from that! Packing the balloon away commenced! What goes up must come down as they say. Me and my granddad went pulling the rope which pulls the balloon down, we literally power walked across the field in a line to as far as we could then just pulled down on it, until it starts to fall. Then I stood keeping an area open so all the hot air can escape while the others wrapped and pushed the air out and dismantle the basket. Next came the complimentary champagne toasting the after flight tradition before heading back to the meeting point.
We won’t be able to pilot our own hot air balloon any time soon, but we got a certificate to prove we’d reached for the skies!
I highly recommend everyone experience a hot air balloon ride! For more information and to book your very own experience head to http://www.pendle-balloon-flights.com