Thursday, 11 August 2016

RCCGB Summer Bash 2016 Midi Report

Date: Saturday 9 July 2016
Venue: Paultons Park
Who Went: Me and a large number of other RCCGB members, including Andy and Christine Hine, Doug and Charlie Turner, Heather Hall, Lucy Cosnett, Mark Blundell, Matt Walker, Smiler, Stevie B, Wendy Evans.

DISCLAIMER: The above is NOT intended to be an exhaustive list of everyone who attended. It's a small sample of attendees; mainly those I spoke to and/or rode with at Paultons Park. I sincerely apologise to anyone I've not listed.

N.B. Any use of "today" or "Saturday" in this report means Saturday 9 July 2016.

Rationale for Trip
A one-day mini trip from the RCCGB. Over the years the Summer Bash has usually been held in June or July at a park which has just opened a new coaster or other ride. This year the Summer Bash was held at Paultons Park near Romsey, largely due to two new coasters Velociraptor and Flight of the Pterosaur.

Getting to Paultons
After an exceptionally early awakening I caught the 06:07 train from Bath Spa to Salisbury. Once there I just had time to buy myself a takeaway coffee from McDonalds in the city centre before catching the 07:40 Southampton bus. At 08:27 I left the bus at the Mortimer Arms and began walking up the long driveway to Paultons. Unexpectedly another member saw me and gave me a lift up the driveway to the main gate.

Welcome to Paultons
Several other members were already at the main gate when I got there, and others gradually arrived afterwards. Whilst waiting to go into the Park, I met and spoke to several members including Doug and Charlie, Matt Walker, Mark Blundell, Heather Hall, Lucy Cosnett and Wendy Evans. The Club entered the Park at 09:30. Just inside the porch, a welcome message was on the screens above the inner doors. Members posed for a group photo in front of the screens.

Morning ERS
Without further ado, the Club proceeded to the new Lost Kingdom area for a half-hour ERS on the two new coasters Velociraptor and Flight of the Pterosaur. I began by riding the boomerang coaster Velociraptor once in the front row followed by once in the back row. A fun ride, similar to Ben 10 - Ultimate Mission at Drayton Manor Park, but tame compared to the much larger Boomerang at Pleasure Island Cleethorpes which I rode in summer 2010. The rest of the ERS I enjoyed three goes on the suspended coaster Flight of the Pterosaur; the third of which I sat next to Brian. Altogether I thought this was a more exciting ride than Velociraptor.

Summary of my rides this ERS: Velociraptor 2, Flight of the Pterosaur 3. Did anyone beat me on that?

Free Time
The ERS ended when Paultons opened to the public at 10:00. At this point members were able to spread around the entire park and take over the rides for the rest of the day. There were no further organised activities just for the Club later in the day. For now I stayed in the Lost Kingdom.

My first ride during normal opening time was one more go on Flight of the Pterosaur. This time I sat with Mark Blundell in the second-from-back row. Next I enjoyed two goes on the Park's smallest coaster Dino Chase (formerly Flying Frog from 2003 to 2015); I sat next to Smiler on my first go, and alone in the back row on my second go. To me riding Dino Chase under its new theme seemed no different to riding it as Flying Frog on all my previous visits. Afterwards I had one go on Boulder Dash.

After a much-needed coffee at Base Camp, during which I spoke to Christine for a few minutes, I had one go on the magic carpet ride Temple Heights. Next I left Lost Kingdom to ride Sky Swinger and Dragon Ride once each. Suddenly I met Nev near the go-karts. He asked me if I'd ridden Edge yet; when I said I hadn't yet, he advised me to ride Edge next as he reckoned it was on top setting. Without further ado I enjoyed one go on Edge. After that I was going to go on the tall drop tower Magma, and joined its queue. Shortly afterwards some people walked back towards the entrance. Someone reckoned there was a problem with the ride. Rather than wait for an official announcement I exited the queue and looked for some lunch.

I ended up going to the Wild Forest Restaurant for lunch, where I enjoyed a delicious jacket potato with beef chilli and a 7-up to drink. After lunch I explored John and Anne's Garden, the Main Garden and various other areas. I got back to Lost Kingdom in time for the 14:00 dinosaur appearance, and queued to have my picture taken with the dinosaur.

My first ride after lunch was the family coaster Cat-O-Pillar (formerly Stinger from 2000 to 2014). I sat in the front row to have an unobstructed view of the track ahead of me. One go consists of two circuits of the track. A fun ride, but I noticed no difference since it was called Stinger. Due to the long queue I limited myself to one go for now. Next I enjoyed riding Tea Cup Ride and Jumping Bean once each. After a much-needed takeaway whippy ice cream from Station Kiosk, I had one go on the Rio Grande Train which runs around the outside of Peppa Pig Land.

Having left the train I entered Peppa Pig Land. There I had one go on Grandpa Pig's Boat Trip. Shortly afterwards Peppa and George appeared so visitors could be photographed with them. I queued for about 15 minutes to have my picture taken with Peppa and George. After that I had one go on Peppa's Big Balloon Ride. I must admit, I did wonder if my time queuing to have my picture taken with Peppa and George, and then for Peppa's Big Balloon Ride would have been better spent waiting for / riding some other ride elsewhere in the Park.

During my remaining time in Paultons I rode Viking Boats, Cat-O-Pillar, Raging River Ride Log Flume and Sky Swinger once each. Although the Park was due to close at 17:30, I left just after 17:20 in order to give myself adequate time to walk to the bus stop.

Summary of my day in order of activity

ERS: Velociraptor 2, Flight of the Pterosaur 3

Normal time
Flight of the Pterosaur 1
Dino Chase 2
Boulder Dash 1

Coffee at Base Camp

Temple Heights 1
Sky Swinger 1
Dragon Ride 1
Edge 1

Lunch at Wild Forest Restaurant
Walk around gardens
Dinosaur photo

Cat-O-Pillar 1
Tea Cup Ride 1
Jumping Bean 1

Whippy ice cream at Station Kiosk

Rio Grande Train 1
Grandpa Pig's Boat Trip 1

Photo with Peppa and George

Peppa's Big Balloon Ride 1
Viking Boats 1
Cat-O-Pillar 1
Raging River Ride Log Flume 1
Sky Swinger 1

Cumulative Summary of My Rides (ERSs and Freetime Combined)

Boulder Dash
Dino Chase
Dragon Ride
Flight of the Pterosaur
Grandpa Pig's Boat Trip
Jumping Bean
Peppa's Big Balloon Ride
Raging River Ride Log Flume
Rio Grande Train
Sky Swinger
Tea Cup Ride
Temple Heights
Viking Boats

Rest of Saturday
With a mixture of running and brisk walking, I proceeded back towards the main road. I was back at the Mortimer Arms bus stop with plenty of time to spare for the 17:41 bus to Salisbury. Having left the bus outside Debenhams at 18:27, I went to nearby Pizza Hut, where I enjoyed a delicious BBQ Meat Feast pizza, and an accompanying fill-it-myself salad bowl. For dessert I chose had an Ice Cream Factory ice cream. Afterwards I walked back to the railway station, whereupon I caught the 20:57 train to Bath Spa. I finally reached Bath Spa at 21:52, and home a few minutes later.


Meeting members I'd met on previous Club trips again
Morning ERS on Flight of the Pterosaur and Velociraptor
Adding Flight of the Pterosaur and Velociraptor to my coaster count
Re-riding other rides around the Park, including Dino Chase, Cat-O-Pillar, Jumping Bean, Sky Swinger and Raging River Ride Log Flume.

Cobra out of action all day
Ride count lower than my previous visits to Paultons

Summing Up
Altogether another excellent Club trip. Although only a one-day trip, it was still great fun. A nice and straightforward little trip too, just a half hour ERS followed by free time the rest of the day. It was great for me to add Velociraptor and Flight of the Pterosaur to my coaster count, and to re-ride Flying Frog and Stinger under their new guises. Also it was a pleasure to meet other members including Andy Hine, Matt Walker, Mark Blundell, Wendy Evans, Lucy Cosnett, Doug and Charlie and others again. It's a pity I wasn't able to ride Cobra, as it would have been a delight to have ridden all five coasters in a day, but you can't win them all I suppose. Just one point about the five coasters, they're all steel. Come on Paultons, get some wood! Best of all, the weather was favourable; dry all day with sunny spells. Many thanks to Nev for organising this trip, and to the ride attendants for operating Flight of the Pterosaur and Velociraptor before opening.

A more detailed report is available here

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