The official website for Camel Creek Adventure Park carries language stating that “Children aged 16 years or older can enter the Park without an adult”. On arrival today, however, we discovered that the park has an unpublished but entirely real policy to refuse admission to groups consisting only of adults. We were able to negotiate an escorted visit by being polite and respectful, and are grateful to the friendly staff for being willing to accommodate us without advance warning. Those seeking to retrace our steps are advised to email the park prior to visiting in order to avoid disappointment – especially given how far the place is from, well, everywhere.
The unusual nature of our stay meant that we were restricted to one ride on each coaster, and unfortunately that list did not include Airbender, an Interpark Cyclon that was down for maintenance reasons. Fortunately we determined that we’d actually ridden it some years earlier in SkyPark, located on the roof of the Paradise Center in Sofia, Bulgaria. Our guides today told us that the ride control panel labelling was printed in both Cyrillic and English, and were more than a little surprised when we were able to tell them precisely why (and show them photographs).
Our first ride became Magic Dragon, a Pinfari Super Dragon that I’d ridden in both of its previous homes, first at Drayton Manor way back in July 2002, and more recently at Funland Amusement Park in June 2019. In its latest incarnation the ride has been retrofitted with over-the-shoulder seatbelts, which had the side effect of making it nearly impossible for me to fit on board as the mount point at the back of the car reduced the available space in what is already a very tight fit for my knees. Fortunately for my coaster count (if not my dignity) I managed it, allowing me to enjoy an exciting three lap cycle. It’s a huge shame that this design isn’t as ubiquitous as the omnipresent Big Apple/Wacky Worm.
Tick number two was Clown Coaster, one of just two remaining examples of the Pinfari Circus Clown. The ride is the smallest coaster ever produced by the Italian manufacturer, with a small tyre drive lift and an oval-shaped track. My first encounter with this particular machine was at Oakwood Theme Park in July 2002, with a repeat at the same location back in August 2013. If the pattern holds I’ll be due to ride it again wherever it happens to be in October 2033 – though that’ll be rather dependent on us still having a world at that point and/or sufficiently affordable electricity to operate frivolities like roller coasters. We will have to see what happens.
The final ride of the morning was the only one that was new to me. Morgawr is a powered coaster, originally built in 1983, that I first encountered at what was then known as Tir Prince Family Funfair in June 2007. It was out of service that day, and was removed a few weeks later – only to re-emerge at Camel Creek Adventure Park in 2010 following a comprehensive refurbishment by Garmendale Engineering. Today the ride was delivering in style, with much more forceful turns than its diminutive profile would suggest. This was all the more surprising given the minimal clearances between track segments; any adult rider would have no difficulty touching parts of the rail while out on course.