It has been 7 years since the inception of High Road Balloons. 7 years! We began flying balloons many years before though, but in the Autumn & Winter of 2007 made all the necessary preperations to launch (‘scuse the pun) our commercial rides business in the early part of the 2008 season. Besides the paperwork, of which there is plenty, there is the fun design side of our business. We designed our original logo back then, all those years ago and felt it was time for an update. Since we had reached our goal of purchasing a custom made balloon last year, we thought it about time G-PMSL featured in our marketing. So here it is. Our new High Road Balloons Logo, with our lovely 120 balloon:
I have previously mentioned our new launch site at St Nicholas Park in Warwick. Russell did his first flight from there just the other day and managed to catch a quick piccie of the castle from the balloon. STUNNING! What a treat he and the passengers had on this evening flight with such beautiful light. He landed near to Great Alne and the passengers too had a great time. We’ve been sent a photo from one of our passengers, Jane Malone whose photo is truly fabulous. I think it would win in a competition! Thank you so much Jane, I’m sure you’ll be showing it off for many years, proudly. (And rightly so!)
From the beginning of April we will be scheduling flights from the beautiful St Nicholas Park right beside Warwick Castle! The launch site should prove to be very popular considering the spectacular views and photo opportunities passengers will get upon take-off. With Warwick being so accessible from both the north and south on the M40 it should attract people from the southern end and Eastern side of Birmingham and bring people up from Oxford and London easily. I’m sure we will be booked to the max with this one so if you are interested in soaking up a bit of the castle then get on over to the Virgin Balloon Flights website and book on! I’ll post our first castle view photo as soon as possible – so check back to see how the Castle looks from the air.
We finally managed a ballooning holiday. With 2 small children overseas holidays are something of a distant memory, but with some on-hand babysitting we have managed to bring our pride and joy G-PMSL to Italy for her first winter ballooning meet. With only 1000 miles to travel each way we left UK with a team of 4 drivers, a Defender full of cushions and a snackbox crammed with treats. We planned an overnight stop in France to give our legs, backs and bums a rest from the refined comfort of a Defender 110 but with still a 10 hr drive the other side we left before breakfast in the dark.
For anyone who has not driven to Italy before, it is a really, really long way. Especially when you’re towing at 50 mph with the vehicle stereo locked and the access code in the office back in blightey! Eventually we crossed the French/Italian boarder and climbed the mountains to pass through the tunnels. On exiting the tunnels we ploughed through snow. The first snow we’d seen since winter 2011. What a treat, a delight; a slow way to get where you’re going :-/ Nonetheless we made it to our destination a mere 2 days after departure.
The evening catering was spectacular, enjoyed last in 2008 when Russell and I were here together before. Italians sure know how to eat. And eat in style they do.
The weather in the morning wasn’t suitable for flying so after a leisurely start we got ourselves together for the afternoon. WOW! What a great day. The next 3 slots were fab too with over 20 balloons flying we were guaranteed to get some great photos. The weather was stunning, the flying a joy and we all managed to get 2 flights each over the 2 days. Of course with any sort of winter break we were tempted to stay longer and longer but the inevitable was upon us. The return journey. Suprisingly the 1000 miles back were faster, more comfortable and unsuprisingly more familiar.
We took the opportunity to put together a flight today from Stratford Upon Avon. It was a bit on the cold side but with a few layers we were set to be just fine. I was super thrilled today as this was my first flight since April 2011 – which I know sounds rather spoilt already, but when you run a balloon company you may have thought that staff flying was something of a more frequent affair! If I was in the air all the time who would be filing the paperwork and keeping things in order?
So with a crisp chill in the air we all loved the warmth from the burners – we had a gentle flight out of Stratford and some lovely views:
And the fact that Russell checked out for his C Group (which means a bigger balloon category) is absolutley fantastic news! Not only did I have a lovely flight, but we are set-up for next season with a bigger balloon, hurrah.
With the official start to Autumn upon us we look forward to some more stunning balloon flights. This is my favourite time of the year for flying. Warm and rich colours reaching far across the countryside with the landscape looking well settled in. The spring is also awesome for colour but I always think the trees and hedgerows carry a look of sparseness with their new buds and leaves. By Autumn the flora looks well established and sun blushed. As the sun lowers in the sky towards the end of the season it casts long dark shadows across the fields giving the landscape such depth and perspective. Much of the crop is now cut or soon to be and the dark richness of our Cotswold soil shows through in the ploughed fields. It’s a photographer’s paradise up there – floating at 3,000 ft with such stunning light. Don’t just take my word for it. Get yourself up there, visit Virgin Balloon Flights and get yourslef a flight voucher.
We just can’t thank our passengers enough when they take the time to write such lovely reviews of both their experience and our service. We really pride ourselves on the service we offer and this just makes it so worthwile. Thank you!
“My partner and I had been waiting for about a year for our flight with each time cancelled. We eventually got booked onto a morning flight in early September. After arriving we were greeted by our pilot, Russell Collins who explained the mornings activities. There were 11 of us flying that day and we were all going to be getting involved putting the balloon up and packing it away. Russell explained many people enjoy this and its good to get involved – he wasn’t wrong – it was almost as fun as the ride itself.
We took off and enjoyed a wonderful hour flying over the Cotswolds. Russell’s knowledge of both ballooning in general and the local area was fantastic. We lucked out with a beautiful day and the views were wonderful.
Our landing was much smoother than I had expected and we all set about putting the balloon away which was amusing to say the least. We were then picked up by a local taxi firm and taken back to our cars after some champaign. There was an opportunity to purchase a picture of the balloon basket mid flight which had been obtained by suspending a camera outside the balloon on ropes. The picture was a very reasonable £15.
Russell was an excellent pilot and host – we felt totally safe throughout the entire experience despite both being ballooning “virgins” and everything was explained very clearly.
If I had to make one tiny suggestion it would be to tell people before take off to take their money with them as there will be opportunity to purchase a picture at the end of the flight – we left our money in the car back at the take off site along with many others and so had to pay at a later date over the phone.
But all in all this is a very enjoyable, safe and fun experience I would recommend to anyone.”
Simon & MariaVisited September 2013
We fly from a few launch sites and Cheltenham Racecourse is one of them. We have received a lovely review from a passenger who’s included a couple of photos. It’s these kinds of reviews that help us to know we are doing a great job and people go home happy with their experience.
…..and breathe! July oh July how amazing. What an absolute cracker. The previous 2 years have been, lets say, dissapointing but this year has made up for them. We have been flying mad – which is fantastic on so many levels. We do what we are good at and our passengers, of which there will be many happy and flown, go home with certificates, smiles and a catalogue of photos to show off. This is what summer should be made of; blue skies, warm air and gentle winds. I’ve included a small selection of in-flight photos from this month – let’s hope this is set to continue long into September and October (although I don’t want to tempt fate).