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What use could a ball thats not round be for anything, least of all football of any kind, surely this was some kind of gimic or joke?
Curiosity got the better of me when I was in our kit supplier's store last October, I picked up the rubber strange shaped orange ball and asked what on earth it was for, I was informed that it was a training aid for football teams who used astro turf or halls for winter training and wanted to reproduce the ball reactions you get on grass.
This actually made perfect sense, as a coach I find that our general performance does deteriorate when the clocks change and we stop training on grass. On astroturf or in the games hall the ball has a perfectly smooth surface to roll or bounce on, my players get used to anticipating the movement of it which catches them out on a Sunday morning when they play their game on grass. Most parks allocated for youth football are in a dreadful state which means the ball movement is quite random.
I bought the thing for £7 and decided to unleash it at our next training session, we trained as normal using our usual size 4 mitre malmo's untill it was time for our bounce game, we were in the games hall, having picked the teams and set them up I blew my whistle and threw the reactaball into play, my players were quite taken aback asking what it was so I explained its purpose then told them to play the game.
At first it seemed to be a bit of a joke, they struggled with dribbling, passing, shooting and their first touch was proving almost impossible so I made them persivere, we used it for our bounce game after every session all through the winter and know what we won every single game, reactions on grass steadily improved and their feet speed and anticipation is now second to none, It seems that while most other teams were struggling with the Sunday parks we were finding it easy because this thing prepared us.
The ball is 20cm in diameter, as I said cost me £7, the best £7 I've ever spent on football, sadly it burst 3 weeks ago so I have just bought 2 new ones, they are now going for £5 from -
I seriously advise any football team or parent reading this to go out and buy one, the players will initially hate it but its worth its weight in gold and you will find that they begin to appreciate it when they see the sharpness it brings to their game.
On a smooth surface it reacts similarly to any ball on a rutted grass park, its an invaluable tool, not just for football either as it is excellent for generally improving reactions and would be suitable as an aid to many sports.
Football, from the world cup to a sunday league pub side, there exists a level from everyone to participate in, I would like to share my views about a club playing at Junior level in Scotland.
PLEASE NOTE: IN SCOTLAND JUNIOR FOOTBALL DENOTES NON LEAGUE FOOTBALL WHICH IS BELOW PROFESSIONAL ALTHOUGH THE PLAYERS ARE PAID AND A LEVEL ABOVE AMATUER)
Lugar Boswell Thistle Juniors http://www.lugarboswellthistle.com/
The team were formed in 1898 and play at Rosebank Park in the village of Lugar, they ply their trade in the Ayrshire District League, the third division.
This season they played a successful campaign and narrowly missed out on promotion by a goal difference of 4. Below is a list of the club's achievements to date:
Ayrshire First Division winners: 1954, 1956
Ayrshire Second Division winners: 1996, 2000
Ayrshire Cup: 1928, 1929
Ayrshire District Cup: 1930, 1949
Ayrshire League: 2003
This club are keeping football alive in their small local community by providing facilities for youth teams who use their excellent facilities free of charge and by developing youth football with these clubs so that the kids in the area have a focus and team to be proud of, Lugar were first with these ideas although other local teams are now following.
They are currently developing two under ten teams and are actively working with an under seventeen team, the under tens are very successful and haven't lost a game this year and the under seventeens are now training with Lugar first team for experience, the three teams are independant but the club is working very hard helping with their development. The 17's enjoy training with the first team and have been accepted and taken under the wings of some seasoned players and ex professionals.
Games are played on a Saturday afternoon to a gate which ranges between 50 and 200 people, the food and drinks prices beggar belief as you will be asked for £1 for a pie or a roll and sausage and 50p for a tea, entry to the park is £2.50 adult £1.50 Concession and Children free (£1.50 Cup Tie).
Lugar's playing surface is second to none at this level due to the dilligence of the ground person , the changing facilities are good and and the small committee keeps their head above water financially.
Football wise this level of the sport is a very entertaining spectacle with competative close games which are very physical in nature, there are no primadonas, no one on big money and practically no diving, just good honest surprisingly tallented football in its rawest form, this is football as it was intended, football for everyone, football that you can afford to go to with a family, enjoy and be thrilled.
The team's nickname is the Jaggy Bunnets in reference to their "12th man", the midges (Very small Flying insect which swarm in millions, around your head and plague the area due to the lush wooded setting which contains the park).
Take your family to see Junior/Non League football this weekend instead of watching the big boys, there's never any trouble, its much much more value for money and you will get so much more out of it than watching sanitised football on tv.
I will be there every saturday enjoying the special atmosphere, supporting this great club, kicking every ball and hoping that this year they will gain that elusive promotion.
Body Fortress Whey Protein.
The Nutritional Info per Scoop -
of which sugars/ 1.2g
of which saturates/ 0.7g
Now the actual product. Anyone interested in weight training will testify that you need to suppliment your diet with good quality protein, supplements are great when taken in the right way but should only be seen as a boost to an already protein high diet which includes plenty of white meat, as a rule I try to eat 1 gram of protein for every pound of my weight each day. Protein powders are also a convenient way of getting extra protein when at work etc....
In a nutshell heavy weight training damages muscle fibres which then need to heal, they heal slightly stronger than before, this is how muscle size increases over time, protein feeds the muscles so the more you eat the more you grow and the less sore you feel.
There are many protein powders out there Body fortress being one of the cheapest, many have higher protein content and added supplements which are claimed to give massive gains but protein is the essential nutrient to build muscle therefore why spend £50 buying some big name products which, in my experience really don't make much difference.
Body fortress protein comes from Holland and Barrett in 908 gram tubs at £24.99 but is often on sale at £12.49, the product is easily mixed in 24 gram scoops using a shaker, the chocolate and strawberry flavours are delicious and just like drinking a milkshake. One tub usually lasts me around 10 days so I usually buy 3 a month, this is where the savings come in as I can get more good whey protein for less money.
If you are interested in weight training buy this stuff because it does the job as well as any other brand and you will save yourself a fortune over time. It doesn't lie heavy on the stomach and causes me no problems, infact I think it's delicious.
Epson SX515W, is this a great printer?
Spec: Wireless Enabled: Yes
Print resolution: 5760x1440 dpi
Print speed - black: 36 Print speed - colour: 36 Print speed - photo: 10x15 in 20 seconds
Direct printing: Media Card
All very well, competent specification, looks good, quiet but I replaced my PC in January and thought I'd buy a nice new printer to replace my Dell all in one 942, this was a great machine which never once gave me any problems, I had to change due to the dell machine not being compatible with windows 7 so I looked around and settled for the epson.
Coming with a basic photo suite, wireless enabled and with the numbers looking good I felt confident that this was a better Printer, Initially everything worked fine, the scanner/copier worked fast, it was installed easily using the wizards, the print quality was excellent. I could get 4 genuine inks for £36.99 from epson which is considerably cheaper than genuine dell ink, compatible for the epson can be bought online for around £10 from-
Dell compatible ink is much more difficult to find and I never tracked it down.
This is where the problems began, I was happily using compatible ink (have done with many printers with no problems) therefore invalidated the guarantee.
After about 2 months use the printer became infuriating when attempting to load paper and consistently jammed, worst of all there is a small foam insert which runs below the cartridges, this started dislodging itself everytime I tried to print something replacement of which resulted in very inky hands. The paper out tray came off in my hand too.
Sometimes for no reason the thing just refused to print and had to be unplugged and re started before it would move.
In my opinion the build quality is inferior to my trusty old Dell printer and it is a poorly made device, I am competent with computers and have never had a worse piece of kit.
Sadly it now has a hole in the casing as one night after 2 hours of trying to print one sheet I punched it ending all hope of trying to argue the guarantee issue.
Conclusion: I will be buying a new Windows 7 compatible dell this weekend.
Sony Ericsson C510i
I am coming to the end of my 18 month contract with this phone now and am i a position to offer my opinion having used it constantly.
First the spec Batt: 4hrs talk 350 hrs standby
Internal Memory: 100mb upto 8gb external
Camera: 3.2 mp with face detection, smile shutter, photo DJ
The rest of the specifications can be found at :
As I dont want to just produce a list and would rather talk about how it rates as a phone.
This is a small thin plain candybar phone with a reasonably large screen for limited internet and games, the software runs at a good enough speed but it takes around 90 seconds to be usable at start up.
Sound wise the Microphone is high quality and can be set louder than any other phone I have owned, the speaker is also of a high standard.
Screen display is sharp and the menus are very easy to get around having been designed with lots of common sense, this is very easy to get to grips with.
This is a decent phone if you just need a phone but there are some issues, The antenna is not as powerful as the w910i which my wife owns and consistently has 2 bars stronger signal, occasionally when I receive a text the screen display splits into 2 or goes upside down which needs a restart to repair and the thing freezes at least once a month.
Build quality may be another problem, the silver detailling round the central navigation button has worn and is now a browny colour, the charge port is delicate and it can become tiresome plugging it in and un plugging it to try and get a connection and the memory card needs removed and replaced now and again as the connections for it seem to have deteriorated.
The phone comes with the usual accessories like earphones and has facebook pre loaded. The internet runs fast and it can deal with more than one application open.
All in I like the easy navigation the phone functionality the decent camera and the small convenient size but there are more negatives than I would have expected, thats why I am giving it 2 stars.
Saturday morning, cloudy but dry, time to spare, family day out?
We decided to go to Largs, even saw it advertised on STV (ITV in Scotland) it looked nice.
Driving from the south on the A78 we enjoyed the scenery and splendid views of the Irish Sea, the sillhouettes of the islands rising up from the water, Seamill is a beautiful village we passed and the Seamill Hydro is an impressive looking hotel, entering largs itself we enjoyed the nice expensive looking homes and tidy colourful gardens and thought that we'd made a good choice. Kelburn Country Centre has a good reputation and my 9 year old said he enjoyed it on a school trip.
We entered the town centre which was extremely busy with slow traffic and started looking for a parking space, It took us an hour and a half to find one as there is a distinct lack of car parks.
Once parked and the car (and me) had cooled down we ventured into the town, immediately noticing the complete lack of shops, we found a Mc Kays clothes shop (now M&Co) and ....actually thats the only recognisable name we found, personnally I detest clone towns so this might have been a good thing but for the fact that we couldn't find any independent shops either.
Everything seemed to be a restaurant or ice cream parlour but you'd need a bank loan as prices were at a premium.
Aesthetically the place oozes charm and the views are nice but it wasn't for us, it looks like a nice seaside resort but we found absolutely nothing that we wanted to do, If you have a bus pass have a look but we wont be back.
As a gym regular I look forward to my workouts and enjoy them very much.
I sustained an arm injury and against doctors instructions kept training which resulted in a bad case of tendonitis, I stopped training for a month and started on a program from the physio but the problem just seemed to be getting worse to the extent that I couldn't lift anything with my left arm without pain.
Then at christmas my wife bought me a powerball, she saw it advertised on some shopping channel and went to argos and bought one with a digital counter which runs at 250 mhz, it cost £16.99.
My first impression was that it was another exercise gimic, my wife kind of thought the same but felt it was worth a try.
Starting it was initially problematic so I resorted to doing something totally against the grain, I watched the supplied dvd and looked at their website and read instructions.
Starting the gyroscope mechanisim is like learning to ride a bike, once you do it you can do it every time but its difficult to begin with, it rotates by winding and unwinding a rip cord but I now can start it with my thumb using a technique from the website mentioned above.
This thing is such a cool colour and is a perfect weight, I felt like a kid in a toy shop, when it starts you control the force by moving your wrist, if you really go for it you really feel a kick from the giroscope and it can be difficult to hold, its a quite phenomenal feeling, i reakon that if you had it up at say 10000 rpm and let go that it'd take your ceiling down.
The trick now is to decide if you want to exercise for fitness or for rehabilitation, by manipulating your hold, arm position and grip you can work different areas of your arms chest and shoulders, I went straight for the exercises demonstrated on the dvd and web site specifically for tendonitis in the area I had it.
After 4 weeks of use 4 times a day I was completely healed and back training, my grip was also much more powerful.
Powerball is also great for passing time or exercising conveniently when watching tv etc.... there s a part of of the website where you can keep track of rpm records (16742 rpm) and endurance records (24 hours straight), I'd never get close to the 24 hours but at the time of writing have managed 14351 rpm. this thing is totally addictive.
Structurally it is very well made and seems unbreakable however there seems to be an issue with excess noise due to internal wear and there is a procedure detailed online which explaines how to open it and clean it out, personally I have had no problems, It also wont work if it gets dropped in water.
Mine is a 250 mhz version but there is a 350 mhz one now available, I am happy with mine and will only buy another when it breaks, the mhz rating is the power rating of the giro or kick factor if you like. I recommend buying one with a counter as part of the fun is in beating your personal bests.
It healed my injury and its now addictive fun.
Navman Spirit 300t Satnav System.
I have previously reviewed my RAC 200 system which i used for a couple of years and was quite happy with, sadly the mapping was becoming increasingly outdated, I researched the options ie updating the maps but noticed that they were more expensive than a replacement unit so I purchased a new one.
I dont usually quote opperating system speeds etc as you can find all this out from the manufacturers websites, I try to give some impression as to its usefulness as an every day tool.
This satnav is very good, there is a simple yet intuitive interface with big touchscreen buttons which offer shortcuts to petrol stations, cash machines and tourist info. You can explore any area with anything of interest popping up in the easy to read map page.
Programming addresses is simple with no need to look at the instruction booklet first, the voices are very clear and the directions very understandable. Advanced lane recognition is helpful, When I bought mine the advanced lane recognition did not seem to work so I called the support number (normal landline) and was put through (almost immediately) to a uk support assistant who talked me through activating it, There's not many companies in the satnav industry you can say this about.
The unit comes with traffic assistance for life which is handy and is received using the charge lead which contains an fm antenna, this makes it quite rigid and difficult to place over the dash but its a small gripe.
Pc Connectivity is a huge plus and it kicks the butt of its competitors here with a free advanced software suite where you can put pictures to your places of interest and search and edit new ones via flickr, online support is easy to use and there are lots of features available including customising menus and finding useful information, downloading your trip info and calculating journey costs.
The unit is compatible with google maps too so you can really get stuck into adding places you would like to visit.
For £99 you wont find a better satnav and the map updates come in at £30, with a 2 year total refresh pack which includes safety camera and map updates at £70.
Eden Camp, Malton, Ryedale, North Yorkshire, Y017 6RT, We were on holiday at Flamingoland and needed a change of pace, a relaxing non white knuckle day so decided to have a look at Eden Camp which is at most 3 miles away.
Arriving with no concept of the museum or any inclination of what to expect we had an open mind but quietly expected a small low budget tacky museum with a few interesting features and decided it might be a relaxing hour.
On arrival the imediate impression was that we were wrong as the place featured a collection of world war 2 vehicles, tanks and two spitfires which our children were very interested in.
Entry is £5.50 per adult and £4.50 Child/Concession, is payable via car on entry, parking is generous and free.
The Informative map provided on entry explained where to start so we set off around the place in the well laid out and easily accessible for anyone route round the museum, there are 29 huts each with a different military subject and literally thousands of war time artefacts and newspapers to read, sounds and smells were pumped into many of the huts which brought the displays to life, the whole thing is quite stunning and our children left with more knowledge of our military history than they would get from 3 years of school, best of all they thoroughly enjoyed it, even our 9 year old.
The gift shop was much like any museum gift shop but everything was cheap and the provisions hut (Canteen) was very reasonable offering a good choice of foods to choose from.
This is a superb museum which chronicles our wartime history from ww1 to present day, it mainly features ww2 but the information and knowledge avaliable here should make it a must for everyone whether they are young or old, its clean, the staff are friendly and it took us 4 hours to complete the tour.
A surprisingly wonderful day out and we will be going again.
Visions Leisure Centre, Auchinleck Road, Cumnock.
Cumnock used to have a fantastic big open air swimming pool which was closed in the early 90's leaving the town with practically no facilities. A local committee was formed in 1996 to raise money to build a state of the art complex for the area which was finally opened in 2004. The following is my review of the facility.
PRICES: Adult swim £2.90 Junior/Unemployed/Concession £2.10
Gym £4.75 Aerobics £3.30
Swim Spectator £1.05 Junior/Concession £0.55
Anual Gold (everything) £378 or £31.50 Month
Couple $703.80 or £58.65 Month
Pool only £315 or £26.25 Month
Concession £288.60 or £24.05 Month
OPENING TIMES: Mon/Thurs 7:30am till 10pm
Tues/Wed/Fri 12pm till 10pm
Sat/Sun 9am till 5pm
Last admission is 1 hour before closing.
POOL: The complex has a well lit and nicely appointed 25 metre swimming pool which is usually not overly busy, admittedly its a small pool but the aesthetics of the pool room are pleasing and the water is always warm, things are not too strict with regard to floats and diving masks but the area is well stewarded and is not plagued with idiots.
SANUA/STEAM/SPA: The Sauna holds around 10 people and is reliably warm with good steam production, very relaxing and well finished, the steam room is again set up for ten people, it takes a bit of getting used
to the humid atmosphere and the steam jet is usually infused with menthol crystals which really clear the airways, The spa holds six comfortably and gives a nice relaxing bubble massage however the temperature is never the same twice and can be either too hot or too cold. The changing/shower area is nicely tiled and well laid out, the area is very clean and always has someone washing something.
GYM: This is my own area of interest and is an excellent multipurpose gym suitable for fitness fans and weight lifters, please note it is not a "bodybuilding" gym even though we have tried to encourage this and does not really cater for genuine powerlifting so there are no steroid users and no grunting during lifts. Anerobically we make do with a free weight Smith Machine which can go to 150 kilos and is ample for working any body part, we have dumbells which max out at 25 kilos, we have asked for an increase to 50 kilos and this is in the pipeline, they have good leg press and leg extension/curl machines along with all the other machines that beginners use ie. pec deck, chest press, shoulder press. The abcoaster provides a great abdominal workout and they have a punching bag for a good cardio finish. Aerobically every machine under the sun is available from treadmills to cross trainers to rowing machines and bikes all of which provide a small television and full read out of pulse and calories burnt etc.... Every piece of equipment is of a high quality and the gym is perfectly laid out. The gym users are friendly as are the instructors who are trained to a high standard and offer personal programs and advice to anyone who asks.
IN GENERAL: Additional facilities include an automated back massage table and a spray tan booth. The complex has been warmly welcomed by the local community and it is well used but never too busy, price wise it is about average against places with similar facilities and has what I can only describe as a family atmosphere about it. If you feel like joining but are put off by the thought of walking into a gym for the first time don't because you'll be welcomed.
Newton Hall Holiday Centre, Staining near Blackpool, Cheap and Good Value.
Static caravan holidays can be wonderful times but the prices can be quite steep at some places, first of all my reviews do not cover prices as you are quite capable of researching these online, what I am trying to do is to tell you whether to bother on not.
Newton Hall is a not so well known park which is situated in the village of Staining around 3 miles from Blackpool, its near Marton Mere Holiday Park, a 10 minute drive from Stanley Park and has a regular bus service to all areas,. Staining itself has previously won heats in Britain in Bloom and is a lovely rural village with plenty of walks between high hedgerows which provide a change of pace for tired holiday makers, there are a few takeaways and cafes around the village, the best of which being the Furamar Cantonese takeaway on Normoss Road (leave park turn left and its facing you at the end of the road), the food is excellent there. The site fish and chip shop is very basic and only open for short periods (info by tannoy) but provides a hearty meal of reasonable quality.
The site boasts an amusement arcade which supplies lots of fun for small kids on the plenty 1 and 2 pence machines, older kids may be disappointed though as the video games machines are 80's and 90's throwbacks. There is a small bingo hall attached.
Onsite there is a swimming pool which is on the small side, basic and slightly colder than would be ideal but it is free and never seemed to be too busy, Gruntys Fun Factory is next door to the pool and although not free and a private venture discounts site residents heavily. Gruntys is a medium sized indoor play centre on 2 levels which is worth a visit with the kids. The playpark on the site is very basic and quite disappointing since it was removed and rebuilt elswhere to add more room for caravans. On the plus side there is a top notch indoor/outdoor and crown green bowling facility which is part of the site and so i'm told a fantastic attraction for bowlers. The park provides free course fishing onsite in a small pond which is in a nice setting and provides some good sport (Scots remember your fishing licence from post office).
At night the well appointed Country Club provides nice surroundings, reasonably priced drinks and entertainment in high season, don't think haven club though as it services the village too and is just a nice large pub.
The caravans are well appointed and as good as any site in the uk and the site surroundings are fantastic with a view of the Tower and there is a friendly atmosphere to the place, its not a site where you will be woken at night by any partying either, The site has security patrols a laundrette and a hairdresser too.
Ok its not Haven or Hoseasons but it is more than adequate, why do you hire a caravan 3 miles from Blackpool ? The positives here more than add up for its shortcomings, its at least £200 cheaper than anything else locally its as near Blackpool too which is where you'll be other than bed time, and that adds up to an extra day at the Pleasure Beach and the Tower.
Check out the website at http://www.newtonhall.net/
Inverting The Pyramid.
Football, the beautiful game, how did it get from the universities and colleges in the eighteen hundreds where it was played as an unrecognisable scrum to the tactical masterpiece it has become.
The book is written by Jonathan Wilson the much respected sports writer and columnist, it documents footballs history in chronological order from the rugby scrum when players surrounded a piece of leather resembling a ball to the 2-3-5 formation used by England when Scotland were playing the passing game to the WM and 4-2-4, 4-3-3, 4-4-2, 4-5-1, 5-3-2 thus the Pyramid became inverted from 2-3-5 to 5-3-2.
We are taken on a journey through time and cultures the world over looking at how each country developed their own ethos and style from the Italian pressing game, the Brazillian samba to the Dutch total football style of the 70's.
Old style positions are analysed and their evolution is described in detail, you will be given a better understanding of the theory of the game and the complex marking philosophies that became the norm, older readers will revel at the mention of old style centre halfs or halfbacks or wing halfs etc....
England and many other nations have their world cup campaigns analysed and deconstructed to see either what went right or what went wrong, the impact of the development of the modern offside rule is described in detail. There are formation, team, tactic and system sketches to display the points being made. Legendary managers are biographied and their histories, styles and mannerisms are scrutinised in detail.
Football went from a sport with 5 strikers to 4 to 3 to 2, now we are regularly seeing teams use just one, the next logical step it seems is to remove the position altogether (in the traditional sense anyway) and play 4-6-0 as we are now witnessing with attacking midfielders playing deeper and swapping with their team mates to confuse defences.
This book is an easy read for anyone with an interest in football, it is informative and panders to the romance of the game, it will give you a huge amount of historical knowledge. I have read many football tactical manuals and been on coaching courses but I think I learned more about the game from this book. An invaluable resource for the fan or coach and probably the best football book you can buy, it will have you bursting with enthusiasm for the game.
Teamer is a website that was passed to me through word of mouth, I've never once seen it advertised and I honestly think that it is a very useful and time saving tool for anyone involved in team sports managment or coaching.
This will be a simple review as it is a simple concept of very handy proportions however the review will admittedly only be useful for people in team coaching.
As a youth football manager with 2 teams I frequently have to telephone/text my players/players parents to tell them if the plans arranged at training for the next game have been altered or the game called off due to the great Brittish weather, this can be a time consuming exercise as it involves 12 calls for the 7 a side team or 16 calls for the 11 a side team.
What teamer does is streamline the process, once you set up the account, get permission from the players parents to supply their mobile number and e mail address to the website teamer e mails and texts them with their password, their username being their phone number, they then register and you're up and running. The set up and registration is a very simple easy exercise and we encountered no problems.
I can now log on to WWW.TEAMER.NET and issue instructions by text and/or e mail to everyone in my teams who can simply reply to the text or e mail with Y or N in the instance of it being availability for a game, a clever feature I like is if I have say 3 reserve players I can rank them in order so that the site can ask them in the same order in the event of any N replies.
One line of text typed on my computer and everyone knows whats going on, I can log in later and see my team or check that everyone has the required info, this is a failsafe as it reliably informs me of anyone who has not replied so I can call them, in my experience everyone usually replies.
The site provides a secure private blog, a list function for upcoming games or events and a photo gallery for members to share pictures with one another.
So lots of time saved making calls, team better organised and everyone informed quickly and easily. How much does this cost ?
Unbelievably its totally free, I believe replies are at network rates though, it doesn't get any better than that.
Scarborough, olde english seaside resort, stunning architectural elegance and picturesque views situated in a glorious location with two bays of quite unbelievable contrast.
Having spent quite a few weeks in the place over the years I have never tired of the spectacular coastline and golden sand encased in a clear blue horizon.
There are many interesting things for the holiday maker to do here from visiting Peasholm Park in North bay and taking in the miniature naval battle, the park is a gem of a place with pedolos aplenty and stunning ornamental gardens, Atlantis water park is nearby, a huge outdoor swimming pool with large flumes to rival similar attractions in europe and Kinderland, a huge adventure playground for young children. There is a steam train herritage here with the Scarborough Flyer Line to the small locomotive that chuffs its way around north bay.
Over on south bay we find more traditional seaside fayre with the usual wares from shops selling gifts and trinkets to the local caught fresh seafood offered in excellent restaurants and takeaways (Try the shark steaks), to the arcades and bingo halls. The beach is popular and can be very busy offering great views of the majestic Grand Hotel and Cliffs. Unlike the quiet north bay which offers blissful solitude between the beach huts.
The town centre is a bustling busy place full of the usual shops you'd find anywhere, the cloned restaurant and fastfood chains etc... It just somehow feels better being there than anywhere else.
Looking around in any direction you will be presented by fantastic sights and great examples of extravagant victorian architecture, this place looks like nowhere else and is the better for it.
Parking is adequate, it is serviced with a reasonable road network, the prices in the shops, eateries and hotels etc.... are on a par with everywhere else.
Being quite hilly is the main reason people are put off visiting but there are Tram Lifts for these priced at 50p so you never need to walk up any hills, only down.
The piste de resistance is 3 miles south on the filey/bridlington road, two quite beautiful towns in their own right, a beach called Cayton Bay, an isolated horseshoe bay of white fine sand with no pebbles, shells, seaweed or people except the odd surfer making the most of the unusual wave formations this bay creates, distant views of flamborough head cliffs then the horizon.
Visit Scarborough, it echoes Blackpool in tradition but eclipses it with its cleanliness and beauty, a much more tranquil place too with no one in a rush, Blackpool is a bit like Scarborough Fuelled on adrenalin.
M and D's, Scotlands Theme Park, Scotland must be really small.
Nestled just off the M74 in the lush green Strathclyde Park is M and D's, serviced with an excellent road and bus service with ample parking this park has a high opinion of itself.
Price wise its £14 for over 1.35 Metres, £10 for under 1.35 Metres and £42 for a Family of 4, you may enter free without a wristband but once inside there are a few rides with extra payment required ie. Bomber and Bungee, the best white knucklers in the place. It stays open quite late compared to say Loudoun Castle and you can stay from 11am till 7pm.
Roller coaster wise the tornado is a looping coaster, no scare factor here and is quite mild although fairly enjoyable, Tsunami, is a loop inversion coaster, anyone familiar with kumali or infusion will class this as a toy, much shorter and slower but for an unseasoned theme park visitor should provide a few thrills. The Express is listed as a coaster but is probably on a slightly larger scale than a childrens caterpillar ride.
The park is quite compact and well laid out with fairground rides aplenty including chairaplanes, a flying boat, very small log flume, water chute and quite a few kiddy roundabouts. The big wheel or medium wheel provides some nice views.
One problem I noted regarding height restrictions would be that my average heighted 8 year old had to be accompainied on most of the childrens rides and was nowhere near big enough for anything good, He is allowed on most of the biggies at Blackpool and Flamingoland and there he was not allowed on the flying jumbos by himself, these restrictions are fervently enforced. Anyone with 3 or more small children or a youth group would need a 1:1 ratio of adult to child to get on anything together. The height checkers also need to be checked as they seem to be erring on the side of caution.
M and D's have captured the spirit of a theme park with their music playing from many outlets, the candyfloss, popcorn stalls wafting sweet smells and the background noise from the arcade at the entrance, it is clean and the layout is of interest and the entry price for me quite reasonable but additional costs of some rides and for Amazonia an indoor rainforest which is quite attention holding seem excessive also the price they charge for food although this seems the norm everyhere.
We took a packed lunch which we left in the car till lunch time then we went out, found a nice picnic table across the road in Strathclyde Park and enjoyed our food quietly surrounded by trees, with the large lake as our backdrop.
Should you go ?
Not for Thrill Ride Fans, could be much bigger and it needs a marquee ride but if you have a young taller than average family you may just have a great day if you do.