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UK Double Trouble, Runcorn - December 2016

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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. 
 

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