Friday, 28 February 2014

Bournemouth Slide 'N' Skate - Saturday 28 December 2013

Date: Saturday 28 December 2013
Venue: Littledown Centre, Bournemouth International Centre
Who Went: Just me

Getting To Bournemouth
The day began when I caught the 8:33 train from Dorchester South to Bournemouth. Having reached Bournemouth, I caught a bus which ran via Boscombe to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital. Once there the Littledown Centre was just a short walk away.

Littledown Centre
The Littledown Centre is a leisure centre on the outskirts of Bournemouth. I arrived at the Littledown Centre around 10:20 intending to spend the morning water sliding. Since the water slides were due to open at 11:00, I had a coffee at the The Terrace Café Bar before getting changed just before 11:00.

The Littledown Centre pool area features a 25 metre rectangular swimming pool, learner pool and two water slides:

Yellow slide (slow)
This takes you around a clockwise u-bend, along a straight bit, around another clockwise u-bend and another, straight bit. Finally there's a clockwise spiral (dark towards the end), and you land in a small landing pool.

Green slide (fast)
This starts with a steep drop (not vertical), followed by a clockwise spiral (dark), bend to left, and you land in a small landing pool.

I entered the pool area around 11:00 and began by swimming three lengths of the main pool. The slides were still closed when I left the pool at the deep end, but they opened shortly afterwards. When the slides opened I began by sliding the yellow flume and green flume once each. From this point onwards I mostly had multiple goes on one slide at a time. I enjoyed eight goes on the yellow flume followed by twelve goes on the green flume. Next I had twelve goes on the yellow flume followed by twelve on the green flume. After that there was still time for four more goes on the yellow flume and four goes on the green flume, followed by another two goes on the yellow flume and two goes on the green flume. I finished off by sliding the yellow and green flumes once each. Finally I swam one more length of the main pool deep to shallow before leaving the pool and slides area at 12:30.

Summary of my session in actual order:

3 lengths of main pool

Yellow Flume 1
Green Flume 1
Yellow Flume 8
Green Flume 12
Yellow Flume 12
Green Flume 12
Yellow Flume 4
Green Flume 4
Yellow Flume 2
Green Flume 2
Yellow Flume 1
Green Flume 1

1 main pool deep to shallow.

Cumulative Summary of Slides

Green Flume
Yellow Flume

From Littledown Centre to Bournemouth Seafront
Having dried myself and dressed, I resisted the temptation to get lunch at The Terrace Café Bar, as I wanted to get to Bournemouth seafront as quickly as possible. I left the Littledown Centre and walked straight to the bus stop, whereupon I had just a few minutes' wait for the next bus to the seafront. At 13:33 I left bus at Royal Bath Hotel, which is close to the beach.

At this point my decision to walk into the town centre for some lunch turned out to be my biggest and most regretted mistake of the day. In the town centre I wasted several minutes looking for a Subway. In the end I went to McDonalds, where I had a Festive Burger and fries. I ended up rushing my burger and fries, which was a pity, as I wanted to get to the Bournemouth International Centre in time for the 14:15 skating session. Having left McDonalds, I walked straight to the BIC via the Lower Gardens.

Skating At The BIC
I arrived at the BIC main entrance around 14:15, and was lucky to get one of the last few tickets still available for the 14:15 skating session. Shortly afterwards a member of staff announced that the 14:15 session was sold out. I walked through the building and joined the back of a long queue.

The temporary ice rink was in the Purbeck Hall. Unfortunately by the time I entered Purbeck Hall, the time was 14:30, and skaters who already had skates on were allowed on to the ice. There were still plenty of people in front of me and behind me queuing for the skate issue point. By the time I was issued with skates, and put them on, it was 14:45 when I first stepped on the ice. A quarter of the skating time had already gone before I even started skating. From this point onwards I remained on the ice until it was time to leave. I remained upright throughout my time on the ice, but nonetheless went into the perimeter barrier a few times.

At 15:30 all skaters were asked to leave the ice pad and return their skates. Since another session was due to start at 16:00, no extra time could be added on for those like me who took to the ice late due to the queue for the skate issue point at the start. Being as I'd only had 45 minutes on the ice, as opposed to the 60 minutes I should have had, I felt I hadn't had my money's worth.

Remaining Time In Bournemouth
After leaving the BIC, I went to nearby Hot Rocks Café, where I had a much-needed cappuccino coffee. When I left Hot Rocks, I saw another café by Bournemouth Pier entrance. At this point I felt I ought to have gone there for a quick snack between leaving the bus at 13:33 and going to the BIC box office. That way I could have been at the BIC box office to buy my skating ticket and thus been in the queue for the Purbeck Hall much sooner than I did get there. Without further ado I walked through the Lower Gardens into the town centre.

Journey Home
At 16:41 I caught a bus from Bournemouth Square to the Travel Interchange. When I got there seven minutes later, the next train to Dorchester was due at 17:09. To kill some time I went into ASDA where I had a strawberry sundae at McDonalds. Back at the train station the 17:09 Weymouth train was running late, it finally left Bournemouth at 17:24. Once on board I enjoyed a relaxing train journey without any further problems, and finally reached Dorchester South at 18:08.


Sliding the yellow and green water slides at the Littledown Centre for one and a half hours.
Short waiting time enabled a high slide count there in that time.
Ice skating on the BIC Purbeck Hall ice rink.

Taking to the ice 15 minutes after the start due to the long queue for skate hire.

Summing Up
Altogether a great day out, my final time of going water sliding or ice skating anywhere for 2013. The yellow and green slides at the Littledown Centre may not be the best water slides I've been down during 2013, but they were better than some water slides I have ever experienced. The waiting time for them varied a bit, at worst just a few sliders in front, and thus I achieved a high slide count on them in approximately one and a half hours. My biggest regret of the day was going into the town centre in search of some lunch. Although my Festive Burger at McDonalds was delicious, it severely delayed me getting to the BIC for the 14:15 skating session. Getting there to buy one of the last few remaining tickets at the very last minute meant I had a long wait for the skate issue point when I joined the queue. By the time I finally took to the ice at 14:45, the first 15 minutes of available skating time were already over, and thus I only had 45 out of 60 allotted minutes on the ice. Nonetheless I greatly enjoyed skating during the time I did have on the ice. After skating my biggest surprise was the lack of Danter's Funfair at Bournemouth Pier Approach. Being as they've been there each Christmas for several years now I was puzzled as to why they weren't there Christmas 2013.