Balloon ride over Warwickshire, Part 2
byon 7th May 2012 at 04:07 PM (1552 Views)
We headed away from Stratford and a second balloon which took off at the same time climbed a little higher so was carried away from us due to the different wind direction at different heights. We later climbed above it to change direction.
We eventually climbed to over 1,000 feet so had a good view over the surrounding countryside without things being too small. Here's Bidford on the river Avon.
and some crops in the fields. It wasn't easy to see what was growing except for the wide expanses of yellow rape flowers.
Most of the time we were airborn we were under cloud but could see the edge of the cloud to the west. Just before we landed we came out from under the edge.
The pilot had identified a campsite as a good landing point, but it was next to a hill and this caused the wind direction to change carrying us over a field of crops so we ascended again until we spotted the empty paddock above (with a powerline in front of it). So we flew over the cables and then came down in the paddock and made the gentlest landing imaginable despite all being braced for a heavy landing. The basket stayed upright and two passengers got out and took a halyard attached to the top of the balloon out to the far side of the paddock to pull the balloon down as the top was opened to let out the remaining hot air.
When the balloon had collapsed it was detached from the basket. The crew who had assembled the balloon had stayed in radio contact and followed us in convoy with the families of the passengers who had come along. They arrived after about 20 minutes and helped us finish packing up the balloon whilst one of them went to look for the owner of the paddock to check it was OK to take a Landy in to pick up the basket and balloon. They were agreeable so everything was packed up and we were driven back to Stratford to our waiting cars.
There was a camera rig hanging from the balloon which was used to take a group photo during the flight (and we will get prints in due course), but apart from that most of the pictures whilst in flight are those taken from the balloon so there are no other pictures of us in the balloon or our balloon ride in flight. To fully document a balloon ride, I suppose we should have had someone on the ground to follow us.
But I would rather be in the balloon.
We were impressed by the good orgnisation of the whole experience. Our experienced pilot, John, was knowledgeable and and kept up an entertaining commentary. We thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. The company we booked with was Wicker's World and the balloon was supplied by Heart of England Balloons.