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UK Eyebrook Reservoir Overflow, Caldecott - April 2016

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History

Eyebrook Reservoir is located in the East Midlands, straddling the borders of Rutland and Leicestershire. The closest village is Caldecott, which can be found to the south of the reservoir near the dam. The reservoir itself was constructed between 1937 and 1940, by Stewarts & Lloyds, to supply water to their Corby steel works which required 8 million gallons of water per day. The dam was constructed using concrete blocks and clay; it is 517 metres long overall, with a width of 4.6 metres at the top and 90 metres at its base. Just like Ladybower Reservoir in the Peak District, Eyebrook was used during the Second World War by the RAF and the bombers of 617 squadron, as a practice site for the Dambuster raids. A plaque commemorating Mohne, the dam that was partially destroyed in Britain’s efforts to disrupt Germany’s war effort, has been placed at Eyebrook reservoir.

The reservoir and dam was selected as a training ground because of its close resemblance to German dams. Several weeks before the raids were due to take place, Lancaster bombers could be heard roaring over nearby villages, including Caldecott, as they barely skipped over the tree tops; there was a mere 18 metres between the giant machines and the ground. It was crucial the four-engined planes kept as low as possible though, to remain undetected, and for the bombs to work effectively. Nonetheless, none of the planes had altimeters that worked at such low levels, so large spotlights fitted to the nose and tails of the aircraft were used instead to illuminate the surroundings. The practice raids took many of the local residents by surprise at first and many sought shelter beneath kitchen tables when the area suddenly became intensely active, especially at night. Beams of light flooding through windows, and the loud thunder of powerful engines, caused mass panic in the area as people believed the Germans were invading. The reason for the bombers being in the area was only revealed after the success of the mission was announced by the BBC over the radio. 

In total, the site is approximately 201 hectares (500 acres); 155.12 hectares of this consists of canals and open water that has an average depth of 17ft throughout, except near the dam where it is a little deeper. Since 1942, the reservoir has been used as a brown and rainbow trout fishery. Most of the fishermen who gather at this location specialise in fly fishing, as this location responds well to this style. The remaining land is made up of natural grass and woodland and has become a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to certain plant and wildlife in the area. Many of the birds found in the woodland at Eyebrook are popular among bird watchers. 

Our Version of Events

As we’ve been trying to venture outside the north of England a little bit more we decided to head through Leicestershire on our travels. Having heard that Eyebrook Reservoir outflow is something to behold, we decided to get ourselves over there and have a wee look for ourselves. Since it sounded a lot like Ladybower in the Peak District, it seemed like it would be an awesome afternoon out. Daylight was fading fast after our usual morning of fucking around, meaning we didn’t have much of an afternoon left, so at a junction we had the choice to turn right towards Eyebrook, or head left to an epic-sounding mine. A distinct lack of judgement made us turn right towards Eyebrook. 

To avoid getting the car trapped in the car park, because we were unsure how long we were going to be in the overflow, we ditched the car in a layby and chose to walk up to the site. The walk is pleasant, but long, and it wastes even more time. I guess the moral of the story is that you should be better prepared on a morning, then in the afternoon you won’t have to rush around… But alas, we make the same mistake every time. A small cluster of trees was just on the horizon, and judging by what we’d seen on google maps, what we were looking for was inside them. The trees in the distance were the sort that didn’t seem to get much bigger, though, no matter how quickly you walk. 

Twenty minutes or so later, we reached the woods. Finding the overflow was easy once we stepped into the trees. Almost immediately we were greeted by a large concrete culvert, analogous to something you see in American films. Our excitement quickly escalated. Next, after climbing down into the culvert, we walked into what felt like a great canyon made out of concrete blocks. Both sides towered above us, so we were completely invisible to anyone fishing up at the reservoir. Feeling a little like we were entering into some incredibly grand man-made valley, we continued around the corner. The mouth of the overflow was just ahead. It was smaller than we’d expected, but it still looked tempting. The next few minutes were spent getting out torches, so we could enjoy the next bit with maximum visibility. 

As it turned out, it was a complete waste of time getting the torches out. After taking a couple of steps inside the entrance, we noticed a very obvious portal of light at the other end of the tunnel. Not quite believing that the whole thing could be so short, we pressed on, expecting we’d perhaps find a second section. We were wrong, however. At the other end it was obvious there was nothing but a small hole, and all this led to, a few metres inside, was a metal gate that opens when water wants to come out. Glancing around at the faces of my fellow explorers, it was manifest that disappointment was ripe among the group. Vowing never to come to Eyebrook Reservoir again, we proceeded to head back to the car. The sun was starting to go down now, so we decided it was best to simply find a pub and drown our sorrows. 

Explored with Ford Mayhem, Meek-Kune-Do and Husky.
 

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LOL, not planning a revisit then?? :D Not quite as exciting as some other reservoirs but still some nice brickwork there mate and nicely captured :thumb 

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11 hours ago, The_Raw said:

LOL, not planning a revisit then?? :D Not quite as exciting as some other reservoirs but still some nice brickwork there mate and nicely captured :thumb 


Haha, nah might leave this one out next time. The bridge thing overhead and the brickwork was pretty cool. It was far too short though!
Thanks :thumb

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10 hours ago, Lenston said:

Pretty cool mate, i need to visit more of these in the future :) 

 

:comp:


This one will take you ten minutes if you park near the reservoir :thumb I do quite like these though, especially the Ladybower one. 

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On 5/10/2016 at 9:28 PM, macc_explore said:

Brilliant but somewhat terrifying haha.. would that be full of rushing water at times?


Only if they open the reservoir doors :thumb 

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On 5/14/2016 at 9:36 AM, hamtagger said:

Very photogenic these places, nicely shot mate :thumb 


Yeah, it's always good doing a bit of light painting. 

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