A bird’s eye view of Northamptonshire

A hot air balloon is inflated

A hot air balloon is inflated

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Northamptonshire’s countryside is a beautiful sight and what better way to view it than from the sky?

With this in mind, my mum and I embarked on a hot air balloon flight early on a Saturday morning.

We arrived at the Marriott Hotel in Eagle Drive, Northampton at 6.45am to meet the four other passengers and our pilot.

We soon found out that the flight, run by The Ballooning Business, which is based in Northamptonshire, is a hands-on experience.

Our pilot, Lawrie Ellis, who has been flying for more than 20 years, soon asked me to help inflate the balloon.

Another passenger and I were given gloves and asked to hold each side of the bottom of the balloon open while Lawrie blew it up using a cold air pump.

My mum and I looked on in awe and admittedly with a few nerves aswell as we saw the balloon come to life.

At that moment it was hard to contemplate that we would soon be thousands of feet in the air with only the balloon to carry us.

Lawrie talked us all through every step of the process of getting the balloon ready for the flight and it was a great experience to be involved in.

Soon it was time for us to get inside the basket and looking up at the inside of the balloon while Lawrie pumped hot burning air into it was a unique experience.

The balloon soon took flight and it seemed that within minutes the people on the ground were just dots and the buildings were far beneath us.

We flew at around 2,000 feet and the views of Northampton, with sights such as the Lift Tower, were undoubtedly the best I will ever see.

Everything was crystal clear on such a beautiful summer’s day and it was easy to pick out Becket’s Park marina, Abington Park and as we travelled further afield, sights including the church in Little Houghton came into view.

The balloon travelled around five miles and flew over water, buildings, parks and fields, where we got a great aerial view of one farmer’s ploughed crops.

We landed smoothly after around an hour and stopped in a field belonging to the owner of Manor Farm in Denton.

The owner’s son and one of the farm workers came over to greet us and even helped us to deflate the balloon.

Again this was a process all of us were involved in and it was lots of fun.

For our reward we enjoyed a glass of champagne and although it was only around 8.15am, after such an eye-opening experience it felt much later in the day.

We were picked up in a truck and it took us around 15 minutes to get back to the launch site.

The whole experience from start to finish was amazing and I would recommend it to anyone, even those who don’t have a head for heights.

After around the first five minutes I got used to being in the air and the height didn’t feel as daunting.

I felt safe in the basket and the whole flight was very peaceful and relaxed.

Flights start at £89 per person.

For more details visit http://www.the-balloon.co.uk or call Northampton 768617.