Last Sunday owner & MD Colin Brown got another chance to fly our Belvoir Brewery Balloon over the city of London in the Ricoh Lord Mayor’s Hot Air Balloon Regatta.
The first flight window had been and gone the weekend before, but it was all systems go on Sunday as 46 Balloons took to the skies at 05:15am.
In Colin’s own words…
It was an honour, privilege and pleasure to take place once again in what was a fantastic opportunity to fly out alongside 45 hot air balloons from the centre of the city of London in aid of the Lord Mayors charity appeal.
As always we needed to keep a close watch on the weather and wait for a suitable slot to present itself and this year we were very lucky with a suitable weather slot presented itself briefly just at the right time.
Leaving Melton Mowbray at 11:30pm Saturday 8th armed with Pork Pie (what else?) and Scooby snacks with Crew Dave and Meg – we picked up fellow Crew member Paul en-route and arrived at Battersea Park (our launch site this year) around 2am Sun where we met up with Rowland to make our team complete.
As you can imagine an event such as this flying from and over the City of London required a lot of organisation with regard to security and air traffic control – The planes did seem quite close when we were flying under their approach to land at Heathrow. We have the organisers (Exclusive Ballooning) hard work and planning to thanks for this.
This year saw myself and Paul take off around 5.15 am and head due East following the River Thames taking in all the sights of London City Centre. Our take off position meant we were at the back of the pack of balloons which gave us a good idea of where we might be heading.
The sight was quite amazing as we climbed into the air over Battersea Park. We passed along side many famous landmarks along our way. We needed to stay within a specific height band to comply with air traffic and air law. As we cleared the city all the balloons descended and crossed the Thames looking for a suitable place to land.
We found an open play close that made an ideal landing sight and our retrieve crew were there very soon after landing – a bit of local knowledge from fellow pilot and crew Rowland I think had a lot to do with this – At one time his parents lived close by!
After a thoroughly enjoyable flight it was time to treat the crew to breakfast and most crews met up at South Mims Services.
After a long night and day some well-earned sleep was in order – after a night cap of Beaver Bitter of course!
A big hand to all those involved in making it possible: Among them the organisers, London Council City Parks, security and of course the crew…and a big thanks to Marcus Green, Exclusive Ballooning, & co. pilot Paul Bray for the wonderful photos.
Exclusive Ballooning confirmed we have surpassed our expectations and raised a total of £250,634 for the Appeal – fantastic stuff.