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True_British_Metal last won the day on March 22

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About True_British_Metal

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  • Birthday 11/08/1991

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  1. A trip down memory lane that is. Thanks for sharing.
  2. Outstanding work. Good military sites are so rare, so seeing this is an absolute pleasure.
  3. Honestly Scrappy you're in the right place now for exploring. Taiwan's development is so rapid that older sites have long, long disappeared and that which remains isn't much cop. A lot of the derelict sites just aren't that interesting. The market isn't bad, it's interesting for Taiwanese standards definitely. I don't follow the camel toe comment, but I appreciate the praise. Thank you so much.
  4. No I didn't. Don't know what the state of it is now. The next sites I will do in Taiwan will be BIG, I hope. Trouble is once I've done those I won't have anywhere to go afterwards, lest I look beyond the island.
  5. 水湳洞精鍊廠/Shuinandong Smelter This is an iconic derelict site in Taiwan, a former gold smelting factory that looks out towards the ocean of northern Taiwan. Shuinandong is one of three sites that boomed when gold was discovered in the underlying strata, but all economic booms fizz out; as the seams were progressively exhausted in the 1950s, the mining sharply declined and left the villages to rack and ruin. Once the gold rush ran dry, the copper market grew but yet again crashed as the cost of extraction became too high; thus the site was completely closed in 1987. The smelter was the largest in Asia when it was built under the Japanese occupation in the 1930s, built to treat the high grade copper and gold ores that were extracted. Its structure was built on a sharp hillside over several tiers, earning it the name "13 levels", although to be exact there are 18 storeys. Its sheer size has to be seen to be believed. These are not my photos, but time was short so I didn't get a proper external. As built. A lot of other explorers focus on the (I suspect) more recently closed warehouse at the bottom of the site, and indeed I nearly did but there were too many people lurking and I wanted to see the main attraction as time was short. I didn't miss much. There were rumours of security now patrolling the site owing to the number of trespassers, but it was a free for all for me. Over the gate and in, easy. First stop was the power building. It's a huge space with 2 floors, but as with the rest of the site it's little more than a shell. The only equipment that remains are the porcelain bushings on the walls. I made my way up towards the top of the site in the pouring rain, a treacherous route through thick shrub, overgrown paths which hid from the eye sheer drops, loose soil underfoot and even the route you took before. Lara Croft style. A really interesting feature of the smelter is the flue system, which earns it the title of the highest chimneys in the world even if they go along the ground rather than point vertically. Look very closely to the right and you can see them. These were built to carry the deadly exhaust fumes away from the settlements into uninhabited areas. Unfortunately even if today you can get close on the hiking trails the environmental consequences are disatrous, with the flues still contaminated with toxic heavy metals. Little has been done to seal them off. As you can see, it's very much an empty shell with much of the place inaccessible, but up close you can really appreciate its sheer size and majestic design. By this time it was time for me to leave and make my way back down. I lost my route completely, so it was left to me to scramble and slide down slippery slopes grabbing onto whatever I can find, before ending up back at the power building. Drenched and covered in mud, at least I'm out safe now. So there we have it, a beacon of Taiwan's industrial past. Like those mines and structures in Wales it will most likely not be restored and instead kept as a decaying beacon that continues to tower proudly over the surrounding area. Thanks as always for reading. Love TBM x
  6. 萬里飛碟屋/Wanli UFO Village Taiwan's most famous derelict site, by far. The biggest derp to have made it into a book showcasing the very best of urban exploration worldwide; it beggars belief. Perhaps it is the novelty value or the rarity; derelict mid-century Futuro and Venturo houses mostly abandoned on a beachfront an hour away from Taipei. Designed but not commissioned by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen, they were pre-fabricated plastic houses originally designed as ski chalets that could easily be transported around. It was an abysmal day, with heavy heavy rain falling across the island. What was once a beachside paradise in its prime time, surfers and holidaygoers all lying on the beach enjoying their time off is now a fading snapshot of a dream long passed. Today although some structures are still occupied, the vast majority are not, and have been thrashed by mother nature and of course vandals. The beach is covered in rubbish and debris. Not a place you'd like to live in. The UFO pods certainly live up to their name, with airplane doors which open outwards and offer views of all sides. Inside actually seems pleasant in principle, fairly spacious and offering lots of natural light despite small bedrooms and a tiny central kitchen and dining area which resembles a bar more than a kitchen. The venturos resemble a more normal dwelling, like a pod. Following the same principle as their futuro counterparts with 360 views all round and plenty of natural light. Privacy goes out of the window however when all the glass is see-through and the dwelling is at ground level unlike the futuros which are raised. The surviving venturos are now mostly ruined, probably destroyed by years of disuse and extreme weather patterns. Whilst it's certainly a unique and rare site, it's not really that spectacular, and I spent little more than 20-30 minutes walking round before heading off to the next derp. Though those that remain occupied will stay, I can realistically only see these unique dwellings facing the wrecking ball like their counterparts were a few years ago. Thanks again for reading. Love TBM x
  7. Solo jaunts. So after Chinese New Year there was yet another public holiday in Taiwan, and you know what that means? More exploring! This here is a compilation of different sites all well known to the exploring network, all very famous but compared to the general benchmark not enough to warrant standalone reports again. As I mentioned before, sometimes it's about scratching the itch just to get it off your mind rather than the drop-everything hit-the-road urge you get for some places. 台灣民俗村/Taiwan Folk Village Taiwan Folk Village was a mock-traditional park east of Huatan, near Zhanghua in the Bagua Mountain Scenic Area. Opened in 1993 it was a hugely successful site, a showcase of Taiwan traditional temples and aboriginal architecture (straw huts, temples and so forth) although if you ask me it all felt tacky with little historic value. That's the trouble with Taiwan; compared to Europe precious little remains of genuine, traditional architecture of dynasty's gone past. Not only that, I cannot understand what desire people have to turn such places into theme parks complete with swimming pools and rides rather than showcase the history. I digress. As with so many places in Taiwan, the 921 Earthquake meant a sharp drop in visitor numbers, pushing the operating company into the red, culminating in closure come 2012. It's in the backwaters of Taiwan with no public transport, so I had to begrudgingly take a taxi to get there. Unfortunately the taxi driver was oblivious to my intentions and dropped me off at the main gate, in full view of security. I get out, and there they are sat outside the cabin staring at me and wondering what I want to do. I don't want to ruin my chances and arouse suspicion, so I walked away as they watched. Awkward. I walk up the road and look for a way in, but there's a huge drop from the road down to the boundary fence. Getting in was a mission to say the least, having to find a safe spot to drop down and then find a suitable point to actually enter the site! I finally found one after considerable effort, then had to beat through thick bushes to get onto the roof of the main walls. A challenge, but I have an itch to scratch so I don't have a choice. Although I've lived in Taiwan for 2+ years, for those unfamiliar with Asian architecture the attention to detail in temples is beautiful; each aspect is unique. Unfortunately the interior was stripped and somewhat decayed with zero interest. The site is not fully abandoned, however. There are plenty of buddhist shrines and the mock-village buildings are still maintained by on-site staff. I saw a handful of scooters parked up around the site, and was certain there was someone lurking in places least expected so I had to be very careful. The biggest problem however was a dozen or so stray dogs who ran around in packs. Any sight of a foreigner liked myself triggered a chorus of barking, not out of hostility but perhaps curiosity and simply being an unexpected presence. Unfortunately this meant I had to move fast from building to building to avoid getting attention from security or caretakers. I tried to access the best part of the site, the beautiful mock-village quarters in the middle of the site, however to protect the shrines and interior these were completely locked up. At the northernmost part of the site was a large temple, which I managed to get inside however the interior was completely empty and lacking in interest. I was absolutely certain there was a caretaker lurking inside too, so only 2 shots. I went in search of the carousel and theme park attractions to the west of the site, however since the previous reports these have all been demolished. No loss, but that meant it was time to leave, so I headed back out and bade farewell. A derp for sure, but not a complete waste of time. Stay tuned for the rest. Love as always, TBM x
  8. Well things that are worth reporting on are few and far between. I think counting the sites I have left now, I only really have 5 or so left to do unless something else pops up. Not always. They don't really have vandals here, but nature is far more hostile and buildings have everything of value stripped out of them soon after they close.
  9. 寧高級中學/Yi Ning High School, Taizhong Solo jaunt. Another local from Taizhong. It seems that the previous adventures have spured me on to finding new sites, and thus far it's been very promising. Unfortunately as is standard sites are not always named here, so it's left to others to play detective and look carefully through pictures to find something that gives the name away. It turns out I already knew about this place before; my girlfriend pointed it out to me before because it was her dad's old school, and it was clearly derelict then. Last week I was scanning Flickr for new sites to visit, and after carefully scanning photos found the location. It was so close to home so I hopped on the bike and headed down on Saturday, walked round and thought judging by the condition it's not going to last long so I'd better do it tomorrow. A condensed history, translated from Mandarin Yi-Ning High School is a private school in Taizhong, In 1948, Nanjing Private Yining Middle School was established in Nanjing Xianglin Temple, and in May 1949 started to recruit 142 students in 4 classes of male and female students. In 2011 there were more than 1,000 students enrolled but a new campus was built in March 2015 wherein the students were transferred to gradually. On August 14th 2016 the campus fully closed and moved to Dongda Road in Xitun District. Though the elementary side of the school remains in use, the campus started the demolition process in April 2018 which involved stripping out windows and valuable items. The explore Taiwan's ever grey, bland, functional architecture means it's not an epic explore obviously but there are plenty of unique features inside which make it report-worthy. So as per the day before I rocked up and just walked in as no effort whatosever had been made to seal off the buildings or at the very least warn intruders of any dangers. The gate and doors were all wide open! Unfortunately photos are somewhat hit and miss, given the lack of a proper tripod and the overcast weather adding to the greyness. So I started off with the school assembly hall, the school banner still hanging at the back of the stage and old school paraphernalia like school IDs just dumped on the floors and under the stairs. Old student IDs, many of whom were older than I am. Moving onto the main building. What was the inner courtyard here was now completely overgrown, the densely covered space making the atmosphere more ominous and oppressive. All the classrooms were still fitted out with desks, but let's be honest there are only X amount of photos you can take before you're showing the same thing over and over again. As I suppose is common for sites in Taiwan, the building was trashed from wall to wall where all valuable materials had been removed, yet there was nary a scribble of graffiti from intruders who have been since. Windows were all smashed in and removed prior to demolition works, leaving broken glass littering every corridor. Unfortunately there was an awkward moment when I entered one of the classrooms to see a homeless man sheltered from the rain with his head in his arms. Despite the crunch of glass underfoot, he didn't stir and I crept back out and headed to the other end of the building. What made this school special in my opinion was the art which decorated every corridor of the main building. Some of it was more typical of children, things like portraits of a student's favourite childhood cartoon, Japanese anime, whilst others were more creative and abstract. For sure a fascinating vicarious journey into a childhood so fundamentally different from my own. Unfortunately the sun was setting at this time, and as I said before there are only so many photos you can take of a site before it becomes repetitive and uninteresting. To conclude, whilst it's not anywhere near as good as a British public school from the 1800s it was far from disappointing, and when it's so close to where you live, why not? This concludes the end of this series of reports from Taiwan for now, but dear reader let me say this. I cannot guarantee I will succeed, far from it. But there are more sites to come, and if I do succeed I can absolutely promise you they will be truly epic. With love as always, TBM x
  10. Lovely stuff. Little has changed since I went in 2008. I suppose the 25 is back in the headshunt to rot for another 20 odd years again, sadly.
  11. 仁友綜合醫院/Renyou General Hospital, Jiayi Visited with Anew Calling. This is the final call of the exploring adventures, and arguably the most exciting/tense explore I've done in many many years. Very little history exists, and the articles that I've found document previous exploring adventures and idiotic ghost hunting experiences. They've also tried to keep the identity of the location secret, but lets be honest if you don't scan your own photos carefully there's always going to be something that gives it away, like patient records. Ha ha ha! All I can really ascertain is that the hospital closed to poor management practices and loss of funding (the calendar says 4th April 2008), and is now in the middle of a dispute between the hospital dean and the Jiayi government over unpaid taxes. That's pretty much all I know. The hospital itself is wide open, and ironically despite not having a single scribble of vandalism has been absolutely raped and pillaged to within an inch of its life, full to the brim with junk and debris from where either pikeys (what do the Taiwanese call the European equivalent? LOL) or the owners have torn out anything valuable. All the beds have gone, but funnily enough there is plenty of stuff like expired drugs, bed linen and hospital paraphenalia just stacked everywhere in boxes. There's no on-site security, but there's the arch nemesis of every explorer... PIRs. Two of them. We enter the building and get ready. I do a quick scan of the corridor into the hospital foyer, and can't spot them for the life of me. Yet as soon as I step in, I hear a woman's voice... 異常發生! 異常發生! 異常發生! This basically translates to English as abnormal activity detected, coming from the alarm panel. We head straight for the top floors, constantly looking out the windows for any remote response units. The door to the central part of the roof is jammed shut. Back down a floor, we happily wander up and down the corridors snapping away, we try the main roof and find the doors wide open. Walk around, then step back into the staircase... we hear voices and footsteps. Oh SHIIIIIIT! So we wait for 15-20 minutes, hiding on the roof. Ironically a place they never actually bother to check. We go back about 2-3 times and still hear them wandering around. Then the voices disappear, and we are seriously on edge. We wander up and down the hospital corridors floor by floor, finding very little of interest sadly. All is very much the same, trashed empty rooms sometimes filled with interesting (or not) junk. Expired medicine. I've never seen so much piled up in one place! Then we reach the 4th floor an hour or so later, more relaxed. But then it takes a tense turn... I look back out into the corridor and there are 2 guards looking in every room for us! We hide, and expect to be caught there and then. Literally metres away, we stand there in deathlike silence; I flick the camera onto movie mode, expecting to be caught. I suggested giving myself up, but Anew Calling disagrees. We hear them open and close doors, talking to each other. I look out again, and one of them is walking down the corridor straight towards us, but somehow he doesn't see us! They leave. Oh my fucking god, I'm absolutely shitting it now. I can't fathom how he didn't spot me. We head down a floor, into the ICU ward. It looks like a bomb has gone off in this room it's THAT trashed. Someone has literally come in here with a sledgehammer and gone riot. We think the security have gone now, so I flick the camera onto movie mode. First into the basement, it's full of more medical junk. The lower basement, which has the x-ray room, and if there is one here, the mortuary, sadly is flooded and inaccessible. Back into the foyer, and we trip the alarms again (one either side, no escape). I run around looking for interesting rooms, but there are none, so I snap one of the foyer before heading to the dispensary. No chance... 過來!Either the guard was waiting outside in his car for us or he was waiting inside a room for us, but he's nailed us. We run out straight throught the window we came in from; looking back, there he is, thinking he'd nailed us. We try running, but it's no use. He calls us back. BUSTED! So he's called back his colleague (I recognised his silhouette as the guy in the corridor), and then proceeds to call the police. Anew Calling tries to play dumb and bluff them into thinking he has a train to catch urgently (all in broken Mandarin, may I add), but they don't buy it and don't let him leave. They see right through it, and laughed! The police turn up, and it's left to me to be a translator for them because nobody speaks English at all. He just searches our bag and warns us about the dangers of the building, and how he was recently called to rescue someone who got trapped in the lift (he wasn't bluffing either; there's evidence of the door being forced!). Thankfully I spoke enough Mandarin to put them all at ease, and in turn the police and guards were super friendly and courteous to me (even if you speak A1 Mandarin, they really appreciate your efforts). Not sure they had such a good impression of ANC playing stupid though... ha! I voluntarily handed over my details, and then we were allowed on our way with a wave and good wishes for the Chinese new year. TBM wins again.
  12. 東南水泥工廠/South East Cement Works, Gaoxiong Visited with Anew Calling. So as part of the Chinese New Year trip I carried onto Gaoxiong, Taiwan's equivalent of Hull or Liverpool, a city built on heavy industry and port workings. A lot of these places are long-closed or still active, and the city now is being transformed from a filthy city choking to death from the fumes to a vibrant and modern one. Right here, we have the South East Cement Works, much of it now mostly demolished, with the other half still fully active but in the middle of it all something still derelict. Opened in 1956, it produced 25,000 metric tons of cement which increased to 1,500,000 in 1982. It was in 2016 that serious, illegal levels of polution were detected (it was found to be over the limit on 21 occasions), which led to protests from local students and teachers. Work was halted completely, and in May 2017 the remaining active site now functions as a clinker grinding site rather than active production to reduce environmental pollution. If calendars are accurate barometers to estimate closure dates, then this would have closed in mid-1997. I initially feared there would be little if anything left here, having seen older reports of vast wasteland full of stuff and hearing it was demolished, but the site was so vast I suspected there's bound to be something left to enjoy. So as I left the station opposite, I was greeted by a vast empty wasteland, marked out only by a solitary beacon of a cement kiln. There was a small hut next to it with scooters and cars outside... was it security? I didn't want to find out, so in I went and nobody came. Before you ask, NO I didn't climb that ladder! So I walked up the road across the vast wasteland, to the abandoned site. There were numerous lorries coming in and out... oh shit was this still live? I still couldn't work out what the activity was all for. But getting in... literally there were no fences or any attempt made to seal the site off. Just walk straight in and you have free roam! Nobody here to disturb me, nobody here to catch me out. Superb. Not knowing what to expect made finding stuff like this control panel even more exciting! Unfortunately however the lack of a tripod (except for my gorillapod) means I was restricted in the angles I could shoot. Before going to the more northern parts of the site, I decide to risk getting closer to the operational area and found even more exciting stuff! I still never saw anyone, somehow... It was at this point I was disturbed by movement in the darkness... luckily it was only two gaunt looking stray dogs, who were scared of me and so ran off back outside. I made my way around more of the complex, which had been so badly ruined and taken over by nature taking photos was difficult if not impossible. Unfortunately this meant I missed the final building, but judging by other reports there was little to see inside. So I continued up to the active part, expecting it to be derelict. It would have been so easy to access, but the sound of buzzing and clunking heavy machinery meant I avoided it for another day at least. I walked along the road, expecting to head out back into the city where things started to take a hilarious turn. I walked past the gate security, who seemed to be giving me contradictory information which suggested I couldn't go back the way I came (this was actually a public road; Google street view says so) and couldn't cross the level crossing either. So a friendly Taiwanese man drives up to me and asks me what I'm doing... all in Mandarin. I can speak Mandarin, but I'm miles off being fluent, so I had to comically bluff my way out of this situation. "What are you doing?" "Taking pictures." "Where did you come from?" <Points to the road I came from> "That way, and I want to go back here" "This is a private road. Do you want to take pictures of the trains?" "Errrrrrrrrrr... yeah for sure!" "Where do you want to take them from?" "Errrrrrrrrrr... across the road looks like a good place." "OK I can drive you back onto the main road." "Oh... Great, thank you so much!" He has no idea where I've been or what I've done, despite being covered in white dust and tree scratches. So he drives me back out onto the main road, and drives back in. I burst into absolute belly laughter. TBM wins again!
  13. 杏林醫院/Xinglin Hospital, Tainan Solo jaunt. If an urban exploration culture exists in Taiwan (it's far more likely to be a subculture within the ghosthunting realm, unfortunately), then this is by far Taiwan's most famous derelict building. It's frequented by teenagers and students who dare each other to enter and scare themselves, particularly during the ghost festival. It was opened in 1975 as a general hospital, but closed just 18 years later on June 1st 1993 due to unlawful medical practices and falsification of medical records. Since closure it is unclear what the owners want to do with the building; they have made half-baked efforts to keep out nature and intruders, but perhaps as is standard in this culture it remains wide open. Even the front door is unlocked! The architecture, although typically bland functional concrete was interesting here, built into a figure of 8 form, leaving 2 inner courtyards open to the elements. Not entirely dissimilar to the design of Hashima across the ocean in Japan. Guess the album cover! If you look at old photos on the internet, this was actually once a truly exceptional explore, fully equipped with expired medicine, syringes, an operating theatre and even preserved human remains! If you don't believe me search for yourself. As time as progressed however, looters have been in and removed anything that would explicitly reveal its former use. The only significant feature was the x-ray room, here. I did attempt the basement, but unfortunately this was flooded and thus inaccessible without boots. So there we have it. To be honest the only reason I went here is just to tick it off the list and to say I went here before it's gone. Just a way to kill time before being a normal tourist again and visiting the historical sites of Tainan. Stay tuned for the rest. Love TBM x
  14. 大家好! My oh my, how long has it been since I posted a report? Exploring has become a low priority for me ever since I left the UK, even if I've always kept tabs on new sites shared here and on social media. Truth be told learning Mandarin and my lady have taken a much bigger priority in recent years, plus my lady is no fan of me going about it alone so that makes organising jaunts more challenging. I have visited a fair few sites around Taiwan, but compared to Europe there is so little here to get me to jump on the next train there because beautiful architecture is just so rare and even noteworthy industrial sites are few and far between; many places are just rotting concrete shells. So this report here is meant to be a compilation of my latest explores to date which I feel don't have enough bite to warrant standalone reports. There will be more reports to come in the future, but since I left my torch and tripod in England it will be some time before I visit these. I trust the results will not be disappointing though. 亞哥花園/Encore Garden, July 2018 Visited with some colleagues and non-explorers. I'd always been aware of this one, as it's situated close to my favourite hiking trails just outside of Taizhong where I live. But being me I never made a move until last year. It's an abandoned theme park in Dakeng district, opened in 1981 and was a hugely popular site that attracted around 1m people a year. Like several sites in Taiwan it was hit by the 921 earthquake in 1999 which severely damaged the area, causing attendance to drop dramatically. Eventually the financial losses incurred forced the place to close in 2008. On most days there is a security guard with dogs at the top of the site, living in a shack. However as of last year the entire site has been repurposed as a rally racetrack. Pay $100 (that's £2.50) to enter and you can sit back and spectate, but before that we chose to explore the park first. Initially we were in full stealth mode, when we spotted people in hi vis vests dotted around the site as well as the guard's dogs barking at us, but after seeing others drive round with their scooters we realised it was a free for all for today. What I found really fascinating about exploring in Taiwan compared to Europe and other places is how the fertile, humid tropical enviroment is far more hostile to built structures which means nature takes over rapidly once the place is abandoned; the restaurant was completely covered in thick, thick dust, and other structures had started to be completely invaded by tree branches. Old arcade machines left behind Because of thick shrub finding the entrance to this ride took a bit of careful searching, but we got to it. It turns out as long as we stayed off the roads as much as possible, we were at free to roam whenever we wanted. The racing stewards didn't mind us at all. Unfortunately the outdoor auditorium was inaccessible because there were too many race cars on the route leading up to it. Another thing that's incredibly striking about Taiwan and nature is the frequency of earthquake tremors. In my experience they seem to hit every few months, and in mountainous and rural areas can trigger minor (or major) landslides; look at the next 2 pictures and compare to older photos... By stark contrast to the western world, obviously with a few exceptions Asians and the Taiwanese have utmost respect for abandoned sites. Whether this be rooted in a fear of the supernatural (people in the west believe in ghosts, but superstitions are taken far more seriously here), they treat abandoned sites as tombs and relics of the past to be treated with respect. It's because of this, little if any effort is made to seal any buildings from intruders and yet sites see so little vandalism. Security guards are rare, too. Another thing is that for several sites upon closure and abandonment the owners do not bother to remove items from buildings, regardless of their value. The fundamental exception to this rule being statues and religious iconography, because to leave these to rot is to bring huge misfortune on one's life. So although decent sites are indeed rare, exploring those that are around are unique experiences in which you can really lose yourself and let your imagination run free. I then made my way inside the buildings in the middle of the site, and was stunned to find the power still on. It turns out even on a Sunday there were workers inside. Unfortunately the site manager walked in, then politely asked me to leave after this photo was taken. It's far from epic, but it's well worth sharing as it's so vastly different from Crapalot. I'm still alive by the way... Thank you so much for reading, and it's a real pleasure to be back. TBM x
  15. When I'm in the UK I'm always on the lookout for derelict aircraft, so this is outstanding to see. Talking of which, it's been on my mind for ages. Has anyone here had a go at the aircraft at Teeside airport? Looks like there's loads there!