Grain Tower Battery and the Hoo Pensinsular

Two trips to this forgotten shell, which was once a heavily armed sea fort, provide me with footage of the tower, path and surrounds – see video below.

Built during the Napoleonic War to fend off a perceived naval threat from France, the structure is now a vertiginous mishmash of old and new materials, battered together to form a sagging, skeletal ruin at the end of crumbling tidal path.

While the military presence has been disbanded for decades, the local population are apparently still highly pugilistic; upon my first visit I observed some Hoo residents angrily chasing off a family of Chinese crab-catchers.

TEST

https://veer.tv/experiences/Ff43lA4C50G5veAs8fByWN21OQI

Test-D(r)iving the Insta360 One X

Field recording on Coconut Beach and diving at Bangsak Wreck with the Insta360 One X Dive Case

I have recently acquired Insta360’s latest consumer-level 360 camera. One of the main attractions for this particular item is it’s so-called Flowstate stabilisation which creates a remarkably smooth footage despite heavy shaking or vibration (please see video below for an example – the moped was shaking vigorously throughout the entire shot, however it is not perceptible in the video itself). I managed to record to videos while staying in Khaolak, Thailaind, the most affected area in the 2004 boxing day tsunami. This district is a hugely popular diving destination and boasts some of the most stunning marine national parks and world famous dive sites, such as the Similan Islands and Richelieu Rock.

Sunset over Similan national park

Plastic tiger spotted  en route to Coconut Beach

As mentioned in the video description, I made the mistake of not including a moisture absorber in the camera housing and so the footage becomes fairly cloudy about halfway through the video.

Heidegger’s cabin, cuckoo clocks and the Black Forest (Schwarzwald)

Martin Heidegger RundwegTodtnauberg 

Forest near Bubenbach

My trip to Schwarzwald was primarily spent navigating a large amount of hairpin bends, talking to clockmakers (traditional and modern) and discovering the mountain hideaway of Martin Heidegger. The first VR field recording was taken by Heidegger’s hut with the sounds of a water pump and morning birdsong striking an aptly meditative tone. The hut itself is located along something called the Martin Heidegger Rundweg (which I believe translates to Martin Heidegger Trail or similar). There is parking nearby at the Radschert Wunderparkplatz (as far as I could tell this is the start of the trail – see pictures below).

View from the parking spot (Path starts at left)

This post marks the start of the Rundweg

Hammock seat near the crest of the hill gives spectacular views of the mountains receding into the distance.

The monoscope and white cross are situated at a fork in the path  (take the right turn to head towards the hut)

This post marks the next turning to continue on the Rundweg

Snow still covers much of the route as of mid-April

This post marks the final turning along the way (turn right then back on yourself)

View from the path

Recording the hut

View along the Rundweg after the main site.

The second recording took place in a quiet patch of forest near the town of Bubenbach. The day was eerily still and the snow from the previous night further softened the ambient noise, creating a hushed background of muffled woodland sounds.

 

As alluded to earlier, my alterior motive for visiting this region was to meet two local clockmakers to discuss the local history of clockmaking and automata.

Below is a short clip filmed in the Clock Museum of Furtwangen:

Epicentre of English Eccentrics – Cuckooland, Knutsford

Currently working on a documentary relating to timekeeping, the owners of Cuckooland Cuckoo Clock Museum have graciously given me time and access to the country’s largest collection of antique Black Forest cuckoo clocks – not only for the short-form documentary in which they will feature but also for the creation of a series of immersive field recordings. Two 8k recordings with spatial audio were taken in the larger rooms and a lower resolution in the back room. Both to be uploaded here soon!

Blue Power Plant, Charleroi, Belgium

An abandoned nuclear power station in Charleroi, Belgium.

Listed in Google as ‘Blue Power Plant’ – there are several routes of access to this site, make sure you arrive on the correct side of the river that adjoins this location as it is impassable. Access is (as of March 2019) relatively simple & the spot seems to be very popular with urbexers and other interested parties, as is the rest of the surrounding area; a long decline in the regions once thriving industrial economy has apparently left many photogenic abandoned places. I was concerned with encountering security at several points but in fact ended up meeting many other like-minded souls filming, taking photos and exploring. There are some security measures like fencing etc but are on the whole easy to bypass thanks to paths created by earlier visitors. The dam which is located within visual range of the cooling tower has a guard, however he showed no interest in the numerous urberxers that visited the site during the few hours I was there.

The cooling tower…

Metal stairway that leads to entry point.

The door seems to have been sealed at one time but now is easy to enter.

The interior is imposing in scale and creates remarkable acoustic effects.

Video and spatial audio soon to be uploaded on my VR channels.

As previously mentioned Charleroi is chockablock with fascinating abandoned structures, including Charbonnage Number 10 (a well-known urbexing site that is free to access and is apparently a great starting point for urbexing debutantes.) On the opposite side of the river from the cooling tower is an absoutely humongous disused factory – entry is via the smaller building further down the hill from the main structure. The interior of this monster has been entirely gutted an so gives a spectacular impression of scale, similar to the hollow interior of the cooling tower.

Exterior from outside security fence

Close up of exterior

Other urbexers look for entry points

Interor of the main building…

I made sure to record immersive video and audio from within the compound, a further visit might permit me to enter into the main structure (the build-up of material on the reverse side of the structure means that there is quite a drop to the inner floor).