Hot Air Balloon Rides in England - A splash and dash with ice!

We don't schedule passenger hot air balloon flights in the winter as the weather is much less likely to be suitable for ballooning and of course ground conditions can be wet. However, when you do get a good day in the winter it can be cracking and so we sometimes go out with our regular balloon rides crew to give them a treat and let them learn more about piloting a hot air balloon.

Winter balloon flights can be totally different to flying in the summer. On the last day of January, we had studied the weather forecasts and could see that at around midday, the wind would change from a North Easterly to a South Westerly, but very light throughout. So out came our small 4 person Happy Birthday balloon and taking off at 10.45 in the morning we drifted from our Hampshire balloon ride base down towards the villages of Hook and Odiham. A frozen lake looked very tempting but the wind direction took us just one side of the lake and along some big powerlines.

The classic picture of a hot air balloon reflection over water, shame about the ice Watch out swans, here comes our hot air balloon Down we go - hot air balloon descent Getting close to the water in our balloon flight
Click photos to enlarge

A climb to 2000 feet gave us a new wind direction and speed after which we went down to tree top level to ride another new wind, this time taking us back to the lake again. Indeed the wind was so variable we were able to touch the frozen surface of the lake and fly along with the balloon a few inches above the ice. We then climbed up as some trees on the edge of the lake loomed close and yet again, by flying at different levels the wind took us back to the lake again for a final landing on its edge. Some swans on the lake didn't appreciate the disturbance to their tranquil environment but soon came back to claim their territory once the balloon drifted away.

"It was as if the two opposing winds were meeting like the fingers of two hands, giving us very light winds from every direction, varying with time and height" said trainee balloon pilot Nick. "It is the first time I have done what balloon pilots call a 'splash and dash' and I guess this one was with ice! A very nice man in the house alongside the lake took some pictures and we swapped them later as we had some good ones of his house too".

Following on from this the nice man who provided the pictures sent us a link to this You Tube video. It is brilliant. Watch it and enjoy!

Adventure Balloons Ltd, Winchfield Park, London Road, Hartley Wintney, Hampshire, RG27 8HY.
Reg No 4837166

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