What with trying to complete a multitude of projects and attempting to write a book, the poor old blog has been feeling rather neglected of late. It's not that I don't have anything to post, in fact it's the opposite. I have a whole host of interesting snippets, thoughts, urban exploration reports and creative splurges I need to vent so I thought I'd start with my drone footage from 2016.
The following footage was shot in one day with my son on our annual climb of Snowdon in Wales via the Rhyd Du path and back down via the Ranger Path. The weather was perfect for filming with almost zero wind, even at the summit. Ithis allowed me to fully test the range of the Phantom 4 and I was able to fly for over 2km without any drop in video link. The initial footage flying across the lake and up the waterfall was a continuous flight in one direction, a round trip of 4km! At the higher altitudes I did lose the drone in cloud a few times but the Return to Home function worked like a dream and my bird came back to me at the touch of a button. What struck me was the feeling of vertigo even with my feet firmly planted on the ground as I watched the monitor screen. Watching the point of view camera of the drone soaring off a cliff thousands of feet up at 40mph left me with a dizzy head and a surge of adrenaline I wouldn't normally have expected.
Please note that the following footage and images were taken without breaking into or setting foot inside the buildings. The drones were flown through open windows and piloted remotely by FPV.
In a new series of blog posts my son and I head to derelict and mysterious places and document them with images and film using drones. This amazing technology allows us to get a new perspective on these neglected places without endangering ourselves or disturbing the environment.
Ambergate Wireworks, Derbyshire
As you wander along the Betty Kenny Trail in Ambergate, Derbyshire (see previous blog post) you will eventually stumble upon a huge derelict factory. This vast complex of forgotten buildings contains not only acres of factory space but rows of cottages, a laboratory, a water powered generator and a brooding mansion set atop of a hill overlooking the decay below. Those familiar with the Mothman Prophecies would immediately agree that this place has a similar vibe to the old saw mill where the creature supposedly lived.
The following information is from various internet sources -
In 1867 Richard Johnson and his nephew opened the wireworks and employed over 500 people. This successful factory produced the telegraph wires used under the English channel during WW2 and the suspension cables for Sydney Harbour Bridge. In 1990 the Bridon company took over production which lasted until 1996 when all wire production ceased. The complex is now owned by the Lichfields and some parts are still leased as storage however, the bulk of the buildings have been left to rot.
In a grand position overlooking the Derwent Valley and the abandoned wireworks is Oakhurst House.
The mansion was built in 1848 by industrialist Francis Hurt and was designed to house his three unmarried daughters, thereby freeing up Alderwasley Hall, his main seat, for his male heir.
Hurt's plans never materialised, however, and his daughters did not move into the house. Instead it was bought by the Thewlis Johnson, part of the wirework business. The house remained a possession of the wireworks during the later 19th and early 20th centuries, with some alterations being undertaken during the 1890s.
In the 1970s Oakhurst House was converted into flats; however, with the bankruptcy of the wireworks and the deteriorating condition of the building, the flats were abandoned in the late 1970s. Since then, the house has remained unoccupied and is now derelict and a partial ruin.
A few years back it was for sale for £1 but it had to be restored back to it's original glory.
Drones – Parrot Bebop & DJI Phantom
Music – Mirrored Theory 'We Follow Patterns'
For more music check out his Soundcloud page here