Yesterday I went to the popular theme park ‘Alton Towers’, located near Staffordshire, England. It’s a famous and much acclaimed theme park specialising in a wide range of attractions, most notably rather extreme roller coasters. During my time there I went on four different rides, of which I’ll detail my experience below. In short, it was quite something … I don’t know whether the feeling was enjoyment or pure terror…for a couple of them, the latter. I’m pretty sure at this stage I won’t be returning as the physical and psychological after-effects were pretty traumatic. You see, I haven’t really been on many rollercoasters in my lifetime, short of ‘Blackpool Pleasure Beach’ when I was a lot younger (around 12 or 13). My memories of that time are clouded, but I remember the Avalanche I loved and went on several times (it’s sort of a bob-sleigh ride for two people) but one rollercoaster that had two loops that you went through, and then came backwards through again, was quite tough to experience with my dad. Suffice to say I didn’t go on it a second time.
Now back to the rides I did experience at Alton Towers.
This at first seems like a conventional ride, you are strapped into your seats (a row of eight) and journey up the roller-coaster until you reach the top…then you dangle (literally) over the edge for a second or two, before being plummeted down a sheer sixty foot drop…into a black hole. The experience…wow… it was extreme…g-force pushing you back in your seat as you hold on and grimace for it to be over…it’s very scary, but over quickly…the only saving grace of such rides. It’s certainly one for the books I can tell you and very difficult to explain in words.
Next up was a ride that involves you strapped into a chair as usual but your legs are dangling free and you are whizzed around the rollercoaster with your feet dangling…it’s pretty mad. The ride itself is full of some pretty violent twists and loops and once I came off it I felt like all my limbs had come loose. Not as utterly scary as Oblivion, but a real body-shake I can tell you.
Probably the only one I really liked. It’s another mad idea, you are in a chair, but this time your legs are strapped in also, then the chair lifts up so you are hanging upside down, with the ground below you … and then the ride starts and you feel like you are flying. It’s a fast ride but the rush is better, and the twists not quite as extreme bar some loops towards the end that made me feel sick. Probably the only ride I would be tempted to experience again.
Nicknamed the queen of speed … imagine Oblivion but with that immense drop, the speed of it, vertical sort of like being fired out of a gun at 200 mph (possibly)… the ride itself is probably the fastest on the whole park, and the twists, although you never loop or go upside down, are pretty wild. At the end of this ride my head was pulsing and I had wrenched a muscle in my neck. It sort of put me off going on any more.
I think the issue I had, is that during the rides, my body would tense up to a major level, I’d lean forward involuntarily, and all my muscles would just tighten. It maybe is related to my neck and back issues (I have a medical diagnosis of Cervical Lordosis with narrowing of disk spaces on my spine…). So in hindsight maybe such roller-coaster fun isn’t that advisable for me. I’m ok though and not really feeling too bad now, a day later.
It remains one of the wildest experiences of my life thus far.
Note: all videos are copyright of their respective owners on Youtube.com and I do not claim any ownership… I was too busy crapping myself!