So we’d found the end of the story; at last, I knew what the whale said*. And so we moved on, towards the building opposite with its geometric skeletal roof and exciting bits of greenery. (I love seeing nature reclaim urban environments!)
As Matt the Viking had used his mighty strength twice in this place- lifting me about before we discovered the stairs, I wasn’t as quick to start climbing the walls (literally) as he was. There had to be a better way in than climbing three floors on the outside of a building and falling head first in through a window (right??!!) So bookmarking it as a last resort, we continued walking around the building… which soon revealed it was missing half a wall. In we went.
Sorry SpiderMatt the Viking.
Isn’t this just awesome??!
We managed to find three rooms here. “The Garden” (above), which had rusted-out metal filing cabinets and huge hollowed-out parts under the floor. We wondered if this was the way into the tallest building and from there, onto the roof- but the underfloor crawlspaces ended with the walls. The Matchstick Room was burned to sticks and I didn’t enter. The blaze had left the floor unstable, which is why I photographed the room from the top of the metal staircase.
Below that was the Shit Room. Not that it was shit- just that it was full of it. 😛 I didn’t walk in here either- for very different reasons!!
I did look up though. Looking upward is, I swear, a dying art. You see so much! Like this.
So much of these huge buildings had been destroyed, but in different ways; fire, weathering, straight-up vandalism which led to what looked like cave-ins… Normally, public opinion sways in the direction of demolishment or refurbishment. Not here- plans to rebuild the site keep getting fought with petitions and arguments by the locals, who want the buildings to stay! This, as far as I have ever seen, is extremely unusual. All I knew at the time was that the buildings had been part of extremely important docks, with shops, factories and other facilities for the trawlermen who worked there and on the ships nearby, before sailing off to Iceland where, according to that story, “most of the fishing is done”.
We continued on the hunt for a door or staircase that would take us to the rooftop and found it right in front of us. An office-y spiral staircase and a metal ladder going straight up through a skylight. I’m not claustrophobic in general, but people bigger than me or carrying luggage on their backs may have found it a bit uncomfy. For me, every time my backpack snagged or stuck on the wall, I had a wave of frustration and irritation at the walls pressing on me, that would have turned into a minor freakout if it had been a long passage. Still, I was out quickly enough and was rewarded with this view. That building in the background is the one we had come from.
And look at the pretty little lighthouse, and the awesome alien skylight! I really, really loved this skylight- when you’ve got “Roswell” in your name, you have to pose with alien things. It’s, like, the law. 😛
Last time we came, we spent a fair amount of time putting the world to rights on the opposite roof but we were getting hungry and there was another building to visit… via a brief pause to look at the rather gorgeous light in this room on the way back down. There’s been minimal retouching on this- maybe some sharpening and a *slight* bringing-out of colour but that’s it.
I’ve tried to explain the beauty in the decay, lines and textures in abandoned buildings but people either get it or they don’t.
So, as I mentioned in last week’s blog, I thought that story was about a whale that had been harpooned, but when we made our way over to the last building left (which was black, hulking and seemed colder even in the sunlight), we found masses of flowers and plaques in a sea-facing corner, in front of the building itself. I didn’t photograph the plaques but they were all about people lost at sea, and the horrific sinking of three trawlers near Iceland, in 1968.
I did a quick search online, as I wondered if any of the wrecks had made their way to a ship’s graveyard I had visited. They hadn’t, but I learned the trawlers were called Ross Cleveland, St Romanus and Kingston Peridot.
I did more digging. The three trawlers had sailed from Hull and at different times for different issues, all three sank. 58 crew members died. One survived.
In January, a memorial was held in a local pub which the fishermen and dock workers drank in. “Rayner’s.”
It was about this time I started to get the shivers. Not only because the thought of a shipwreck really freaks me out, living on a boat, but because the meaning of the story was suddenly so sad and obvious. Knowing the history now, it’s clear that this is a strange kind of tribute to the people who died in the disaster. As the letter “d” looked very like a “p”, I had misread “deckie” (deckhand) as “peckie” (slang for a whale). Accompanied by drawings of whales, as the entries were, I had misinterpreted it as the story of a whale that had been harpooned.
The one thing that I haven’t yet found is “Cape Canning”. I’m going to have to ask an Icelandic person if there has ever been a Cape Canning in Iceland. (I guess it’s time to tell you by the time you read this, I will be in Iceland…) 😉
The only place I have found that sounds similar, is Kanin Peninsula in Russia… known for its whales.
I don’t know what prompted a person to edit the old war song in this way, but it is haunting. And now the attitude of the locals makes sense. The buildings are all that’s left and tangible, even etched into the sea and sand.
Look at the tide line and the final building- the shapes they make look like the trawler on the left, seen from above. This cannot be coincidence.
There’s nothing left of the ships, or the some 6000 Hull fisherman that were lost at sea over the years. Nothing except these three enormous buildings. Nothing except the surrounding paths and docks where the lost men would have walked. Nothing except the memorials here, on the plaques, on the cards and flowers- and now, painted on the walls themselves.
“I am going over. We are laying over. Help me. I am going over. Give my love and the crew’s love to the wives and families.”