Report - - Clash of the Titans - The River Clyde - 2011 | Noteworthy Reports | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Clash of the Titans - The River Clyde - 2011


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This was something id wanted to do for a long time, all 4 of the river Clydes remaining 'Titan' dock cranes in one go! It had been put off and pushed back too many times, rather like most climbing and underground locations you get into the mindset that 'it will always be there' and while that may be sort of true compared to derelict buildings, hearing that the example at Barrow in Furnace had been covertly demolished without anyone getting to the top ruffled my feathers a bit to make damn sure i dont miss another one!


First stop Greenock. 20 odd miles west of Glasgow this area was once a major port but nowadays its just over priced flats and waste ground. Our first date for the night sits on one of these areas of waste ground. Traditionally regarded as 'the easy one' it was the obvious place to start out earlier in the evening and despite the addition of some new CCTV in the area we had no hassle.




John Browns

The titan at the former John Browns shipyard was the only one of the four i had climbed before. Myself and Brickman conquered its dizzy heights last January in a spur of the moment, middle of the day, 'Oh there's a crane there, lets climb it!' kind of moment.

The crane has been preserved as a tourist attraction and general 'historical monument'. During the restoration a lift shaft and emergency stairs were built to lift punters to a viewing platform just in front of the main winch room. Lucky for us however it is closed and un-guarded throughout winter.

As we neared the crane base it became apparent we were being watched. The local 'NEDS' as they are known had taken a keen interest in the two shady characters crossing the wasteland that was once Brown's yard and as we started to climb the vertigo inducing original staircase (scarily the original stairs runs around the outside of this crane!) our observers piped up with such cries as 'Ach dont jump!' and 'im callin tha police!'

We made our visit a swift one and as we descended we were met by a welcoming party of at least 10 teenagers wanting a piece of the action, and fair play to them, as we wandered back across the wasteland up they went one by one. Scotland could do with a few more cranaic's if you ask me!




Barclay Curle

And so, crane number 3. Barclay Curle were marine engine manufactures and this crane would once have loaded the finished engines onto their waiting ships. Nowadays, that sort of thing only goes on just up the river at BAE. Curles yard has been demoted to a scrapyard packing scrap onto ships to send to china! (who says we don't export anything any more!)

This one stands out for many reasons and is 100% my favourite. It requires a whole other level of commitment to get it done. The start line is almost half a mile away from the crane base and at least half the 4 or 5 hours it takes to complete the mission is spent getting there. We made our way under gates, over fences through scrap yards and past docked ships. At times men went about their business and diggers roared away less than 4 or 5 meters above our heads as we hid behind the massive piles of scrap lining the docks.

Once we made it to the base the real test began, this one is no straight forward climb to the top! Making it to the stairs is one thing but once you reach the top you will come up against a locked gate and there's only one way around.. free climb at 100odd feet.. one slip and your dead stuff here..

If you do make it onto the jib your confronted with what we dubbed 'rice crispy' floor. The pealing paint crackles underfoot and looking down you see pin pricks of light shining straight through the once solid platforms below. On Curle's you are most defiantly careful where you step!​





After the marathon at Curle's it would have been so easy to call it a night but we had got so far there was really no consideration of 'leaving it until tomorrow'

We rolled east leaving the industrial heartlands of the city behind and entering the recently 'regenerated' Finnieston area. Luckily in the early hours of a Monday morning this usually bustling area was deserted. Indeed i remember noting several times on this trip how quiet some areas of Glasgow appear to get at night in contrast with some of England's bigger cities, in London this area would be relatively heaving 24/7!

The crane itself now sits in a hotel car park suitably surrounded by a fearsome pallisaide fence topped with coils of razor wire. However after some rather blatant (at any other time of day) climbing we found ourselves up top with no real drama. The ambiance here is totally different to the other 3 giants. With good views and well lit surroundings the crane is almost not the focus.

Time to just sit back and enjoy being up high!​