Leap, Thorpe Park
Up until recently, it is hard to
appreciate how much effort goes into building each and every ride at
Thorpe Park. Most of the land the park is built on is a flooded quarry,
excavated into futility by RMC, drained and reclaimed by the park to
build new rides.
Building on what is essentially a
swamp is a challenge. Time and effort is spent (and in the case of No
Way Out, wasted) making the land useable, and aesthetically
Perhaps, one of the less
appreciated areas is Canada Creek. Again, reclaimed from an exhausted
quarry, the park made a feature of the lake surrounding it – Canada is
famous for the lakes, after all. To do this, rocks were brought into the
park to build up the stony shores around the lake. We’re not talking
pebbles here, we’re talking about enormous boulders.
But we’re not here to talk
about rocks. Loggers Leap when it opened was one of the largest Log
Flumes in the world. The final double-drop was something of a modern
wonder, and compared to anything else, it towered.
Log Flumes are perhaps one of the
slowest advancing areas in the ride trade. Backwards drops are still
something of an incredulity, an effect that is hardly rocket science and
hardly improves the ride THAT much.
Loggers Leap is probably as
simple as you can get. Two drops, one enclosed, and that is your job
lot. It was the size that was to amaze, and now even Tidal Wave makes a
mockery of this fabled claim to fame.
Surrounded by rustic Canadian
buildings, you can watch the worst Loggers Leap has to offer. A
miniature peninsular juts out into the final turns into the station.
Sandwiched between two rows of trees, the main drop. Every
thirty-seconds, a log themed boat will drop down into view, splashing as
it does, riders laughing and grinning as they pass you.
The station is to your left. A
short zig-zag will take you to a bridge outside that crosses the flume.
An enormous amount of zig-zagging follows on a busy day, about a third
of which is enclosed. Expect to do the enclosed bit on a busy day,
taking about twenty valuable minutes.
A few more steps take you into
the gloomy station. Hacksaws and buzz saw blades hang rusting on the
wall, as a perpetual line of ‘logs’ (boats) pass through the centre
of the station.
After the obligatory ‘how
many’ question, you board the five-seater fibreglass log, slowly
moving along the conveyor down the centre of the station.
As soon as riders are seated, one
behind another, seat back in the middle, the boat dips into the water,
turning immediately to the right around a pile of wood. You slalom back
around to the left, heading through the undergrowth to the left of the
You enter a pitch black tunnel,
and as soon all sense of direction is lost, you begin a slow ascent up a
conveyor, anti-rollbacks breaking the anxious hush. With haste, the boat
levels out before dropping further into the darkness, hitting the water,
spraying riders with a dense mist before squirming further through the
Once outside, rocks stack up to
your left as you pass the lake to your right. Though the wooded area,
you approach a rickety chute conveying water above your heads. It spills
through, dripping down before you head off bridging the lake, parallel
to the wooden trusses of the Canada Creek Railroad.
Once again, you head into a
corridor of fir trees before hitting the final conveyor belt, taking you
high into the final drop. The view is odd. A good view of the park is to
be had, but to the right, a motorway, and below, a lake.
Once you reach the top, there is
no waiting as you promptly accelerate downwards. As you teeter on
feeling the effects of airtime, you bump your way over the middle dip,
steepening once again before hitting the fusty green water, spraying up
and around the boat as you quickly slow down to walking pace.
A final turn-or-two takes you
back to the station, past an embarrassing photograph of yourself on a
television before you step off into the chaos of the photography shop.
As a flume, Loggers Leap will
hardly dissatisfy. It doesn’t consist of continual winding through
nothingness, but is hardly short enough to leave you wanting more. The
first drop is a good conundrum with the darkness being thoroughly
effective in making you speculate just how tall it is (it isn’t very).
The brief stint beyond that is
just that – brief. The lift into the final drop is exposed enough to
have many vexed about what is to follow. Although it would be
interesting to have the drop without the dip in the middle, it hardly
slows the boat and effectively flicks you further downward at great
speed into the water below.
Like most log flumes, you don’t
get too wet, just a face full of spray, so it is fair to say you come
off really impressed. What may let you down, however, is the lack of
theming, or the unoriginality of it. The log theme really is tried and
tested, and with little more than Canadian firs to keep you entertained
you may feel that the ride is a lost opportunity.
Even if the logging theme was to
be kept, more could be done to it. That said, if you don’t like it,
close your eyes. The ride is great. Bad theming doesn’t detract from
the ride, but good theming adds to it.
Excellent final drop
Nice to get away from
the main part of the park
Some nice scenery
▪ A good length - not
too long, not too short
▪ Very boring queue, and
often a lot of it
▪ Boats often fill up