Monday, 8 September 2014

Iron Beach

Just down the coast from Maryport is another, but very different, relic of an age now past.

Once, not that long ago, Workington was a steel town.  The fortunate combination of the right kind of iron ore and plentiful coal made it the ideal place to make steel.  Thousands and thousands of tonnes of steel.  Today, there is very little evidence to make you suspect that Workington was once an industrial town. The bast furnaces have gone, and one of the water storage ponds is a lake offering fishing for carp, roach and perch.  The trained eye may notice strange flat areas between the town and the sea, but thats about it - until you walk on to the beach that is.

The beach has to be one of the strangest places I have ever been - because the beach is almost entirety made of blast furnace slag.  If the blast furnaces produced thousands of tonnes of iron, they produced even more molten slag - and this was dumped straight into the sea.

In places it has accumulated into cliffs a hundred or more feet high.  In places it formed molten rivers, that solidified as they met the sea.  Some of the surface of the beach is almost pure iron - huge chunks of unrefined metal cast away when the linings of the furnaces where changed.  Some of the beach contains sections of brick work, presumably the lining of the furnaces.  There are bolts and strange shaped sections of metal looking like industrial fossils.  In some places in the cliff faces you can see layers of ceramic tubes, will holes at both ends - which (I think) where the pipes that allowed air to blasted into the furnaces.

In some places the solid slag contains so much iron that it rusts and turns any water than pools on its surface to turn orange.

It's a strange and remarkable place.














You can find lots more posts from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

22 comments:

Revrunner said...

And so ended Australia's Iron Age. :-) It still astonishes me, though, how people saw the ocean as nothing more than a convenient place to dump their stuff.

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

And with a camera...you can make the ugly beautiful. I love the lies we tell.

;O)

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Kind of sad to see those orange-colored pools of water...

TexWisGirl said...

my goodness.

John @ Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

Oh I would have fun exploring this area.

Irma said...

Hi Stewart,
Special area, with the orange puddles.
Very well photographed.
Best regards, Irma

ladyfi said...

What an unusual-looking beach - almost prehistoric in some way.

Sylvia K said...

I agree with ladyfi, it is an unusual looking beach and rather prehistoric! Great shots for the day!!

CabinGirl said...

Wow - how bizarre. Looks like some other-worldly landscape. (or what I imagine one to look like anyway!)

carol l mckenna said...

It has its beauty and history ~ Great shots with texture and rusty images for OWT ~ Rather fascinating!

artmusedog and carol (A Creative Harbor)

Stephanie said...

Nice rusty bits in the images.

Linda W. said...

Interesting to come upon places where man has really messed with nature. Great photos of the beach.

Jim said...

That's an interesting post. Thanks for sharing that.

adaisyisadaisy said...

Great series, love the perspective on some of the images.

Fun60 said...

A blot on the landscape or a part or our heritage? With the right photographer even the ugliest of things can be made to look beautiful.

Magia da Inês said...

。°°。✿⊱。
É um lugar interessante que nos faz pensar no quanto maltratamos nosso planeta.Agora temos que pensar em como ajudá-lo a se recuperar.

Bom mês de setembro, amigo!·..✿✿
♪♬♫°。 Boa semana!
Beijinhos.✿°.•

cobie en bas van Es said...

er ligt genoeg te roesten daar.

Adam Jones said...

A fascinating post Stewart. It's a shame the beach is not littered with natural remnants of the past rather than this man made carbuncle.

Jen said...

Does anything live there? For some reason I get the urge to lead a cleaning crew.

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

a lot of rust into the beach.

Marie said...

A very strange and interesting place! Great pictures. It's a shame they contaminated the sea like they did, but at least it's now gone.

Pat Tillett said...

Isn't it amazing that everybody used to view the ocean as a good place to dump just about anything. they couldn't get away with doing that today. It did make for some great photos though!