Wednesday, 11 October 2017


West Kirby

Clatterbridge Hospital this week. It all went wrong yesterday when I managed to turn up a day early, total brain fade as I had the right dates in my phone, but it did give me a chance to have a walk along the Dee Estuary at Hesswall.

Dee Estuary

I should have realised when I woke up this morning with a horrendous stabbing pain below my shoulder blade that today was not going to be a good one. I think I have been expecting bad news from Hospital, Cancer doesn't just go away it can lie dormant and it can be very slow growing but it is always there. My latest CT scan has shown a significant growth in the primary tumor on my Kidney and also several other growths have appeared on it, they were probably always there but now four years later they are showing themselves. Short of saying the Kidney has had it, my Consultant was quite honest, six months or a year and it will have had it.
So what happens next! I have now come off the Clinical Trial, its been nearly two years so enough is enough, I am quite pleased to be drug free and have a chance to get it out of my system. Around Christmas I will have another Scan and at regular intervals my bloods will be checked to see how the Kidney is functioning. Early next year I will have to make a decision on what other treatment I start, not something I am looking forward to as the side effects are pretty horrendous and its debatable if any of the regular treatments do any good. I think it is a case of waiting to see how long the Kidney lasts and then once it is showing signs of failing removing it and going on Dialysis, this could be sometime later next year, but Kidney Cancer is so unpredictable, so who know's.
The thought of having another Severn hour operation to remove the Kidney and all the complications and pain that will come is something that fills me with dread, and on top of that to then have to go on Dialysis gives me no confidence for the future at all, but what is the alternative? 
I feel like I am back to three and half years ago when I left Hospital and there seemed little point in making plans for the future. I am lucky I have survived these past few years pretty well and generally have enjoyed myself, so all I can do is see how I feel when I wake up tomorrow and then just take each day one at a time, right at this moment the pain in my shoulder blades is so bad that I have no reserves of energy to deal with anything else which is maybe just as well.

West Kirby

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Pudsey and Bradford

A 9.5 mile walk exploring the old Great Northern Railway lines in Pudsey and Bradford.
I always do this, set of on the train somewhere to have a bit of an explore then end up walking miles and my feet killing me, I am told to take things easy and I really do intend to but it just never quite works out and oh boy do I suffer for it the next day.
The main purpose of this explore was to have a look at Greenside Tunnel in Pudsey, the deep cutting leading to the eastern portal is in the process of being infilled from a neighbouring housing development, fortunately because of the Bats that live in the Tunnel it will not be buried completely, some form of access will be left.

Greenside Tunnel

Greenside Tunnel  west portal

Tyersal House Farm
After walking some of the old railway through Pudsey and having a look in the tunnel I set off walking to Bradford, where I could get a train from Exchange back to Leeds, as you can see I made some new friends along the way, the fella below was on a very high wall and followed me for some while and kept trying to jump down, I did have visions of ending up taking him home with me, I do seem to pick up waifs and strays on my travels. 


Rutland St

Everywhere you go there are abandoned buildings and many of them burnt out, it seems to be, if you can't steal it, then destroy it, very sad, I spoke to the owner of the building in Rutland St, he was as bemused by it all as I am.

St Dunstans

Can you imagine living in this house when steam trains were running! This route is the main Bradford Exchange to Leeds line, it is on a very steep 1:49/50 gradient and less than a mile from the station, so for steam engines and their crews it was very hard work, trains often needing two locos and generally doing not much more than 10 mph as they struggled round the curve, the sound would have built to a crescendo as it blasted off the retaining walls and often if the second engine was on the back it would all go quiet for a few moments before the assisting engine blasted round the curve,i'm sure the whole house must have shook, and trains ran all day everyday, the smoke would have stopped anyone opening windows let alone putting washing out. The loco below is just about to turn left at Mill Lane Junction and pass this house.

Mill Lane Junction
c/o Eddie Bobrowski

Bradford Exchange

Bradford Exchange station is a very bleak place today especially on a  wet October afternoon. It is called Interchange now and was moved further down the line from the original site, as happened all over the country the wonderful old station with its huge train sheds was neglected and slowly fell apart so it made it very easy for the city planners to have it demolished and this afterthought of a station built in its place.

I found out later that evening  that the photograph above which was  taken at 16.10 on 1st October 2017 by pure coincidence was taken 50 years almost to the minute after the last steam train left Bradford Exchange for Leeds, which departed at 16.18 1st October 1967.

16.18 to Leeds
c/o Eddie Bobrowski

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Kefalonia Blues


Just back from a week in Kefalonia, 30deg and wall to wall sun. The first time I have been to Greece in 15 years and the last time was to Kefalonia as well, although that was with my wife so a little bit different.
Such a beautiful and unspoilt island, if you want some serious R n R, kefalonia is the place to be, lovely people and great food as well.


As you can see from the above photo I still managed some abandoned buildings, although no disused railway lines, but to be fair Greece is littered with old buildings either half finished or half demolished, they do add to the charm of the place.
A bit of a shock adapting to the miserable UK weather and the following day from landing in Manchester I had my treatment at Clatterbridge Hospital, only three holes from needles and one big bruise so it could have been worse. My temperature has been a bit low at 35deg, I blame it on returning from holiday, but I will have to keep an eye on it. I have a lump that appeared on my cheek around the time I started my cancer treatment nearly two years ago, the blooming thing bleeds regularly and when it starts it won't stop ( I have just had to put something on it as I realised I had blood running down my face). My consultant wants it tested to see if it is do with the cancer or the treatment, then I will have to see a plastic surgeon to have it removed. Some days I get really fed up, as each week brings a new problem, but fortunately the bad mood doesn't last and I think what the hell worse things happen at sea, and besides its Autumn and that means all the undergrowth is dying back so the Tunneling season is upon us!

Monday, 7 August 2017


I have managed to visit Glasgow seven times over the past eighteen months, the main reason being to photograph as many of the thirty or so disused railway tunnels as I can, also any other railway relics of the past and while I am there to get to know the city a little better, you really don't have to go far from Central station to find some interesting locals ready to talk about their city.

Possil Station

Bridgeton Cross Station

Like everywhere Glasgow has changed hugely in recent years, but there are still dark corners to find if you look hard enough. My previous visits over the past forty years were confined to driving through or on the train and walking from Central to Queen St, although I did once stay at Central Hotel, I don't think I would be able to afford it today.

I have created some pages on my website with maps and photos etc of my walks around the city, I think I manged twenty six tunnels, and with a few exceptions I got to both portals, some tunnels have now been long buried and a few have been recently buried under construction works, but some will remain for as long as the city remains as a reminder of another world gone forever.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Volvanoes and Gardens


The big attraction on The Big Island of Hawaii is the Volcanoes, watching the crater as the sun goes down over Kilauea is rather special, the only thing you are not prepared for is the darkness, complete darkness so when you do eventually draw yourself away and walk back to the car park a torch would be a good idea, there are no lights at all so with a lot of people blundering around finding your car is quite interesting.

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens

The Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens a short way north of Hilo are the nearest I have been to The Garden of Eden, maybe I was lucky to visit early on a Sunday morning when it was very quiet. As you walk down into the gardens the sound of birds and insects is everywhere, each corner you turn there is something special to see, as you get deeper into the gardens you start to become aware of the sound of the Ocean, getting louder and replacing the bird song, until suddenly you are on the cliff side, the water rushing into inlets either side of the garden and the Pacific stretching away into the distance, if ever there was a place to visit for tranquility this is it, highly recommended.

Back on Maui we drove up to the summit of Haleakala a dormant volcano over 3000m in height, but still over a 1000m short of Mauna Kea on The Big Island.


The views are spectacular, you can clearly see Mauna Kea which was covered in fresh snow when we were there, the clouds move quite quickly, so one minute you can see nothing and then suddenly amazing views like above appear, the park is open 24 hours a day, so it is very popular to go and see the sunrise, that is something I must do! 

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

The Big Island

While in Hawaii I took a local flight from Maui to the Island of Hawaii or The Big Island as the locals know it.
Flying out of Kapalua, a tiny airstrip in the north of Maui and landing at Kona on the  west of The Big Island, I then rented a car and had a road trip to Hilo on the east side, a distance of around 76 miles via the direct route, I choose to follow Highway 19 around the north coast.
One of the big draws for going to the big Island was of course the......actually sorry to admit it wasn't the Volcanoes amazing as they are. The Hawaii Consolidated Railway was based around Hilo and among other routes it built a line up the coast from Hilo to Paauilo around 33 miles and 2 hours by train. The line was constructed just before the First World War, and at the time set a record for the most expensive piece of railway constructed, due to the terrain the line passed through, necessitating many trestle bridges of substantial size and several tunnels amongst other things. When the tragic Tsunami hit Hilo in 1946 almost all of the line was washed away and much of the route was then used to construct Highway 19.

Laupahoehoe Train Museum

Laupahoehoe Train Museum is a little way north of Hilo and based around the old Station Agents House. Was well worth the visit a lovely museum with loads of information on the route and a very knowledgeable guy running it. The top photo shows the museum building on the right and in the foreground the remains of the platform which is now right alongside Highway 19. 

Hilo Semi Roundhouse

The Semi Roundhouse in the photo was the main Locomotive shed for the Hawaii Consolidated Railway, and somehow it has survived, it is in private business use and is built from concrete, as with most concrete buildings of the period it is in a poor way so how much longer it will stay standing I don't know. People are aware of its historical importance and have come up with ideas to re use it, the owner seemed an approachable guy even if he was not impressed when I went inside, as he pointed out there is a lot of concrete that falls from the roof! So who knows what will happen, but I can add it to my list of Loco Sheds I have photographed. Yes I know I am a little strange, as my friends constantly remind me.

Lava from Kilauea

Yes I did visit the Volcanoes and pretty amazing they were too, more about then next time.

Thursday, 13 April 2017


Kaopala Gulch

Well I survived 4 weeks on a Tropical Island. Temperature was around 26-28 most of the time with an odd day of tropical storm thrown in, not ideal for cycling especially as I am not very fit at the moment, but I managed around a 100 miles in total on my sisters ancient bike. She seems to have a habit of keeping things forever, she has a hockey stick from when she was at school and still reminds me that I pinched her Squash racket! 
When we were young my sister and I were very close, but over the years we have drifted apart, mainly because of her living in America for over 30 years, but also we are very different people. We did get on very well though, 4 weeks with someone is a long time., but we didn't fall out, we both have a big interest in photography and love dogs, which really helped.

Nakalele Point and Blowhole

We did go to some amazing places, one way my sister Pauline and myself have loads in common, is she will explore where she lives, walking long distances finding forgotten paths and hidden beaches and fantastic coastline. The above shots were taken on a walk, or should I say scramble over the rocks to the Nakalele Blowhole. There is a relatively easy tourist route from the road, but we went over the cliffs by an anything but easy trail, and boy was it worth it! The site and sound of the Pacific pounding the cliffs was quite incredible, I had to keep reminding  myself that we were over 2000 miles from the mainland, the Island of Hawaii are recognized as the most remote on the planet when it comes to distance alone.
Maui is really a very beautiful Island and has everything you would expect of a Tropical Island if you look hard enough, unfortunately a lot of it is like an American playground, vast hotel complexes and Golf courses and cars, lots of cars, mind you if you took away all the rental Mustang Convertibles the car population would be halved!

Sunsets and Whales are two of the biggest things you will see in Hawaii and we saw loads.

This is the view from Pauline's apartment, during the day even without Binoculars you could watch the Whales breaching. Pauline has two dogs so walking them in the evening as the sun set was a great way to end the day, you could see why the Islands are such a big draw for American vacationing,it is so peaceful and despite the Mustang Convertibles an incredibly friendly and relaxing place to visit, one advantage of the playground aspect in the north of Maui is the complete lack of litter, and the way the area is looked after, it does of course mean that the problems are pushed out of sight, Maui is no different from anywhere else, there are homeless people, true Hawaiians resentful of the American invasion, very little work and as always a big traffic problem.