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.
All shots handheld on the Lumix TZ6
It was during this period, between 1875 and 1879, that a remarkable feat of Victorian engineering was accomplished that is largely unknown or forgotten, except by those still living in its shadow. This was the construction of the East Midland Railway connecting line between Manton Junction and Glendon South Junction. Although covering a relatively short distance of just 16 miles, the work would involve the construction of 12 embankments, 16 cuttings, four tunnels and five viaducts. One of the five viaducts was to be something particularly special, and was known as the Harringworth Viaduct (nowadays, often referred to as the Welland or Seaton Viaduct). At a staggering length of 3,825ft (1,159m), it is still the longest structure of its type on Britain’s railway network.
The Harringworth Viaduct crosses the River Welland on the Rutland and Northamptonshire border, and is a grade II listed structure. It comprises 82 arches, each with a 42ft (12.7m) span. 71 of the supporting piers are 6ft (1.8m) thick, with a further 10 being double thickness and spaced evenly along its length. Each of these can be identified by a pilaster on its face and were designed to isolate the arches into ‘sets’, preventing any under-strain from being continued indefinitely from arch to arch. The average height of the arches is 57ft (17.2m), but the highest is 70ft (21.2m). The viaduct is constructed from some 30,000,000 bricks, all manufactured on site, with Derbyshire Gritstone springers, string courses and coping. As well as the bricks, construction required some 20,000 cubic yards of concrete, 19,000 cubic yards of stone, 37,543 cubic yards of lime mortar, and 5,876 cubic yards of cement.
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 🙁
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….
Some history, copyright © Graeme Bickerdike/Forgotten Relics
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.