Monthly Archives: March 2011

It was just another mountain

My friend and I were walking around Wirksworth
We climbed a steep hill
It wasn’t a long distance but the gradient meant my heart was going and my legs felt solid,
I could see a bench to aim for,
I was focussed on a triumphant sit down.
We had a look around the top of the hill and saw a stout barbed wire fence.
There was a sign saying: “Quarries are not playgrounds”…
Well, if ever there was an invitation to have a look, this was it.
Scaling the fence, taking due care over our knackers,
We walked forward and were presented with a vista of grey, shattered land
It was an abandoned quarry called Middlepeak
We could see a blue lagoon in the distance
Some sort of collapsed concrete structure that still had some doors and windows,
We quickly plotted out a path that led us down into the quarry
Large rocks were laid out to indicate the edges, presumably for the dumper trucks and diggers that would have driven around.
Piles of limestone, graded into different sizes shifted and floated in front of one another
There were salmon pink and mint green chemical spills
There were tar pits that looked like they had been melting, solidifying, separating for years
There was a lingering stench of bitumen
Piles of those massive tires from massive dumper trucks
One was on its side and had water in the rim
A little eco system of rough looking plants had grown in the centre
Delicate little green plants had formed in the water
The equipment for crushing, grading, sorting and loading in these places are always temporary structures
They can be unbolted and taken away to the next quarrying site
There was nothing left of these machines except for the concrete trenches, now abstract geometric constructions
It is apocalyptic, violent, it is a statement of what people can do to the landscape, it is wrecked, abandoned, crumbling
It is like a lost Inca city
Ditches had been built up near the edges
On the other side was about a metre of stone and then an edge
The drop was about ten metres
Fissures had grown in the rock waiting to yawn open
It’s not the sort of height you want to take a chance with
There was a path that ran round the whole quarry
There was a 40 metre drop on one side
And unstable rock walls on the other
We decided against it and descended into the crater
The quarrying company had built a fence to stop people from going any further
It had rusted and fallen away on one side
There was about half a foot of a ledge then a big drop
It seemed safe enough and we had come this far
We were scarred by red vandal paint
The quarry face was huge; it was impossible to judge its height
The strata had been revealed as if the mountain had been chopped open
Is this what all these mountains look like inside?
The lagoons were vivid turquoise blue
I thought it was pollution but apparently limestone does that to water
People swim there in the summer
I don’t fancy that
We ascended and went out of the quarry another way
Even in there, we weren’t alone
We saw a distant figure stand near the top of the hill where we came in
He put a bag down on a rock and cracked open a can of beer
We were both struck by the destruction of the site
It was just another mountain and we have loads of them, my friend suggested

Trip to Glasgow

This time, Brutalism was the order of the day. I am moving to Glasgow in September, so I went on a trip there to have a look around. The architecture left quite an impression on me, it ranged from red sandstone Tenement houses and brutalist concrete modernist high rises to carved stone Venitian style terraces. The city seemed very quiet for a city of its size and I am very excited about the prospect of living there.