Got stuff spread around a bit at the moment due to ‘storage issues’ so often forget I have squirreled things away on various portable hard drives…found these three from early 2013 on yet another visit to Drakelow RGHQ 9.2 We’d seen all there was to see so spent time pissing about with a Quark RGB and one of those shitty cheap Chinese Green Lasers, don’t think it looks that great but here it is anyway, along with an ok Roadway shot that made itself to a calendar page this year…
Playing catch up with pix as I’m running out of year, these are from March 2013, think it was an official SubBrit thing run by KURG from memory (but that’s not important).
What is important is to tell the story nobody else chose to tell (i.e. they would rather people didn’t know it happened so they didn’t get mugged off…) I quite like the truth though, especially when people try to cover it up so lets tell the story shall we? 🙂
As stated earlier this was an official/invite trip to Shorts Brothers Seaplane Factory as opposed to the DiY visits that will soon get it permanently sealed.
Some people seem to think if you go on an organised trip then its not cool and you run the risk of getting laughed at on some of the ‘narcissist/look at me’ forums out there, they fear criticism by their peers and long for praise. To me this smacks of low self esteem and a need to feel loved by someone…a bit like a dog who feels happy and accepted if he gets a nice stroke and who feels over the moon if someone tosses him a bone. Me? I couldn’t care less how I get into places as long as I get to see them and as a result of this probably 15% of what I do is ‘official’…who cares!
Getting back to the story…there’s two guys on this trip from a well known forum (actually one of them is now a Moderator), but they try to keep this quiet because:
A) They would almost certainly have been denied access and B) They would be the laughing stock of their forum. Their plan fails spectacularly on Option B as word got out on this forum and a few members did a DiY visit the night before and left a ‘calling card’ for these two guys to show them they were ‘busted’ by their forum buddies. When I say ‘calling card’ what I actually meant was strategically placed piles of fresh, glistening, human turds along with spray painted arrows pointing to their actual real world names (also spray painted) on the floor at various point in the tunnels. Naturally this shocked some members on the visit and enraged others and very quickly there was a guessing game (in pitch darkness) to eliminate the two Turd Targets.
Me and Winch found this hilarious but the organisers didn’t (understandably) but for me it goes to show the duplicity of this lot, they’ll hide in plain sight to get on trips like this, then rip and slate the hand that feeds them when in the company of others, alas this is the world we live in these days.
Here’s a few pix anyway, I did get some turd shots but I don’t want to name names, how would you feel if there was a picture of your name next to a steaming pile of turd?
Playing with the Quark RGB 🙂
‘That’ damn junction (again)
No turds were harmed during the making of this blog post…
Been trying to find the perfect lighting rig for the GoPro Hero2 for months and never found anything I was happy with so this was a visit to a short but sweet local culvert to try something else out…
4 x 64 LED lights on a handheld frame running at a supposed 5500K (doesn’t look like 5500K if you ask me) and the GoPro was mounted on the Chesty harness.
This is a lot of light in a small space but the Hero2 still struggles to keep up so its reached the end of the line, he’s going on FleaBay very soon and I’ll drop some shekels on a Hero3 Black Edition 🙂
There’s a handful of stills at the bottom shot on the Canon on the way back through, check the pesky flies that quite artistically fooked the long exposure shots up :-p
2012 kind of sucked regarding exploring and ultimately was a disappointment….lots of doors where ‘shut’ in our faces thanks to the narcissistic actions of others (you know who you are, I know who some of you are….and really you SHOULD know better), locations sealed, locations burned…blah blah blah.
The year ended with an epic though, that I can’t talk about in public, so it wasn’t all bad. So while we were out yesterday walking off some of the Xmas Fat we decided the whole Carpe diem thing should apply this year……work hard at making opportunities, hit things fast instead of sitting on them (so they get discovered by others and burned…), well that’s the theory and it’s easy to be so full of enthusiasm in January LOL!
A few pix of the twin bores we visited, there’s another pair about 1.5 miles south that we also went to, (so ended up walking about 5 miles), nothing too exciting I know.
Abandoned railway tunnels can be a bit dull after you’ve done a few, as a rule they are dark, straight and mostly featurless. I’ve had my fill I suppose and they don’t really ‘blow up my skirt’ anymore, however Catesby presented itself as an opportunity and it was rude to say no…
Catesby Tunnel is a little more interesting than your average tunnel, mainly ‘cos its a big boy. I believe it’s somewhere around the fifth longest, behind stuff like Rhondda, both Woodhead’s, and Standedge.
Interesting features that also set this tunnel aside from many are the culvert that runs the entire length of the tunnel under the tunnel floor, accessed by catchpits (yes I stupidly crawled in there with no waders, up to my waist in freezing water to get the shot below), the three large Rest Cabins built into the up-side wall (one found to contain a sadly ransacked GeoCache) and the five air-shafts that these days spectacularly pour water down into the already flooded tunnel (the north end was knee hight on this visit).
Not many photo’s as I managed to flood my 40D and it packed up for a few hours….
The 2,997-yard structure was cut by T Oliver & Son of Horsham as part of the Great Central’s ‘London Extension’ construction contract No.4. It passes through the upper beds of the lower Lias and the lower beds of the middle Lias. 27 feet wide and 25 feet 6 inches high, Catesby is straight throughout and on a rising gradient of 1:176 to the south, with the summit of this section reached as daylight resumes.
Its creation demanded round 290,000 cubic yards of mining. Work to sink the first shaft began on 18th February 1895 and the last length was keyed in on 22nd May 1897 – a remarkably quick average rate of 110 yards per month. Progress was greatly accelerated by the use of Ruston steam navvies (cranes).
The tunnel was mostly driven from nine construction shafts, each equipped with wooden headgear which was used to lower materials to the men working beneath. None though was permitted within 500 yards of the north portal due to the landowner’s wish that the privacy of his residence, close to the workings, be maintained. As a result, 264 yards through very heavy ground had to be constructed by means of a 12x10ft bottom heading and break-ups. This proved liable to breakages and one part completely collapsed. The surrounding strata was under significant pressure which resulted in a heavy lining of seven rings in the arch and side walls, with six rings in the invert. These were divided into 10-foot sections.
Cut-and-cover was used for the first 44 yards from the north portal. The length adjoining this had so little ground above it that the two crown bars were laid from a trench on the surface.
The remainder of the tunnel proved relatively light work and was driven full-sized without headings. Here the lining is mostly five rings thick with a four-ring invert, all faced with Staffordshire brindle and built in lime mortar. Around 30 million bricks were swallowed up by the structure.
Very little water ingress was experienced, amounting to around 80 gallons per minute. Chases were built into the back of the brickwork at intervals, leading to pipes built through the side wall at rail level. Water was then discharged into a culvert in the six-foot, accessed via deep catchpits.
Ventilation is provided by five shafts. Four of these are 10 feet in diameter but the northernmost – 1,250 yards from the entrance – is 15 feet wide to provide greater air flow. The landowner did not want his view blighted by rising smoke either! The first belch from coal traffic occurred on 25th July 1898.
Trackworkers were relatively well served with regular refuges provided on both sides and three rest cabins built into the Up side wall. One is located directly opposite the tablet that marks the “half way” point.
Both lines through the tunnel were inspected by the local ganger twice each day. In the winter of 1906, this role was carried out by Joseph Turner, as it had been for the previous 18 months. At about 4:20pm on 4th January he completed an examination of the Down line.
Half-an-hour later, a London-Manchester express with upwards of 50 passengers on board entered the south end of the tunnel at around 60mph. As it approached the fifth shaft, a rail broke beneath the locomotive and all five coaches behind it derailed, ripping up 450 yards of track. The last carriage became detached and came to a stand foul of the adjacent Up line as a goods train was approaching. Only prompt action by the driver, who put down a detonator, and the guard, who sounded the whistle, prevented a collision.
Catesby Tunnel retired from operational service on 3rd September 1966 since which time the permanent way has been removed. Water ingress compounded by a blocked drain just north of the fifth shaft means that, in places, it is flooded to a depth of a foot or more. Calcite makes it presence felt with some extraordinary formations.
This was more of a camera/long exposure/torch experimentation than an explore but some of the pictures turned out half decent to I thought I would post up a quick report.
Old Warden Tunnel was built between 1853 and 1857 to connect Bedford to Hitchin, before joing the main line to London. It was closed in 1962 but not as a result of Dr. Richard Beeching’s ‘Beeching Bombshell’ report. The tunnel is straight and runs for 882 yards. The western end is half bricked up but with a large grille at the top to allow access for bats. I’m no bat expert but I have heard that a rare bat called the Barbastelle has been found in this tunnel from time to time. The eastern end has been partially backfilled and the trackbed at this end is flooded quite deeply. Internally there are some interesting Calcite formations on the walls and at the far end a small crystalline ‘Calcite Lake’ has formed.