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24 hours in a derp! Shout outs and thanks to Konrad and his old man on this one Yet again another explore and overnighter that's been bouncing around in conversation for a long time! Me and Konrad were determined to do another camp out on a site and end the summer with a bit of a bang. We scratched our heads for a while over different places before Darnet cropped up during a chat. Thinking about it now, I'm not quite sure how it all came to fruition, it seems like a dream, but with a bit of planning, some improvisation and Konrad's Dad kindly loaning us some equipment, a vessel and a bit of advice we were sorted! I had my doubts...I really did. I even messaged Konrad in the early hours to express my doubts and apprehension over the trip. By the time the morning came and we arrived, I felt much better and we just went for it! Setting up before setting off. I dumped all the kit and Konrad by the launch point and left my car in a dodgy looking neighbourhood hoping it wouldn't get nicked. We're about halfway there at this point, just parallel to the shore of another island. I liken the kayak to being in some sort of giant tea cup. It's heavily laden with gear and handles like a drunk pig. We later found out that it had a fair bit of water inside it too! Jelly fish are floating in the current and it's cold as owt...you don't wanna go in the drink here! We're greeted by plenty of old concrete barges on the way through and on the island. They use them to minimise erosion. Looking over at the fort from the other side of the moat. Setting up a bit and having a brew before exploring. The loopholes for the guns were made of some seriously thick iron. I'm wondering how they moved them around. Steam crane I suppose? Space in the middle of the fort with what appears to be an OP on top. The lower level has about 4ft of water in it. It's said that it was done deliberately to "prevent vandalism". We were both scratching our heads as to how flooding something would be a logical way to reduce or prevent vandalism because to us it's essentially vandalism in itself. We came to the conclusion that the land owners (Port Authority) are basically just a bunch of stupid, indifferent bellends with no appreciation for history or heritage We managed to squeeze the canoe down there anyway so up yours Port Authority goons! Time for a beer and a ruby! I'm in my boxers because I soaked my trousers and didn't take a spare pair! Oops! Oh well, at least I can say I've done a derp in my pants now too! You can also see the construction of the interior of the fort a little better here. I didn't get many internal photos, but got plenty of video so have a look nearer the bottom of the post! Walking around the island I stepped onto what I thought was a solid patch. Turns out it was super soft, stinky silt deposits of some sort and it all just swallowed my foot! Good times Sunrise the morning after. There was very little ambient light, so night shots weren't possible. I got a few shots of the power station and the lights, etc during the night, but the wind wobbled my tripod! I actually slept really well...the best I've ever slept in a derp or any stealth camp! Got a reasonable 8 hours or so! Getting back was a bit more dodgy than getting there. A stove fell into the water, but luckily floated and the rubbish bag was trying to get away. Never-the-less we made it back to shore ok without capsizing! Here's the video to go with the report: Honestly though, I never thought we'd make it here, just because of the pure faff-factor, my disliking of tidal water, lack of willing participants, etc. It was an absolute joy to get out here and cross another one off the list and also end the summer on a good note. More pics on my Flickr!
A long overdue report from me, it's been a while, been having some time off exploring to do other things. However, an opportunity to go and explore this place presented itself the other day, it was too good not to go really. Fort Darnet is one of a pair of forts that were built in the 1800's on islands in the Medway estuary (the other being Hoo Fort). It was completed in 1871, but like a lot of these fortifications it never saw action and was disarmed before WW1. In WW2 it continued in use as an observation platform, and after that war it was abandoned and deliberately flooded. It was a bit of a mission to get here, we had several false starts over previous weeks trying to visit here, but eventually we made it. :-) We wanted to do both Hoo and Darnet fort, but the tide only allowed us to complete one of them so Darnet was the one we picked as it was slightly closer. You can only get to the lower parts of the fort on a boat. Sailing a little dinghy round an abandoned fort is a very surreal experience, you feel like you're discovering a lost kingdom somewhere, it was great fun! I must mention that the boat, engine and even the idea was Liams, although I've wanted to go here for a long time. Effectively I just tagged along and helped a bit with the navigation. I also must add that if you're planning to visit, FFS have a boat with an engine like we did. You will not out paddle the tidal flow in the estuary, it's very very fast and I'm not exaggerating. It's not very big really, but below are a selection of photos. Liam goes for a solo lap Nice view of Kingsnorth powerstation from the island Thanks for looking! Maniac.