This started out with me taking to Gone over msn discussing startrails and a certain program over at a .de web address. It was Gripper that I had last seen him and so when Gone mentioned he fancied a trip to Ancoats to try some trails himself, with finally no work to do, I mentioned I'd make an rare appearance myself.

Startrails are effectively, taking a huge amount of the same photo over a period time (1 hour+) and then using software (either Photoshop or any third party program) to compile these into one image.

This one was really a 2 in 1 kind of explore, I'd had several recce's of Sarah Point over countless months in the past, but without the right knowledge and with word of over zealous security guards on site, I put it to the back of my mind. So with ninja-like speed and agility, we were in no time climbing floor after floor of unfinished-recession hit building work, passing birds and birdnests along the way till we hit the top.

Now I don't know if it was a visit from some Druids, or just some crackheads but what appeared to be a mini half-arsed attempt of Stonehenge seemed to have appeared on the roof. With these, we set up our gear and started on some startrails, with mine fucking up - I thought it would anyway, having to press the shutter-release button every 30 seconds for almost an hour.


Gripper Drain. This one happened to be on my list for a long time, it's not the nicest or even the most interesting of drains out there, but seeming as though every explorer in the Greater Manchester area has seemed to venture down it, including our Australian brothers; the 'Cave Clan', I decided it was time for me to cross it off.

I won't lie, I was actually getting ready to go shopping in Tesco but when Gone popped up online telling me he was with NickUK and fancied a return to Gripper, I eventually caved in and agreed, putting my shopping off till later in the night (as gay as it sounds).

It proved to be somewhat of a challenge climbing down the muddy bank, skinny jeans on an explore will do that, I made it without slipping which was a success so from this point on, anything else was icing on the cake.

Gripper presented a nice little explore which was dry and fairly clean, what was the highlight was when NickUK attempted to climb over a railing, ripping his jeans in the process, hanging his under-garments for all to see, Good times.
We had just stepped off the train from Derby back to Sheffield, and our plan was to hit this place or what was left of it before the night set in. Megatron was doable anytime of the day, I don't think you'd find pikeys down there.

After what seemed like forever walking to the outskirts of the City Centre, and a stop off at a Hotel to drop the A Bomb, we had arrived. With the rain starting to fall and the sky not getting any brighter, we had a quick walk around the vicinity in the hope of a gaping hole to step through and with no luck, bounced over the main gates.

Bricks fell, I fell, Gone's boots fell as the bag ripped but we were in. We walked over to the main building we had sussed housed the holes we had walked half and hour to see. We were greeted with the lovely sight of fresh footprints from the rain, looks like we had company! With a 'fuck it' attitude, we went up the stairwell anyway only to be greeted with our own personal copper thief, he made for brief conversation and bailed, not before he left us with a tip; "Keep away from the windows".


After this it what your usual explore from then on, different angles, different floors, pack away and go before any of his mates take a shining to us and the contents of our bags.

I always find Liverpool explores being the most memorable for me, maybe its due to me being a thieving scouse bastard from this lovely Metropolis, or maybe because the city has been undergoing some major redevelopment and as such, plenty of stuff has popped up.

Regardless, Mann Island had been a goal of mine for some time ever since it was hit up way back by some of the Northwests finest, Gone and Agour. Tonight, the timing seemed right however the weather was far from it. There is nothing I hate more than bailing up flights of stairs in the pissing down rain and gale force winds, with a crew assembled, we done just that.

After a pretty eventful day landing us in Wigan x2, Lancaster and Preston...myself and Gone headed to Liverpool with Millhouse and Sho chilling in the car behind, after a check of a known site and a look around the City,Mann Island was on the cards. Gone had previously topped this a while back and so didn't bother taking any photos. I have to admit, it's not some of my best work but with the conditions in  mind, I'm not was fucking cold.

Located next to Sheffield Train Station, this has been on my list since I first took a trip down it's sister Optimus Prime and what a whore she was! The day didn't start very well when I realised my waders were lying neatly next to the front door and not in my hand like they should have been, this being the case; Flo Selecta seemed to have been alright with only a slight case of 'walking-boot-fail'. 

The big test now was how I'd cope with the waist deep water of Megatron. Arriving back at the train station after bouncing round Sheffield on another Pikey filled explore, Gone wadered up between a bus stop and a disappointing closed Co-Op, while myself on the other hand simply put on some boots and rolled my jeans up praying i'd come out with feeling left in my legs (I did....just.)

We waited for the right moment when traffic was at a minimum and no-one was looking over the into the water (BTP included), when the time was perfect-ish we climbed over with athletic precision and sprinted down to the safety of the culvert.

Headtorches on and backup torches out (the best being saved to light up 'the beast') we made our way through rubble, fast currents, open spaces and sudden rises of water level, after 30 minutes we were closing in, we could see a glimpse of daylight/sunset and there she was. We left our bags in the spider operated cloak room on a dry patch of rocks and made our way into the water...set up our cameras and tripods and lighted the place up in various ways with the water now completely swallowing my jeans and being at waist level.

The obligatory people shot in the water was taken in turn and after shaking our bags for any potential stowaways, we made good time in making our way back, stopping occasionally for some more shots of the arches/graff. 

When we were happy and drained-out, were packed away and emerged under the cover of and with a swift change of socks and shoes, we bailed to the train station to find that our Manchester train back was already at Platform 8. I guarantee those in the station were not expecting 2 lads to run full pelt to the train, one of which looked like he'd sat there and pissed his pants 5 minutes prior.

Edit: It probably wasn't our more clever idea to venture into Megatron just after it had stopped raining, the water levels reflected this...however we were there and a £14 return was not going to waste.

Train Discos

I read about this drain a while back but at the time I was limited to exploring the Northwest and so no more though was given. Located within a public park in Derby, it's a good walk from the train station and on a time schedule.. it's quite a feat to accomplish. With 45 minutes upon arrival at the Park to find access and do what we came to do, we wasted no time and were in with no problems.

Before we departed from Manchester, I arrived at Gone's place around 8:10am to only just realise that for a draining trip, I had forgotten my wonder I was able to have that Lucozade Sport and Quavers with the use of 2 hands so easy. The only solution we could come to, was for Gone to lend me some top form walking boots... This did the trick as it kept my Vans dry for between explores and before we knew it, we were bashing our way to Derby (Involving a swift telling off through by the Train Operator.) 

This little beaut was discovered by Yaz and Little Mike a few years ago and parts of its function is to perform as an overflow for the Markeaton Brook, the only feature I was interested in however was the split from the Tunnel and with such low water present, I came off fairly dry even without any Waders.

"The UK's answer to Confluence."

Not really falling under the criteria of Urban Exploration, the NWEX meet still gave a good opportunity to put names to faces, even if I was suffering from a severe case of a Hangover and Sleep Deprivation. Without going into the history of the place, which to be honest is only a short Wikipedia search away, its fair to say the Queensway tunnel is pretty huge with alot of unused areas. this was mentioned by the SS Guards leading the 'tour'. If anything other than photographs came out of this experience, it was the knowledge of how landmarks such as this are in very close contact with the Merseyside Police.