We have three fantastic launch sites in Derbyshire - all within the Peak District National Park. We probably shouldn't have favourites, but this is the most beautiful of the areas over which we go ballooning!
- Rowsley, Near Chatsworth House, Bakewell & Matlock.
- Tissington Hall, Near Ashbourne on the Buxton road.
- Glutton Bridge, just south of Buxton.
Our resident Peak District pilot is Graham Dorrell - ably assised by wife Julie who drives the pursuit Land Rover. Living in Middleton, Graham has thousands of flying hours as a commercial pilot, with over a decade in the Peaks. A full time pilot, Graham flies twice each day, all year, subject to weather - an unrivalled service in the county!
Close to Chatsworth House, our most northerly launch site is a stunning private venue near Rowsley, right next to the river Derwent. Situated about halfway between Matlock and Bakewell, Rowsley is ideally located for those of you who may wish to enjoy a day in the Derbyshire Dales, with both Bakewell and Matlock within a few miles.
Why not make your day even more memorable by visiting Chatsworth House whilst in the area? The parkland, designed by ‘Capability Brown’ in the 1760’s, is free to the public and open all year round.
A few miles north of the historic market town of Ashbourne lies our second Derbyshire launch site in the village of Tissington. This privately owned hamlet is part of the Tissington Estate. The Hall has been occupied by the FitzHerbert family since 1609.
Of course, close to the village lies the famous Tissington Trail, a disused railway line now transformed into a wonderful walk and cyclepath linking Ashbourne and Buxton. So for the energetic amongst you we can heartily recommend a brisk stroll either before or after your hot air balloon ride in the Peak District!
Our third launch venue is at Glutton Bridge, just south of Buxton. Once again, this is a secluded, private venue, set amongst some of the most stunning hills and scenery in the entire Peak District - a real gem to fly from!
Should you have a party of eight or more passengers we will happily investigate the possibilities of flying from other locations to suit you. Flying from your own "back yard" at least assures you of some very novel aerial photos! We generally make no extra charge for launching from alternative locations within a reasonable distance, so please feel welcome to contact us to discuss the possibilities.
One final consideration is the good old English weather! Whilst being the most beautiful and popular of our venues, it's also true to say that the Peak District climate can often thwart our best attempts to fly, and so a little extra patience may be required.
We need to have these three different launch sites for one simple reason - balloons cannot be steered, and are simply carried by the breeze! So, before each flight we carefully check the wind direction, and then decide which launch site will give us the best flight. We need to make sure that we don't inadvertently drift into the controlled airspace of either East Midlands or Manchester Airports, and must also consider the possible terrain on which we'll be landing.
So, when passengers call to check the weather conditions prior to their flight, we also tell them which launch site they need to come to for their flight. It's as simple as that!