There aren’t many places that are as inspiring as Bath. The architecture and history of the place is fantastic and the opportunity to fly from one of the parks or from in front of the beautiful Royal Crescent makes the Bath Balloon Fiesta one that shouldn’t be missed. This year they managed a couple of flights from this Quintessentially English Meet. Thanks to organiser Rob Clements for his report.
Once again the historic City of Bath played host to a series of flyouts over the bank holiday weekend. The weather didn’t permit us to fly every slot, but two very successful launches were achieved, including one from the Royal Crescent lawn.
The weekend started with an attempt to fly from Bath Recreation Ground, a venue long associated with Bath Fiestas of old. The weather simply didn’t play ball, so the flight was cancelled and with it the morning slot. It was noted that the forecast for the morning was low cloud and very poor visibility, but in reality it turned out fine so this served as a reminder that it is sometimes just worth getting up to find out if the forecast is indeed correct!
Despite the setback the weather looked superb for the evening flight scheduled from The Royal Crescent Lawn which, although next to the regular launchsite of Victoria Park, is only available with additional consents in place. So with gentle winds being (in accordance with the risk assessment) nine balloons lifted off and a further six flew from the adjacent park, alongside our commercial friends. I ended up landing at Bradford on Avon in Wiltshire and getting a warm and friendly welcome from a helpful and enthusiastic landowner proving that, although flying in this region can sometimes be more challenging than others, it is still possible to enjoy fiesta flying out of Bath.
The Bank Holiday Monday flight, the last of the Fiesta, also proved a successful one. With a south easterly drift out of the city, many including myself enjoyed longer flights with a 12 knot gradient and very little to speak of on the surface. The only issue we were conscious of was waking up the landowner at 0730 on a Bank Holiday but in my case an elderly gent came to greet me in his dressing gown upon landing, so no problems there.
We have always organised the Bath Fiesta as a series of flyouts and find this enables us to proceed with the minimum of bureaucracy, and I am very grateful for all those that came along. Worth noting is that the additional insurance requirement (from the local authority as we fly from their land) was achieved by most pilots with either little or no extra premium costs. Next year the Spring Bank Holiday falls on 30th May so for those that would like to come, either as new visitors or returning, the dates will be 27th- 30th May 2016 and you will be made most welcome.
Piccie courtesy Ken Scott