Whilst sat in the garden enjoying the delightful late September sunshine on Saturday just gone, I received a heads up on a Hot Air Balloon event taking place about 11 miles away at Sackville Lodge Farm in Bedfordshire.
Having received this tip off, I decided to investigate further and discovered that it was an event titled 'Grassroots Ballooning'. The purpose of this event is to gather as many balloonists together on a social basis without the pressure of 'entertaining the masses' as they would be expected to do at the large 'Fiesta' type events.
Another purpose is to provide training opportunities for 'Pilots Under Training' and to give back to the UK farming community by taking locals farmers for flights as a thank you for putting up with balloons landing in their fields throughout the year.
So with this information and a suggestion of a mass ascent approximately 90 minutes before sunset, I set off with my parents to locate this farm strip with the hope of watching the balloon launches.
Having located the farm, with the help of several balloons already airborne, we were confronted with a long line of balloons in all stages of launch, from behind unpacked from the trailers through being inflated through to actually being cast off to drift on the warm evening breeze.
The farm strip at Sackville Lodge is also home to several microlights, a gliding club and some privately owned light aircraft including this Piper J3 Cub, whose pilot was taking full advantage of the weather.
Having watched the last of the 30+ balloons depart, we also decided to head for home but not before I had captured the rather spectacular sunset.
More photos can be found here