Fails of the Urban Explorer: Ridge Lea Hospital
"What's that bloody security car doing there?", I motioned to @bingbabe with some distaste.
We had been visiting the English Lake District, a national park but on the premise that heading back home, we would divert to Ridge Lea Hospital, one of the few remaining former lunatic asylums left in the United Kingdom.
It seemed a good deal to me, a lovely day out walking and then seeing some grisly sights of decay in exchange.
To be honest an old hospital is not exactly beginners exploring material. They are generally cold, eerie, and full of incessant creaking noises that put the willies up you.
We continued past security thinking this was a lost cause, entered a car park to turn around, and drove close to the entrance to find the car miraculously gone.
Was it just an hourly check-in? I didn't wait to think, grabbed the lighting equipment, and ushered my wife to follow me into derelict hell.
For years Ridge Lea Hospital had been secured and maintained actively, but some recent reports had shown things had lapsed. Now was the time for action but were we too late?
‘Castlegate Security Services’. This was going to be no walk-in, the front looked quite secure.
While getting inside the grounds was not difficult we had a little climbing to contend with, due to me not being vigilant enough.
@bingbabe was taking this in her stride and secretly I think she likes the rush just as much as me.
Walking down what was the main entrance I spotted four tall skinny blokes coming toward me. Quickly I motioned to @bingbabe toward the trees as she had not seen them.
It was too late.., but something unexpected happened. They quickly sped off in a different direction and vanished into the woodland. I wanted to shout and ask if they had managed to get inside.
Had they thought WE were security and coming to bust them? It would seem so. Undaunted we continued toward the looming hospital that looked more monstrous with every step.
Herras fencing is designed to be anti-climb but is anything but that. If there's nobody about I don't have any qualms climbing under or over it, but not with @bingbabe in tow.
We would need to find another way.
After walking around the entire perimeter and not seeing a single-window entry point I was feeling deflated.
Ridge Lea Hospital is a good 50-mile journey and there are no other derps in the region whatsoever. It was going to be today or never.
We found the break we were looking for and got inside the fencing perimeter.
I noticed some smoke coming from a part of the building and wondered if the skinny blokes were a quartet of arsonists. They had set fire to an old bin that was smouldering; it would not spread to the hospital.
I swear some of these windows had been freshly boarded up, meaning the local council must have forked out some funds to pay them. What a bummer.
With a heavy heart, we left in the same direction as the would-be arsonists finding a much easier route out.
Unless I hear of some very fresh intelligence, I doubt I will ever come back to this hospital.
Getting inside would likely have freaked @bingbabe out anyway. She has a lot more spiritual awareness than my almost none.
I have since heard a quartet of fifty-year-old explorers recently got busted while walking around the grounds. Several police cars and a riot van arrived to quell the walkers, warned them that civil cases could be raised against them before reluctantly letting them go free.
It is comforting to know that my council tax is being well utilised and the police are doing such a wonderful job.
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'Tales of the Urban Explorer'
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