Loudoun Castle is a medium sized amusement park set in the gardens of a ruined nineteenth century house. It's fair to say that not all of the local residents appreciate the place, as can be seen by close inspection of the sign pictured below, and that's an enormous shame given that it has pleasant landscaping, quality theming, and a treasure trove of interesting attractions. At one point it was even home to a wood-tracked mouse, and though that ride was demolished a few years ago the place still remains a must-do for enthusiasts thanks to the presence of a classic Schwarzkopf coaster.
Twist and Shout is one of just three versions of the Silberpfeil, a production model layout from the early 1980s that is immediately recognisable to the connoisseur thanks to its vertical loop being set diagonally within its superstructure. I'd ridden this unit previously at Dreamland, though this was but one of its many homes; it also spent time at Camelot Theme Park and Ocean Beach Amusement Park, and it may have operated elsewhere too as there are gaps in its history as recorded on RCDB. Despite its vintage the ride felt like new; today there wasn't a single perceptible jolt in the course, reminding me again of just how well engineered Schwarzkopf rides actually were.
The other adult coaster in the park is Rat, a standard model Maurer Wilde Maus that also came from Dreamland. In its former home it was known as Wild Mouse, and the control panel and ride inspection certificates still show that name under a variety of different spellings. The ride is over half a kilometre away from the main entrance, and we were apparently the first guests to venture that far today; as we approached an operator put down his book and went to start up the chain lift mechanism.
Though there was a third coaster to tick off we decided that we were more interested in experiencing the oddly-named Plough, our second encounter with a Schwarzkopf Apollo just three months after enjoying its brother at Slagharen. The ride was pretty much as expected, being fun if not extreme in any way. Despite its historical value Martin elected to sit it out due to a personal incompatibility with spin rides, although he did say subsequently that even he could probably have survived it with breakfast intact.
George took what he considered to be a superb photo of me on the Logger's Leap flume. The quality of the picture was boosted greatly, he felt, by the fact that I could not be seen in it at all, as the water splash completely obscured the passenger on board precluding identification. While on the subject of George, he also came out with a gem of a comment in the car about Martin not being able to attend a future trip we are planning: that's okay; we'll do it some other day, when you're also busy!
Switching into credit whoring mode, we each had a go on the Wacky Worm (#514), before returning to Twist and Shout, which had developed a lengthy queue. It quickly became evident that slow operation was to blame as the single train sat parked in the station for as much as five minutes between cycles. I'd resigned myself to only riding once, but luck was smiling on me; as I disembarked there was a request for a volunteer to accompany a young child who could not have been more than four years old, and I immediately stepped into the breach. The only thing I could interpolate from the ensuing stream of consciousness in a strong Glasgow accent was that this was to be his first roller coaster. This blond haired kid, who was being cheered on loudly by gangs of supporters, maintained an impassive face all the way up the lift hill. As the ride began, though, his face lit up like a christmas tree and the hands went as far into the air as they would go. A coaster enthusiast in the making no doubt; he was already back in the queue for another ride as we went to get our lunch.