National Roller Coaster Day

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The Ultimate - roller coaster

The Ultimate at Lightwater Valley in North Yorkshire

Tomorrow is National Roller Coaster Day. I confess that I have never been a fan of them so I am hardly in a position to judge their appeal but appeal they have. Millions all over the world will queue for much longer than my patience would last in order to travel on the favourite, oldest, newest or most thrilling ones.

It won’t surprise many when I tell you that Roller Coaster Day was first celebrated in the 1980s in the USA so already this is over thirty years old. Why then? It could have been a PR stunt or some suggest that it coincided with the hundredth year anniversary of the first one opening. That seems unlikely since roller coasters go back much earlier and even Catherine the Great in Russia is said to have had one.

Whatever the truth of where the origin of the day might be, there are over fifty in the UK and Ireland hosts Cu Chulainn, Europe’s biggest wooden rollercoaster.

The UK's most southerly roller coaster

Flambards – The Hornet

In the UK, the roller coasters in Blackpool might be the most well-known with Big Dipper celebrating its 85th birthday this year. It also has Icon, the first double launch rollercoaster in the UK  which opened last year.

But at Lightwater Valley in North Yorkshire is The Ultimate, the longest roller coaster in Europe with a ride time approaching six minutes. There you will find two lift hills of 102ft and 107ft respectively, where the first part is the smoothest section and the providing a more adrenalin rush as the carriage hurtles through a deep and dark forest en route back to the station. Coaster enthusiasts recommend sitting in the rear seats for the most intense ride experience.

The UK’s most southerly rollercoaster is The Hornet at Flambards in the Cornish town of Helston. This steel family twister rollercoaster which reaches speeds of up to 40km/h is unlike others because it is more family friendly. Smaller children can ride on this roller coaster provided that they are over 90cm tall and accompanied.

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