Virgin Balloon Flights

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On Sunday 7th July my husband and I enjoyed an early evening flight in brilliant sunshine over cumbria and looking towards the Lake District courtesy of Tesco Clubcard vouchers.

It was a case of third time lucky as the flight had been cancelled on two earlier occasions due to a) rain and b) wind from the wrong direction. This time we were told it would go ahead and duly drove from Dumfries and Galloway to Dalemain, a lovely historic house near Penrith. When we arrived the pilot tested the wind and said we would have to move sites to Brougham Castle or the wind would blow us to the mountains, not a good move. Off we trotted again and then everyone ( 10 passengers) and the pilot and his assistant had to get together to spread out the balloon and ensure it was filled up with air. before we did this we had to have a practice getting in and out of the balloon, something I found very difficult as I am just under 5ft and there were not many places to put your feet! Not really sure of the purpose of the practice as if anything went wrong " up there" we could not get out anyway – no parachutes! Eventually we took off after about an hour or more getting it started. It surprised us by taking us up really quickly and it was so quiet up there. The basket was very comfortable and divided into compartments but you have to be able to stand up for more than an hour as it is not suitable for sitting in. We got great views of Brougham Castle from above and also of the Cumbrian scenery including Centre Parcs and its interesting glass buildings. We also got to see my favourite nursery – Larch Cottage – from above, it looks much smaller from the air than when you are wandering around being seduced by plants! It did not seem to move very far ( in actual fact around 10 miles) but we had to detour to land as the owner of the land where we were near did not like the balloons in his fields. Landing was the most exciting part, we came down quite low of the lovely village of Morland, gorgeous houses and a lovely church and everyone waving to us, and we all took up the position as taught and had a pretty smooth and painless landing in a farmers field. We then had to put all the balloon away again which was harder than putting it up . My husband, who had been very apprehensive, absolutely loved it up there – I was a bit disappointed as I thought it would travel further and we would see more scenery – the views were quite limited. We were given a certificate and a bucks fizz before a coach came to take us back to our original launch site. So were does the liquorice come in? We always have a stick of liquorice each for car journeys when we go away, it has become a tradition so I surprised my other half with one up in the air – the most exciting place I have ever eaten a liquorice stick!

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