Most of us on the site are from one tour group, but there are also a few unfamiliar faces, including a honeymooning couple and a family of four - excited dad, indifferent mum, incredibly indifferent 11-year-old daughter, and screaming toddler. As we are divided into two groups I discover that I am to be joining the strangers along with a handful of others from my group. I don't mind being split up from the rest of the group, but I make a mental note that if we need to reduce ballast for any reason, the toddler's going over first.

Looking up in to the clear blue sky, we can already see 5 or 6 other balloons in the distance. We may be slightly late starters, but this is for a good reason - our pilots have been able to assess the air currents by watching the other balloons, which should ensure that we get the most out of our journey.

Looking up at the balloons, just prior to lift-off
Looking up at the balloons, just prior to lift-off.

With the various safety briefs out of the way, we climb into our respective baskets. Then something magical happens - the toddler stops screaming. So relieved am I by this, I almost don't notice that we have started to hover. It's very slight at first, then you can hear the long grass underneath just tickling the basket as we begin to glide sideways, but this noise quickly disappears as we gain a foot, two feet, ten feet and so on. All the while we're taking snaps of the other balloon whose occupants are similarly taking photos of us.