Over the years the lake on which Battle Galleons is located has played host to many different Alton Towers attractions. Most notably, the iconic swan boats, which used to take visitors on a leisurely ride around the lake, allowing a peaceful 6 minutes away from the madness of the rest of the park.
2004 said the final farewells to the swans, which left after 17 years of service. In their place came the pay-per-play attraction Splash Kart Challenge, which couldn't have been more different to the tranquil Swan Boats ride. "Go-karts on water" would not be far from describing the ride. Riders would pay £3 for 2 laps of the course, which was made from floating rubber bumpers.
After 3 years of operation the Splash Karts left Alton Towers as their popularity waned. It was 2007, and the Mutiny Bay development was commencing, removing much of the Merrie England style themeing, and taking the Splash Karts with it.
In 2008 Battle Galleons opened for the first time. This pirate themed attraction invites riders to take their places in their very own pirate ship, and be taken around the lake using the on board water cannons to try and hit all the targets (And any scurvy landlubbers who get in the way!)
Battle Galleons is entered via a faux rope bridge into the queue-line, the queue itself winds around the castle turrets of the station building before crossing bridges onto the lake. At various points throughout the queue water-guns are available for you to fire at the passing boats, but be warned that you're in range of their guns too! Another bridge takes the queue onto the large pirate galleon ship in the middle of the lake where more water guns are available to take aim on passing boats. You then return via the bridge to the station and get batched to enter the ships - each ship can hold 8 riders.
A bell tolls and you lurch forwards as Captain Black wishes you luck in battle. The ship then floats out, travelling around the lake in a hidden underwater channel (we wouldn't want you drifting off course now would we?).
All around you are various pirate-related pieces of themeing, including wreckages, powder kegs, and even the lake's resident shark! On these you will spot targets - these are all part of your challenge. You must use the water cannons along the side of your ship to try and hit as many of these targets as you can (think Duel, with water instead of lasers!). The cannons are operated by winding the handle on the side: the faster you turn, the more powerful it sprays.
The ships come close to each other at times, allowing you to aim at other riders - and them back at you - as well as people on the shore. Be warned! Anyone not riding can also be equipped with a water cannon and will not hasten to return fire, especially if they've come prepared with a poncho. There are many cannons dotted around the walkways at the side of the lake, which operate in the same manner, you will get very wet!
A perfect ride for those hot summers days. Be ready to pump!