The twinkling lights of the UKs capital are, I must admit, extremely alluring. It seems like I’m down there almost every other week getting to grips with its seemingly inexhaustible supply of underground tunnels, towering sky scrapers and national landmarks to dick about on. As a former resident of the Big Smoke, I do miss its pace and unmatched concentration of energy and life, but to claim I had any right to call myself a Londoner would be a complete nonsense.
Where I come from, they drink Tetleys, call dinner ‘tea’ and build things from gritstone, and if you pitch up in any town in the North of England and take a look at the skyline, the one thing you’re guaranteed to see are the silhouetted smoke stack relics of the Victorian industrial revolution. As humble as they are by todays standards, these hundreds of surviving mill chimneys are our skyscrapers, and when tweek let slip of a laddered up 200 footer he’d seen at the top of Halifax, the urge to get it climbed was inescapable.
The chimney tweek was referring to in his excited facebook message was at Shaw Lodge mill in Halifax. Built in 1855 to exhaust smoke from a new boiler and engine house built for the then quickly expanding mill at the height of the northern wool trade, its now, according to BritishListedBuildings grade II* listed, and they’re still trying to work out something vaguely useful to do with it. What’s cool about this one is its octagon shape, proudly sitting atop of a massive square base.
It took us two attempts to crack this one, finally managing to get on top of its 40 odd foot base with some genius angling skills and clever ropework courtesy of BigJobs. Jobs was up first, and as soon as I joined him on the base, I hit the soggy wooden ladders which were slippery as hell from the Yorkshire Spring weather. Compared to our last chimney ascent, this was remarkable chilled, and I reached the top without much trouble, the biggest problem being the tonnes of winch rope lashed to the ladder, making the rungs about 3 inches shorter than they should have been.
shortly followed by these two..
I love that short period of warmth you get when reaching the top of a large structure. No matter how cold it is, you’ve always got a short time to chill while the heat built up through the climb wares off.
Thats the stuff! Proper brickwork.
The chimney has a massive lid on it to keep out the creatures/rain
We’d been up there a good 40 minutes, and we were all soaked and freezing. After deciding enough was enough, we all decended to the warm haven of the car. Job done.
and down we go..
props to bigjobs and sho. always a pleasure guys!