Met up with ACE member & fellow Boston reident rcc'er Rusozana on a moderately
pleasant Sat noon time. As this is my erstwhile hometown I was happy to play
host & show off this somewhat tightly packed (he says using slight
understatement) park. Before jumping aboard the first coaster we had a quick
walk across the 'Plesh', taking in the best camera angles for various rides.
We picked up the discount ticket book from the office next to the Noah's Ark,
& we set off to hit the coasters. First stop was the Grand National, we got the
back seat on the blue car (the purple one being ever more sluggish these days).
Of course, the 'Gnash' being a Mobius loop racer, it takes a bit of extra
working out as to which side to stand when in the queue. As for the coaster,
well it's always been one of my favourite woodies but it wasn't quite running
at full throttle on this day. The massive airtime I anticipated on both the
double drop & Beechers Brook were somewhat subdued. It was only by the time
that we reached the C***Turn that the real ejector seat, thigh slamming
airtime came. Still, plenty of moments of some air, all along. Rus then went on
the Wild Mouse but I gave it a miss. I was feeling a little fragile after a
long flight the previous night & didn't fancy the brutalization. Anyway, single
riding is the only way to go on this teeth rattler of a ride. His first
statement after riding it was: "That's a lawsuit waiting to happen."
Then it was across the bridge to the south side of the 'Plesh', & a quick spin
on the front seat of the Big One. I've always loved the first drop but hated
the rest of the snoozefest that it is. It is running faster than ever these
days, but my opinions still stand.
Next stop the Big Dipper. Back seat once more. If the Gnash was slightly
underperforming, then the Dipper was flying. I rode it last season & it was
crawling along. This year it's back to its old wonderful airtime extravaganza,
out & back best. By rides end the thigh bruises were already in the mail!!
Time to tone it down a notch after that one. Over to the other out & back
woodie, the Rollercoaster. The real charm of this one is it's complete lack of
restraint. No lapbar, no seatbelt, just an optional hold on bar on the back of
the seat in front. Nothing to stop you jumping out except common sense &
instinct for survival. There is a little airtime as well.
Then came another rather dangerous looking coaster. Steeplechase is ridden
whilst sat on carousel-like horseback. Come on Rus, get your hands in the air
will you? :-)
One more coaster before I took a break from riding. we went on the short but
sharp(ly banked) bobsleigh coaster, Avalanche. A pretty intense ride but too
brief for my liking.
Then, I allowed Rus to notch a few of the lesser coasters up. I sat out on the
indoor Space Invader, the shuttle loop Revolution & the Zipper Dipper junior,
although I was more than happy to join him on the Crazy Mouse, across the road
on the South Pier. Love this ride, me; can't understand why it doesn't get more
customers. It would be a real shame if public indifference brought on it's
Then we headed back to the park & repeat rode the 'Gnash' - running just
slightly better as the afternoon wore on, the Dipper & the Big One, this time
in the back with that wonderful first drop side-slam.
Once we parted ways, Rus heading back to Manchester, myself nipping off to the
pub for a quick pint, I did get a last ride in on the Gnash.
A fun day was had.
Drayton Manor, Sunday 16th May.
Smashing little park, this one. Nice sunny day as well. The park has a
pay-per-ride or pay-one-price choice, but it seems that your tix stretch a lot
further than they should :-)
I met up with a bunch of mates from back home that I haven't seen in a long
while. All of us were slightly fragile following separate but equal long
previous nights down our various local pubs. First coaster of the day was the
Klondike Old Mine, a well themed Pinfarl single loop twister. A tad rough this
one, tick on the list & then off to Shockwave, the excellent stand up coaster.
I'm not a big fan of stand ups in general but I loved this one. A little brief
but more than made up for by the intensity (often lacking in this genre) of
three of the four inversions. Many repeat rides followed.
Then, after deciding it was a bit too breezy for the new Stormforce 10 water
ride we headed off to the Haunting. BIG MISTAKE!!! Never do this attraction
whilst hung over. I had no idea that it was a haunted swing; my only salvation
was found in keeping my eyes firmly closed.
Well, unfortunately, that ride finished us all off, so we headed to the local
pub for a little hair of the dog before finding complete recovery in a good
Alton Towers, Mon 17th May.
So long as you can get to the amazingly spacious & scenic AT on a reasonably
crowd & rain free day, then you are sure to have the time of your life. Such
was my experience this time around. I actually spent the whole early part of
the day, from opening until 2pm, on or waiting for the utterly magnificent
Nemesis. This beauty was absolutely FLYING!!! I did the corners & then just
kept repeat riding the two outside back seats. At about 2 bells I once again
met up with Rus, along with some mates of his, & we took in the other three
coasters for one ride each. Corkscrew is....well....a corkscrew (enough said)
but Black Hole, the indoor coaster, & it's neighbouring dive machine, Oblivion
were fun. Still, one ride was enough before heading back over to 'Nemmie' to
ride until closing.
Oakwood, Tues 18th May.
After a long trek south & west I arrived early next morning at this wild,
woolly, windy West Wales outpost. Talk about a park which looks more like a
golf course as you approach it! Of course there is only one real reason to haul
yersel' all this way across Britain, & the sensational Megafobia certainly did
nothing to let me down. What an amazing wooden twister this is. You want
ejector seat airtime? You want breathtaking laterals? You want the friendliest
ride operators you are ever likely to meet? If so, then they've got the coaster
for you right here. I also did the Treetops family coaster, noting that it
never really gets higher than halfway up the surrounding evergreens; the
excellent single man bobsleighs; & the brand new space shot/freefall combo
Bounce. Nevertheless, virtually my whole day was spent on either the front or
back seat of the, on this day, walk on Megafobia.
Pleasureland, Fri 21st May.
A few non-coastering days later (although I had dearly wished to get back to
Ligh***er Valley & spend a day on the wonderful Ultimate, but it wasn't to be
this time) I headed off to Southport for the Fri evening discount sesh.
The new coaster is the Vekoma 'hang & bang' TRAUMAtizer but the wooden Cyclone
remains the parks real gem. Also, it was noticeable that they had some leftover
red paint from TRAUMAtizer to slap on the Wildcat carni.
I liked the new addition, just as I like the same multi-cloned rids that I've
ridden Stateside, but after the blistering 'Nemmie' it didn't quite match up -
proof that perceived speed can trump actual speed. Also, the rumours of it
being a new smoothened out version seem a tad erronious.
So it was back to the old delapidated Cyclone, surprise airtime & all, for me.
Camelot, Sat 22nd May.
Cup Final day so I had to be there & back early. Basically this is the closest
that England comes to Disney. With the five different areas all relating back
to it's central theme, & lots of family orientated attractions & shows, this
was not the sort of place that I'd have stayed all day at, anyway. The brochure
says that there are two coasters but I was disappointed to notice that the
indoor one was a powered ride. Boo!!
All the more challenging rides were congregated in the one small area known as
'Land of the Brave'. Several spin & spews stood on three sides of the lone
coaster: a Schwarzkopf single loop twister but in & around a castle. The loop
stands unnoticed by many inside the castle walls, & thus comes as quite a
surprise for them. The ride itself is a nice & intense helix filled special of
which you see here & there in the States. The single lapbar restraint being
Anyway, that concludes the UK leg, off to France & Spain next.