Taking a hot air balloon ride over Yorkshire
Published: Friday 26th Jul 2019
Written by: Kirsty Jones
What better time than summer to enjoy a hot air balloon ride over Yorkshire?
Starting from York Racecourse, last week I took my first ever hot air balloon ride with my family to celebrate my mum’s birthday. What a fantastic experience it was!
We arrived in York in the early evening (the morning flights departed from 6am which was definitely a bit too early for us!), with the sun shining...we couldn’t wait to get up in the air!
As part of the experience, all passengers assist the pilot in inflating the balloon and preparing for launch. After a quick safety briefing we got to work, unravelling the balloon from its box and stretching it the length of York Racecourse, those balloons are surprisingly large! Next it was time to inflate the balloon. This didn’t take long, with two large industrial fans blowing air into the bottom of the balloon, with my family keeping the balloon steady at the top to ensure the air circulated evenly. After about 10 minutes the balloon was ready and we all quickly ran to the basket to climb in before the balloon drifted away.
With a wind speed of about 15 miles per hour, it was a gentle ride and up we went into the York skyline. As we drifted up over the racecourse and towards the city centre we could see for miles, admiring York’s Minster and historic streets and the beautiful countryside surrounding the city, the views stretched as far as Selby and Drax Power Station, offering uninterrupted vistas and the opportunity to take lots of aerial photos.
Our journey lasted around 1 hour, at which point it was time for the pilot to try and find a suitable place to land. There’s limited control in a hot air balloon, you really do just go where the wind takes you! Luckily we weren’t far from the Yorkshire Air Museum (a fantastic day out if you’re in the area!) which had a runway we could safely land on.
Anyone that’s ever been in a balloon might agree that the landing is the best bit of the whole experience! Our descent was fairly rapid, and we landed with a few thuds and bounces before settling sideways in a grassy field just next to the runway- it was a lot more fun than it sounds, honest! Luckily, we were sat towards the front of the balloon, sparing us from the worst of the mud and grass.
All that was left to do was to pack away the balloon (this was hard work!) and to enjoy a well deserved glass of prosecco.