I'll post a report of our latest explore in Gildersome tunnel near Leeds. As far as i know these are the only pictures ever taken in there as it's been a no go place for many years due to serious flooding the entire length of the tunnel. To kill 2 birds with one stone i'll cut & paste some of the report from our own site so many apologies if it's a bit long winded. I hope not.
This May 2007 shot shows just how deep the water level was guarding the entrance to the forbiden portal of the underworld. Gildersome tunnel is a bit of a monster at 1 mile 571yds (2.13km) it has remained unexplored for many years. The gate was added sometime in the early nineties and this seems to be the last time anyone has been in there. There are no pictures or reports of this tunnel to be found anywhere on the net so what lies beyond is anyones guess. This is the only entrance as the Western portal has been infilled when the M621 motorway was built near to the Showcase cinema at Birstall.
When i took this shot i could actually see water flowing out of the tunnel.
After a recent visit i was suprised to see the water had changed from the blue/grey skank it's always been to this horrid looking brown. The level had dropped a good 10'' revealing thick mud underfoot. My companion convinced himself he could get accross to try for a shot through the bars. He managed it but got soaked for his efforts. Anyway armed with our first look at the beast within we decided to get kitted up the week after for a good old go at this sinister looking place.
Once inside we were able to switch the big lamps on and peer into the gloom ahead for a better look, All we could see was standing water and deep it was too. Things weren't looking good but we decided to give the first 200yds a go & survey the situation further in. We were very wary of the hidden danger of drains and rubble underfoot so we took it in turns to lead the way with tripod prodding the ground testing every inch of the way. You could feel solid ground under foot then without warning you'd be up to your knees in the mud. As we rounded the curve the little glow of daylight at the entrance had dissapeared we found the flowing water had created a narrow channel 18'' wide in which we could traverse out of the thick orange mud. It was at this point we realised the tunnel had a gradient falling to the Leeds end and all the water was flowing the way we had come. The way forward couldn't possibly get any deeper. This lifted our spirits a bit and cautiously forward we went.
The tunnel had sprung a leak with a fair amount of water pouring out we had hoped this was the cause for all the flooding but it wasn't to be. You can see the channel the flowing water had created although this kept giving way and you were wading in knee deep water again.
We totally missed this side refuge on the way up the tunnel as we were too busy making sure we were safe to move forward. We didn't take any pictures untill we were on our way back. This side refuge 129 chains into the tunnel appears to have been used as a plate layers hut for storage and dinner time snap bothay. Luxury indeed.
You can see the narrow channel we used to navigate the tunnel. The water was a foot deep in this section. Gildersome was extremely difficult to photograph with the vivid orange mud burning bright red on long exposure shots so we used a quick burst of halogen 5 mill candles and tried to tone the colour down with a L.E.D lamp.
There's a total of four air shafts in Gildersome causing problems for us as the pile of debris from the demolished shafts were acting like a dam with the water backing up behind to some considerable depth. It wasn't until we got passed the second shaft that we came across our first solid footing. At last we had the luxury of a few feet of raised ballast higher than the water level. Some where at last to put our gear down & sort ourselves out for the way forward.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION.
The joys of tunnel photography. Well what else would be doing on a Saturday morning if we weren't splodging about in the depths of some god forsaken tunnel?
Beam me up Scotty!
Feeling quiet pleased with ourselves getting so far we carried on untill suddenly we could see something in the distant gloom. It was difficuilt to see exactly what it was at first. Then the penny dropped we were approaching the 3rd open air shaft situated 3 quarters of the way into the tunnel. things were really looking good now as we thought for the first time we could possibly get the whole way through to the end.
We were glad this shaft was open as there was a good flow of fresh air coming down the tunnel reducing the risk of any nasty gas accumalation. An open air shaft in a disused tunnel is a rarity indeed and it was certainly the first time i had seen one.
Every so often we'd switch the big lamp on to see what lay ahead. There it was at last. The faint but unmistakable red brick retaining wall we had heard about but never thought we'd see when we first got in the tunnel. We were at the highest part in the tunnel now with the last 200yds providing us with a much welcome piece of dry land. The mud was still deep with the water flowing down the tunnel at a fair rate. Apart from the leak in the tunnel wall we found near the entrance we couldn't see any visible sign of where it was all coming from. To say the tunnel was in such a mess with the flooding the actual structure was in tip top shape with no visible sign of roof collapse or fault. It was just coated everywhere in the dreaded orange Tango stuff. You needed to wear the right gear for this splodgfest.
For some reason i can't post any more images on here. It says i've posted my limit over 30??? anyway i'll add the link to my report if anyone wants to look further.
The Gildersome thread is here