Camel Creek Adventure Park

3rd September 2022

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 On arrival today, however, we discovered that the park has an unpublished but entirely real policy to refuse admission to groups consisting only of adults.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.

Camel Creek

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.



Barry Island Promenade Fun Park

3rd September 2022

Heavy traffic on the way through Devon turned the drive to Barry Island into a four-and-a-bit-hour slog, not including a snack break and refuel en route. We arrived to grey skies and high winds, but fortunately Barry Island Promenade Fun Park was fully operational, allowing us to tick off Coaster (#3037), a Guven Rides Brucomela.


Barry Island Pleasure Park

3rd September 2022

My trip report from Barry Island Pleasure Park written back in 2004 observed that the owners “clearly take pride in what they have” and described “fresh paint gleaming in the afternoon sun”. Unfortunately, no amount of pride was able to save what was fundamentally a business in trouble. Quite a few of the more valuable rides were removed in the late noughties, and the iconic log flume occupying a substantial portion of the site came down at the end of 2013 after falling into a state of disrepair.

Today the park is to all intents and purposes a fairground, and not a particularly appealing one. Most of the attractions are travelling models, and while many have been in situ for several years the infrastructure has a decidedly temporary appearance, to the point that it could probably be loaded onto the back of trucks in a matter of hours if the need arose. The result is dispiriting, though there are green shoots on the horizon – not least the recent addition of Aerospace, a KMG Speed 32 advertised as the UK’s tallest thrill ride. I’m not a huge spin ride person, but I’d have been tempted to try this if it hadn’t been down due to high winds.

The power supply that drives Aerospace was turned off today, and that bizarrely led to the parallel closure of Runaway Train, a River Rides family coaster that is driven from the same feed. Though disappointing, it was a relatively minor miss compared to the loss of Cyclone, a SBF Cyclon Coaster that we subsequently determined to have been down for at least two weeks prior to our trip. I’m not expecting to make it back to either for the foreseeable future, though my plans could change if some of the rumours circulating about the park come to fruition. Time will tell.

Runaway Train

I enjoyed a consolation lap on Dragon Challenge, the second Pinfari Super Dragon of the day. I first encountered this one at Alton Towers in 2002, and then subsequently caught up with again in the United Arab Emirates in 2014. The lack of retrofitted seatbelts made it more comfortable than the unit at Camel Creek Adventure Park, though otherwise the experience was the same.

Our final stop was at the Ghost Train, which featured an impressive facade reminiscent of the heyday of the British fairground. I had an idea that it might hide something respectable inside, and while this proved optimistic to the point of foolishness, the ride became unexpectedly hilarious when our car stalled behind another that had gotten stuck a few minutes earlier. We were evacuated in due course, but only after all the lights came on revealing some of the interior scenery in its full glory.