The Winchester

"Not all those who wander are lost" – Tolkien

‘Here’s us doing it’ – August 2010

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‘Up the junction’

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail”, said somebody wise once. Benjamin Franklin, to be precise. Although not explicity related to the practice of ‘going in the drains’, the theme still stands. Usual kit for these expeditions is: Waders, Torch, helmet, hi-viz jacket, drain keys, camera, tripod. Take away the waders, you get wet. Take away the torch, you can’t see. Take away the Hi-viz and helmet and you’re suspicious. Take away the drain key and you can’t get in. Take away the camera and you can’t take photos. Take away the tripod and you get wobbly ones.

Welcome to ISO3200. Without my tripod, I couldn’t take the usual drain fayre of long exposure, torch painted shots, so opted instead for the 5m searchblaster lit handheld shots of the others getting about. I don’t usually take this sort of pic, but think they’ve come out alright and convey the experience of being down in these places. Enjoy.

‘Enter the Egg’

Having made the most of Halfords’ £10 searchblaster offer, we picked up 4 of these badboys and diffused 2 of them with plastic cut from ringbinder folders. These spray off a nice amount of light, but it’s very orange and a little warm really for my liking in here. The only problem with these lights is that they only really last for about 20 minutes, and as such, must be used sparingly.


While much fun can be had ‘documenting’ these systems with various photography and light painting techniques, it’s more a perverse pleasure to just wander through, seeing the various oddities that have come to exist here. Tree roots coming through a small bore infeed, stalagtites formed from a long term drip, massive collections of toilet roll washed against railings, and the odd bit of wildlife.



This placid little fellow above sat there for a minute while I lit him, shot, and shot again. Poor sod will probably drown or be crushed next time it rains, but he’ll enjoy himself for the time being.

‘Burn me out, blur me up, it’s Fleet misty time’

As we entered the outfall chamber of the fleet the humidity increased. This chamber [below] fills to the brim in half an hour. This is low tide, and there’s little more than 1cm of water on the floor. The ladders are coated with a silty, shitty gunk that sticks to your hands. Gloves are advised.

‘The Outfall’

‘Blurry as fuck, but I love it’

Imagine that badboy pic blown up onto a wall. It doesn’t show a great deal, but the lack of vision, direction of light, reflection and sense of space really comes over. The spotlight’s beam almost looks like a ripple, but it’s just wet mud we’re walking on.

‘Up and out’

Written by Winch

August 31st, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Posted in Drains

Tagged with , ,

One Response to '‘Here’s us doing it’ – August 2010'

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  1. Good to see this. Used to live near it’s source in Highgate. Some day never I’ll get round to doing it myself I guess.


    13 Sep 10 at 9:18 am

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