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Report - - Aberdeen Darkie, February 2019 | UK Draining Forum | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Aberdeen Darkie, February 2019


tallginge

more tall than ginger tho.....
Regular User
Aberdeen Darkie​

Aberdeen Darkie, as it is known, is the culverted Denburn and smaller Gilcomston Burn which joins it undergound. @siologen did a report only last year so when I was offered eight weeks work up in Aberdeen it was one of the first things that came to mind. That and the nearby 'hills' anyway.​

I’d every intention of doing it solo but hinted to the Geordie lads on site that there were drains yer can walk through in the centre of Aberdeen and they were intrigued, having heard about my tales from Manchester a few years ago and more recently of London.​

Yeah, yer can bring cans if yer want, yeah yer can ave a smoke too and no we’re probably not gonna die down there, we’ve just got to be a bit discreet for about 2 minutes while we walk through someone’s front garden, it’ll be good though. No, I don’t think it’s illegal but it’s best that five of us don’t get seen going in and we need to go at low tide, apparently. Ok?
Why aye shagnasty, well it’s not rainin’ so lets go drainin’

Easily pleased are Geordies….​

I’ve only taken a few noobs down drains before and it’s hard to tell if they actually like it or are scared but don’t wanna tell me or are just humouring me but these guys had a whale of a time down there.​

We ‘only’ did the Denburn section down to the harbour and I’m grateful to Siologen for detailing the whereabouts of the infall – fuck knows what I’d have taken the lads to 1/2 a mile away. Cheers dude :thumb

Appologies, most of these were handheld so are a bit blurry.​

Young Mickey doin his bit to be discreet for a few minutes – this was on the way out to be fair​


Slim Pickings it isn’t​



I’d never seen a locked manhole like this before, so I took a pic. It's not very deep either​


We passed a few old bridges and after a few minutes turned right around a corner. This is where Gilcomston Burn joined Denburn near the end of Skene Street. The old bridge chamber that we’re standing in is clearly shown on old maps. Pic looking upstream​


A closer view of the Gilcomston Burn (right) shows the odd profile of this concrete pipe. It would have been brick or stone at some point, though. Even when this upper half of Denburn was open the last few hundred meters or so of Gilcomston Burn was culverted as it ran under Spa Street. Perhaps some magic machine has lined the old brickwork with concrete now, it’s certainly a unique shape.​


Pete, the silhouette, looking downstream​


I told Mickey if he didn’t go down this old brick pipe then I’d have to see whats at the end of it. In the end we both went down there (no, not at the same time) as he couldn't explain what he'd seen at the end. Neither could I​


This halted further exploration of this side pipe. Anyone know what it is? I think it’s still tidal this far up so may have served a purpose at a higher tide I dunno​


Twas another unpleasant shuffle back out to the main culvert. Done a few these unpleasant shuffles lately​


Now, I’d been warned about this next section. What wankers eh! At least 10 minutes of stoopin through 5’ (tops) of dull concrete. Felt like 30 mins on way back. A short way down that, it split into two for another few hundred meters before it got good again.​

Union Street Bridge (constructed between 1801 to 1805) crossed the Denburn Valley before the railways had even come up this far into Scotland but obviously nowadays you only see the railway from the bridge.
This link gives an interesting history to what is the world longest single span granite bridge
http://www.mcjazz.f2s.com/UnionBridge.htm


Looking back upstream from the start of the concrete, the river has taken a fairly sharp left turn to now head more east than south. One assumes this concrete has replaced brick as a precaution against the railway ending up in the river as the two must be very close to each other here​


Start of the concrete split​


Two short brick tunnels extend onwards from the other end of the concrete and the two tunnels become one again. As Siologen said, I’d love to have seen what the concrete replaced. Is the concrete ‘split’ section as long as the brick ‘split’ section would have been? And what about the steep and sharp left turn at the start of the concrete? Who knows – bet it was good, though.​


Lookin back upstream again from the end of the split​



Then some more precast concrete arches, presumably made to fit the existing stone sides


Approved by Tommy​


This cast iron pipe joined the culvert for the last few hundred meters. The lads were intrigued by the concrete pipe on the left. I was more concerned with photographing the appalling connection into the culvert that someone had made. They must know that no clerk of works is ever going to see they’ve not repointed the brickwork as they should’ve, so they just left it unfinished.​



We emerged under the harbour apron. The lads went off in search of a way out (fortunately with no success) while I took pics. The cast iron pipe carries on southwards under what I assume is Market Street.​





We retraced our steps and headed out for dinner and more beers. Good times! It’s good taking newbies down drains – Mickey said he’d even take it up round The Toon. Whether or not he’ll post his findings on here remains to be seen but it hadn’t really dawned on me till Col said it that it’s something they’ll probably never experience again so I’d imagine it’ll be the one (soberish) thing they remember from their time up in Aderbeen. I was just glad to have showed them a good’n.​

Thanks for lookin’​
 

Ojay

Admin
Staff member
Admin
Nice one ginge, good to finally see the pics, that bit under Market St looks cool, infact all of it is fairly decent looking (apart from that st00py 'crete box section) :thumb

I still hear the faded voice of @siologen echoing inside my head saying "there's no drains in Scotland" until a few years later when he moved Norf and turned a load of stuff up :p
 

tarkovsky

'Exploring with Sciatica'
Regular User
Nice report and it’s really interesting what people make of drains isn’t it? In my non draining life (if you can call it that) there’s a few people who’ve said they’d love a look, but then when it comes down to actually arranging something it never happens! Those questions are familiar!
 

The Lone Ranger

Safety is paramount!
Staff member
Moderator
Good to see :thumb

One I've been meaning to look at, but the only time I get stuck in Aberdeen is due to bad weather usually. I do have a 2 day confined space course coming up next month though.
 

Stranton

subterranean explorer
Regular User
re: photograph 9
it's a redundant stop cock, (originally there was a lever on top of that bar for opening & closing the valve)
hence controling the level of water behind in the pipe or tank.

nice photographs & thread :thumb
 

siologen

I Go Where The Drains Are
Regular User
Great you got a look at it. Its always a laugh with a crowd.
As for the low box crete section, ive a feeling it was stoopy brickwork before it was replaced, i think in the 1970's...
DenburnCulvert.JPG

The other two culverts on the Denburn arent worth the effort of getting to, unless you dont mind flooded stoop.
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
I am always intrigued by drains. And love the look of them. But I don't know enough about draining to do one. Can I ask, do all those chambers completely fill up? And im phobic of rats, so thats my biggest fear of seeing, as I freeze, palpate, sweat, and literally can't move.

But I loved reading and viewing this. I like the write up lol. Great set too :cool:
 

tallginge

more tall than ginger tho.....
Regular User
Thanks guys. Yeah it was a good laugh and good to open peoples eyes up to what's underneath a city. @tarkovsky yeah strange that innit. Thanks @Stranton - Wonder why you'd have a valve at river level though? Don't recall seeing one before - just pipes that drop in usually. Suppose tank or pipe that needed a stop cock could be at river level. Assumed the 2ft brick pipe leading to it had been used for something different, became disused and this made use of the pipe. There was an old manhole chamber and other bits of old, small water? pipes, etc behind stopcock but couldn't see what it all was for. Thanks for that @siologen it's nice to see old pics of culverts being built - doesn't matter that it used to be twin st00py brick, i'd still rather that than twin st00py concrete box. @Calamity Jane Thanks and in answer to your question this one completely fills yes, well it does when the tides in. Look at the barnacles and rags hanging off that pipe at the outfall by the harbour :eek: As for the rats - they just give you a fright as they scurry around you but I rarely see more than one or two at a time if at all - sewers on the other hand..... Don't be afraid of drains - just take obvious precautions. You can always turn back round if yer get sketched out. Chances are you'll wanna keep looking around one last corner tho :p
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Thanks guys. Yeah it was a good laugh and good to open peoples eyes up to what's underneath a city. @tarkovsky yeah strange that innit. Thanks @Stranton - Wonder why you'd have a valve at river level though? Don't recall seeing one before - just pipes that drop in usually. Suppose tank or pipe that needed a stop cock could be at river level. Assumed the 2ft brick pipe leading to it had been used for something different, became disused and this made use of the pipe. There was an old manhole chamber and other bits of old, small water? pipes, etc behind stopcock but couldn't see what it all was for. Thanks for that @siologen it's nice to see old pics of culverts being built - doesn't matter that it used to be twin st00py brick, i'd still rather that than twin st00py concrete box. @Calamity Jane Thanks and in answer to your question this one completely fills yes, well it does when the tides in. Look at the barnacles and rags hanging off that pipe at the outfall by the harbour :eek: As for the rats - they just give you a fright as they scurry around you but I rarely see more than one or two at a time if at all - sewers on the other hand..... Don't be afraid of drains - just take obvious precautions. You can always turn back round if yer get sketched out. Chances are you'll wanna keep looking around one last corner tho :p
Cool thanks @tallginge after 20 odd years and I still haven't done one. But you've put my mind at rest re the R word for sure. Thank you :thumb
 

tallginge

more tall than ginger tho.....
Regular User
Haha, a big stick usually comes in handy and they're more scared of you than you of them :D Come to the meet next year. There's usually lots of people and if weathers good there'll be at least one afternoon of drains. It'll put your mind at rest no end
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Haha, a big stick usually comes in handy and they're more scared of you than you of them :D Come to the meet next year. There's usually lots of people and if weathers good there'll be at least one afternoon of drains. It'll put your mind at rest no end

I was trying to make the Manchester one last year, but I got ill sadly. I would love to make a meet. I missed 2017 by a week and it was 10 mins from me, but I was new to 28 dl then, not new to EU, but never really posted. But just before the meet I started posting regular, and wished Id know it was so close lol. I've met a few from here now. So all is good. But there are loads Id like to meet :D and a drain I would need an expert lol. And a huge stick lol ;)
 

Yorrick

I call bullshit!
Regular User
it's a redundant stop cock, (originally there was a lever on top of that bar for opening & closing the valve)
Agreed. Looks like a gate valve on a scour pipe for draining a tank or reservoir.

Slightly smaller version than on this ressie one, marked as "scour pipe". I bet there's a fat gate valve up this one!!

02.jpg
 

tallginge

more tall than ginger tho.....
Regular User
Cool, cheers @Yorrick Usually pipes that drop into the invert of a culvert just have a 90 bend on them because the valve is higher up and controlled from there. Don't usually see it from the culvert. Perhaps whatever it controlled (tank or pipe) was already at a low level
 

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