2008 Balloon Race

2nd Team Graeme Balloon Race

The second Team Graeme balloon race was started on the special date of 08/08/08 where we released 750 orange balloons from the garden of Team Graeme HQ in Stockton. The original plan was to time the release for 8.08 pm but the large number of balloons took longer to inflate than anticipated. The balloons were released at 8.25 pm into a clear sky where they took off to the north.
The race was organised to raise some funds for the Mount Kilimanjaro trip and the owner of the winning balloon will receive a case of 12 bottles of wine. Scroll down to the table below for the full results of all balloons that were found

Environmental Aspects

Many people may be aware there have been concerns that balloon races can cause injury and death to wildlife that may ingest the balloons or labels. To prevent this we used natural latex balloons that are biodegradable and the labels were made from biodegradable laminated plastic. This was kindly donated by Innovia Films from Wigton in Cumbria and we are very grateful to them for their support. Details of their range of products can be found by clicking on the image. We feel that as far as possible we have minimised the danger that this event may cause to wildlife.

Balloon Race Results and Locations

Here is a Google map showing the location of all balloons that were found. I added the map after mentioning to Jake Hannah on our Kilimanjaro trek that I would have liked to have added such a thing. Thanks Jake for this. It is just what I wanted.
You can move around the map and enlarge sections of it then click on the marker to see the balloon number and owner that was found there.

View Larger Map

The table below shows the details of those balloons that have been found. I have used the same method of calculating distances as last year. (Click here for the details). The distances are straight line distances from Team Graeme HQ to where the balloon was found. In most cases a street address was given by the finder of the balloon. There were 17 reports with one in the UK, 11 in The Netherlands and 5 in Germany. Several landed on the islands off the north coast of The Netherlands so an orange invasion was appropriate. Three balloons that had lost their labels were near one that had a label on these islands. One balloon was found on the island of Amrum where the winner of last year's race was found. The winds were obviously much stronger this year and this seems to tie in with the fact that as we all know the summer of 2008 in the UK was basically cancelled. This has been because the jet stream has been much further south than normal and I think we can thank the jet stream for blowing our balloons so far. The winning balloon travelled nearly 1100 km which is not far off being twice as far as last year's winner.

Click on the link in the table to go to a Google map of the location and you can zoom in or out on the map to see more or less detail. If your balloon is not listed below then unfortunately we did not get a report of it. Realistically it would seem that most balloons ended up in the North Sea since they soon went east unlike last year when they all floated up the east coast into Scotland. If we had not released so many it is possible that none would have been found.

Anyway the winner of the case of wine is Mrs J Ralph who had balloon number 434 and this was found on 10th August in Bavaria, Germany outside someone's garage in the town called Pielenhofen near Regensburg. The ballon was found 1098 km (682 miles) from Stockton less than 48 hours after release so it fairly sped across the sky. The second place balloon was found further north in Germany and had travelled about 15km less. The first balloon was reported less than 12 hours after release and it must have travelled at about 40km/h (24 mph) which is quite something.

There was only one balloon reported in the UK and this had a fairly short journey having been found in Ellerby on the way to Whitby just 38 km (24 miles) from here. Perhaps we should award a booby prize for this. One person had two balloons found which is quite something.

A number of balloons were bought in the name of Baby Stacey by her parents Bek and Jonathan. At the time Bek was preganant and the sex of the baby was not known but it was due at the end of August. One of the balloons was found on the 6th September which turned out to be the date that Naomi Grace Stacey was born. How about that for planning?

Balloon Number Owner Date Found Location Distance from Stockton

km (miles)

434 Mrs J Ralph 10 August Pielenhofen, Bavaria, Germany 1098 (682)
644 Amanda Oliver 10 August Leuchtenberg-Donitz, Bavaria, Germany 1083 (673)
587 Louis Jones 11 August Sprakensehl, Lower Saxony, Germany 805 (500)
758 Matthew Glover 9 August Huckelhoven, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany 646 (401)
467 Baby Stacey 6 September Norddorf, Amrum Island, Germany 622 (386))
502 Mel Stokes 10 August Ameland Island, The Netherlands 488 (303)
558 Emily Riordan 11 August Buren, Ameland Island, The Netherlands 484 (301)
504 Andrew Bate 9 August Alphen aan den Rijn, The Netherlands 483 (300)
557 Emily Riordan 9 August Pijnacker, The Netherlands 478 (297)
677 Jane Anthony 17 August Ballum, Ameland Island, The Netherlands 476 (296)
100 Ed Dearing 10 August Hollum, Ameland Island, The Netherlands 474 (294)
300 Sue Neville 9 August Hoofddorp, Schipol Airport, The Netherlands 473 (294)
257 Lynda Addison 9 August Noord Holland, The Netherlands 457 (284)
594 Kelli Hart 9 August PE Slootdorp, The Netherlands 455 (283)
741 Linda Ross 10 August Kinnum, Waddensee, Terschelling, The Netherlands 453 (281)
397 Jackie Wearn 9 August West beach, Texel Island, The Netherlands 432 (269)
63 Jennifer Payne 23 August Ellerby, Whitby, North Yorkshire 39 (24)

Launch Photos

To see some photos of the launch please click Balloon Photos

To see the video of the balloon launch please click hereVideo