Graeme Houston

Through the course of our short lives, we pay witness to many wonderful things. We will do things that literally stop our hearts beating temporarily and we’ll feel emotions that suck the living breath from our lungs.

Through many of life’s cruellest moments, we will also be forced to endure pain and suffering. These times may come in the form of emotional turmoil, loss and life changing events.

We are resilient though, we are born to survive and push ourselves to the limits. All of us at times, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. We will often refer to these obstacles as “a mountain to climb”. They could be brought on by workload, relationships or our real mountains, financial, physical, illness and psychological issues.

The world’s largest mountain, Everest, for many years, was seen as a number, XV (15). Nobody knew it was the highest of them all, until in 1856 when Andrew Waugh confirmed it at a height of 29,029 ft. So from here, when we might say, “we have a mountain to climb”, we have our own Everest or indeed, our own “Peak XV”. This challenge is mine.

Graeme Houston

“For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return”

Leonardo D Vinci

Get Involved

My Peak XV will be a team effort and I would love to speak to anybody who feels they might be able to help with the project. There will be highs and lows along the way obviously but a positive outcome is what we are looking for and what we will strive to achieve.

Fill out the contact form or be old school, pick up the phone and give me a call.

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1 New Steading   

Mountain Cross  

West Linton  

Scottish Borders  

EH46 7DF

United Kingdom  

  TEL:                     +44 1968 661710  

Mobile:                 +44 7989 428536  



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My Story

A career as a Hot Air Balloon Pilot is a privilege.  Since my first ever flight, 29yrs ago I’ve been hooked.  It’s addictive; floating the skies, the silence, the beauty of a higher perspective of our lands.  Over the years I’ve flown thousands of passengers in Scotland, Tanzania, Turkey, Canada, Myanmar, California and New Mexico plus numerous European countries.  I’ve shared the excitement with thousands of passengers, and been witness to their joy as they experience the magic of flying in a hot air balloon.

There’s a quote: “People say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.  Truth is, you knew what you had, you just never thought you’d lose it.”  

On the 20th June 2014, I was involved in a high impact, head on car crash as a driver careered round a blind bend on my side of the road.  My sons were travelling with me, mercifully both survived with bumps and bruises.  I sustained more serious injuries.  Three years, an operation, more consultants than I care to mention, physiotherapy, CBT therapy for trauma, pain management and still, my right arm/shoulder mobility is very poor and I suffer chronic pain.  

My career, my passion, I never thought I’d lose it.  Worse, I hadn’t contemplated it being taken away by the careless actions of another.  It’s very hard to stomach, near on impossible for me to put into words and the repercussions are far reaching.  I can’t fly.  I can’t pull the deflation ropes to land.  My licence has been revoked and for now, I’m fully grounded.

Balloons over Bagan

Balloons over Bagan - TV

Tarangire - Tanzania

Airship Flight - Italy

Hopper Flight - Scotland

Lorraine Kelly - GMTV

Edmonton - Canada

Kapadokya - Turkey

Kapadokya - Turkey


My Peak XV

Since the accident, I’ve been through every human emotion, some come to haunt me more often than I’d want but I’m resilient and I need to find a way through.  What I’ve lost forever is my Commercial Pilot’s License.  I will never again have the pleasure of flying a basket full of wide eyed passengers.  However, I believe I can get back in the sky as a Pilot – master of my own destiny, if I can obtain a National Private Pilot’s License or similar.

I have goals.  I hadn’t finished my flying career – far from it.  The skies call me, all the time.

My initial aim is to attempt two flights.  The first is to fly from Arran on the West Coast of Scotland, over the fabulous Goat Fell mountain, crossing the Clyde river and landing on the Inverclyde/Ayrshire coast.  More ambitious however, is an Alpine Transcrossing at up to 20,000 feet.  My Peak XV.  My mountain to climb.  It is a huge undertaking but I’m up for the challenge.

As Einstein commented: “Adversity introduces a man to himself.”  Indeed it does.  I’ve had to dig deep, think hard, find courage and attempt to turn my situation around into some kind of positive.  As such, and as I know I’m far from alone in suffering the shattering, life changing trauma of an RTC, I want to send an inspirational message to others because life must go on.  It will be different, but it can still be good – as good as we choose to make it.