BBM&L join English Heritage’s ‘Festival of Life’

The Festival of History was held at Kelmarsh Hall in Northamptonshire in July.

This was a real extravaganza of History. Every era of English history was represented, and battles re-enacted from throughout the ages.

There were over 2,000 participants all in costumes of different times. The enormous site was just one big tent city with something going on all the time and appealing to every age.

The BBM&L had been asked to be involved in the Boer War scenarios. During the Boer War, British Military balloons were used. The gas balloons were tethered and observers on board were able to report the whereabouts of the Boers, where they were approaching from or camped.

It was not logistically sound to have a gas balloon inflating twice over the weekend for a five minute slot, for financial, and for health and safety reasons. So a plain hot air balloon was used, G-BPXG rented from Zebedee Balloon Services.

The pilot and crew donned British military uniforms as befitted the era.

The Pilot was John Tyrrell, and the crew were Martyn Turner, Tim Turner, Steve Turner, Wendy Rousell, and Barry Johnson.

Unfortunately the weather was on limits about 8-12kts, the idea was right and would of worked very well for the re-enactment, but the weather has a huge part to play and not everyone, especially the public, appreciated that the gusting winds made inflation difficult and potentially dangerous, let alone tethering at 50 feet.

The BBM&L trailer had a prime position, and attracted a lot of interest from many of the 20,000 visitors who had visited Kelmarsh over the weekend

The collapsible spy balloon basket was especially popular, as were the history pages showing how balloons were used during the Boer War by the British.

The Royal Engineers paid a special visit to be photographed by the basket and BBM&L trailer.