A 28dayslater-esque post!

There is nothing quite like the allure of photographing a piss-soaked mattress in a decrepit shell of a building. No, I’m not talking about visiting a halls of residence during freshers week, I’m talking about URBAN EXPLORATION! Or urbex as it’s more commonly known. Though I fucking loathe abbreviations, acronyms and initialisms, so I will stick to URBAN EXPLORATION, which also makes it sound infinitely cooler.

Today I lost my URBAN EXPLORATION virginity, and much like losing my actual virginity the whole experience was short, terrifying but nonetheless enjoyable. 

*SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH IF YOU DON’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT HISTORY*

My site of choice was the The Royal Artillery’s Coastal Gunnery School on the Great Orme in Llandudno, North Wales. In comparison to major cities such as London and Liverpool which were ravaged by the Blitz, Llandudno remained relatively untouched, the only exceptions being the three bombs, though these were undoubtedly intended for Liverpool. Therefore, the area proved to be an attractive destination for the relocation of vital government offices. For example The Inland Revenue relocated to the Grand Hotel in Llandudno, whilst Companies House took up residence in The Imperial Hotel Llandudno. Although traditionally based in Shoeburyness, Essex, The Royal Artillery’s Coastal Gunnery School was relocated to North Wales in September 1940 due to the threat of the Blitz, as well as the mounting fear of German invasion, or Operation Sea Lion as it was codenamed by Nazi Germany. In true military fashion the school was supposedly erected in just a single day in early September, and training commenced mid September. The fact that the buildings are in such a sorry state now is probably testament to the fact that they were erected in a day! At its peak the site hosted over 700 military personnel, and consisted of a Gunnery Wing, a Searchlight Wing and a Wireless Wing. Following the war, the site was decommissioned in 1946, and the Coastal Gunnery School relocated to Plymouth. Despite being subject to an official clearance scheme in the 1960s several buildings survived, and were granted CADW protected status in 2011.

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Anyway, enough History. I mentioned earlier that I was terrified at times, and let me explain why. In one of the first buildings I entered I found a newspaper dated 28th Feb, and on it lay a pen. This, coupled with a pissy tinge to the air told me that someone had been there recently.

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At this point my imagination started running wild, and the fact that I was alone definitely didn’t help. I imagined that lurking behind every corner was a psychopathic recluse who upon seeing me would proceed to cave my skull in, then skin me and wear me as a coat. A very good looking coat, might I say. Ok, slight exaggeration, but you get the idea. I was uneasy. Luckily for me it was the psychopath’s day off, and I was left to explore in peace.

Here are a few pictures, taken using my phone.

This was the first building I entered, had to throw three rocks inside before entering, as if a few pebbles would scare away anyone who was willing to sleep in this shit-hole. Not much to report inside as you can see. I thought it quite reminiscent of a men’s toilets in a dodgy club towards the end of the night. Had that same acrid stench and piss soaked floor, the only difference being that nobody was shagging in the corner.

It would be very interesting to find out exactly what each building was used for, but I can’t seem to find anything online regarding the matter. So I’m afraid I am going to have to bullshit a little (a lot). Below is the second building I entered, the one with the newspaper and pen. The three slabs were previously used as tables for the dwarf  battalion that trained here during the war, but are currently used by the resident psychopath for the dissection of his victims. I have also included a shot I took from the roof, looking towards the west shore of Llandudno.

Below are the rest of the pictures I took, In slide show format. I am waaaaaaaaay too tired to caption them all right now, but they’re worth looking at. I was fascinated by the round type buildings which seem to be sledging down cliff!

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I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling twenty-two.

And it’s terrifying.

Looking back a year or so, if I was asked what my plans were, what I was doing after university, what my goals were, I’d simply shrug my shoulders nonchalantly. I’d got to where I was at the time with minimal effort, I sailed through GCSE’s, A Levels and was on course for a first class degree in a STEM subject from a red brick university. As a result I never put any serious thought into the post-university void I would inevitably have to fill. I mean, I had a rough idea of what I wanted. The plan was to take a year out, during which I would gain work experience and apply for the fabled graduate scheme that had been touted as the ultimate goal for the majority of students. I assumed that with a first class degree I’d stroll into a graduate scheme, collar raised like Eric Cantona circa 1996, and never look back.

I first started to hear warning sirens when some of my contemporaries secured positions on various prestigious schemes, some as early as the December of our final year. Mind, these sirens were incredibly brief and soon became faint, like an ambulance racing by the sirens are deafening at first, but are slowly drowned out by the cacophony of life. In my case the cacophony consisted of fruitless pursuits such as; Come Dine with Me marathons (come on, you can’t just watch one), mammoth FIFA 16 sessions, cycling, college football, sculpting my spaghetti arms into noodle arms in the gym, the list is endless. And if the sirens were to resurface I would simply drown them out with something else (I brewed my own ale, for Christ’s sake) and leave Future Me to deal with the problem of my impending unemployment. Thanks, Past Me, you wanker.

And here I am, Future Me. Or Present Me? I Don’t know. But what I do know is that the ambulance I mentioned earlier, well I think it’s following me. Because the piercing screech of it’s siren haunts me day and night.