The Time Capsule – Time For A Spruce Up?

Yesterday my daughter asked if we could go swimming today. Feeling revived from my lovely reflexology session earlier in the day I agreed.

We have a swimming pool in our home town, unfortunately as it does not contain; flumes, wave pools or rapid rivers the kids do not class this as a proper outing to the swimming so we have to travel further afield.

For a long time we went to and loved (and still do) Perth Leisure Pool, with an outdoor pool, 2 flumes, a toddler area and rapids it’s great fun. Recently we tried the Olympia Pool in Dundee which the kids loved for it’s wave machine and strobe lit flume. I felt it was a little smaller than Perth and had less room for actual swimming but the kids gave it a huge thumbs up.

So where to this time? For a while I have thought about a visit to The Time Capsule in Coatbridge. Mr B had put me off by saying it was too far away but after a quick google map check I discovered it was no further than Dundee so off we headed.

We arrived just before opening at 10am where a large queue was already forming. The Time Capsule has an ice rink as well as swimming, but the swimming was definitely the more popular queue. It moved fast though and I had soon paid my £17.90 for 2 kids and 1 adult (ouch) and we were off.

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                                   The reality was not as good.

Lockers are operated by funky electronic plastic bracelets which you hire for £1 each and stops fiddling about with £1 coins or pin on keys. Changed and ready to go we headed to the showers, aaah they were almost scalding (I kid you not we could hardly stand under them). Then out to the actual pool.

The water park at Time Capsule certainly looks impressive on first view. There are 2 large flumes which go outside the building, a wave machine, a rapid river, a large play area with water jets, 2 slides and a wide flume which you ride down on a ring for 2 or 4 people, impressive?

Well yes the amount of things was impressive but somehow it just failed to impress me overall. The tsunami wave pool was less a tsunami and more a gentle lapping against the shore. Riptide River had some nice slides but promised rapid finale was a little lack lustre.

Thunder and Lightning are the impressive sounding flumes, em but they’re not. I am a bit of a scaredy cat when it comes to flumes but the kids managed to persuade me onto Thunder eventually which turned out to be right up my street. More like a toddler chute in pace, Thunder was more of a slight drizzle in my book. I never went on Lightning but the kids assured me it was equally slow and lacking the thrill of other flumes they have been on.

Tornado Tantrum however was great fun, a ring ride for up to 4 people it has a heart stopping drop and nice lighting and pace, much more fun. Don’t however be deceived by the pile of rings pictured on the Time capsule website, only 3 rings were in use, and only 1 which fitted four people which meant a long wait between turns.

I hate to be so negative but the whole thing was a little underwhelming and more than that it seemed, grotty! I’m not quite sure how long The Time Capsule has been about but I do know Perth Leisure Pool has been open since 1988 and looks a whole lot newer. Rusty pipes, yellow stained and cracked tiles and a general feeling of neglect were my overwhelming impression of the Time Capsule. Added to this my sightings of a plaster, a wet wipe and even a bit poo floating in the water left me with a very bad taste in my mouth (literally).

Staff were plentiful but I never saw any of them show the care I have seen other pool attendants give to things such as making sure kids don’t have goggles on in the flumes or abide rules for 1 person at a time on chutes.

All in all not my best experience and I certainly won’t be hurrying back, though I have to say the kids enjoyed it but not as much as other pools. I would far rather pay £11.80 at Perth or £12.70 at Dundee for a much more pleasant and cleaner experience. Oh and another thing don’t waste your 20p on the hairdryers, getting an asthmatic hamster to blow on your hair would be more effective – rant over!

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Kelpies and Climbing Frames – Day Out At Helix Park

Well today was another typically wild and windy Scottish spring day but we braved the wind and headed to Helix Park in Falkirk, home of the two 30 metre high steel Kelpie’s constructed in 2013. I have a soft spot for Kelpies after being enthralled by Frances Mary Hendry’s – Quest for a Kelpie at primary school (if you haven’t read it, do so now.)

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On arrival you have the choice of parking for free at the entrance car park or paying £2 to park nearer the Kelpies. We chose to pay as it was a windy day and Mr B’s elderly father was accompanying us, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

The Kelpies themselves are stunning works of art and engineering and the surrounding canal is a lovely setting. The visitor centre and cafe are not yet open but there are plenty of ice cream and coffee vans to get refreshments from and most importantly for those with young kids or middle aged women, toilets!

Although the visitor centre is not yet open I had hoped to see some information on display about the history and construction of the Kelpies, so was a little disappointed to find nothing was yet available. To be fair we didn’t visit the gift shopped as it was packed out, there may have been a bit more information to be found in there. For everyone else here is Rachel’s explanation of the mythical Kelpie (complete with her little brother trying but failing to put her off!)

The walk from the Kelpies to the Adventure Zone park takes you through a lovely marsh land walk (don’t worry a decking walkway prevents any wet feet), complete with reeds, plantlife and wildlife including swans.

The Adventure Zone play area is fantastic for kids and is separated into two areas for older and younger children. Loads of climbing and swinging activities are available to keep the kids amused and seating areas for the worn out adults. For the hotter weather there is a splash zone complete with water jets and mist sprays, unfortunately there may not be many days when Scottish weather allows you to make the most of this. There are also loads of pathways surrounding the park ideal for cycling, walking or jogging (if you really must.)

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Again there are plenty of vans to buy refreshments from, but if you fancy something a bit more sheltered there are plenty great eating places nearby. Like Beancross or Cooks Bar & Kitchen where I am advised the mini fish suppers and mini burger and chips are definitely worth trying.

It was great to see the Kelpies up close and the Adventure Zone is definitely worth a visit but I might suggest holding on till the planned visitor centre, cafe and water sports are up an running to get the full benefit of a visit to Helix Park.

Coastal Walks & Culture – A day out at Ravenscraig Park and Kirkcaldy Museum

As this is the first set off school holidays for the year (well apart from all the one’s they’ve made up recently like half term) and because hopefully the weather is on the turn I thought I’d add a little section about our day’s out which might provide some ideas and inspiration for anyone in or visiting the area.

Today I had nothing planned but as the sun was shining we decided to head 20 minutes along the motorway to Kirkcaldy, home of the famous Links Market. We’ve been to Beveridge Park, perhaps the best known of the parks in Kirkcaldy (it even gets a mention in Mary Campbell Smiths – The Boy In The Train, poem), many times, so today we thought we’d try something different.

An extract from The Boy In The Train

We're into the tunnel! We're a' in the dark! 
But dinna be frichtit, Daddy, 
We'll sune be comin' to Beveridge Park, 
And the next stop's Kirkcaddy!

Ravenscraig Park is at the East end of Kirkcaldy on Dysart Road, right on the coast, it has a small carpark (with an ice cream van handly parked opposite) and loads of  great walks as we were to discover.

We turned left on entering the park and had great fun attempting to use the adult outdoor exercise area, not easy when the biggest person there is 5’2″ and the equipment is made to be hung from by much taller people, but it created plenty of laughs.

We then headed off on a loop of the park and passed through a lovely wooded area complete with a selection of carved woodland animals before we emerged onto the coastal path with it’s stunning views over the Firth of Forth.

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From this path you can also access Ravenscraig Castle, the harbour and the beach but we decided to carry on around the path to one of the two childrens play areas for a well earned seat on the picnic benches while the kids played in the older kids play area (public toilets are nearby but my son did claim they were pretty grotty and his worst part of the day!) The park also contains football goals for public use and bowling greens.

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After a quick rest for the adults we headed to Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery (also home to the public library) at the other end of Kirkcaldy.

We’ve visited the museum before on several occasions as they tend to provide seasonal activities for the kids or fun exhibitions as well as having a lovely cafe which provides a selection of soups, sandwiches and cakes, today we opted for a selection of scones and were not disappointed.

After refreshments we headed upstairs to the art gallery where the attendant attempted to subtly warn me that the black and white photograph exhibition currently displayed did contain a small amount of nudity, guess where my sharp eared children headed first 🙂

My poor planning meant we had missed the Easter weekend arts and craft activities but the library was still running a Easter Egg hunt, details of current activities can be found at http://www.onatfife.com previous events have included a Science & Space Exhibition and Animal Magic both of which we (or certainly I) had great fun at, as can be seen below (I do love an opportunity to don silly headwear!)

kirkkirk2Despite missing the Easter activities the museum (free to enter) was well worth a visit especially if you are interested in local history. It’s not huge and not on the scale of the Glasgow Science Museum but it’s still got plenty to keep the kids entertained, such as putting food into shopping baskets which would have been available on war time rations or laying their own linoleum patterns. The museum covers the local mining history and linoleum factories (Kirkcaldy was the leading city in the world for linoleum manufacture for over 100 years) as well as the history of local sporting groups such as Raith Rovers the local football team.

A great day out and the kids favourite bit? well apart from watching their mum dangle from torture, erm exercise equipment in the park it had to be getting to dress up in period costumes in the museum. If you’re in the area put it on your to do list.

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