We were given free tickets to Blackgang Chine but we wrote what we wanted.
Our recent efforts to get to Blackgang Chine’s Summer Fest had a similar vibe to the John Cleese film Clockwise.
Child one and I had agreed that we would sneak off when child two was nearly asleep. The younger one is not quite old enough for a late night without it causing major repercussions for the rest of mankind.
The original plan was to get there around 7.30pm. That would give us a couple of hours to see the sun set, enjoy Blackgang Chine’s illuminations, join in with the foam party and "ooh" and "aah" at the fireworks.
For reasons which are too boring to go into, child two’s bedtime dragged on and we didn’t manage to leave Freshwater Bay until 8.10pm.
I told child one that we would be there in 20 minutes, barring any disasters, which would still give us an hour.
Disaster soon arrived in the form of road closures on the Military Road, which led to us navigating a detour through the West Wight’s and South Wight's back roads. At times, this invited scenic views of farmers harvesting as the sun set. At other times, this required frantic reversing in roads which are taller than they are wide. I haven’t dared look at my car in daylight this morning, after some of my reversing saw me drag my wing mirror through a hedge.
It didn’t particularly help that child one had chosen a playlist called 'Roadtrip Bangers’. I didn’t really need to hear Take On Me whilst facing a tractor on a single track road.
Eventually, we emerged back onto the Military Road and parked up at Blackgang Chine. The 20 minute journey had taken 40 minutes, so we rushed inside.
Evenings at Blackgang Chine are great fun – and have been for many years.
We debated whether to begin with the clifftop party or the dinosaurs. The dinosaurs won, so we ran through Restricted Area 5 to see the residents lit up in multicoloured lights. This area works particularly well in the dark, as the dinosaurs appear particularly menacing.
Next was a dash across the bouncy nets of Dodo Valley, as we took a wiggly route to the main attraction of the evening.
Pirates' Cove is where the main party takes place on a summer’s evening.
Back in the day, Blackgang’s evenings involved gents in hats (I imagine) wandering the pathways admiring the flowers in the Water Gardens (see our history of Blackgang Chine if you enjoy nostalgia). Nowadays, DJ Omar drops banging beats on the clifftop whilst foam spews out from the pirate ships.
This was quite a scene. The park was busy and – to quote every on-the-scene-sports-reporter-ever – the atmosphere was electric. Child one and I decided to have a slide around in the foam, which was engulfing the older children at the park. This soon led to wet feet, so we continued our night time turbo tour and visited The Underwater Kingdom.
Again, this looked good at night, particularly the great big whale which hangs from above. Child one put in a request for a couple of giant sea creatures which she could climb on, much like the popular climbers in Restricted Area 5. I told her I would pass on the message.
Time was getting away from us at this point and the rides were beginning to close in time for the fireworks.
We spent a little bit of time dancing badly in Pirates Cove (apologies to anyone who witnessed this) before the fireworks banged and whizzed. We agreed it was an excellent display.
As we left, we discussed what an excellent evening it had been – even if it had only lasted for 50 minutes.
“Right then” I said “How do we get home?”
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