Lightwater Valley14th June 2008
Lightwater Valley has been through some changes in the six years since my last visit, but the overall atmosphere of the park was just as I remembered it. My first port of call was the large and mostly empty wooded area on the left hand side of the park, a space which once held the unique Caripro suspended coaster, the Batflyer. This ride was removed the year after my last visit, predominantly because it did not have anything like the throughput needed for a major park. Even still, however, the Caterpillar (#1191) is a disappointing replacement; part of me laments the loss of something unique in favour of a cookie cutter attraction.
I'd just disembarked the Grizzly Bear (#1192) when Tom and Tom showed up. Their immediate plan involved food, which worked well for me, it being more than six hours after breakfast. That concluded, we made our way over to the Ultimate. Though seventeen years old, this ride remains the longest coaster in the world outside Japan. Much to my surprise the experience didn't seem to be anything like as violent as I remembered; the second half of the ride was certainly jarring but nothing unmanageable. My only major cricitism is the usual one; why on earth was I not allowed to wear my secured glasses on this ride?
On my last visit the Sewer Rat was my favourite coaster in the park, and the same was true today. The park appear to have replaced the original Schwarzkopf lap bars with ones that are somewhat less forgiving, but anyone with a reasonable ability at contortionism shoudn't have too much trouble. Regardless they don't get in the way when riding, and that's the main thing.
We misbalanced the Twister in a particularly effective fashion, to the point that we elected not to do any of the spin rides that we'd been planning up until that point. Instead, we decided to take the slow leisurely train journey around the park in search of potential photo opportunities. These were for the most part non existent, thanks to strategically placed trees which got right in the way of some otherwise perfect shots.
Pleasureland Southport14th June 2008
Pleasureland was an attractive park in the centre of Southport with five roller coasters in it, two of them classic wood designs. In September 2006, park management abruptly closed the place down and demolished just about everything of value, including the classic wooden Cyclone. The state the land was left in shows conclusively that the owners were trying to eliminate the chance of another operator coming in and providing useful competition for their main resort. Nevertheless that hasn't stopped the Dreamstorm group from having a go at it.
Unfortunately, New Pleasureland is probably best described using the international phonetic alphabet; Sierra hotel india tango hotel oscar lima echo. The park today is a fairground, filled with shabby rides and partially demolished buildings. It is a depressing place, especially when you think of what it replaced. Worse yet, a number of the machines present were closed during my visit, including what is now the star attraction, a Pinfari ZL42 coaster named Storm. In the end, it took me about half an hour to clear the Big Apple and Happy Caterpiller (#1193), and with those out of the way, I didn't hang around.