River Westbourne (Ranelagh Sewer/Storm Relief), London
WARNING.. Another excessive self indulgent pic heavy thread, look away now if you don't like DRAINS :
I first set foot in the Westie in 2012 on a whistle stop drain tour of London with MJS
The above pic was captured by the massive bulb as I shone the search blaster for the last time, it was a funny night
The plan was to walk upstream, however the flow wasn't ideal so I didn't go too far, instead we headed down to the 'Egg' on that particular evening
After seeing that junction I naturally wanted to explore more of the system, but other things always seemed to get in the way
It wasn't until 2014 I really started to put some effort in having already completed the other 2 of the big 3 'Lost Rivers'
I set out with adders to see what all the fuss was about
The Ranelagh itself is quite a busy system, and a quick look at the main drainage map confirms just that
Incorporating the Ranelagh Sewer and Ranelagh Storm Relief, I'll attempt to cover both of them separately
We headed upstream in the Ranelagh as far as Kilburn
The main drainage map shows two branches here heading towards the original source of the River Westbourne
Here, a North Easterly branch of the sewer which runs to the original source at Hampstead Heath
It became a real stooper quite quickly as you can see from the above pic I struggled to grab in the confines of said steamy shit pipe
Further down, the sewer widens as construction changes from horseshoe to an extended brick arch
Ahead, it was quite noisy, the source of all the racket a small tumbling bay, which I certainly had no plans to tackle
Thankfully a side entry led to a staircase, which in turn leads up to a manhole chamber which was a curiousity in itself..
(Here is the chamber looking back towards the North Eastern branch of the Ranelagh)
From the passageway, 2 further side rooms both with laddered shafts down
Naturally we went for a look, keen to follow the Ranelagh downstream as no way we were negotiating that tumbling bay!
One set of ladders drops into what appears to be an overflow setup
Heading beyond some boarded weir section and through some nasty porridge is a junction where we once again meet the Ranelagh
As you can see we are now below the tumbling bay as seen earlier
The left hand pipe appears to have little or no flow, a quick look at the main drainage map shows a short section that doesn't go too far..
The far right, is the overflow we just walked down, you can just about make out the oak dam boards in the distance
Doing a 180 and behind us is the Ranelagh as it surges downstream
I did attempt to walk down, but having managed 2ft and nearly swept off my feet, I gave that up as a bad idea also!
Curious to see what the overflow offered we went for a closer look at that before deciding how best to tackle the Ranelagh downstream
From the main chamber above, another set of ladders leads to a dropshaft which in turn carries spill flows from the Ranelagh to the NWSR below
From the inspection chamber which incorporates the dropshaft, another long ladder allows access to the NWSR below
This is where the Ranelagh interacts with what is essentially the source of the North West Storm Relief
Heading downstream can be found another branch of the Ranelagh (left), heading North West towards Brondesbury and then onto West Hampstead
The pics turned out rubbish as my camera had taken a knock and was also steamed up to f**k
I assume the additions of concrete strengthening are more to do with the Bakerloo line that runs close by here
Back in the mainline, it proved impossible to walk safely downstream from here
I nipped back to the next point where the Ranelagh interacts with the NWSR, as adders hadn't seen this before
Known as 'Shelf-life' junction; another point in which the Ranelagh overflows into NWSR via a large single sided weir/CSO chamber when the system is at capacity
Here the Ranelagh exits the CSO and heads further downstream towards Maida Vale
Again, the flow proved too treacherous so we headed out and picked up the sewer a short distance down..