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…
It was six in the evening and I was hanging, I’d been awake for 2 days and no amount of Red Bull or caffeine was going to improve the situation. My synapses were popping slowly and muffled, as if in the distance….in my brain everything was going 5 frames a second instead of 40 and I think I piloted the ExploreMobile the 30 miles to the final site using Jedi Power alone.
We parked up in a layby carpeted with broken glass waiting for Newage’s crew to arrive, eating anything and everything we had left to try and boost the energy reserves. I really really needed to go home and sleep but we were here and home was a solid 4-5 hour drive. ‘Here’ was RNCF Holton Heath with the sole purpose of exploring the 3.5 million gallon underground reservoir in the middle of this vast complex. The RNCF was setup during WW1 to manufacture cordite for the Royal Navy, it then closed briefly but was brought back into service during WW2 and then after the war the explosives manufacturing areas were shut down and the remainder of the site used by the Admiralty Research Establishment in the 1980’s. The Admiralty Research Establishment (ARE) then became the DRA (Defence Research Agency) and eventually in the late 1990’s the entire site closed down.
Unrelated for this site but of possible interest is that the DRA, which also contained the RAE, A&AEE, RARDE, RSRE became the Defense Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) in 1995 (with other agencies) who in turn evolved into DSTL (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory) and Qinetiq.
A massive amount of the RNCF site still survives with many interesting structures still standing but this visit was just a quickie, maybe one day we will return.
We fought our way through gorse and other thick undergrowth to spend and hour shooting the pair of resi’s, both curiously of slightly different design before staggering back to the ExploreMobile and pointing it north, finally getting home just before midnight.
For all the Fenix waving Lenser hat0rz out there every single underground shot on this blog is either partially or exclusively lit with a Lenser P7.
I’ve owned many, some are at the bottom of mines and mysterious shafts where they will lay for eternity (yes I feel super guilty about those decaying batteries), some have been lent to people and never returned, some were submerged for months, assumed MIA and then found (working) months later and the surviving ones ones are permanently attached to Cetacea Coil Landyards to prevent anymore waist deep *PLOP* “Oh Shit!!!” moments 🙂
(Need solution for tripod now as last *PLOP* “Shit!!!” moment involved a CSO and a pricey tripod….)
So Lenser released this updated version, this guy is 320 lumen instead of standard 200 lumen so should make some big improvements, he will be coming out on the next underground trip for some testing.
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…
And so it came to pass that God gave Winch and me a day off, so we climbed aboard the trusty ExplorMobile and headed out into the countryside of middle England to look for Morlocks in the Time Machine…
We never did see a Morlock in the drain but we did find Mountain Bikes, Monster energy cans, big fish (including a laid back Pike who was over 2 feet long), fanny plasters, Golden Nuggets (of the turd variety) and some nice brick porn.In the 1850’s they drained the local Holme Fen which dropped the water levels locally and in 1852 they started work on the culverts to divert Bury Brook under the town, finally finishing in 1854. At the outfall Bury Brook joins High Lode which forms part of the Middle Level Navigation which eventually joins the OldRiverNene after a mile.The main reason for the trip was the actual junction of the tunnels and the remaining underground workings of the water powered town clock. The clock is still there but in 1920 was converted to run on electricity.The main tunnel carries Bury Brook (clean-ish) water and the side tunnels are stinky CSO’s. For anyone who says otherwise then don’t believe them!
If you are planning on doing the whole culvert and reaching the outfall (approx 700m) then be a smart boy like Winch was and wear Chest Waders, lazy boy here wore Thigh Waders and suffered wad0r breach halfway through, never a good thing when you are surrounded by floaters and are over 1000 meters from dry land. I poured several gallons of shitty/pissy water out each wader when we got back to the car, much to the amusement of the bemused locals who were probably wondering why two blokes were walking down the high street in 26 degree heat dressed in black rubber ;-p
I’d like to go back when there’s a LOT more water going through, the shots would be better and all the turds will have been flushed out…
Props to Dsankt, Otter & Loops for finding this place back in 2008
The ‘Money Shot’, in fact there’s two angles here cos I can’t decide which one I like the most, the first one is neat because of the water and the second one neat because of the arches.
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
I guess its as easy to lose 93 photo’s as it to lose one (and I’m still looking for my West Norwood Cemetery Catacombs shots from 3 years ago…one day they will show up on a backup drive I’d forgotten about…)
So, I stumbled across 93 pix I shot at Drakelow RGHQ 9.2 several years ago and thought I’d post up a very small selection here, mainly cos I thought I already had already blogged them.
They were all shot on the little Lumix T76 backup camera so are not that great but they still have an interest all the same.
Been meaning to hit this place up for a little while, each time I’ve been there in the past there was much less water and some rather large rats mooching around inside.
In fact on my first visit one dark night I waved a P7 around and caught sight of a very large rat I dubbed Splinter. He stopped for a second and looked at me before carrying on about his business in a Devil May Care kind of way, he didn’t care that I was watching him nor that I was hitting him with 200 lumens.
Yesterday was so boring after a day of Jet Washing the patio I decided to go back to Splinters Lair with a camera and fire off a few shots. It’s not a big place, just three arches and with much of the original pipework still intact. Still trying to pin an exact date on it, at first (at night) I thought it was Victorian but now I doubt that.
Last night there was about a foot of water inside and no sign of Splinter or his mates, I’m sure he will be back when it dries out though 🙂
If you follow this blog you might be aware of an incident that caused me an amount of problems, sadly the upshot of that day has since had even worse fallout and has been the reason for radio silence on this blog…
The place is really my nemesis, we’ve been going there for a long time and it doesn’t reveal its secrets easily, hard work and an often dangerous environment are required to get any payoff. We have found really neat stuff in far flung corners that makes all the slog worth the effort. In fact certain things, that have become obsessional, still elude me and it was just this said ‘thing’ that was on the menu when karma dealt me a sucker punch.
Its true my wad0rs split and I dropped a few quids worth of Lensers into the murky depths but the damage was far far worse as I was to find out. The Thrunite is now working, although it took several days for it to dry out, the ‘sinking tripod’ issues turned out to be the column clamp failing on my Velbon E-540 of which I am waiting to get a spares/repair price for.
The icing on the cake was when my 40D stopped working….yep…d-e-a-d. All of the buttons apart from the shutter had stopped working, the display had gone and the camera just sat there with the autofocus chattering away to itself trying to focus on an invisible/imaginary subject in the distance….FUBAR!!
It was left to dry for a week or so but still refused to play so it got shipped off to the camera doctors while I started searching for a new Canon body (just in case). Two weeks later and several hundred pounds worse off it got couriered back to me having been totally stripped, lovingly rebuilt (with several new parts) and calibrated to Canon factory standards, oh and they cleaned all the mine gunk off it for me too 🙂
The repair slip said my camera had suffered ‘contamination and corrosion’ LOLZ
So, I’m nearly back in the game…stand by for updates in the coming weeks 🙂