Steam Punk Passage
Another solo explore, done in 2011.
A culveted moorland stream which drains from Ilkley moors, running under the main street of Ilkley and into the river Wharfe.
Named from having to crawl through a section of rusting riveted iron pipes which look like something out of a steam punk film.
This culvert is very much a work in progress for me. My camera got wet and stopped working, so I don't have any photo's of some parts. I will go back at some point to take more photographs.
A moderate increase in the water level will cause parts of this culvert to be impassable
At 3 feet square, the infall looked small and uninviting.
Under flood conditions.
It was only when I followed an imaginary line under the main street towards the river that I decided to have a closer look.
Because of the steep gradient, I chose to do an upstream explore. I expected to have to do some climbing at some point. The outfall is 2 arched culverts just down stream from the bridge.
They are low and short
and lead to this
I entered the left-hand passage which carried the stream. A 3 feet diameter RCP enters from the left.
It is about 20 feet long with a right-hand bend. It opens out into a larger passage which is entered up a few steps.
It leads to one of the nicest bits of passage that I've seen in a long time. Straight and narrow with stone walls and floor carrying a clean stream, a few inches deep. About 6 feet high and narrow.
The passage ends at a weird pipe, made from rusting iron tubes riveted together. This looks like something out of a steam punk novel and gives the culvert its name. At 3 feet in diameter, it marks the start of the serious section of the culvert.
I've no idea how long this section is, it seems long, but that's probably my imagination.
The other end of the pipe looks like this
The top of the pipe really is as rusty as it looks. When I took my t-shirt off, I had several sharp flakes of rust embedded in the back.
At this point, my camera got wet and died, so no more photo's after this.
While it was nice to get to the end of that pipe, the next feature is more difficult. The stream comes down an inclined plastic tube, like some water feature at a swimming pool. Smaller (estimate about 30 inches diameter) than the pipe that you've just come out of, it is very smooth and slippy inside. This section will probably be impassable if the water level rises.
After climbing up the inclined pipe, things couldn't get any worse, could they?
Well, they do.
Good old british workmanship does its bit.
Immediately at the top of the incined plastic tube, is another plastic tube of the same diameter. It is almost horizontal, but is about 9-10 inches below the level of the inclined tube. Since it is carrying the stream, the water has to be 9-10 inches deep before it can flow into the inclined tube. If the water level increases, airspace will be minimal here.
At this point in the trip, the seriousness of the situation kicked in. It seems a very isolated place.
The horizontal tube is only short and leads to an area where you can stand up and view the next hazard. The stream pours over a waterfall. the waterfall is about 3 feet wide and not very high. It can be climbed with a hand and foot on each sidewall. Unfortunately I only could only use one hand, as I was carrying a tripod.
At the top of the waterfall is a 3 feet square passage with stone floor and walls. It leads to the infall without any more surprises, just a long crawl. I had taken some photographs of this on an earlier visit