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Bristol Balloon Fiesta

August 13, 2013

Saturday 10th August 2013

What a day out

We booked a coach and set off at 11 o clock picking up passengers on the way

The M5 was packed as usual on a holiday weekend but we made good time and got to Ashton Court at 12.15

First complaint was the lack of organisation at the drop off and pick up point, which in effect did not exist, just a yellow board that said drop off and pick up point. As this was on the main road opposite a busy junction it was difficult for  the drivers of coaches to drop off people.

Drivers complained that there was nowhere for them to park the coaches and they had to drive off and find somewhere to stay for the rest of the day before returning and trying to get to the pick up point agan.  Surely with this huge estate they could have found somewhere  for them to park up!

Anyway we were in good time to find a place to sit before the RAF typhoon was due to give a display at 1pm.

Julie and I found a spot on the far side of the ground to spread our new blanket,( especially bought for the event) Sat down and ate our sandwiches and opened a cold can of cider. Always like to be organised!

The ground was filling up fast, can’t remember ever seeing so many people in one place before, maybe New Years eve in Hong Kong several years ago.

Wow what a display the Typhoon came thundering overhead and did a number of manoeuvres including an inverted pass. I was well impressed and I don’t say that very often.

“Get off my foot” Some people just don’t look where they are going. As it got busier more and more people walked between the people already sitting looking for a space.

Think the organisers could lay down some tape or arrange for waling areas, it would not be too difficult and by the evening it was horrendous trying to get to the food outlets and the toilets. Toilets! did I mention them, must be about 50 porta toilets but as it transpired more than half a million people attended the day and 50 toilets was just not enough, queues of 5 to 10 each in front of each toilet. 

The balloons were a great spectacle and as I had not been before it was all new to me. Took 250 photographs so have enough balloon pictures to  last a lifetime. 

We walked down to the local bup at 8pm as the coach driver was concerned about how he would be able to pick us up and texted  me to say there was a layby and bus stop outside the pub. When we got there the police had closed the road and would not allow pick ups so back to original pickup point!

We went back into the arena but amazed to see that thousands of people were still arriving for the Light glow that was due to start at 9pm So many people that we could not find anywhere to watch it from. Everyone was now standing and it was impossible to push through them even if you wanted to. We decided to call it a day and headed back to the pick up point. There were four coaches parked along the road but our driver managed to pull in across the road and wait for us. I did a head count and one couple was still not back so we sat on the bus and waited for them. I tried to call but there is very poor reception in this area and I doubt anyone would hear there phone anyway.

Our driver had already told us that he would have to get back our he would be out of his allotted hours and 10pm came and went. The bus full of people were getting agitated at the wait and with 10 children all wanting to get home it was decided that we could wait no longer and we left without them. Something I had never had to do before but to delay any longer would mean that we would have had to wait for a relief driver and that could take hours on a Saturday evening.

The roads around Bristol were horrendous but Fred, our driver managed to find a way out of town and we got back to Taunton at 11.40p.m. tired and somewhat upset to have left people behind. What else was there to do I asked myself!  

I spent a lot of Sunday sorting out the photographs and must say there are some great shots of aircraft and balloons.



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