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.
Someone once said patience is a virtue and maybe they were right, there were some wise words written in The Battle for the Soul of Man…anyway, we have been waiting for over a year to go through the Stargate and many failed attempts have cost dearly in equipment, not to mention getting sick because of the atmosphere.
I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that we would never get close to it, even after some tantalising glimpses but karma was on our side and we even managed to recover some equipment lost months ago (more on that in a future post). The Stargate was reached….and we went through…to new worlds…
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 🙂
Apologies for the lack of updates, been a lot going on in the last month or so…
This pair of wad0rs didn’t last long, they’ve had a couple of leaks for a while now but I suffered a full ‘blow out’ 250ft from dry land in four feet of stinking, fetid, skanky water yesterday.
In epic Kit Fail stylee at the same moment my 40D started sinking on its tripod, I dropped a Lenser P7 and a P3 in the water (that should have been clipped to me on Paracord…) and flooded my Thrunite Catapult. Water then came over the top of my wad0rs just to add insult to injury. I could feel the Lensers around my feet and could have dived to retrieve them but with the 40D in the other hand it was an easy decision to make….walk away and go buy yet another Lenser Twin Pack…
Three lights down and soaked to the skin we continued the trip and was glad to get out of the wad0rs once away from the location. Suffice to say they went straight in the wheelie bin after I took these shitty cameraphone pix of the damage…..(cheap wad0rs suck by the way).
Their replacements were ordered last week so should be here soon….black Gimp Style rubber with an industrial boot this time 😉
There are some trips when you wonder why you are lugging round4kgs of camera gear and probably another4kg of lighting when you get home having taken only one photo, well this weekend was one of those trips.To be fair it was an exploration instead of a exploration/photo trip, were up in the extreme top north west corner of a location looking for a straight run though to the south but after 4 1/2 hours of trying 9 different roads, most with several feet of water in, and god knows how many headings we were defeated by roof collapses at every single occasion apart from one (this will be checked on a revisit). There was evidence of previous visitors 15 years earlier in some places, others hadn’t been touched for much longer.It seems a combination of a dip in Strata and a fault line are causing all the dead ends….how frustrating but a brilliant learning experience at the same time.
Mishap of the day had me as ‘victim’ (again) as I stepped into a deep sump while already in 2 feet of water….the result was over the chest waders before, in a split second, I levitated out in fear of a wet camera (note to self: Take the Ortleib next time!!)
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.)
This blog has gone a bit off-topic recently with a distinct lack of Cold War items, this hasn’t gone unnoticed but I’m having such a blast with the underground lark I’m afraid I’m still showing the love for the underground 🙂
I wish I could show the whole set of these shots as they would truly blow your mind but sadly it would also compromise things so for the top drawer stuff just use your imagination…
Water is a big deal here and boats make sense for much of it, there’s also plenty of Death From Above action going on to keep you on your toes.
Do Not Panic
Death From Above
This is where it started to get a little damp, when I say damp this next shot was taken in thigh deep water and waders weren’t on the kit list for today.
The intention was to hit this back wall which will happen next time in the boat. Today’s attempt saw me up to my waist in freezing water for this next shot before I realised I had nearly killed my phone & wallet and if I fell over there was ££££ of camera gear going to die too…..check the ceiling height compared to previous shots, It’s all roughly the same in here.