I went up on a massive balloon and flew around at 2000 feet on Monday, with Windward Ballooning Adventures.
Did I mention I am scared of flying?
On planes I will grip to the seat on take off. My brain runs wild and I flinch at each little sound of the engine I hear – and I look desperately to the flight attendants to see if they are worried.
You do not want to see me during turbulence! For some reason though, I was not scared of hot air ballooning.
I did not know what to expect during my trip on Monday, but I was excited. I woke up at 5.30am to be at the Northam Airfield by 6am. I dressed in layers of clothing. Woolen jumper? Check. Scarf? Check. I highly recommend rugging up as much as possible.
When I arrived at the airfield, it was pitch black. I could not see a thing and had to navigate with my phone torch to the voices and light from at a little building.
In hindsight it was very obvious where to go but I think I was still half asleep!
When I arrived, I was greeted with a big smile by Angela. My name was ticked off the list and I waited in a room filled with around 25 people.
I was expecting to wait around for ages but we were soon given a quick briefing and ushered out the back to the bus.
Everyone was chatting excitedly, with Frank Sinatra’s Come Fly With Me playing softly in the background.
We were taken to the balloons and met our pilot Damien.
Watching the balloons be inflated was an amazing process in itself. It was really incredible and you have to see it for yourself to understand.
Damien was a calm and very experienced pilot, making the trip enjoyable for everyone. It was exhilarating taking off for the first time and mind boggling to think you are in a tiny basket with no railings!
Seeing the sunrise – the pink and white clouds – was breathtaking. It was such a peaceful experience.
I cannot explain it fully in words – it is an experience you must try for yourself.
I unfortunately could not make the breakfast following the flight, but heard it was amazing – champagne and all!
I was very impressed by the efficiency of the morning. Every step of the experience was thought out and made to be enjoyable for the participant.
This experience has made me that much more excited for the National Ballooning Championships this year!