What a night!

Discussion in 'Landscape and Architecture' started by Dan Cattermole, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. Dan Cattermole

    Dan Cattermole Dan Down - The Steampunk Womble

    I took a visit to the sugar silos last night till the early hour of this morning.

    Okay, MEGA right up

    This site was once the site of British Sugar and closed it's doors in Feb 2002. The rest of the site has been demolished and all that stands is these two HUGE silos standing at approx 250ft tall.
    From the main road (stourport road) these sugar beet silos look massive.... up close and right under it they look HUGEFRICKMIGHTY!!!!
    At first I didn't think we could get into the staircase/loading tower (to the right of the shot). but on closer inspection, there was a small squeeze with a few tonne of rubble above around and everywhere, at this point I'd like to say I wouldn't never of attempted this on my own so I went with another keen 'urbexer' called Sean... or Sheepy.
    I decided to downsize my kit and only take what I needed for night photog.... Sheepy however decided to bring ALL of his kit, and ALL of his lights and gizmos totaling his luggage load to 2 fair sized bags!!

    Oh yeah, entrance was tight, so we got inside and the place is TRASHED!! So much rubble and unimaginable things lurking around. First thing we done was head towards the silo's that rests on these supportive columns which was the only way to get into these things.
    The next thing you know we're walking through 2 inch thick sticky horrible syrupy oily sticking resedue thats had 10 years to flement. DISGUSTING!!!!! the stench was not the best but tollerable. And we made a wise decision to wear boots!
    We had a look at an access hatch above our heads which... had no access, so we mooched our way to the second silo (to the left of the picture) and there so happened to be a ladder!!
    This was good news... so up we went and .......... WOW WOW WOW and more ****ing WOW!!!!!!
    the sheer size of this place was absolutely breath takingly ...... uh..... [speechless]
    I've worked in MANY MANY confined spaces in my time, but this was another meaning, and the acoustics were the trippiest and the most surreal thing I have ever heard.
    I decided to shout and time the echo untill a point were we could not hear it anymore...... 38 SECONDS.... 38 SECONDS that sound resonated around that silo!! incredibly astonishing!!

    Now I do sound very excited about all this, (then again do you expect anything different from me) but on a very serious note.... you have to be there to appreciate it and really understand where I'm coming from.

    Everywhere was sticky and horrible, everything you touched was horrible.
    I was NO WAY getting any of my kit out of my bag inside this place...... but Sheepy however was plonking his bag down anywhere, and all his lights everywhere without a thought other than to light up the show. fair play to him, but he did regret it after he had more stick to him and his contents amongst his 'suitcase' of stuff, than a glue factory.... He was covered! lol

    We had spent about an hour and a half inside the silo tanks sniffing up the sweet smell of old sugar. Sheepy was busy doing what was intended i.e taking photos, where as me on the other hand, I was too busy playing 'how much can I trip myself' singing all sorts of tunes inside these tanks. :D:D

    At this point I really was getting bored now and I wanted to see if we could get to the top.

    So we took the route upwards and onwards. The very first steel ladder had an obstruction across it and involved a bit of dodgy climbing, but easy enough for the likes of us....

    Then.... and then it got risky, we had a couple of platforms missing with drops that would make you more than sick, and what we did at that point I will not say.... :/

    It was a long drag to the top, not recommended for the faint hearted, just when we hoped that was the last pigeon **** infested ladder... there was another one... with more ****ing pigeon **** on it... and syrup....
    and the great thing about it is.... these pigeons are fearless! you'll have this random one just sit there looking at you it's 3 legs, 2 beaks, and it's 4 wings whilst s***ing syrup... UUURRRGGHHHHH!!!!

    Eventually, we got to the top and....... [sigh].... (here's another speechless bit. lol)
    I'm a sucker for heights, I really don't care about them at all...... but let me tell you this was HIGH (the attachment to the right of the silos)
    We've been on top of the Ronkswood hospital boiler tower and that was great..... but this had took it to another level.... or 6. lol

    I was that naffed from the climbing that I really wasn't fussed about grabbing a few shots, the personal experience was good enough for me....
    As for Sheepy... he was in a mess with syrup anyway, so pooing his knickers didn't make a difference anyway :D:D

    So, the long trek down. This was hell of alot easier as physics may suggest.
    I was a breath of fresh air and a good ending to the visit.
    At this point I'd realised I've been hauling my kit around and didn't get a single shot.......

    So...... this is one of the few shots I did get... I really didn't think about the composition as I was b****xed from the long day I had even before this visit.

    The perspective of this shot is so wrong, and I think the distortion doesn't do it any favours... but I had to document my visit some way or another.

    Taken at 14mm, f/8, ISO 100, 60secs.

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you very much for reading and I feel it's my pleasure to share my experience with a great bunch of folk.

  2. Brian Moore

    Brian Moore Moderator

    Wonderful story and a good laugh :D:D:D and a wonderful fotie to top it off, Dan. Top notch journalism if you ask me!
  3. Kev Pugh

    Kev Pugh Well-Known Member

    Great stuff~ Dan, now a question are you taking the internal ladder or the external one? I was stationed at Kidder when the site was operational so have some memories of the site, the smell of mollasses thoughout the beet season Sept to Feb as I remember The workers had to enter the silos when filled and break the hard compacted sugar to help it flow, we had to recover the body of one unfortunate worker after a fall over him, sad but the sugar still went out.........the view and exilaration of being up top is quite something but the external is something else, 210 foot as I remember.........look forward to seeing more mater
  4. Tim Pindar

    Tim Pindar Member

    Great story, and an adventure I would NEVER undertake in a million years! Partly because of the heights, and partly just because... I wouldn't.

    And I like the shot a lot, the perspective etc is fine with me.
  5. Darren Turner

    Darren Turner XProPhotographer

    that sounds like one crazy *** night out, sounds alot of fun, i soooooo wanna go urbex, i really fancy an old asylum or hospital or simmilar
  6. Hamish Gill

    Hamish Gill Well-Known Member

    So is you pal going to show us some pictures?

    That's actually a great photo Dan, the dodgy perspective really works and long long shutter speed blurry shy is a fantastic backdrop!
  7. adrian jordin

    adrian jordin Member

    I grew up in Kidderminster and the smell from the beet when the wind was in the wrong direction was awful..I hate to think what it was like actually in there...
  8. Dan Cattermole

    Dan Cattermole Dan Down - The Steampunk Womble

    Thanks KK.
    My predictions of the height was not far off then.. lol

    KK, I most certainly would NEVER take the option of the external ladder that runs up the back of the silo tank...... that would be the most stupendous thing I'd of ever done.. :/ besides, the external have been lopped off half way up.
    It was the internal ladder taken...
    I'm glad to hear you've been there. It really is astonishing though isn't it.
    Very unfortunate to hear about the worker, and for for the memory of you having to recover him :(
  9. Dan Cattermole

    Dan Cattermole Dan Down - The Steampunk Womble

    It's not that bad to be fair, okay, you can smell it but thats the least of your concerns when your in there. lol
    walking is your main priority. :)
  10. Dan Cattermole

    Dan Cattermole Dan Down - The Steampunk Womble

    It's great Daz, such a thrill.

    You've got Talgarth asylum not a million miles away from you.
    It's supposed to be the best one. photography heavan!! :):)
  11. Dan Cattermole

    Dan Cattermole Dan Down - The Steampunk Womble

    Thanks Hamish

    I've been persuading him to join RPF, but he hasn't got round to it yet....
    I'll when he's got them on his flickr account, I find out I've I can post them on here if they've worked out. :)
  12. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    Love the colours and the distortion Dan. Very nice shot indeed. Very, very atmospheric. And you didn't even need to squeeze and climb to get it!! ;)
  13. Kev Pugh

    Kev Pugh Well-Known Member

    You'll remember the sound of the hammers at SDF then, and maybe the fire at Ashlands? That was quite a show and hte ones up combeton hill at paper waste and greenhill, Gable end came down when I was working in that one......

    Spent a lot of time there DD and hey it was just another day at the office IYKWIM
  14. Dan Cattermole

    Dan Cattermole Dan Down - The Steampunk Womble

    Is that what the banging noise was on across the other side of the yard!?? SDF?
    Aha, everyday is a school day on here. :)
  15. Dan Cattermole

    Dan Cattermole Dan Down - The Steampunk Womble

    Bad news for anyone who wanted to go and visit these concrete twins of hugemightyness!!

    Taken unthoughtfully with the iPhone



    Demolition is commencing!! Boooooo!!
  16. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    Could make a nice series though.
  17. Chris Dodkin

    Chris Dodkin West Coast Correspondent

    Missed the original post - AWESOME story and picture

    Sad to see them coming down - but at lead you caught them before they were gone.
  18. Lesley Jones

    Lesley Jones Otherwise know as Zooey

    Wonderful image and great story. Time to confess that in my time I have been a bit of an adrenaline junkie. Wing walk on the oldest flying Tiger Moth, abseil down a 17 storey building, potholing and fire walking to name but a few. I sometimes lurk in the urbex forums, but I'm getting too long in the tooth and somehow I just couldn't do it. I do love these sort of photographs though and I'd love to see what your friend took :)
  19. Chris Dodkin

    Chris Dodkin West Coast Correspondent

    Lesley! Aren't you the dark horse ;)
  20. Hamish Gill

    Hamish Gill Well-Known Member

    Hark at that ...
    Good timing then on the original!
    These actually show haut how good the original is ...

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