Saturday, 8 February 2014

2013: A year through Urbex

As the second month of the new year begins, my thoughts once again are cast to Urbex. There is little doubt in my mind that soon a new explore will begin and it will be good. On the whole 2013 was, for Urbexing, a good year. 

I do on occasion get asked what I enjoy about Urbex, and for me, it's the escapism that Urbex provides. The escapism and adventure. The details that are found in the sites are, for me, what really hits home. Its the little things that remind you just how much of a history these places have.

especially felt this at North Sutor, where we found graffiti dating back to 1933, despite this generally being a pet hate of mine, I found this simple piece of pencil written writing only added to the place. 
I do wonder what William Morrison would have said if he know that in only 7 years, North Sutor would once again be teaming with solders and the world would be, once again, in the grip of war.

It was also the man made details that I found only adding to the experience. The simplest of things like a coat hook reminds you that these places lived in. I wonder who it was that lived here, who hung up their coat and what they placed on there shelves, and if they returned to their home, their true home, alive.

Further to this, the magazines that we came across were a first. 

After a brief crawl we were greeted with only darkness but once our torches were out we began to explore the vast rooms that would once have been full of munitions. We spend best part of an hour exploring these rooms and to this day, they are one of my favourite part of any site.


Fearn Airfield proved to be another interesting trip. It was the first time any of us had been to an abandoned airfield, which in itself presented one of my individual favourite "find" from any explore - three painted murals on the wall of the officers mess hall.

Considering they had been exposed to the elements for over 50 years they were still remarkably well preserved.  

I found personally found Fearn an interesting site. It was, mainly, in a sorry state, building were broken and crumbling. Some we chose not to enter because they looked to unstable - a first for us. 

Yet, it also held some of the most interesting finds we've come across. The murals made our day and the amount of "stuff" that had survived was vast. Showers, toilets and seats were all still to be seen once again reminded us that this was once home for many.  


After the success at North Sutor we decided to try out our luck at the slightly bigger South Sutor just across the Cromarty Firth. Together North and South Sutor guarded the Cromarty Firth which was used as a base for the Royal Navy Home Fleet and the scene of the Invergordon Mutiny in 1931. 
We had heard on the grapevine that there could be some issue with access into some of the site due to the land owner using some of it to breed wild bores, who also had young at the time we went. 

Initially it looked promising, the first structure we saw (the Fire Command Post) we saw was in surprisingly good condition. 
The post was also surprisingly, on the whole, graffiti free.

We were also pleased to see that the metal shutters were still intact and could - with great effort - be opened and closed. 

After a wonder off into the undergrowth we came across two other "structures" one of with we are still unsure as to its use. 

However we next came across the engine room.
The stairs were covered in moss but the room itself was surprisingly large!

We pressed on to the the main body of the site and found this...

We decided to not enter, due the the fact the bores seemed lively and had young.

South Sutor is also our only failure to date.

We will return.


Seabank Tank Farm was our next trip out and we were not disappointed. The site was originally built shortly after WW1 when the local town was turned into a Navel Base. The tanks were mainly used for storing oil but some were used for storing drinking water. It was in use until 1956 when it was decommissioned. The tanks were massive and went on for a huge distance. 

This site was on the whole well preserved.  The boilers in the boiler room were all still intact and we spent a happy while just going through all the leavers, switches and dials that had been left intact. 

 Even a lot of signage was left behind and was still intact.

We also managed to gain access t the interior of one of the tanks. They had a great echo and still - even after all this time - stank of oil. 

After contorting our bodies into all sorts of weird shapes to squeeze in this is what greeted us:


The sheer size of these was simply incredible. 

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. Here's to 2014

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