Mines #42 – Mmmmmm rich 02

June 30, 2011 | Posted in 02, 4Gas, elsan, flooded, Ironstone, mines, Underground | By

Meteorological Perfection is not something you would normally associate with underground exploration but on our latest project a specific type of weather is the difference between rapid extraction, knackering 02 levels or a thoroughly enjoyable trip.

Weather Fronts were due to collide which meant a day of fantastic oxygen levels for us due to the high pressure and we enjoyed more than + 3% more 02 than had been experienced on many previous visits. Also in our favour were water levels so going chest deep got me to places I hadn’t previously been able to reach before without a boat.


Usual rules apply…No names, no locations, just pictures of somewhere. Please don’t ask for locations as refusal often offends 🙂

May have been a tub…
Reflections
Random Elsan Chemical Toilet
Water level drops of over 2ft allowed me to finally get some shots of these steel arches. I would have gone through them but wandering around in 4ft of stinking, murky water,stumbling over rocks and hidden debris with $$$ camera gear makes me twitchy…
Totally submerged tripod shot from a few weeks ago…
Same shot, same depth, this week..progress!!
Boats in here for the next stage…

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Watford ROC Group HQ No.5

June 24, 2011 | Posted in Bunker, Nuclear, ROC, Royal Observer Corp, Royal Observer Corps, Watford | By

Finally and as promised some Cold War content for you…Watford ROC Group HQ opened on 18th November 1961, finished operationally in 1968 and closed in 1973 before being sold in 1974. These days the site is owned by the Park Veterinary Centrewho’s surgery and offices are sited in theWW2 ROC buildings on the main road and use the bunker at the rear of the site for storage.Many original items have been stripped over the years but a vast amount of original features are still intact so it was well worth a visit.

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Strobe Life

June 15, 2011 | Posted in 2130, flashlights, Pelican, strobe, torch | By

Got a need for a strobe light on a current project so I scored one of these little guys for £8.130 hours battery life and waterproof to 500 feet….just what I’m looking for 🙂

More available info here

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The Grove Shelters, Watford

June 14, 2011 | Posted in Air Raid Shelter, British Rail Property Board, Grove, Home Guard, LMS, Local Defence Volunteers, Project X, Railway, Watford, WW2 | By

Firstly I’ll admit this place has been done to death and secondly, this year I’m concentrating my efforts on stuff that has never been done before….BUT it was on last years Explore List and as we were in the Watford area it was rude not to hit this site up, plus at the eleventh hour this took on a personal twist for me so that’s why I’m posting it up…

I mentioned my visit to my Mother the night before I went as she has a passing interest in what she calls my ‘Dugout fascination’ and suddenly she became all animated. Apparently her eldest sister’s first job out of school in 1942 was at The Grove as she lived just round the corner in Watford North. I asked her to call my aunt to see if she could remember The Grove (she is 85) and apparently she said “I can remember it like it was yesterday”.

She could not remember her hut number but recalled visiting the shelters many many times on both drills and real air raids and also that another family relative worked there but in huts ‘the other side of the field’. This was all news to me as I was unaware I had an underground WW2 family connection 🙂

The London, Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS) had previously (and on the quiet) acquired The Grove for use as its headquarters in the event of war. Following Italy’s invasion of Albania and during the Easter weekend of 1939, LMS took over The Grove. This was made ready as offices, and a number of huts built in the surrounding park as well as several substantial underground air-raid shelters. On Friday September 1st it was decided to move in and the transfer was completed before war was declared on the Sunday at 11 a.m. In a few hours the original Euston site had temporarily ceased to be the headquarters of the company, and on the Monday, 3,000 of the staff were at work in their new establishment.

A fuller and more detailed account can be read here: http://rastall.com/grove/projectx.html

The shelters were built out of concrete section in cut ‘n’ cover fashion and this particular one is very large with multiple entrances. After a few minutes though the repetition kicks in and it starts to get boring, nevertheless we walked round the entire thing and ended up trying to find the biggest spider possible down near ‘Entrance M’

For the photo geeks reading, there were massive variances in shades of concrete in this shelter so despite using the same light source for virtually all the shots and also the same colour temperature in post they still look like some were shot on different glass 🙁

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Mines #41

June 8, 2011 | Posted in 4Gas, cog, Ironstone, mines, o2, sump, texolex, Underground | By

More underground fun this week….apologies to Cold War fans (there will be something nice for you next week, watch this space….).

We avoided the water for a change and instead had to contend with knackering 02 levels, panting like a marathon runner for four hours gets a bit tedious and if that wasn’t annoying enough, false floors too!!

The false floor I would have in fact have fallen through had it not been for the discovery of something interesting just a few feet away which delayed my progress. They aren’t that rare in mines but they certainly are in this type of mine, this one was about 20ft long x 16ft wide by 10ft deep and half full of water so crashing through would have been ‘interesting’ to say the least. Other notable items included some of the most bodged ceiling supports I have seen for a long while, a case of ‘use whatever is laying around’, one of the strangest was a Cog made from what looked like snapped concrete fence posts!!

It was nice to get out to 02 rich air to be honest, but we’ll be back…

Usual rules apply…No names, no locations, just pictures of somewhere. Please don’t ask for locations as refusal often offends 🙂

In Your Arches
Poor Workmanship

False Floors and ‘floating’ brick Piers

Concrete Cogs
Texolex
Plant Room II
Don’t Touch

Sumps

Lights

Poor Workmanship Part 2

Rat Hole

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Mines #40

June 3, 2011 | Posted in flooded, Ironstone, mines, roof collapse, roof fall, Underground | By

More water filled fun this week which ended up in a near ‘over (chest) wader’ moment in which my tripod disappeared and I nearly played submarines with my Canon. From here its likely to be Inflatable Tenders all the way on another trip to this area to get any deeper though…

(Once the tripod was drained though it seemed happy enough so its passed the test in my book.)

When Roof Supports go wrong
Wonky Props
Don’t ask…
Giant Jenga
Prop Fest
 
Giant Jenga Remix
Jenga Blah…
Watersports
 

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Ask My Flashlight

June 1, 2011 | Posted in flashlights, Q40, Underwater Kinetics, Vizion | By

I’m not going to own up to how many flashlights I own as I’m a self confessed Flashlight Whore and just can’t resist the lure of something different. I don’t ‘need’ them all, just every now and again something catches my eye and I just have to own it. The last time such things seduced me was the Thrunite Catapult V2 which as it happens is earning its keep very well at the moment on a weekly basis due to a massive underground playground that I’m currently exploring.

The latest score was yet another Underwater Kinetics flashlight. Underwater Kinetics have been firm favourites of mine for decades and I’ve had various colours of Mini Q40’s strapped to my Caving helmet since 1989. Their product is virtually unbeaten and can be seen in use with Fire Departments and Rescue Teams the world over, as well as their biggest market – Dive Lights.

Mini Q40

Also amongst my UK collection is an eLED Vizion Headlamp which is my EDC headtorch….you know, just in case 😉

Vizion

Anyway, the latest acquisition is a UK2AAA Xenon Mini Pocket Light  which has been looking at me seductively for a few weeks at my friendly neighbourhood (online) dive shop. Anyway, it showed up today and I must say its neat and it’s gonna get promoted to my exploring bag immediately as some sort of backup light...

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