YORK may have just had a magnificent balloon festival - but do you remember a ballooning competition at Castle Howard in the late 1970s?

In September 1976, the fast-growing sport of ballooning had spread northwards.

In just over a year, the York Balloon Club and the Yorkshire Balloon Group based at Selby was formed, and there were movements of several more.

Both groups had entered their balloons into the September 1976 Prize National Championships at Castle Howard, but with guest pilots.

Piloting, however, was only one part of the sport, perhaps the most glamorous but not necessarily the most hazardous.

While the pilot shoots jet flames from the burner to warm the air, one member of the crew must stand inside the balloon holding up the sides until there is enough air for lift-off.

In this case, it was a job for 26-year-old Colin Prescot, known as “Cremation Charlie”.

Our pictures today are taken from a competition at Castle Howard in September 1976 and 1977.

Grounded by the weather is French balloonist, Roby Noirclere, and Dick Wirth of Great Britain, two of the competitors.

In another photo, after being grounded by unfavourable conditions, competitors in the third hot air balloon world championships at Castle Howard finally managed to get airborne.