Monthly Archives: September 2015

Wing Walkers and Spitfires

The day stayed beautiful, though gradually began to cloud over a little and the breeze got up, which meant when suddenly (and I have to say although the programme of events was good, things just seemed to happen when they happened, rather than when one expected them)  Anyway, suddenly the Breitling Wing Walkers came storming across the sky and gave a spectacular show of swoops and dives, climbs and dare-devil cross overs.

I have never seen wing walkers, other than on old film clips from the thirties, and as the weather conditions were less than perfect the planes stayed high in the skies.  I could see some small figures on top of the planes, but being the sceptical sort that I am, I wondered if it was actually real girls up there on the wings or the planes, or whether it was people-like models being worked from inside the aircraft to make  it look as though their arms and legs were going up and down.

So having watched the show, and photographed what I could of it – difficult as they are going past at such speeds – I went back inside Thebus and checked out Breitling Wing Walkers, and guess what, not only were they real girls but you could have a go yourself!

Saturday Evening was the final Night Glow so I went up to the show ground and again was treated to a stunning visual delight, once more followed by the most spectacular fireworks display.  The crowds were even thicker than the first night and on the way back down in the darkness where the immense crowds funnelled into a sunken tunnel to file out through the castellated gate house it was so packed as to be somewhat claustrophobic and in fact one or two people began to panic a bit, but eventually we all got through and out to be confronted by the perils of crossing a main road where it meets with a junction, though there were so many people flooding out, that the traffic almost had to give way.

I had put on extra layers of clothing, and thermal underwear, plus coat, gloves and furry hat, but even so I was glad to be back inside Thebus and put on the heating for a good warm.

By next morning it looked as though the best of the good weather was over with the long promised rain on its way as the day dawned grey and clouded.  More morning balloons were launched but the stiff breeze carried them off towards Bristol at a rapid rate, and by now I was experiencing a bit of balloon over-load.

Several ariel displays were promised for the Sunday  but as it was so grey I stayed in Thebus thinking I would probably have a reasonable chance of a view from the camping field.  – In fact for some reason most of the promised displays did not materialise, but we did have a flypast and display by a Spitfire, though the leaden skies and the height of the plane meant one didn’t get to see too much.

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Then later on some parachutists came down to land in the main arena.

I think with all these things the weather plays an important part in the enjoyment, but the previous days at Bristol could not have been better, so I have some wonderful memories to cherish.  If you have a chance to go I can highly recommend it.

Thebus gets a Visitor……

There was no Night Glow on the Friday evening so I didn’t bother to go up to the show ground but we saw the balloons drifting rising from the woods surrounding the main arena then drifting across quite quickly into the distance on the evening breeze.

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By now after a series of early mornings, and having seen so a magical lift off the morning before, I decided to stay down on the farm site next morning, and only bother to get up early if the day looked good (once again an indifferent day had been forecast)

On lifting the bedroom window blind when the alarm went off around 5.30am I was met by a beautiful blue sky and getting dressed I headed out to see if we would be lucky enough to see the balloon heading our way. And I was so very lucky

Apparently the light morning breeze would have blown the balloons towards Bristol Airport so the pilots had be given instructions to stay lowish and land as soon as possible to prevent the risk of them clashing with the aeroplanes

The day was almost breathless, with the streamers and pennants flown by the caravans hanging lifeless and limp on their staffs.  The first balloon rose and hung in the air, but then drifted towards us, seeming only feet above the field. Then more balloons rose out of the group of trees on the hillside opposite Parsonage Farm, and drifting slowly and almost imperceptibly headed towards us, and soon we were in a brightly coloured cloud of magnificent balloons.

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I had gone to the top of the camping field away from most of the caravans and motorhomes and took as many photos as I could, and then thinking a photo of some balloons in the background behind Thebus would make a good shot I turned round to go back, and as I did a huge balloon was just hovering in the air making a landing just in front of where I had parked.

Rushing down I was in time to see the pilot expertly land his craft, and casually ask if anyone had got the kettle on.  One of the neighbouring motorhomers did the honours and having drunk it and handed back the cup he expertly took off again from amidst an admiring throng of onlookers.  I think he was a competition ballonist as he was off to compete in a major balloon event the following day in Paris, though whether he was going by balloon or not he didn’t tell us.

 

 

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I was almost pleased Phoebe wasn’t with me – at home she was always very cross with the balloons that drifted over us, and followed them, watching their progress and barking until they were safely out of our airspace.

The pilot handled his balloon impeccably – It is quite amazing the control they have over their craft.  The previous morning up at the main arena I watched as several of the balloons did a circuit of the skies before landing back in the arena – how amazing is that?.  I think by moving up and down in the various air currents they can change direction.

These are a few of the photos of the balloons as they hung and drifted over the camping field for nearly an hour.  A magical experience and one I would not have missed.

 

 

 

 

Bristol Balloon Fiesta – Early morning Mass Ascent.

The next morning at six o’clock  there was another  Mass Balloon Ascent. I set the alarm for five thinking I would check the weather first and if it was raining or very windy I would stay in bed as I had already seen one mass launching.

But the day had dawned dry with a hint of better weather, so (somewhat reluctantly)  I decided to give it a go.  Back on with the thermals and off I set, arriving at about quarter to six.  I was pleased to see there was hardly anyone there and thought I would get a much better view than from in amongst the crowds of the previous night.  Though in fact the balloons were hardly ready to take off much before six thirty, and by this time lots of folk had arrived, mostly equipped with picnic blankets, chairs and food enough for an entire day, so there would have been no hope of getting a prime spot much after seven in the morning.

The morning mists hung over the show ground, and silent fun fair rides.

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As the day began to reveal its promise the sun came up and the stillness of the air meant that the balloons, when they rose, hung in the air above us for some time, rather than being taken away quickly.  It was magical.  Well worth the effort of the early morning start.

I am not sure how many balloons actually went up but I would think well over a hundred, and in all shapes and sizes. Truly a sight worth seeing 🙂