There aren’t many things that’ll get me out of bed before 7am on a day off; especially if it involves travelling a few miles down the road to hop into a basket that goes 3,000 feet up in the air suspended by a balloon with a great big hole in the bottom.
Last Christmas I bought James a Hot Air Balloon ride, not really considering the fact, I would probably be the one to accompany him. Before we knew it, it was the end of September and we had yet to book our trip up in the sky.
We managed to secure a space one morning in early October, just as the weather was starting to feel a lot more autumnal. Trips can be suspended or cancelled last minute due to weather conditions, wind speeds above 8 mph are a no-go.
I was secretly hoping our trip may be postponed to perhaps prepare myself more, however we’d booked up a winning morning of perfect clear skies and low wind speeds. There was no turning back now.
Due to the direction of the wind we had to take off from Bath instead of Bristol, which was slightly inconvenient for us, living so close to the Bristol take off area. So we got up extra early to make the drive to Bath and wrapped up warm.
We arrived at Victoria Park, where we checked ourselves in and watched as the balloon was unravelled on the ground.
Once everyone had arrived, there was about 14 in total of us – we helped stretch out the balloon. Then two large fans are placed at the bottom of the balloon to begin filling it with enough air to lift the basket up from laying on it’s side.
The pilot then begins to blast gas into the balloon and tells us all to jump into the balloon. There are five divided sections inside the balloon, four for the passengers and a section in the middle for the pilot. The passenger sections have a small bench which are used for taking off and landing.
Once we were a certain distance off the ground we were able to stand up and watch the ground drift further away.
Strangely enough the higher we went, the more my nerves subsided and the adrenaline took over.
The views were spectacular and it was amazing to see both Bath and Bristol from a completely different angle.
Our altitude varied at times, we reached some lower levels over farms and neighbourhoods; waving to farmers and school children on the ground.
When it came to the landing, the pilot found a flat piece of land on the outskirts of Bristol and we slowly made our descent. Almost hoping for a bumpy landing and for the basket to topple as we hit the grass, we made a perfect soft landing without any hiccups.
At the end we enjoyed a glass of prosecco (with orange juice) with our fellow flyers before making our way back to Bath via mini bus.
An incredible experience and one I couldn’t recommend enough. If it’s not on your bucket list, it should be!