2011-03-22 53 -1
Google Maps says the hashpoint is on a 'bridge' (actually a pipeline) going over a canal. There is no way of crossing this bridge, but both sides can be reached.
Monty turned up for start-of-day midnight, as it was within walking distance. Monty turned up again at sunrise, before returning to bed and oversleeping the beginning of the working day. Monty did not get there for sunset, because he got distracted. Monty did return at the end-of-day midnight, however.
Very little plan. Decided a good official starting point would be the top of Wincobank Hill (and if the night-time panorama works out well, that'll be posted up), and it was a quick walk to there from home. The top of Wincobank is a sort of ancient fort area, also used as an early industrial site.
Down from Wincobank, along Roman Ridge, takes one (with a bit of side-stepping) to the north end of the Tinsley Viaduct, and walking to the south end leads lets one get onto the "Sheffield Road" spur, and hence to the south side of the bridge.
There may yet be another visit to the site, but this time walking along the canal to visit the north side of the bridge, but that depends on time available.
Midnight (start of day)
Arriving at the top of Wincobank at approximately 23:30, the just-past-full moon was mostly hidden by cloud, but the neon (or otherwise luminous) lights all around meant that except during the walk up through the woods there was really no problem seeing.
Walking down roam Ridge, in fact, the problem was that the prized night-vision of our intrepid hero was being dazzled by the lighting from Meadowhall and the surrounds, and the path was much harder to see than it would have been in a power-cut, with just a slightly cloud-hazed moon for illumination.
However, the descent was made without hitch and the walk (involving a short stretch through an unlit underpass, for which the small LED light brought was enough to make a quick sweep to ensure no obstacles/sleeping persons/gangs of brigands within it, before boldly striding through just aiming at the opposite end) led quickly to the eastern side of the north end of Tinsley Viaduct, where the southbound carriageway of the lower deck had been blocked off by roadworks signs.
A quick enquiry of a reflective-jacketed guy, having just been seen shifting a sign and barrier into place, ascertained that there was no heavy work going on, and that it was walkable. (The alternative would have been to return to the west side of the bridge and walk down that way.) The man then drove off over the (lower deck of the) bridge. (It's a long way, you know, and though I knew I wouldn't have gotten a lift if I asked, it would have been a bit quicker.) On the way over, I converged with another reflective-clad man with a pram-like contraption coming the other way. It was obviously surveying the road surface by some means. Later on I would chat with the same guy as I returned, and try to convey the purpose of my travel, but on the first quick ships-in-the-night meeting I resorted to the rather glib comment of "You're half-way there!" Which, given he was to travel across the bridge several more times in-between now and my final leaving, was probably not as accurate or reassuring as I suppose I had intended.
Reaching the southern end, it was a hundred yards (/metres/meters) or so to the spot I had planned to get to (incidentally, just past a lit and open doorway in an end-of-terrace building advertising "massages", which I'm pretty sure could include 'extras', although I did not seek to avail myself of any of their services), and so, just about on the stroke of midnight, I prepared for photos. Some electrical tape crudely used to both stick the XKCD marker to the bridge-end and create the letters "XKCD", my trusty alarm-clock sat on a pipeline information post, the camera on the tripod and trying to frame a picture for me to ultimately sit in-between the two.
I don't know whether my activities I was a distraction, at the point the long, largely straight (but 40PMH limited) road started to curve prior to Tinsley South's roundabout interesection, but at one point there was a squeal of brakes and I turned round to find that one of the few cars to come along the main road from Rotherham was now facing completely the wrong direction.
I expressed concern to the driver, but whatever he thought of me (for all I know, he was concerned I was a traffic cop, but he must have realised I wasn't taking numbers after a short pause) off he went again. I tried not to linger by the tripod when the next few cars (very infrequent, unlike the almost one car a second still travelling down the M1, nearly overhead), so no further incidents occurred.
I tried a little "light-scribing", but the street-lights, and white-bright illumination of an adjacent advertising hoarding, stopped the camera from taking a long enough exposure-time to get any decent writing out of it. My best example was still essentially unrecognisable as being the "XKCD" I had aimed for, but I still liked the effect.
I then walked back. Having realised at the top of Wincobank that I would be pressed for time, I had refrained from setting up shots everywhere I would have wished, so took the opportunity of the leisure I now had to catch the views I thought I might work. Not as many of them as I would have hoped actually did, even with the stabilising tripod, though. Also, as previously mentioned, I found myself matching pace with the "pram man". The explanation, even along the half-mile bridge, was stunted and I'm sure he couldn't work out the reasons behind my having wandered there. Beyond getting night-shots of Sheffield, as he had first assumed.
The rest was trivial, but on the way back, ideas about what else could be done this day filtered through my mind. At the time of writing, I have no idea if I will do anything more, today, but for now I count this as a qualified success.
The official time for sunrise in Sheffield was 6:04am. To this end I returned to the location first thing in the morning ready for this moment. Of course, as expected, the nature of the local horizon (buildings, and upon a moderate rise at that) meant that there was no actual sun visible, although the sky was brightening all the time.
And so I took a quick jaunt up the canal, for a short way. I'll have to admit that I was half hoping to find some boater taking an early morning jaunt. With a few words of explanation, I might well be able to claim both Hitchhiker and Water Hash achievements. But I knew it would be a long-shot, for though a short distance to the west there was a canal-basin with many boats, it was too early in the morning to really get any 'traffic' along the waterway, it was the wrong time of year for holiday-makers (really just leaving the permanent boaters who were likely staked out at semi-permanent seasonal moorings) and even a casual boater from the marina would have had to pass through a couple half dozen locks, so persuading someone otherwise at rest to steam on down (after which they'd need to turn around and come back) wasn't likely. Needless to say, I never got my Water Hash credit.
Further up the canal, however, there was a bridge (actually over the nearby railway-line) which elevated me enough to see the rising sun. A little meandering and a short walk back to the target location meant that I could now take a few photos of the pipe-bridge (this time from the north bank of the canal, further away from the presumed target spot, but still within a stone's throw) with distinctly bright and dawn-lit skies behind.
(The rest of the day had now to be devoted to the what may laughingly be called the 'working day', with a number of car-bound trips all leading away from the geohash location (and no real reason to revisit). Once work was over with, with the sun low on the horizon, a drive back to Meadowhall promised the possibility of a sunset-revisit to the site, but that seemed a tad gratuitous and so instead a good hour of window-shopping for GPS equipment (involving not a short amount of time playing Angry Birds in the Apple store, as well as asking some serious questions about the various bits of GPS-enabled hardware currently available) took the time well past sunset.)
Midnight (end of day)
Not much to tell, here, save that tonight the other carriageway of the Tinsley Viaduct lower deck was closed this time. Still, was nice to bracket the day.
None from me.
| Monty earned the Land geohash achievement
| Monty earned the No Batteries Geohash Achievement
| Monty earned the Walk geohash Achievement
| This user earned the Midnight Geohash achievement
Note: That was midnight at both ends of the day, in separate visits, and in-between them another visit meant...
| This user earned the Sunrise Geohash Achievement