Oakwood Theme Park

13th April 2007

Every easter, the choir of Saint Bartholomew's Church makes a visit to sing somewhere else; usually in a foreign cathedral. This year we were invited to sing services in Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff. Quite a number of our group elected to do their own thing with travel arrangements, much to the consternation of the organisers, but even still seven cars took the ferry from Rosslare to Pembroke Dock. Oakwood Theme Park is less than ten miles from the ferry port, and a side trip there was impossible to resist. It should be observed at this point that our car ended up at the park on three separate occasions. This trip report covers all three trips.

Let me begin with the coasters. Megafobia is now, I'm sorry to say, a shadow of what it once was. The train shuffles quite awkwardly over the rails in places, with a particularly nasty pothole at the bottom of the first drop which is bordering on the painful from the back car. Hopefully the park will retrack the ride soon. Speed, on the other hand, is as good as new. The park has resisted the temptation to add brakes in the first section of the ride, leaving the insane airtime hill as powerful as ever. Finally, the old reliable Treetops Coaster hasn't changed much; it remains a good family ride.

Vertigo

Two years ago marked my first experience of a skycoaster. At the time it seemed inevitable that I'd ride another one soon. However, the decision to once again let yourself be scared silly is distinctly harder to make when your feet are on the ground and the ride is in front of you. Nevertheless, Emmet and Killian wanted to ride Vertigo, and chickening out in those circumstances was simply not an option. Much to my own surprise I felt a significant amount of trepidation as we were winched up to the heights. Perhaps it was because the rip cord was Emmet's responsibility, not mine; being in control of your own destiny does, I think, make such rides easier. Whatever the case, it was impossible to surpress a quiet expletive as we reached our maximum height.

It was only a small comfort that I wasn't alone in this; you could actually hear the shake in Emmet's voice as he got ready to pull the cord. As with last time, however, the horrible lurch as the release occurred was replaced in a split second with the sheer exhilaration of flight. It was only slightly dampened by the yell of a particularly colourful metaphor from one of my fellow passengers that was likely heard by most of South Wales. Our third trip to the park was for one reason and one alone; we wanted to ride a second time.

As for the other rides in the park, we managed five in total. Brer Rabbit is just odd. There's no other word for it. Bobsled remains my second favourite attraction at Oakwood Theme Park. There's no really good explanation as to why; fundamentally it is just a sled running in a slide trough, sort of like a roller coaster but at a fraction of the speed. Whatever the case, I really like it. Bounce is something that I would never have even contemplated riding on my first visit to the park. I'm older now, though, and tower rides no longer scare me. Enjoyable certainly, though one shot and one drop is way too short a ride programme. Pirate Ship is a pirate ship. Not a big draw for me to be sure, but those with me wanted to ride, so I obliged. Finally, Spooky 3D... er, right. Nothing more to say there!