This month saw dozens of hot air balloonists take to the skies for the 5th biennial Women’s European Hot Air Balloon Championship in the skies over Charente in France.
The European Hot Air Balloon Championships have been taking place every two years since 1976 and welcome balloonists from all over Europe to participate in three days of ballooning competitions. The women’s championships were inaugurated in 2010 and are still going strong. The prestigious contest is a highlight of the hot air ballooning calendar.
This year, 48 different ballooning teams participated from 14 different nations. The three-day contest sees participants take part in a series of challenges. Tasks usually require ballooning teams to take it in turns to pass over a cross on the ground and to drop a marker as close as they can to the bullseye at its centre. As well as competing against each other, they are also racing against the clock. If they take too long, the throw will not count.
Contestants have to judge the weather and the atmospheric conditions in order to decide how best to navigate their vessels. Too far off the ground and they might not be able to hit their marker, too close and they may not be able to adjust their positioning to the right place. Each task requires considerable stamina and skill to be able to keep the momentum going over the three-day period.
To experience the magic of hot air ballooning adventures for yourself, we offer hot air balloon flights with expert pilots over the skies of Bath, Bristol and other areas in the south west.