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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Friday, April 29, 2005
    Deeper and down
    Liz doesn't like it, for health and safety reasons. Well, she's a professional. But I'm fascinated by the antics of Drainrat, Grim and Oggy whose preferred leisure pursuit is clambering around exploring inside drains, culverts, off-limits industrial sites, mines, recording what they find on urbanunderworld.co.uk. (They go up masts too).

    There's a whole world of urban explorers like these guys, discovering stuff about the city which most of us are ignorant of. "We shall not cease from exploration" say the denizens of Darkplaces.co.uk, "an independent meeting point for all explorers to chat, meet, share information, show off pictures and videos about exploring Urban and Underground places of Interest. We explore Drains, Quarrys, Mines, Bunkers, Abandoned Buildings and anything else with history." The Urban Exploration webring links many, many more fellow-travellers.

    If you're minded to think this way (and I am), you could presume that the routes and networks which lie beneath the ground tell us as much about our cities as those overground. But for the evidence these dedicated trespassers bring back with them, they're hidden from most of us most of the time. I'm due to resume my parish walks next week. Perhaps, just perhaps, this year I may try going underground....