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Found 20 results

  1. History Runcorn, which derives its name from the Anglo-Saxon term rumcofan (meaning a wide cove or bay), is a small industrial town and cargo port in Cheshire. It is located alongside the southern bank of the River Mersey, where the estuary narrows to form the Runcorn Gap. For much of its existence, Runcorn was a small isolated village and a fort, defending the borders of the lands of the Kingdom of Mercia. However, the Industrial Revolution transformed the entire area towards the end of the 18th century. Due to its topography, a large number of manufacturers established a presence in Runcorn, to the extent that all of its open green spaces were quickly occupied. It did not take long for the original village to expand beyond its own borders either, so the town now also comprises a number of the former outlying villages. Today, as the surface space has been significantly reduced, large proportions of the small streams and brooks that flow into the River Mersey have been culverted. Even though the industry in Runcorn has been in rapid decline in recent years, new housing developments have been established in their place, so the culverts remain. Double Trouble, which derives its name from the large dual entranceway, is one of those drains. It is made up of several different sized chambers that are positioned between sections of RCP. Double Trouble also features a number of concrete stairs that are encased within brickwork; these structures allow water to follow with the natural gradient of the landscape and so prevent water from accumulating at certain junctions in the drain. Our Version of Events Double Trouble was the last 2016 explore for us. All of a sudden we’d run out of time to fit anything else in. We’d been keen to get a good old dirty drain done on our trip to Liverpool, but it seemed that all the city has to offer were small shitty RCP’s – as far as we deduced anyway. It was for this reason we had to travel all the way over to Runcorn to find what we were looking for. Once we arrived in Runcorn, we quickly realised that finding the bastard thing wasn’t as straightforward as we’d first imagined. Nonetheless, after foraging around in the trees and bushes for a while, and finding a smaller drain that smelt very strongly of sewage, we eventually stumbled across the two great entrances that denote the start of Double Trouble. The sheer size of the outfall makes this drain especially inviting, even if it is a concrete monolith, and we couldn’t wait to have a peek inside to see what it might have in store for us. We climbed up the side of the overflow weir and onto a raised platform to reach the entranceway of the left-hand side tunnel. From there we plodded on for some metres, before we reached a junction where both of the initial tunnels join together. We continued on, following a long square passage for what felt like a long time; having said that, we did stop several times to take a few photos. At the end of the long square concrete section, we came across what was perhaps one of the best parts of the whole explore: a large concrete chamber with a staircase positioned in the centre, alongside two smaller RCP’s either side of it. This room was perfect for flinging a bit of steel wool around on a whisk, so the next fifteen minutes or so were spending doing exactly that. Leaving the smell of burnt wool behind us, we climbed up the stairs and discovered that the next section was a stoopy RCP. It looked boring as fuck, but we carried on anyway. It wasn’t too bad at first, apart from the monotony and stoopiness, but it did have a few surprises in store for us along the way in the form of small brick chambers that are presumably access areas for engineers and maintenance crews. However, the best bit was yet to come. Towards the end of the insipid RCP, another staircase was gradually becoming visible. When we did in fact step out of the cylindrical pipe we found ourselves inside a brick-lined chamber with a concrete staircase straight ahead. More fire and flames ensued as we tried to make use of the aesthetically pleasing setting surrounding us. The final part of Double Trouble takes you through more RCP that eventually leads to another staircase and a second split in the system, where you can carry on towards Liverpool if you want by taking one of the two the back-breaking RCP’s that lie ahead. For us, however, this is where we decided to call it a day. As the next section was considerably smaller than what we’d just wandered through, we decided that what lay ahead was probably the same shitty concrete. Besides, it was almost New Year at this stage and we all had places we wanted to be, such as the pub. With that, we took a quick group shot and turned around to make our way back to the entrance. Why we didn’t pop a lid to get back out a little sooner is beyond me, but there you go. It seemed WildBoyz were in the mood for more walking that day. Explored with Ford Mayhem, Meek-Kune-Do, The Hurricane, Box and Husky. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17:
  2. History As a previous report detailing our clock tower explore noted, the town of Newton Aycliffe was constructed after the Second World War in an effort to tackle Britain’s ‘Five Giants’: poverty, disease, homelessness, ignorance and unemployment. The government at the time, which introduced the concept of the Welfare State, had largescale plans to rebuild the whole of Britain according to the Newton Aycliffe design. Prior to the development of the town, however, the moors in the area had been identified as a very useful site since the marshy moorland was ideal terrain for hiding munitions factories during the war. As the landscape was often shrouded in dense fog and mist, it offered ideal protection against Luftwaffe raids. A further advantage of using this area stemmed from the fact that it was well connected by railway lines; the first railway in the world to operate freight and passenger services with steam traction was built nearby during the 1800s, and since that time it had been extended to join a multiplicity of other railway lines. To begin with, a large ordinance factory that was no longer needed was converted into the first factory. As the war continued, more ammunition was demanded, and more land was subsequently required. Yet, because much of the land which had been identified as being suitable for ammunitions manufacturing was boggy, owing to the amount of clay in the soil, and inhibited by several small streams and becks, some of it had to be drained. A number of the streams were culverted initially using brick, so that additional roads and factories could be constructed on the surface above. The military were careful to avoid draining too much of the land during this development period though, to avoid losing the misty conditions. Once the factories were completed they were largely operated by local women; they were known as the ‘Aycliffe Angels’. In the years following the war, the munitions factories were replaced by manufacturing buildings, and the area gradually became known as the ‘Industrial District of Newton Aycliffe’. Many companies, including Great Lakes Chemicals, Eaton Axles and B.I.P (now Inovyn), moved into the area and they quickly became the biggest employers for the rapidly expanding town. New companies continue to base themselves in the exiting industrial estate today, including Hitachi who brought £82 million railway rolling stock factory to the area. As many of the former culverts were deteriorating, some had to be replaced with reinforced concrete pipe (RCP) during the mass factory expansion era. More recently, additional sections of some of the local streams have also been encased in RCP so that further development and expansion can continue. Our Version of Events Prior to exploring the clock tower in Newton Aycliffe, we had a few hours to kill because we were waiting for darkness to fall. After spending an hour or so cruising around the town, we deduced that there isn’t much abandonedness going on it Newton Aycliffe, so we decided to have a look around for some underground stuff instead. Luckily, we discovered that our waders were in the boot of the car, so we didn’t have to worry about getting wet. After a fair bit of wandering around, we finally uncovered a nice little culvert that hasn’t, to our knowledge, been done yet. To be honest, by the look of things no one has been down there in a long while; although the stream is fairly wide, the overgrowth getting to it was incredibly thick and brambly (not good when you’re wearing waders and forgot your quick-fix bicycle puncture repair kit!). For a long while, as we were walking along the river, we became certain there wasn’t going to be a culvert; we seemed to do a lot of walking, and other than some sort of abandoned bridge, came across nothing for ages. Eventually, however, four small portals appeared in front of us. Our perseverance had paid off… Sort of. At first, looking at the tiny portals in front of us with fast flowing water pouring out, none of us seemed too enthusiastic about the prospect of crawling through a back-breaking tunnel. But, since we’d come this far, we decided to have a look inside anyway. Once inside the stoopy fast flowing fucker, the first twenty metres or so were completely spider infested. We were forced to wave our tripods around in front of us, like heroic champions ready to slay dragons. Of course, we didn’t look like heroic figures, as we flapped at our hair, sleeves, hoods and various other places when we felt that all-too-familiar crawling feeling you get when you encounter hordes of eight-legged creatures. Having said that, these spiders were bold fuckers and seemed keen to give chase when we were forced to pass beneath them. Fortunately, further ahead there was a bit of a junction where we could stand up. We all squeezed into a space that was less than a metre wide, but tall enough to stand comfortably. As you can imagine, a group of lads sporting waders, all crammed into one small space isn’t too pleasant, but the feeling of relief in the old back muscles felt incredible – so it was worth in that respect. What is more, at this point we appeared to have outrun the majority of the spiders, so the junction thing we were standing in had far fewer legs and eyes. There was only one way to go after resting in the small junction, that was right. We splashed our way, groaning in agony the entire length of the next section which, as it turned out, was very long. Finally, we reached a sort of waterfall, where we were able to stand once more. The climb up the ledge, which was around average head-height was an interesting obstacle that made the explore all the more entertaining. Once past that, however, we realised we’d reached a dead end. Just ahead of us was a large grill, fully clogged with many years of Newton Aycliffe’s shit (not shit in the literal sense). Water poured through a few holes here and there, but for the most part the rubbish and decaying foliage was functioning very well as a dam. This last chamber was clearly pretty old though; since it was constructed out of brick it was perhaps one of the original culverts that were built during the war. We spent a lot longer in this section, taking photos and prodding the make-shift dam, in an effort to postpone the inevitable journey back for as long as possible. Eventually, though, we decided to get it over with and head back to the surface. We ran the entire way back in the end, to save our backs, and didn’t take a single shot. Funnily enough, it didn’t seem as long going back, and we were quickly enjoying the taste of fresh air much sooner than we’d expected. Explored with Ford Mayhem and Husky. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11:
  3. History Dunedin, formerly the largest city in New Zealand by territory, derives its name from the Scottish Gaelic designation for Edinburgh, Dun Eideann. Although archaeological evidence indicates that Maori occupied the area from the mid-1200s, Lieutenant James Cook landed on what is now the coast of Dunedin sometime in February 1770. A high number of sightings of penguins and seals were documented, and this led to the arrival of sealers at the beginning of the 19th century. Feuds between the sealers and Maori settlers escalated rapidly; this epoch was known as the ‘Sealers’ War’. The first Europeans to settle permanently in Dunedin, however, were led by William Tucker in 1815. Whaling stations were set up, alongside Johnny Jones’s mission station and farming settlement. By 1848, The Lay Association of the Free Church of Scotland, founded Dunedin as the principal town; in time the town was to emulate Edinburgh and, regardless of the difficult steep terrain, streets began to follow a grand and quirky ‘romantic design’. As the settlers established a new life, though, disease quickly killed off most of the native Maori population, as their immune systems were not used to European illnesses. The discovery of gold in 1861, at Gabriel’s Gully, led to a large influx of new arrivals to Dunedin, from Scotland and England, Ireland, Italy, France, Germany and China. With the flood of people into the area, industrialisation across Dunedin was set in motion. The old dreams of a new, more grand, Edinburgh began to fade as the focus was now set on extracting New Zealand’s natural resources, and consolidating the region by building a railway line to Christchurch. Dunedin became New Zealand’s first city by population growth in 1865. After this time the city’s landscape changed dramatically, as The University of Otago was founded, a town hall was built, public trams were installed and various business and institutions were created. Other notable buildings emerged in the early 1900s, such as the train station and Olveston. Much of the newly developing city followed a Victorian Gothic Revival style of architecture, including the new drainage and sewage channels that were suddenly required. Construction of Dunedin’s first large public combined sewer and drain began sometime in the late 1800s. The increasing number of people arriving into Dunedin meant that more space was needed for the construction of new buildings; this meant that various streams had to be culverted and sanitary issues had to be addressed sooner rather than later. Like most Victorian drains, Din Eidyn began life as a shallow gutter, using the flow of natural water to waste away waste products. It was culverted shortly after its initial assembly. Nevertheless, by the end of the first decade, Dunedin’s drive for progress ended abruptly as influence and activity moved further north, to other prosperous cities such as Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland. Only the university continued to expand, so largescale projects, like the construction of Victorian drainage/sewage systems, were halted as they were no longer warranted. The abundance of concrete in New Zealand at the time meant that smaller, more cost effective, channels and pipes were installed instead as an alternative. As far as records show, Din Eidyn was the first and last Victorian styled subterranean system to be built in Dunedin. While the original plan had been to develop a grand city, comparable to the likes of Edinburgh and Glasgow, it was never to be; various remnants of Victorian and Edwardian architecture can still be found across Dunedin’s cityscape of course, but the cobbled streets, large stone storm drains and awe-inspiring architectural wonders are conspicuously missing. Our Version of Events Soon after arriving in New Zealand, back in 2014, I began to hear rumours about an old redundant Victorian styled sewer system that was still said to exist beneath the city of Dunedin. A lot of time went into researching this mythical system, and I had images in my head of some incredible storm drain analogous to Megatron in Sheffield. The thought of finding something like that would make any keen exploring type pretty enthusiastic. Well over a year later, after much digging around and following false leads, we eventually found the rough location of what we thought might be the old conduit. Immediately we got excited. Following up our lead late one night, we found ourselves scrambling around in the bushes for traces of something that looked tunnel-like. Since we were still in a fairly public area, as people kept walking past us while we flashed our torches around erratically; more so as our frustration gradually escalated, we tried our best to blend in and look inconspicuous when we actually noticed them. However, three hours or so later, following a lot of faffing about, we finally managed to uncover the entrance to the old sewer/drain we’d been searching for. Feeling like intrepid explorers, we ventured into the darkness with eager spirits. Alas, and much to my disappointment, it turned out that Din Eidyn didn’t quite match what my imagination had spent more than a year visualising; not at all. For a start, the passage we were walking through was stoopy as fuck; the proper backbreaking sort of thing that most drainers despise. Second, it was filled with rather large spiders and weta, which can be exceptionally large by insect standards. They give a good bite too, apparently. Thankfully, though, all New Zealand’s species of weta are flightless, so we didn’t have to worry about aerial attacks. Before this drain I was under the assumption that no weta inhabited Dunedin, but I guess my knowledge was in need of some refinement. As we progressed further into the drain, the stoopiness eased off a little, but the dial would still be pointing at the backbreaking level on the pain-o-meter (which is pretty high up on the overall scale), if we’d had one with us. On a more positive note, although the drain didn’t quite met my expectations, it was constructed out of a satisfying mix of stone, brick and concrete, rather than just lacklustre concrete, so it was still pretty interesting and diverse as we ventured deeper inside. Also, as we continued on, following the rough cobbled surface of the drain, I noticed we were descending quite noticeably; this meant we were heading down the hill that surrounds Dunedin into the city centre itself, so that was yet another positive aspect of this particular explore. All in all then, I think it was well worth the effort to find, given that Dunedin lacks history as it is – compared to larger European cities at least – and I couldn’t help but feel as though I’d tasted some of that early 1900s ambition which sought to construct something spectacular. Explored with Nillskill and Bane. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17: 18: 19: 20: 21: 22: 23: 24: 25:
  4. History Johnsonville, otherwise known as J’ville, is a large suburb of the city of Wellington, New Zealand. Originally, J’ville was the site of an old Maori track which stretched from Wellington to Porirua and ran through a dense native forest; no native inhabitants resided there until European settlers arrived in 1841. After the arrival of the settlers, Frank Johnson purchased a 100 acre section of land. Once felling of trees began, Johnson names the clearing ‘Johnson’s Clearing’. A timber mill was quickly erected at the centre of what is now modern J’ville, along with a house which was set by the Johnsonville Stream. Johnson was quick to exploit the local land and vegetation, and soon became one of the biggest suppliers of timber to the nearby town of Wellington which was expanding rapidly. By 1858, after accruing a substantial profit, Frank Johnson sold his land and property and returned to England as a wealthy man. The land left behind had been changed dramatically, and as Wellington continued to grow it seemed like an ideal site to develop a large farming industry that could support Wellington; the town that would, in 1865, become the capital city of New Zealand. As Wellington grew, so did J’ville. By 1874 the area had become a small town and by 1881 it became a small dependent town district. The early 1900s, which brought electric lighting, drainage and kerbed streets represented a point where J’ville had become more of a suburban area than farm land. Although drainage was first installed in 1912, it was not until around the 1950s; when J’ville became a district of Wellington, that larger concrete drains and a main public sewer were constructed. Today, as J’ville has become more of a commercial area; with a supermarket, two supermarkets, many small shops and a library, most of the small streams and freshwater drains have been fully culverted. This has allowed the area to expand over natural and man-made features that would have otherwise inhibited further development. Our Version of Events It was fairly late on in the evening, but we decided to meet up with Gunner and have a crack at a large underground drain that has recently been uncovered in Wellington. Access was a little more public than we would have liked, but once we climbed down into the stream we were no longer visible. The first section through the stream was awkward, on account of the thorns and bushes which were extremely overgrown; like England, there were also the usual things you expect to find in a river or stream: trollies and prams etc. For Gunner, the going was a little harder since he’d forgotten to bring his gum boots, so he’d opted to go barefoot. The ground wasn’t exactly smooth either; at one stage it looked a little like he was walking over burning hot coals. One final trolley, although it could have been a push chair, presented itself as a final obstacle before we reached the large mouth of the drain. I’ll admit, at this stage things were looking a bit too concretey for my liking, so I wasn’t expecting to find anything exceptional down this one. The first cylindrical section continued for a short while, before it opened out into a box shaped passage; this was much easier to walk through as it was less slippery. Next, we entered more of the same cylindrical pipe we’d encountered at the start of the explore. There were a few old access points above us here and there, but they looked like they’d been sealed years ago. As we continued we passed several small junctions and at each the design of the pipe seemed to change slightly. After what felt like a good bit of walking; although, I did stop and start a lot to take photographs, we reached a section with a cave-like roof. It looked fairly natural, but it could easily have been man-made. After that, we were greeted by more concrete once again. This time, however, the gradient of the drain seemed to vary; some sections were straight, while others suddenly dropped off steeply. At this stage, Gunner, who wore an expression that said something along the lines of “fuck this shit boys”, and decided to head back up to the surface. I didn’t blame him, like, since there were quite a few crayfish (koura) down there and they give a good pinch apparently. After Gunner’s swift departure, up to the point we were at, the walk hadn’t been too bad in terms of stoopiness, but I was starting to notice, much like that scene in the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory film where they walk along the corridor to the tiny door, that the ceiling was becoming lower and lower. Ten minutes or so later and we were stooping; the back-ache quickly commenced and that desperate longing for a higher section ensued. Like old men, the mumbles and groans directed at the drain quickly began: “fucking bastard”; “piece of shit”; “cunt-fuck”; “jesus christ, my back”. Relief was soon felt, however, as we approached a large twin waterfall. Climbing down seemed a wee bit sketchy at first, as you have to walk down a slippery slope before you reach it, but as it turned out it was easier to descend than we’d first anticipated. Still, the splash back from the water was quite powerful as we walked in between both of the flows towards the next section of the tunnel. The next section was a bit more varied than what we’d already encountered, and not stoopy whatsoever; thank fuck! First, we encountered a section cave-like section once again, and then a junction where we had three choices: continue forwards, climb upwards, or turn right up a steep incline. By the end of the explore we made sure to test each of the three routes. The first led straight to the outfall; it ended in a small reservoir surrounded by bush. The second route involved a climb into another chamber above us; this inevitably led to another ladder that ascended to the surface. The final route, up the steep incline, led into a completely different styled tunnel which was more ovoid. The ovoid tunnel continued for a kilometre or two, until it reached the outside world once again. Here you are greeted by a locked gate and, unless you have starved yourself for two weeks and taken contortionist lessons, the council gets the last laugh. This means you have to turn around and walk all the way back. Explored with Nillskill and Gunner. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17: 18: 19: 20: 21: 22: 23: 24:
  5. History Being a flood hazard every year in Newcastle Upton Tyne, several culverted sections of the Ouseburn have had major work done to them in recent years. Many of the smaller tributaries, such as the one in this report, have also had their flow diverted or restricted to prevent it from running straight into the Ouseburn during flash floods. The 2x4 wooden block on the inflow restricts all water flow, so only water is only able to enter underneath. It may seem counterproductive, however, as we have the feeling this tributary will never actually get 'full', or even reach up to knee depth. Originally, this culvert was a natural stream that ran through a small gully that would have been where an affluent urban district now lies. For many years, only a single stone bridge crossed the waterway, but as Newcastle began to expand in the 1800s much of it was culverted, to channel the water flow through a manmade stone tunnel. Our Version of Events After clambering over bicycle wheels, tyres, rocks and other local artefacts, we finally reached a large arched entrance. The entire arch was coated in a thick layer of moss, and very little water was flowing out. As we wandered inside, almost immediately we were greeted by a long, reasonably straight tunnel. There were a fair few pieces of rubble here and there; various bits of rock, stone and mortar. A little further in we were greeted by the 4.9ft ‘blue lagoon’; as we walked through a pool of water, the reflection of the plastic covering some reinforcement work that has been done gave it a blueish sort of tinge. In the middle of the ‘lagoon’ there is a vertical pipe leading to a manhole at street level, which was placed there back in 2007. After the ‘blue lagoon’ we were greeted by steel beams, which we believe are for reinforcement of the older parts of the tunnel; we could say, given that some of it was built around 200 years ago, it’s getting on a bit. As we made more progress into the next section the maximum head reaches around 4ft, so by this point the legs were aching pretty badly. Quite soon after, though, the structure of the tunnel changes to circular brick work, with a bit of a shallow gully to walk in. After following a few bends here and there we were greeted by a long straight stretch, with what looks in the distance to be light. However, after burning 500 calories walking towards it, we soon discovered that it wasn’t light at all, it was a very fresh smelling 2x4 timber structure; plonked right on the inflow to block torrents of water when it rains heavily. With nowhere to go that was that, we turned around and walked all the way back to the beginning. Explored with Ford Mayhem. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14:
  6. History (Part Three) Since Brisbane was a penal colony, free settlers were not permitted to erect any sort of permanent camp near or inside the town. As the flow of convicts declined towards the 1840s, however, the British government decided to prepare unused land around Moreton Bay for European settlers, to separate them from the prisoners. Once they arrived, much of the timber that was felled in the clearing process was used in the construction of new homes and buildings. Rights and land ownership of the Aboriginals was not recognises at this time, therefore compensation for annexing the land was not required, nor expected. By the late 1860s most of the Aboriginal people living within the vicinity of Brisbane had died out, through gunshot wounds or disease. Detailed accounts from that era indicate that most of the remaining Aborigines by this time chose to trade with the settlers who relied on their labour (tree cutting, ferrying, water carrying) and goods (firewood, fish, shellfish). For years Brisbane remained less developed than other Australian cities. It was often described as a regional outpost, even in spite of the discovery of gold – most of which was sent to Melbourne and Sydney – since the town had far fewer classical Victorian structures. Floods continued to plague the town throughout the 1800s as the development of drains was slow, even with a large ‘disposable’ workforce. Although it was officially recognised as a city in 1902, and played a crucial part in the defence of Australia during the Second World War, simple amenities such as a citywide sewer system was still not completed until the 1970s. Up until this time many people outside the CBD still relied on ‘thunderboxes’ (outhouses that made use of nightsoil or septic tanks). After the 1974 flood caused by Cyclone Wanda, which was described as ‘a particularly bad one’, Brisbane City Council centred their finances and efforts on creating a flood mitigation scheme. A large number of concrete pipes were implanted across the city thereafter. Many of these replaced the former Victorian brickwork drains built by the convicts, since they were considered less reliable and expensive to repair. The new drains positioned throughout the city worked well up until January 2011, when the city unfortunately flooded once again. It was estimated that more than three-quarters of the Queensland area was affected by flooding though, so little is likely to have prepared the city for a disaster of this scale. In Brisbane city itself over 20,000 houses were inundated, alongside other key sites such as the CBD, Suncorp Stadium and a number of bridges. The flooding allowed a high number of bull sharks to enter the city; many of these were sighted swimming through a number of major streets. In the aftermath there was much criticism, pointing out that land management and flood defence was dangerously inadequate. While building work continued soon afterwards and the city began to expand at a tremendous pace once more, many people pointed out that key parts of the infrastructure should receive attention first, alongside the implementation of reforestation projects, to compensate for the rapid deforestation that has occurred in recent years. To date, however, these issues remain unsolved. Our Version of Events With another day spare to spend in Brisbane we decided to go spend some of it underground again. Grabbing a few Victoria Bitters for the journey, we travelled up met with Darkday at Kangaroo Point; a very Australian sounding place that’s a popular climbing spot. As it turned out, Dangered and Deranged were keen to meet up once more too, so we met up with the entire gang from the previous day. Half an hour or so later, we were all standing inside a large concrete pipe with the roaches, cracking open a few bevvies everyone had brought along for good measure. Once again it was like a sauna, so a cold one went down quite well. For some reason though, this drain was a little steamy at the beginning and the lens refused to clear, so my first set of shots probably aren’t as good as they could have been. On the upside, this drain didn’t have much water in it at this point, so walking was easy-going. Further on, as the pipe opened up into a larger tunnel the steamy situation got a little less steamy, so taking photos became easier. As with the other drains we’d explored, this one was teeming with wildlife. This one perhaps had the most spiders in it compared to the others - big fuckers too! A little way down the large tunnel, one was strategically positioned above one of the arches where there’s a split leading into two individual passageways: that was probably one of the largest I’ve seen yet. At first I was surprised to find so many down here, having been told that this drain was tidal, but it became apparent later on that only the very end is tidal; judging by the gunge coating the brickwork down there. After the drain splits, we found ourselves following a winding passage. The other tunnel runs adjacent and is linked occasionally by several smaller passages. Eventually it leads to some of the older brickwork, which made a nice change from the darker concrete. At this point things got a lot muddier and much more slippery. It was clear that the water enters this section quite regularly. Nevertheless, we’d timed it just right and the tide was at its lowest point, so we didn’t get too wet. In spite of timings, however, and watching the weather forecast prior to going underground, we briefly experienced what happens when it suddenly rains in Australia and you happen to find yourself underground. As some of the others were climbing out, I stayed behind with Dangered to take a few more shots. At this point, and much to our surprise, it began raining – which didn’t seem like much at the time. Several moments later the pipe behind me started gushing with water, so we decided to hit legs, as we say up north, and make a hasty exit. We left just at the right time it would seem, since there was a heavy downpour just after we returned to the cars. It just goes to show that the spontaneous downpours actually do occur in Australia, often with little warning… Explored with Ford Mayhem, Darkday, Deranged and Dangered. *We want to offer a quick thanks to all those who took the time to come and meet us while we were touring around Brisbane. It was great to meet you all, hear some of your stories, and experience the exploring scene on the opposite side of the world. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17: 18: 19:
  7. History (Part Two) Brisbane began to grow rapidly from the 1830s onwards, and far more brick buildings were being erected by this time. Many of these replaced the squalid hut-life conditions endured throughout the 1820s. A map offering a rough guide as to what the city would have looked like is included below. However, a major flooding problem emerged around this time, and it threatened to put an end to all that had been accomplished so far. This problem could attributed to the heavy rainfall runoff from surrounding swamps and high ridges. A number of reports from the 1830s detail how rainfall would naturally find its way into the swamps, via a number of lagoons, before passing down through Brisbane where the major river was located. Much of the surrounding land was impassable, especially during wet weather, so very little work could be done to divert the flow of water into the newly developing town. Water supply and drainage thus became one of the new council’s main priorities. Initially, simple surface and box drains were laid down across the city. The surface drain, which involved constructing a road that was slightly higher in the centre than at the sides (a design that continues to be used today), was designed to carry water from key roads and streets into a ditch located on either side. The simple box drain was a covered flat bottomed drain that would carry a large volume of water away to the main river. The design entailed these drains being wide, but since they were flat they would regularly fill to full capacity, or become blocked by debris swept in from the surrounding swamps. Occasionally, although it was rare since they were so expensive, brick barrel drains would be constructed. These, however, turned out to be less effective than the box drain. In the 1840s an engineer named John Phillips designed the ovoid drain; drawing inspiration from similar layouts used in London, a city which had a long history of flooding problems but reached a solution by developing various inclinations for the purpose of receiving and carrying away water. Phillips also took note of the efficiency of newer British systems that used separate drains to carry away storm water and sewage. The first ovoid drain was fully completed in 1860; it was built from stone and lay above the ground, rather than below. By 1861, though, a decision was passed to culvert most of the open drains across Brisbane, including the older box designs. While stone was used in the fabrication of most new drains initially, brick was later selected for use because it was a much cheaper material. By 1875, the Department of Harbours and Rivers were entrusted with all responsibility for drainage and sewage control; to take pressure off the council who had may other issues to attend to since the town was expanding at an incredible rate. One of the DHR engineers, William Nisbet, took charge of the project and by 1877 ensured that every drain would be used exclusively, for either surface water or sewage; he guaranteed that neither would be mixed according to his plans. Our Version of Events So, to pick up where we left things in the last report, we’re back at the barbeque. We’d just had a look through Brisbane’s ‘Darkie’ and we were enjoying a couple of steaks, chicken kebabs and a few bevvies before heading for Burford’s Batcave. I’ve no idea why it’s named after a Burford, and I never thought to ask at the time, but this particular drain was something myself and Mayhem had set out to do before we arrived in Brisbane because it’s a little different to most drains, as you will see. It was constructed in 1890, to drain waterholes around a railyard which no longer exists. The man-made brick section of the drain was built under the supervision of William Nisbet (that chap I mentioned earlier), and he designed it to flow out through the natural rocks at the base of a cliff face. Although the tunnel has changed over the years, as concrete has been used to reinforce the structure in certain areas, much of the original late 1800s architecture is still visible. We packed up the barbeque just as it got dark and set off to meet a few more explorers who were keen to come with us. Part of the reason for having the break in between exploring drains was because its tidal, and thus is prone to filling up quickly as it goes from being waterless to above head height (depending on how tall you are of course) in a very short space of time. We’d timed it so our visit would coincide with low tide, so we would hopefully be able to exit when we reached the end. Half an hour later, following a bit of a scramble, we were soon at the beginning of Burford’s Batcave. From the offset, while the water level was shallow, the going was surprisingly slippery, especially on parts of the concrete base. We could see very visible evidence on the sides of the brickwork where the water had been, so that went some way towards explaining why it was so slimy. As we carried on, walking further into Nisbet’s impressive creation, we began to take note of the ‘fresh’ smeared over a lot of the brickwork. It would seem that not every Australian system separates its fresh from the clean water. Nisbet would be quite disappointed I imagine… Given that it was, once again, like a sauna down there the smell soon became quite noticeable. Nevertheless, we were keen to reach the actual batcave part, to witness the bats for ourselves, so we cracked on. Once again, the entire drain was alive, moving with various different creatures. The roaches came first, closely followed by huntsman spiders; though by this point we were starting to get used to them. Then we saw a mouse; clearly wondering what the fuck six people were doing down there as it made a desperate attempt to evade us. I was beginning to feel a little like I was on an episode in Attenborough’s Natural World TV series, rummaging around in the depths to see what lives there. We refrained from creating a documentary on the GoPro, to avoid looking like a right pair of tits. As we neared the natural rock section of the drain it became quite obvious that there were many bats down here; it was a fantastic display. You could hear them fluttering around when we all turned our torch lights out, and we could see them dart above our heads with the lights on. Somehow none of them seemed to crash into us, which was quite amazing in itself. At the cave the water suddenly got deeper, so it was inevitable: we we’re getting wet once again. Climbing on the rocks was possible in parts, but they were even slipperier than the man-made section of the drain. Rather than fall and drop the camera gear I decided to ignore the fact that there was probably plenty of human shit in it the water and just stroll on. I had to look on the bright side, at least we weren’t at ‘balls depth’. As it turned out, that wasn’t the worst part of being inside an actual batcave. Since there were perhaps hundreds of bat fluttering around, including the many clusters of babies clinging to the ceiling, there was a lot of bat shit. This is something that’s not thought about in the Batman trilogy. If Batman’s cave truly had bats in it poor Alfred would have had a hard time sprucing it up. I could go on, but that’s all I’ll say on the matter. Despite the ‘shitty’ conditions, the whole experience was still awesome. The drain is something unique and I’m glad we managed to tick it off our ‘to-do list’. The cave itself gives you quite a strange, almost tranquil, feeling I found. Probably because you know there’s a whole city sitting just above your head. At the end of the very system you also encounter a spectacular view of Brisbane city, so it was an excellent way to finish an explore. As we’d timed the tide just right, we were able to exit with the water lapping just below knee height. Explored with Ford Mayhem, Darkday, Darkday’s Accomplice, Deranged and Dangered. *For reasons unknown to me, none of the flying bats appeared in any of my photographs... I guess they were too quick for long exposures. Brisbane in 1844: 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: The Fully Concreted Section 9: 10: (Looking Back: the End of the Brickwork) 11: Back to Brick: the Beginning of the Batcave 12: 13: Burford's Batcave: 14: 15: 16: 17: 18: 19: 20: 21: 22:
  8. So it was about time I had a look at this Megatron. With research done I was unsure about a few things, so thanks to Mr H for helping out. As I neared my chosen entry, what could I see, yes workman working directly where I needed to be. So of across Sheffield I trotted to find another. I had a good look around, paddling up and down stream. Glad to of seen it. Short history as you have heard it all before and I have bored you enough already. Below Park Hill, the train station and Ponds Forge - three rivers meet in a Victorian-engineered subterranean cathedral, built to protect the city from devastating floods. A soaring arc of brick, these huge vaulted tunnels were built in the 1860s as culverts and storm drains for the Sheaf, Don and Porter Brook rivers. They converge in the middle of Sheffield and after heavy rain they would frequently flood the centre of the young industrial city in the nineteenth century. Thanks for looking guys and gals
  9. For around a year id been saying to myself i must do Masticator and Megatron but id never gotten around to it. However last month i got them both done with a little help from Raz, Jord & ACID- REFLUX. So we shall start in date order, with the Masticator. Bit of History; The Meanwood Beck (Masticator) is a stream in West Yorkshire, England, which flows through Adel, Meanwood and Sheepscar into the River Aire in central Leeds. The same watercourse has been referred to as Addle Beck, Carr Beck, Lady Beck, Mabgate Beck, Sheepscar Beck, Timble Beck or Wortley Beck. The beck was previously a source of water for the village of Headingley and two of its earliest bridges led straight to it. The beck carries a much reduced volume of water over recent years as water is collected instead into the many drains in the centre of one of Britain's largest cities. Meanwood Beck runs through Meanwood Park and Woodhouse Ridge. It provides water and drainage for Meanwood Valley Urban Farm. In the 16th to 18th centuries it provided power for corn mills. In the 19th century it supplied water for a chemical works and tanneries, one of which, Sugarwell Court, is now a university hall of residence. The Beck suffered a serious pollution incident on 29 March 1999 when an oil tank at the University of Leeds' Bodington Hall was overfilled and 10,000 litres of oil flowed into the beck. It is also a habitat for the indigenous European crayfish, which is currently threatened in the UK by a plague carried by the Signal crayfish introduced from America. As well as the crayfish there is also bull head fish present which can be found easily with a net and a pair of waders; they generally are located on the stream bed in the mud and silt. The Meanwood Valley Trail footpath follows the line of the beck for much of its course however once it flows underground things get very interesting. And on to the Megatron. Another lil bit of hist; “Deep underneath Sheffield City Centre – below Park Hill, the train station and Ponds Forge – three rivers meet in a Victorian-engineered subterranean cathedral, built to protect the city from devastating floods”. Megatron, as most people now know is a large underground storm drain, which was constructed in the mid-1800s. The land on which Sheffield Midland Station was built in 1870, alongside various cutlers and silversmiths, was originally marshy and insalubrious, owing to the Porter Brook and the River Sheaf which run through that part of the city, and for this reason it was prone to regular flooding. To create solid foundations both rivers were partially covered; these drains would then frequently flood after heavy rains, protecting the rest of the growing industrial city of Sheffield. The manipulation of the rivers also served to benefit various mills and steel factories which required large quantities of water to function. The tunnel system remained a hidden secret for many years; a mysterious rumour amongst the general public since only a few Yorkshire Water engineers ever went down there. In an effort to keep the rest of society out of the system the rumour was reportedly extended, to convince everyone that full respiratory equipment was required if anyone ever desired to enter into the depths. (History shamelessly stolen from Wildboyz - Hope you dont mind matey ) Explore; A very good weekend this was, Myself and Raz mooched down to Sheffield to meet a well known explorer and the king of sarcasm ACID- REFLUX. i must say after seeing him shoot down so many people in such epic ways over on 28DL i was very apprehensive about this meet but as it turns out there was nothing to be worried about in fact i can now actually use my camera so cheers for the help mate Spent a few hours down here whilst waiting for Wildboyz to finish work and then off to a pub in the Derbyshire Dales to meet the rest of the gang Heres some more from Le Megatron... ACID- REFLUX in action So this is normally where i put thanks for looking, feel free to like/comment, look at my page ect blah blah blah but today ill leave you with this; "Is the river really beautiful or is it just the gradient of the land?"
  10. Myself and Raz went down a cool drain in Leeds last night, read Raz's report here; http://www.oblivionstate.com/forum/showthread.php/9536-Knostrop-treatment-works-outlet-Leeds-July-2015?p=79018#post79018 Press HD - Little walk about Video doesnt do the smell justice I have enough photos for a report but ill save them for the near future Nice little mooch about and thanks for looking
  11. History “Deep underneath Sheffield City Centre – below Park Hill, the train station and Ponds Forge – three rivers meet in a Victorian-engineered subterranean cathedral, built to protect the city from devastating floodsâ€. Megatron, as most people now know is a large underground storm drain, which was constructed in the mid-1800s. The land on which Sheffield Midland Station was built in 1870, alongside various cutlers and silversmiths, was originally marshy and insalubrious, owing to the Porter Brook and the River Sheaf which run through that part of the city, and for this reason it was prone to regular flooding. To create solid foundations both rivers were partially covered; these drains would then frequently flood after heavy rains, protecting the rest of the growing industrial city of Sheffield. The manipulation of the rivers also served to benefit various mills and steel factories which required large quantities of water to function. The tunnel system remained a hidden secret for many years; a mysterious rumour amongst the general public since only a few Yorkshire Water engineers ever went down there. In an effort to keep the rest of society out of the system the rumour was reportedly extended, to convince everyone that full respiratory equipment was required if anyone ever desired to enter into the depths. Our Version of Events We first entered Megatron many years ago, but since we had neither the camera equipment, nor the skills to use any such gear in complete darkness, we were only able to take a couple of shots of the entrances and open air sections of the system with a cheap little compact camera. We revisited a couple of times as we attempted to explore all of Sheffield’s underground wonders, and after that we simply forgot all about them up until now. This report is made up of two visits because, as I’ve discovered, light painting well takes a reasonable amount of time and patience. The first trip began on an exceptionally sunny day, after myself and ACID-REFLUX has arranged an afternoon in Megatron. We started some distance away from the main section, but it was good to see some of the older brickwork that is located over that way, and we stayed down there for several hours or so. A special shout to ACID is necessary here, since I gained many good tips around how to take shots in absolute darkness. Without that I imagine my shots would be far less detailed than they’ve turned out. We arranged a second trip some weeks later, and myself, ACID-REFULX and Ford Mayhem all revisited one evening after work. Since Sheffield had experienced some rain earlier that week the water was slightly deeper than it had been on our previous visit, but it was certainly not enough to prevent us from returning. The three of us plodded along in the darkness, with waders squeaking and someone’s swimming shorts rustling, right up to the other end where the system meets the River Don. This end section was filled with bats, and it was fascinating to see them nesting in parts of the brickwork and sweeping the surface of the water inside the tunnel. Soon after that, we resurfaced and, after a quick bite to eat, quickly made plans to explore one of the many cranes that have been erected in Sheffield City Centre. Experiencing Sheffield from all angles in one day was a good end to the evening. Explored with Ford Mayhem and ACID-REFLUX. And So it Begins... 1: 2: 3: 4: The Entrance 5: 6: The First Section 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17: 18: 19: Open-air Section 20: The Second Section 21: 22: The Batcave and the 'Cathedral' 23: 24: 25: 26: 27: The Return Journey 28: 29:
  12. Explored with Raz & a non - member Bit of history to start; In 1864 it was proposed to build "New Station" in Leeds. Construction began in 1866 and the station was completed in 1869. The new station was built on arches which span the River Aire, Neville Street and Swinegate. The building of the station led to the creation of the 'Dark Arches' over Neville Street. Over 18 million bricks were used during their construction, breaking records at the time. Although the arches appear to be part of one single structure, closer inspection reveals that it is a series of independent viaducts two or four tracks wide. The Explore; After generally treking around Leeds looking for more rooftops we decided to have a walk down the Dark Arches and see what we could find, not expecting to be very successful how ever we were in luck! we found an access point, a quick look around and a short climb later we were in a drain Pretty cool explore really and i hope to return soon with waders so we can explore more. i doubt we even scratched the surface! Few more photos If you got this far, thanks for reading
  13. Sidedraft is one of 7 culverts along the Gore brook,well so it seems from checking a few reports.There is an overflow from the sewer and a lovely chamber to stand on to look down on the flow of teh poops.. Have to say the water in parts wast fast moving which made the walk down easy enough but a fucker on the ankles with the stones underfoot,then coming back was a right bugger struggling along the flow.All in all i enjoyed this one,thanks again to Paul for the company and lols in this one! Pictures .. Going in after a lovely slide down the mangled metal covering the entrance It amazes me just how much shit people throw away and into water that ends up in these places Fisheye should have been deployed but it was a case of CBA so it is what it is! Many spider egg sacks and much fly in this place which i was informed by paul the flies love headtorches so i got a lot in what's left of my teeth Cant remember what order if any the rest of these are in i seem to have spent a lot of time in various drains so it has all blurred in my memory The reason this has it's name is this pipe going up the side as far as i know. Pauls big boy torch lighting the rear which i kindly stole the light from cos im a laxy twunt like that at times last few then im done.. The way out ..yet another drain done and then on to the next.. Obligatory drain pose Cos it's what all the cool kids do
  14. It doesnt get any sadder than this im afraid. More here. http://www.theage.com.au/queensland/i-did-not-want-to-drown-and-die-in-a-storm-drain-urban-explorers-prophetic-words-20150323-1m5tn5.html RIP
  15. Visited last summer with a couple of friends Some history Sometimes also known as the Malago Storm Water Interceptor it was built in the early 70's to help cope with the flooding problems faced in Bedminster. It is roughly 2 miles long, and runs adjacent to the Southern Foul Water Interceptor, with various overflow chambers along the way. Some pics Thanks for looking
  16. Hello All After deciding to either put our waders on outside someones house, or try to get them on while the local youth are around us, we made our entrance about 20 minutes after! The entrance was quite easy, upon exit the water had decided to enter mine and and a non members waders - Another Non member decided to take a swim with his camera about 15 minutes previous . . . . . Some tilt - Some people hate, some people like - I like annoying the people who hate by using it Another good way to kill an hour
  17. Here we have a live, still used storm drain local to me Very many thanks to Greg, AKA Northern_Ninja, of 28dayslater for scouting the location. #1 #2 #3 #4
  18. Storm Drain 2013

    Ventured out again with SK and got a few feet underground as we where in the area no history on this 1 i'm afraid just had fun with it nice 1 trog will call this a mad moment And your out
  19. Hey folks! It would be great to have a drain party like they have in this video! really inspiring stuff
  20. Twice Under is a classic 1988 B-grade movie about a murderer killing people in the drains. It’s well worth a look if you are into that kind of thing
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