Inside abandoned UK castle theme park closed after tragic death in 80ft fall
The inside of a UK theme park has been revealed after it was forced to close due to a horrific accident just 15 years since it had opened.
The Loudoun Castle Theme Park near Galston, Scotland, closed in 2010 but started life as a family-friendly place, even being once dubbed Scotland's best family theme park.
It had 25 rides, including five giant roller coasters and one water-based ride, and all centred around a giant historic 12th century castle.
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The castle had previously been used as military headquarters in the 1930s and 40s until a huge fire destroyed it – leaving only a stone frontage in its place.
But it was one very specific ride that saw the place hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
In July 2007, an 18-year-old ride operator called Mark Blackwood fell 80 feet to his death while working on a roller coaster called The Rat.
According to several experts, this roller coaster was a single-car ride on a very tight winding track.
It has been known to produce G-force speeds while on some turns.
Hundreds exist around the world, but it was the one at Loudoun Castle that saw a tragic accident unfold.
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A two-week trial and investigation saw the park's owners – Henk Bembom's Parkware Ltd – not guilty of failing to provide proper training and supervision in October 2009.
It was revealed at the hearing that it was the first time the boy had operated the ride, and witnesses described him as appearing to be “anxious”.
Despite being cleared, this started a sharp decline for the park.
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It was just a few months after the hearing that the park closed, with the owners running out of money.
However, the park has been sitting abandoned ever since, with nobody wanting to buy the remaining rides or the site overall.
According to Glasgow Live, in 2014, plans were submitted for an ambitious regeneration of Loudoun Castle grounds, including new homes, indoor sports facilities, a tropical water park, and a distillery.
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These plans also included restoring the castle, which the developers hoped would become a five-star hotel.
The project was rejected by the local council, over fears it would damage the historic site and inadequate proposals for housing.
The East Ayrshire Council has said they would like a leisure development which could save the castle, whilst breathing new life into the area.
The grounds are currently private property which the owners have said should not be entered, due to the dilapidated state of the rides, though many rides can be seen from a distance.
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