The Paratower



It's been almost 20 years since my first visit to Drayton Manor, and it's strange thinking how much would still be hauntingly familiar today. A lot's been upgraded, the 1976 Jungle Cruise was upgraded to Excalibur in 2001. The 1981 Log Flume was upgraded to Storm Force 10 in 1998. The 1984 Python was upgraded to the Klondike Gold Mine in 1994, which itself was replaced by G-Force in 2005. Despite the upgrades though the layout and feel of the place has remained reassuringly familiar.

The same could be said for the Aerial Park area. The Flying Dutchman and Big Wheel still remain, but the old 1989 Skyflyer inverting pirate ship was replaced by Pandemonium in 2004 and the 1982 Paratower was replaced by The Apocalypse when in opened in 2000.

The Paratower was also a type of free fall ride. Instead of riding up and down a rail on a tower like most modern variants you had a circle of pods suspended from the tower by a steel cable. Above the pods was a parachute like canopy that gave the ride it's name. During the ride you'd be winched to the top by a steel cable, and then descend back down to the ground,
this was repeated several times during the rides cycle.

There was one other memorable scary aspect. Instead of spending the ride sat down, securely held in place, you spent it standing in a large metal basket. The lack of any reassuring restraints added a scary aspect to it. In terms of both scares and G-force The Apocalypse is the superior ride, so it's loss wasn't that major a blow at the time. With so many tower rides about now though it's a shame there's not a few more of these more unique rides about.