Virgin Balloon Flights marketing team had a lovely afternoon at the Shropshire Wildlife Trust in Shrewsbury on Friday. We invited all the winners and judges of the Love our Landscape photo competition to join us for a cuppa, a mince pie and a good old gander and the winning photos.

All the photos were made into canvases and displayed on the head table. Winners were invited to tell us about the inspiration behind their masterpieces.

Joe Stockdale, our overall winner, presented his stunning photo taken on a balloon flight over the Lake District. He said he often goes fell walking in the area but seeing the view from above was an entirely different experience which gave him a privileged perspective.

Joe won an organic hamper from Roots and Wings, a £200 Amazon voucher and a Virgin Balloon ride for two. We’re hoping he’ll take some more wonderful snaps on his next flight with us.

He said he’d probably fly over Cumbria again, but admitted he’d be tempted to try out one of our launch sites in Scotland.

Judge Mark Lord from the Princes Countryside Fund (and professional photographer) said he was overwhelmed by the quality of entries we received.

He said: “These photos are a testament to the beauty of the British countryside. All entrants gave us a very difficult job.”

Susan Albrighton, runner up, took the stunning photo of Short Stack lighthouse in Anglesey. She said she attended a 30-week photography course in Bromsgrove and achieved a distinction.

All of our winners said they dedicate a lot of time to cinching that perfect photograph. Justin Minns, runner up with his photo of Dedham in Suffolk, risked some icy lanes to achieve his snowy shot.

He said: “As soon as I stopped, the sheep all looked my way and started walking towards me, so with no time to mess about I took several shots with camera resting on the car roof to keep it steady.”

With so many entries, not only did the judges have to consider the best and most visually stunning photographs but also the ones which best represented the changing British seasons.

Simone Ashley-Norman, Woodland Trust said she thought the calendar demonstrated the seasons beautifully.

She said: “From January, right through to December, the calendar perfectly captures the gradual change in weather, sunlight and growth throughout the seasons.”

Thanks to all the winners and judges who attended the event. It was lovely to meet the artists responsible for the masterpieces.

If you'd like to enter the 2014 photo competition why not take some stunning pics from the air? To book your flight call 01952 212750 or visit