Knowing when to draw the line is probably one of the most important aspects of exploring abandoned buildings you should consider in every place you find yourself. Is it really worth taking just one more photograph or video, even if you know it will be something that will amaze your fan base, if that means taking a massive unnecessary risk? Knowing whats ahead of you and that it won’t be around for much longer is a huge driving force to take that photograph, but should you take the chance?
We found ourselves in this exact situation recently.
It was like any other day fit for exploring when we set out with a specific place in mind. A place which we had visited two years before but never quite came away with as much material as we wanted to. At that time it was down to sheer nerves. Being by yourself on an explore is never a good idea. Whats even worse is being in an abandoned building where it’s structural integrity is questionable even to someone who hasn’t the faintest clue about the subject. Top that off with not having told anyone where you are going or when you’ll be back is pretty much a complete reciept for disaster. So we ventured back as a team in the hope that we could get the shots we wanted to.
On first glance at the building from the outside it is the epiphany of what an abandoned building looks like. All of the ground level doors and windows are covered by thick pieces of wood, anything of value that was attached to the building has long been removed and everything above ground level has been left to rot and decay over time. The first floor windows did not receive the same attention as its ground floor compatriots with the original wooden coverings either hanging from hinges or removed completely. On our first visit the majority of these were in place, giving the building some sort of protection against the harsh Scottish elements, however little that may be. We took our time and found an entrance, which by the looks of it, many people had used before.
Upon venturing inside we were immediately hit with the realisation that the building is in a far worse state than our previous visit. Looking up we can see almost to the roof of the building. The remains of the two floors which should have been in between hand from the walls and are under our feet. This moment was the first time we considered what we were doing but having been here before we talked each other into going in a bit further as “I’m sure it will be fine!“.
We ventured into the main hall on the ground floor knowing that we wanted to be in the exact same place except a floor above. We could see our goal through the rotting floor boards above us, some of them gaping holes, others just the beginnings of where the floor will eventually collapse. At one end the floor has collapsed completely as a result of water ingress from the failing roof above. Even the ground floor below our feet has rotting floor boards and massive holes. I think this was the second reality check for us but once again we continued on in the hope of capturing that perfect photograph.
Next we were faced with a series of climbs to reach the first floor as all of the staircases have long since collapsed. Another kind hint as to the nature of this particular abandoned building. We reached the top of the first easy climb without any issues whatsoever and found ourselves standing on jousts so we didn’t take the quick route back downstairs. The final climb is somewhat different to the first one, although is significantly shorter. It is, however, balanced in the corner of the room over which the floor has already collapsed and looks to be ready to go at any point. Half way up this part came the moment we knew we had to draw the line. What were we doing? Climbing up an antique wooden ladder in a building which is literally falling apart around us and is due for demolition in the near future. What waited for us above was a grand sight, one which you do not get to see very often at all, especially when exploring abandoned buildings. But equally we had to consider the fact that the floor we would be standing on was the same one we could see from below which looked ready to fall at any point. You should never be able to see the floor from below but so much has been stripped away by metal thieves and due to time taking its toll on a once fantastic building you can clearly see how it was made. Was it really worth that last push? We decided, no. Are we fearless explorers of abandoned buildings willing to take any risk to bring back just one more photo and video to show to the masses? No. Are we still here to this day, in one piece without ever having hurt ourselves? Yes. Being in these buildings is risky enough considering the state which some of them find themselves in after years of neglect, taking that extra step when you’ve already taken several you shouldn’t have isn’t always worth it. And to hammer the point home I was then shat upon by one of the buildings many current residents. Thank you for that!
Whilst others who know the building and have ventured beyond our cut off point may have many derogatory terms to call us we still came home safe and sound at the end of the day. Others in future may not be so lucky. Know your limits and never take unnecessary risks.