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Luncheoning With Security

July 2010

Major Tom in the mouth of Cell 3 West.
05|05|07 © Simon Cornwell 2007

I went to Pyestock on Saturday with a couple of housemates, Caz and Jim. Jim is Caz's boyfriend and in addition to being most excellent, he's also an urbex virgin. Anyway, got down there and parked in the usual place.

The fence is very well maintained, but we eventually find a way through near our old entry point up by Number 10 Exhauster. We find Number 10 Exhauster itself welded up. So we press on to Cell 3 West, all open and just as good as we care to remember. Then we then move on to Cell 3, but go to the Computer Building first to eat and rest. This is where things started to go wrong.

First things first, I'd notice that the concrete block barring Weir Road between Cell 3 and Cell 4 has been removed. So extra care is taken, one person crosses the road at a time and then gets inside the Computer Building. After creeping about in there for a while, we find it is too hot upstairs and move downstairs, sitting in a room with a view straight down to the security hut.

There are two sets of windows between us and it is dark inside so I wasn't worried about being seen. We had a sit down and a smoke and a bite to eat, and watched the movement of the security vehicles. A Land Rover we'd seen parked up there earlier arrived from a patrol around the site. We watched and relaxed and talked about where to go next. After all, it is dark in here, light and hot outside and there are two sets of windows between us and them, about three hundred yards apart. So, no worries.

Then Jim points out towards the main gate. "Ooh, that doesn't look good."

There's a police car down there, inside the gate. The door's open, and the driver's talking to the security guard. We all freeze. "Let's just see what he does," I reckon, "Look, he's getting back in now, perhaps he's going to leave..."

Nah - ah. The last thing we see is the security guard pointing right at the Computer Building. The car starts up and comes up the drive right towards us. He's not hanging about, he's driving quickly and purposefully for us. "I think it's time we got out of here!" I shout and we all leap to our feet, leaving anything that isn't needed, and race through the building. It had to be Monk's Tunnel, but, as we raced down there, a fumble about my person revealed that I hadn't got my torch! I sent Caz and Jim on, "get to the tunnel, follow it along, I'll be there as soon as I can!"

I raced back to the room we'd been in. It was blatantly just vacated, with Jim's cigarette smoke in the air and bits of moist cheese and ham in the crusts of sandwiches lying on tables. But it was not there! I ran upstairs, into the room you and I used to eat in. No luck! I race through the old control room, all the time knowing that the police are approaching, until I reach the stairs at the opposite end of the building. Success, the torch is here, sitting upright on the floor! I grab it and, just for a second, look out of the windows as I retreat. I hear gravel crunching and muffled thumps from outside, but there's no sign of any vehicle or vehicle engine. I can only guess that they're right at the foot of the wall of the computer building at this point.

I leg it out as quickly as possible. The worst part is running down those stairs by the outer wall of the building that backed onto the road - a wall composed almost entirely of glass.

Still, I got into the tunnel in record time, found Caz and Jim down there. We shifted down, double time, coming to Cell 3, where I decided what to do. The door at the far end was welded up, and the only other exits took us into more exposed locations. Sod it, so we sneak into a small, dark room with an even darker annexe and a push-bar door to the outside firmly closed in our favour. Here I leave Caz and Jim and go back to Monk's Tunnel, killing the torch and getting down low, sitting on the step into the darkened room, turning my head to the now horribly threatening direction of the Computer Building and wait.

Cell 4 clangs and bangs outside. The Buddleias taps on the windows at the opposite end of the tunnel. But there is no other noise. Then there is something out of rhythm with the other noises, something apart from the wind. I listen again, straining into the darkness. There it is again, another knock, another muffled clang. And another. Something is in this location with us. Probably an annoyed, hot, sweaty policeman or, even worse, a tired old overheated flustered security man. It was too risky to break cover though after all, we'd seen no torchlight down here yet - so we to resigned ourselves to the only course of action left: hiding.

We retreated into the darkened annexe, sitting down, leaning back and playing the waiting game. Thoughts raged rampant through my mind: had they accounted for this escape route? Was it like the Chapel at Cane Hill, a blocked off bottleneck to trap fleeing explorers? What about the hole in the fence; security were pretty good it seemed, what if the hole had been found and patched?

Over the next few minutes, the sounds faded and faded, until, once again, just the familiar rhythmical bangs and clangs of the site could be heard. I left Caz and Jim in situ and crept outside into the scorching sun, emerging beneath the raised section of Weir Road. Again I had a good listen, then carefully craned my neck up and surveyed the road by Cell 3 and down to the Computer Building. Nothing. We went for it, staying below the level of, Weir Road, crawling underneath it and then moving back, climbing under the air mains, clambering over the exhaust trunking for Cell 3 West, away from the road, sheltering amongst the pipes. There we stopped again, listening and waiting. The familiar rattle of a Land Rover engine roared up Weir Road. Another close scrape!

We debated and decided to carry on with the exploration. After all - finding three people in Pyestock is going to be harder than finding a needle in a haystack. But then there was a magical moment. Caz turned to me. "They wouldn't bring dogs onto the site, would they?" she asked with the same hushed tone we were all using. "Nah," I replied, "and those police weren't dog handlers..." Our eyes all connected. Yeah, that was definitely barking we could suddenly hear from beyond the Air House.

We abandoned the exploration, slithering on, back to Weir Road and Cell 3 West, back across Number 10 Exhauster, crawling and climbing past the cell itself until we reached the wall of the Control Room and halted. We could see the temporary fence ahead, and lots of bushes and cover. One at a time, we legged it over Weir Road, crawling under the fence, leaping into the bracken and bounding away. Jim panicked for a half second when we reached the fence. "It's been repaired!" but fortunately he'd just been ten metres out, it was still there, "disguised" with wilting bracken. We burst through it, re-camouflaged it and got the holy hell out of there.

What a day.

We stopped in at Fleet Pond afterwards and dangled our feet in the water and fed ducks and swans. What a day. Not sure if the dogs were on site, but didn't really want to stay and find out! Yes, quite hot at Pyestock, but a great explore all the same.

Major Tom July 2010