Monday, 30 December 2013

Bolton's big white elephant (sorry big wheel)

Did you hear Bolton got a big wheel for Christmas ? The town with no money got a bloody great wheel, 100ft of a beast, a present from a council with no money.

With millions of pounds having been slashed from Bolton Council's budget - effecting everything around the town - social care, parks and recreation, road repairs (you name it, its likely to be have been or will be cut) and further savings of £22 million on the cards for 2014, plus a further estimated £25 million also expected to be announced .

Well I had to walk past the thing everyday, so I might as well take some photos.

Bolton Town Hall



Then I flew over it, so I took some photos...

Bolton Town Hall

Bolton Town Hall

and then I flew over it some more...

Bolton Town Hall

Dear Cllr Cliff Morris, come December 2014 may I suggest that with the town falling into such a state of shit we have the big wheel again except with a Pripyat theme around the town.

To quote one of the flocking crowd  "yeh great view, you can see all kinds of shit".

 Chernobyl 2013

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Hodge Close, Cumbria - December 2013

I start this post with a photograph of my first car, a Mini, I used to dash round the Lake District in this little beast in the 1980s, I have very few photos of my beloved little car but the ones I do have are taken a Hodge Close - another of my old haunts.


Having visited Cathedral Quarry I decided to shoehorn a quick visit to Hodge Close before my return home, being at the other side of the old Tilberthwaite mining area, a short distant from Coniston.

Hodge Close is a disused green slate quarry which closed just before World War II, a massive hole in the ground now frequented by rock climbers with its "Wicked Willie" and divers who explore its flooded depths of the main pool and the many flooded mine shafts and tunnels - the latter having claimed the lives of a growing number of divers.

Hodge Close

Hodge Close

Hodge Close

The archway on the right used to have a piece of railway track dangling for a few metres above the water, sadly now destroyed by a rock fall.

Hodge Close

Moving away from the top of the quarry (its a long way down and slate chippings cinematically fall as you nervously stand on the edge) a short walk up the track brings you to the top of the dry side of the quarry and a steep walk down into the bowels of quarry carefully manouvering the boulders and slippery slate scree.


Hodge Close

Hodge Close

Hodge Close

 Hodge Close

 Hodge Close

 Hodge Close



As I drove home I cursed the day I sold my little Mini, as you do.....

Cathedral Quarry, Little Langdale - December 2013

A return to Cathedral Quarry, sometimes known as Cathedral Cave, located in Cumbria or as I know it The Lakes.

My last visits had been in the 1980s, usually over the Christmas period - been a long time and it didn't disappoint.

I'm trying to track down these old haunts, this hopefully is one of many from my list to mark off.


Trust me, believe the sign, the ford was flooded, as was the part of the lower road to Tilberthwaite.

Little Langdale

So over the river via the bridge and up the hill brings you to Catherdral Quarry.

In these days of health and safety the signs simply say - be careful, now in the 80s the signs used to say "Keep Out", so in I went.


A dark damp hole in the ground, loved it and memories came flooding back of eating my lunch in this place every Christmas (not my Christmas dinner you understand, but usually over the Christmas holiday break).




Speaking of lunch, it was time to grab a sandwich and no sooner had I opened the my bag and this cheeky chap of a Robin landed inches from my food, a rather tame charmer of a bird.

 Cave dwelling Robin

We chatted, we ate, he posed (reading up on this little chap I now know he does hang about waiting for fools like me to pop into his lair and where upon he unleashes his pretty poses and bird like charms upon weary travelers) I snapped away.

 Cathedral Quarry, Little Langdale

Cathedral Quarry, Little Langdale

Cathedral Quarry, Little Langdale

 Cabin in the Woods

With the time not on my hands, I decided to visit another old haunt and made the walk back to the car as the hail and sleet started to rush down the from the mountains.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Stevenson Square, Manchester - December 2013

As the throngs of Christmas shoppers descend on Manchester, a wander round the back streets of Manchester with a return visit to the Northern Quarter and an update on the Outhouse Project and the other gems in the surrounding streets.

With rather urbex'ee carparking (it was cheap) we parked in the arches under the train lines into Manchester Victoria, had it not been so busy it would have been ripe for a mooch.

- photo taken in the gloom with a Nokia Lumia 1020, no flash, no tripod.


A short walk with the hidden tunnels of the Manchester Cathedral  Steps, we headed for the Northern Quarter.


In search of the Cathedral Steps

In search of the Cathedral Steps

Wandering up Tib Street, firstly we come across a fresh doggie by Stewy


Again a selection of the ever changing street art of the Northern Quarter





and finally on to the Outhouse Project.

All this was sadly a little wasted on the Tin Dog, who had joined me for a potter round the back streets of Manchester, he doesn't "get it", adding that it wasn't bad and better than tagging in that a least some thought goes into street art. But he was nonplussed with his eyes rolling in their sockets with boredom.







In a very strange twist we then ended up at Proper Tea, for a cup of errrr tea - I can recommend this place highly and the Beijing Breakfast Tea is to die for.

Enough of the poncy tea drinking, until next time.........

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Urbex News - November, December 2013

Another monthly round up of general news and links, new and improved and avoiding anything Daily Mail.

So lets start off with a few bits and bobs from Chernobyl, first off the protective shield takes shape - designed to last a 100 years whilst people carry on scratching their heads with what the fuck do about a problem like Chernobyl.

The Moscow Times reports on hunting down the wild wolves of Chernobyl that are now on the prowl and attacking.

I came face to face with a pack of wolves on my trip, thankfully in a cage, but I have to say they were livid and scary beastly fuckers, didn't help our friendly armed and pissed up soldier friend Mikhaylov tried shoving myself and Urban Spaceman in the cage - but we lived.

Pripyat is now on a "streetview" type thing - you may have seen this, but hey its a nice potter.

Moving on to exploration of derp in Scotland, with an article from the Scotsman Newspaper.

Onto the fallen Lancashire mill town of Rochdale with the Manchester Evening News reporting on the hidden River Roch that runs under the town.

Darmen Richter explores an abandoned Soviet circus in Moldova in one of his many, many travels.

Wastlelands hidden in busy cities, worth a look see over at on the Cracked website.

Hidden Batman street art anyone ? I love stumbling across treasure like this.
Until next time....

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Sensible Shoes - la deuxième partie - la merde que j'ai vu

Well it's that time of year and I've put together a gathering of my favorite photos that I've taken over 2013 in the form of a book, the last book sold a few copies - so why not.

The Liwa Desert to Chernobyl, Blackpool and some aerial shots, Yorkshire, Scotland are featured amongst others.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Miley Tunnels, Preston - December 2013

A collection of disused railway tunnels running thru and under the city of Preston, interesting....

Looked interesting this one -  a big long dark spooky tunnel, then throw in that a branch line that used to run to Whittingham Asylum and finally for added spin the tale of a ghost the haunts the tunnels going by the name of the Grey Lady.

 Nokia Lumia 1020 test (unedited JPG) GPS passed

Off we went, the Deepdale end looked like a bit an assault course, so we ventured down to Maudland with its handy parking.

Tripods, wire wool, plenty of torches, we decided to have a wander thru the tunnels and on the return leg camp out for an hour and do some wool spinning.

Nokia Lumia 1020 test (unedited JPG) GPS - ish


Then with a sudden case of heavy feet and general "one of them things" we had a man down, so sadly it was back to the car with a return visit on the cards - in fact we did return in the end.