Cornish hotel owner wins hot air balloon competition

The result of a hot air ballooning competition held annually in Switzerland during January has just been announced, with an entrant from Cornwall taking the first prize.

At an altitude of approximately 1,000 metres, the small towns of Château-d’Oex and Rougemont in Switzerland have become a mecca for hot air ballooning enthusiasts, attracting thousands of visitors every year, with the Espace Ballon museum, which has exhibits on show charting the history of aviation generally and hot air ballooning in particular, being one of the most popular tourist attractions in the region.

Situated close to Gstaad, which is renowned for its classy shops and the horsedrawn carriages that take tourists on sightseeing tours around the picturesque town, the area offers all-year round opportunities for skiing and snowboarding. The top event on the calendar for January is international hot air balloon week, which attracts enthusiastic balloonists, both professional and amateur. Although it usually runs for the entire week, adverse weather conditions this year forced the competition to be cut short to only two days.

This year’s competition has been won by the owner of the Headland Hotel in Newquay. One of eighty hot air balloonists taking to the skies, the pilot John Armstrong skilfully outmanoeuvred his competitors in his balloon to be declared the winner.

In other events staged during the week, Headland Hotel staff also had a surprise victory in tobogganing, a very popular activity in the area but not something which staff from a Cornish hotel had much chance to practice!

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