A Trip to Alton Towers, Staffordshire - 19th June 2004

Guv decided, on account of it being his birthday, to sort out a trip to Alton Towers. Cue a mini road-trip across to Staffordshire for a thrash around a few rollercoasters - luckily the queues were pretty short due to it probably not being school holidays and perhaps the slightly worrying-looking weather put a few people off. Also featured was a quick poke around the ruins of the house itself and a pint and some Indian food in Cambridge on the way back. This was perhaps Nosher's fifteenth visit to Alton Towers over the last thirty years. A few sites featuring the history of can be found here, on the modern theme-park and here, with some of the older history.

next album: Longview at Norwich Waterfront - 23rd June 2004
previous album: June Misc 2: Venus spotting, Claire's birthday and a Barbeque @ Nosher's - 8th-14th June

A quick wee-stop on the way (and also a chance to escape from the stop/start queues around Kettering). Mikey-P scoffs one of his packed sandwiches

To add to the fun, part of the A14 was completely closed, necessetating an ad-hoc diversion through Kettering itself

A completely empty A14 (if only...)

DH and Guv in the queue for something

Destination 1: Oblivion - a pretty scary vertical drop rollercoaster, but good fun (and completely terrifying on the way down)

Mikey-P and Claire share a hug moment

A close-up of Oblivion on the way down

The gang pose for a pic outside Oblivion's drop-hole

Strolling past the house

It's probably ignored by most visitors, but Alton Towers' gardens are impressive in their own right...

...and used to be the only thing there and the sole reason people visited (which Nosher can remember in the 1970s!).

Luckily the gorgeous gardens are still well maintained

Queueing for the Log Flume

Nosher sit behind Bill, who acts as a handy water shield

Mikey-P shows off his very wet jeans

Next ride up: the Rapids. Fairly gentle, but good fun - another opportunity to get wet, and a way of building up Mikey-P to 'the big one'

DH and Phil, 'The Water Magnet' or 'The Sponge', prepare for more wetness

Running through the waterfalls

Bill tries to dodge a splash

Bill's suffers an acne outbreak. Oh wait... it's only a mask

Another map consultation

Guv and Mikey-P in the queue for 'Air'

'Air''s pretty amazing, and the queueing crowd gets to be very close to the action. It's probably Nosher's favourite rollercoaster ever.

Another check of the map

Wandering back through the gardens

Past the old Orangery, which has fallen into slight disrepair since Nosher can remember it as a child of eight or nine

Mikey-P and Clare take the low road

Looking back at the Orangery. It's quite sad to see so few people in the gardens now.

Guv takes a break

Whilst the rest of the group do 'The Black Hole', Nosher and DH have a poke around the house itself. This contemporary stained glass is in the restored chapel

The roof of the chapel

DH inspects a brief history of the freize above his head

DH Peers into one of the ovens in the bakery...

...and then sticks his head up a chimney

The ruins are wonderfully accessible: it's a huge rabbit-warren of rooms

In the former Music Room

We wander into a room that's not meant for public access and find a bizarre scene reminscent of Blade Runner

The roofs of the Towers are readily accessible and afford great views over the park

Looking over the roof. The top of Oblivion can be seen to the left of the tower

DH does a quick turn

Back at the minibus

In the Castle Inn in Cambridge for a swift beer before an Indian nosh-up

Phil and Guv

Clare gets a heap of red-pepper chutney in the Maharaja on Castle Hill...

...and then eats a whole half-lime from the lime pickle pot

A moist Mikey-P and Phil dig in to some great nosh

Aaah, bless...

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A quick wee-stop on the way (and also a chance to escape from the stop/start queues around Kettering). Mikey-P scoffs one of his packed sandwiches