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Report - - The Fleet | UK Draining Forum |

Report - The Fleet

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First off a major major thanks to JD for coming out and showing me this beaut of a drain.

Write up :)

With all the floods that had been going on recently i was unsure if draining was going to be a good idea. But it hadn't rained too badly around the london area for a while so we decided to have a look anyways.

On the way to London my car stopped three times and things were not looking good and as per usual i got very lost. Getting confused with the one way systems and what not. It was only by chance i found the street and managed to park :).

Parked up and was met by JD. after a brief chit chat getting to know one and other we headed off to our target. The clouds overhead looked a bit gloomy but due to the structure of the fleet it didn't really matter as its set in a various amount of levels.

Got to our cover gloves on, barriers around and down we went.

WOW. Before we had even gone two meters off the ladder we had entered a maze of tunnels going off in every direction, it was like some WW2 bunker with old directional signs to boot!.

Due to the fleets proximity and behavior with the Thames river it is incredibly tidal and you have to be extremely careful, as when the tide comes in the place can fill the bottom two levels. :(.

We went to check out the water levels and indeed they were at the time impassable. So we had to hang around on the upper bits to let it drain. Which was no problem as there was plenty to see.

We went down our first tunnel passage to find what looked to be a completely rusted pen stock crank and device. JD said to give it ago so i did and it worked and was amazingly smooth. Incredible.

I then heard a thunderous roaring bang which shook the tunnels. What the hell was that. Again bang. I started to get a little worried at this time, Bang, Bang!. BANG!!!!!. Not good. I headed back to find JD. It turns out it was a boat passing by on the Thames. As it passed the boat had sent surge waves back up the tunnel which was causing the flood gates to open and then bang shut. Talk about being tidal :(.

Back to the junction and down the tunnel two the left passing a old sign direction to the low level pen stock 1. A few twists and turns and it lead out to another very old exit which i dont think would open anymore.

We continued down the tunnel and we came into a little level above a main junction with two huge flood gates!. down the ladder we came into a split passage which would take on water in the event of high water flow. To the left the tunnel converged into one pipe. I shone my torch down it. Christ. The thing was huggggeeeeee. But the water level was still a bit high so we took a few photos at the top and waited for it to receded some more.

The water had now almost gone so we went down the ladder and into the monster pipe. I stood amazed at the size of the place and tried to fathom a way of taking a photo of how truly epic it was.

We took a few photos down the pipe and a few looking back at the levels we had just climbed down. A little bit further up the pipe was a mini diverting wall taking the water flow into a low level. But the weird part was underneath in the non existent gap under the barrier wall a small rat had comedic ally been jammed underneath. (sorry i had to take a photo).

By now the water flow in the Thames section should have receded enough to walk down so we headed back up and over. Sure enough it had gone down almost 5 meters . It was still quite high not a problem for waders though.

In the room we were the other side of the level section which was the other side of four large flood gates. We found a little frog which JD knocked off the edge due to not being in the right photography pose :). It survived.

We went down the ladder and headed into the chamber a bit. Behind us was the final stretch of the lower fleet section which ended up at the Thames, and too the left was a little side passage which led to yet more flood gates.

While we were taking photos JD shouted across to me "CRAB". Naf that i looked in the water expecting to see some monster thing coming towards me. He waved me over and sure enough on the wall was a tiny baby crab only about and inch or two wide. Its shells was almost see through where it hadn't been exposed to the sun.

By this time my torch was almost dead so we called it a day and started to head back to the entrance. Up the ladder and out. We were passed by a load of scantily clad drunk girls which brightened my day even more. :). We headed back to the car and dined on cold chicken nugget, said our goodbyes and headed off.

Excellent trip and it reminded me why i do this.

Cheers JD.

Now the good stuff. The pictures :)

The "rusted" penstock device


Towards the Low level stock


Two of the gates in the massive chamber


Stairs in the passage maze


This way


Looking towards the uber tunnel


And again


And again :)


looking back at the levels


The rat


Looking at the flood gates which when we first came down the water level covered the bottom ones


The side passages




and back up out



Re: The Fleet - LARGE REPORT

A few more pictures curtsy of JD, pic two was deffo the one i was looking for to show how big the pipe is. Also you get to meet our watery friends :)