Local Heart, Global Soul

July 28, 2013

France On the Horizon … But Where is the Horizon?

Filed under: ENGLAND,Folkestone,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A short drive away from the harbour in Folkestone we start to climb the steep hills that make up the local terrain and include the white cliffs of Dover, only 7 kms away.

What’s maybe lesser known is that France on the other side of the channel, has it’s own matching set of white cliffs, and both are of course a natural geological continuation of each other.

Sadly although we have a beautiful sunny day in Folkstone when we visited, there is a sea mist above the channel and France is somewhere behind the haze.

Instead we turn around to admire the view in the inland direction, part of which is dominated by a truly enormous building that was formerly the Folkestone Metropole Hotel.

These days it houses apartments on the top levels and an art/ exhibition gallery on the ground floor. It was also once a very grand rival to it’s neighbouring  building just a short distance away…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 3, 2012

The Cliff-Top Houses where the Views are Pretty Scary…

Filed under: LIFE,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(The continuing Travelog of our recent trip to New Zealand)

It’s still raining the next day so I propose we go for a drive out to Redcliffs and Summner.

From what I gather, the Port Hill suburbs got off very lightly during the 7.1 quake on Septmber 4th 2011 with regards to damage, but took a massive hit on February 22nd as the earthquake originated not out by Greendale to the north-west of the city, but this time in the east,  somewhere on the other side of the hill by Lyttleton and the shock  literally did a subterranean ricochet under the volcanic rock of the Port Hills.

The volcanic nature of the rock meant that it stored up energy over time and the rupture of this new fault and energy released it at speed was massive since the quake was shallow and the epicentre was so close by.

The effects were immediate and devastating. Whole sections of the cliff face came down and areas that were once prime real estate with hilltop views of the sea were now mega-buck homes left dangling over the cliff edge that could only be evacuated as fast as possible.

As far as I know, no-one was killed when things fell off the top of the hill, but I did hear later that the retired pastor of a church I once went to, lost his life in one of the houses that was buried by rockfalls at the bottom.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It turns out that he wasn’t the only person I knew who died, I only learned during this trip that an ex-colleague of mine had moved out of the business we were in and had been working in the CTV building (Canterbury Television Building) in the centre of town, he too lost his life when that building collapsed.

Since aftershocks are still ongoing and there have been now five of those big enough to be classed as “new events”,  there is still a large risk of rockfall in this area so some roads have been competey closed and shipping containers have been stacked up around the cliff base to protect the only access to the area.

Yes, there is  a longer route that goes over the top of the Port Hills but it’s been so severely damaged by rockfalls and slips that as far as I understand it, it can’t be used and indeed may not be used for a very long time indeed.

The road is “lumpy” due to the amount of damage it sustained, but they have done a ton of work on it considering that straight after the February quake this road was impassable. That said, even today a four-wheel-drive would actually come in handy as we bump over all the dips and raised bits that weren’t there before the quakes struck.

We visited here and I took these photographs just days before the December 23rd 2011 earthquakes and on that day more rock fell all around here, but fortunately the shipping containers did their job and held the bolders at bay.

… even so it must have been a nerve racking experience for anyone driving this stretch of road at the time, or indeed anyone in the Redcliff or Summner area as the cliff faces are rather close to many houses and shops.

One aunt and uncle used to live on Clifton Hill, but moved some years back, we heard that their old house and the ones close by suffered a lot of damage so I’m relieved they are no longer up there. It’s a shock to see this area so changed, I wonder how they will deal with stabilizing or rebuilding it in the future, or if indeed it can be stabilized at all.

I suppose only time will tell.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This last image I photographed my computer screen and is taken from a presentation  on the CERA website… shows just how catastrophic the cliff collapses are…

taken from CERA presentation

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