The Lake District – arguably the UK’s finest location for a hot air ballooning due to the changing landscape of shimmering lakes, brooding fells and rolling green hills and fields.
The changing light of your Lake District balloon ride that alters with every passing minute and every alteration in terrain – bright expanses across pastures one moment, dark shadows befalling steep crevices the next.
Nowhere better showcases this incredible scenery and natural Lake District beauty like the stunning area of Ullswater. And there is no better way to absorb the scale of the landscape than from the basket of a hot air balloon as you glide silently overhead, with a sense of freedom, romance and calm that you can’t experience anywhere else. It is, simply magical.
Plenty of prehistoric remnants suggest that the Ullswater area has featured in human settlement and trade for quite some time: the stone circles found on Barton Fell date back to Neolithic times, while another on Moor Divock have been dated to between 2500-1500BC. Nearby a third stone circle comprising of 65 stones (of which only one continues to stand) at Swarth Fell, cements the belief that this has always been a place of prominence.
This human habitation can be traced through the ages via the hill forts and settlements of the area. The Romans too took advantage of the regions high ground, building two forts – one at Brougham (Brocavum) and another at Ambleside (Galava) and linking them with a paved road, know as High Street.
It hasn’t just been the strategic attributes of Ullswater that can brought people to the area, people have been seduced and inspired by its beauty too! William Wordsworth was one such visitor and so captivated by the explosion of daffodils at Gowbarrow Park, that in 1802 he penned his famous ode ‘Daffodils’ – or as you may know it, ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’.
From the 1820’s the region became of significant industrial importance with over 3 million tons of ore being extracted from the Greenside Lead Mine at Glenridding, which operated for over 140 years up to its closure in 1962.
This industrialisation would also see the introduction of the ‘Steamers’ on the lake in 1859 that originally brought food and provisions for the miners, but now transports tourists who enjoy seeing the scenery from a different angle – and let’s be honest, who will probably be looking at up at you in your balloon with more than just a little envy…