Balloon Repair Station

September at Naburn Lock

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From the Pennine Region's smashing super Jan Mitchinson (vice chairman no less) comes this report on their recent very popular Naburn Lock Meet that went head to head with the Grass Roots Meet.

Summer decided to perform an encore for PRBA’s September meet, after a couple of weeks of mainly wet and cool weather.

Family members joined several of the teams for the weekend, some from as far away as Cornwall, and there were birthday celebrations, too. The warm and friendly atmosphere matched the warm and sunny weather very well. We had exclusive use of the ‘top field’ to camp and launch, which meant we were less likely to disturb the caravan site’s other visitors, too.

There was no drop-off in the number of balloons attending either, even though it coincided with the first weekend of the Irish meet and Grass Roots had been rolled over to catch the weather.

We are often joined at Naburn Lock by a passenger rides balloon and this year was no exception. Jon Russell brought his Ultramagic N425 with its 20-seater basket. Naburn Lock’s location at the southern edge of York is a popular spot from which to fly paying passengers.

Friday evening was a little breezy so, with the promise of a good slot the following morning, the fun-flyers decided to settle in and take advantage of the warm and sunny evening for socialising. Jon and his passengers launched from the ‘bottom field’.

Saturday morning proved ideal and everyone flew, but Saturday evening’s slot was a bit breezy so one or two decided to give it a miss. Sunday morning’s forecast promised windy weather (and it was correct) so the met-man granted us all a lie-in.

Gone are the days when the flying prize may have not been to your taste, PRBA now has a trophy for each of its meets (and if the trophy’s not to your taste, well… you only have it for 12 months before you return it!).

The new perpetual trophy for the Naburn Lock meet is a replica brass divers helmet similar to, but smaller than, the old Coastal Storm trophy. It had suffered some trauma at the hands of one company attempting to mount it on a base, but all had been rectified elsewhere and it arrived at the meet in good order.

A ‘splash & dash’ was the challenge for the weekend and, with the River Ouse meandering around two sides of the site, there was a realistic prospect of achieving it. Harry Stringer flew over the river to make a splash, but there were too many leisure craft around to do so safely. As nobody achieved a splash anywhere else during the weekend, Harry was adjudged the first winner of the new trophy for performing the closest fly-past to the river.

Food and drink was the theme for the quiz, inspired by the Food Festival taking place in York at the time. Neil and Lesley Beckwith won the first prize, a goody bag of consumables. Philip and Pauline Wilkinson won the consolation prize, a catering-sized can of mushy peas. Rumour has it there will be a ‘bring a pie’ party at the Wilkinson’s sometime soon…

Pennine Region Balloon Association are at www.prba.org.uk/. Naburn Lock is at www.naburnlock.co.uk/

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