I’m taking a quick break from writing about my adventures in the French Alps to tell you about our recent Virgin hot air balloon trip. It was an early birthday surprise for one of the hooms and it was very exciting. I’ve been on an aeroplane but I’ve never been in a balloon.
We had to get up REALLY early and get to the launch site at Evesham in Worcestershire by 6am. When we got there we got to help to unpack our balloon out of it’s big bag and everything. It was great fun.
Here’s me with our balloon before it has any air in.
Then we have to get air into it somehow. Who knew that you have to fill a hot air balloon with cold air first! Two of the other passengers held open the bottom of the balloon while two big fans put the cold air inside.
It took ages for it to start to fill up. There was another balloon going up too.
Then our pilot started to fill the balloon with hot air. I was a bit worried it might catch fire.
The other balloon took off just before us. It was all very exciting. We had to get into our basket so we couldn’t take pictures of our balloon taking off. One of my hooms got their foot stuck trying to climb into the basket. It was really funny, but we didn’t get a picture.
It was really, really hot under the flames. Our pilot, Des, has to use the flames to keep the balloon floating in the air. He says he can only really make the balloon go up and down and it’s the wind that decides which way we go. We could end up anywhere.
Up, up and away!
That other balloon is a long way off already.
It’s a long way down. And it’s very quiet. I bet most of those people down there have no idea there’s a huge red balloon flying over their house?
The fields are pretty … they look a bit like a patchwork quilt.
We can see all the way around the Malvern Hills in the mist. It all looks so peaceful.
This is us in our balloon. Say cheese! Can you see me?
We are getting a bit lower now because Des is trying to find somewhere to land. We spotted two deer running in one of the fields under the balloon.
When we flew over these horses Des made the balloon go back up in the sky a bit. He says horses get easily scared by the balloons and they can hurt themselves so it’s best to stay high up and out of their way.
Des found a field for us to land in and then we had let all the lovely hot air out of our balloon. One of my hooms and 2 other passengers went to hold onto the end of the balloon while it deflated.
And then we had to tidy our balloon away to put back in it’s bag 😦
And there it is put away. You would never know it was up in the sky about half an hour ago. That’s pilot Des trying to pull the bag shut while some other passengers push the last bit of the balloon in.
When we were packed away we all had a glass of fizzy lemonade. It didn’t taste much like lemonade though. Maybe it was something else? (edit: It was champagne apparently. Obviously bears don’t drink too much champagne so I had no idea). We had travelled about 6 miles in the balloon and I thought we might have to walk back to our car, but Ground Crew Dave had come to pick us up in a little bus while Ground Crew Colin took the balloon and basket back on the trailer.
When I got home I decided to have a go myself. Do you like my balloon? The hooms wouldn’t let me out of the house in it in case I floated away.
Perhaps being a balloon pilot isn’t for me? I crashed. But to be fair I did manage to land on a cushion AND the right way up!
Thank you so much to the Virgin balloon crew (Pilot Des and ground crew Colin and Dave). We had a brilliant morning and maybe one day we will get to do it again.
I hope you enjoyed my ballooning pictures.