Climbing London

Let me start by reminding you that trespass is bad. Trespass can get you arrested, unless of course you’re a protesting student at a South Africa university with a continually capitulating VC, in which case you’ll pretty much be allowed to get away with anything.

But I digress, often.

Don’t trespass. Let other people do it for you. Live vicariously through their foolishness. Allow them to take the silly risks. I’m talking, of course, of Harry Gallagher and his friend… er… HD.XR (possibly a pseudonym) who go leaping around rooftops and landmarks in London, making your palms sweat.


One thing we’ve seen before from these sorts of naughty escapades is that you can get some fantastic photographs. Harry and… er… HD document their best efforts on their respective instagrams here and here.

It’s good stuff.

There’s also a Youtube channel, with rather too much introduction and not quite enough action for me, but the videos usually come with a handy “skip to [time] for the good bit” comment if you don’t want the preamble.

Adventures Through the Concrete Jungle

The football on offer this week has been pretty decent. Monday was Everton at Sunderland, Tuesday and Wednesday saw the return of the UEFA Champignons League, and Thursday provided no little entertainment in the form of the UEFA Cup Europa League. And this evening, another Premiership treat with Chelsea taking on Liverpool.

However, you might not be into football. You might be searching for something which gives you a bigger thrill. I’m not quite sure what could fit the bill ahead of a Feyenoord winner 12 minutes from time, but each to their own.
I am into football, but I’m still finding time to get through this amazing online series: URBEX – Enter At Your Own Risk.

I’m working my way through it at the moment, and finding that the sometimes mundane personal “I just want to challenge myself” narrative is more than balanced out with some amazing footage from some amazing places. The visit to the Baikonur Cosmodrome (Episode 5) was truly incredible.

I’m not sure how much of the footage is stage managed – it’s hard to work out how some of the third person stuff is filmed – but as I say, it’s free and it’s certainly worth a look if you can spare the bandwidth.


An abandoned factory in Sheffield apparently makes for an interesting photo subject. I know this because I saw karl101’s photo album on flickr and then I looked around some more and found some more photos here and here.


I’ve lived the  Urbex life both vicariously and fairly regularly on this blog through people like silentUK and, and that’s been fun, but there’s obviously additional local interest for me in this one.

The company was founded by John Dyson who began mining clay and making bricks in the early 1800s. From the very beginning the business was a success. The 1834 Sheffield trade directory lists “John Dyson – Brick Maker, Stannington” which indicates that he ran the business on his own. However, by 1838 the business was listed as “John Dyson and Son – Black clay miners and firebrick manufacturers, Griffs House, Stannington”.

Dyson’s were manufacturers of refractory material, ceramics for the steel industry – basically making the tiles which lined the inside of the furnaces and ladles used in steelmaking – they also produced fire backs and other household ceramic bricks for the likes of Agas, fires etc.

As with all industry these days, however, China does it more cheaply. But rather than going under like so many other British businesses have, Dyson reacted to this by building a plant in Tianjin in China. They still supply “technical ceramics and thermal technologies” to those people and industries who need technical ceramics and thermal technologies.
I guess 2015 China is a far cry from even the 1970s in Sheffield, though:

I worked at Dyson in 1970. When I was there we mostly made teeming refractories for steel making. They lined the blast furnaces, ladles and moulds. The pipes for “uphill” teeming were stamped out in wet clay (mined from the local Ughill quarries) in drop stamp moulds. Every so often, someone would be a bit slow taking his hands out of the way of the stamp and would lose the end of his fingers. Almost everyone in the factory was missing bits of fingers, crushed by the stamper.



Given the number of photo albums and sites devoted to it, I guess that the Dyson Ceramics factory in Sheffield must be the most accessible derelict factory in the world. What’s interesting to me is the respect with which it appears to be treated by the explorers and photographers. Easily mobile items (like the bottles and stamping kit above) appear in photos from both 2010 and 2014 – people are going in there to take photographs, not souvenirs.

Up high

We’ve all had the feeling when you wake up in the morning and find – with disappointment – that your palms aren’t at all sweaty. It’s annoying and potentially upsetting and, but what many people don’t realise is that it’s easily cured by looking at just a few urban climbing photos.

These young people know no fear (although, interestingly, you never see an urban climber past the age of about 21, do you?) and they do the hard yards (upwards) so that your palms can sweat from the comfort of your own laptop.

Right – checked your palms? Let’s go:


I don’t know if it’s because I have a rational brain, but I find that I can easily (and graphically) envisage what would happen if something were to go awry and this bloke was to slip from here. (And in this case, ‘here’ is the crane at the top of this). *dry heave*

But then, there’s some sort of nature thing at play here too, because even on the Boomslang yesterday, ‘only’ 12 metres high, I was worried about the kids. Not about me. Just them. And that’s got big railings up the sides of it. Not like some ledge on the side of a building 70-odd storeys up. Which begs the question, WHAT IN SWEET JESUS’ NAME IS THIS GUY THINKING??!?!?


I can’t even grip my mouse anymore. Bring tissues! (careful now)

If this hasn’t butterflied your tummy enough and got those palms weeping, then there are plenty more where those came from, and that place was here.

Nice selfie

We’re living in the age of the Selfie:

a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.

And you might think that the selfie you took last week was the best thing ever: it caught your good side, you were in focus, interesting background, nice colours etc etc. But you were wrong, because this one takes the proverbial biscuit when it comes to great selfies:


I don’t know how he got up there, I don’t know why he got up there, but the fact that he took a selfie while he was up there means that your effort last week is now worth NOTHING.

*heads off to wipe sweaty palms*