Blue Orb, South Caponier, North Centre Bastion, Western Heights, Dover, Kent, UK

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Comments (8)

John Latter on April 6, 2007

Looking north along Tunnel 2 in the North Center Bastion.

The counterweights of Drawbridge 2 can be seen on the floor on the far righthand side (Drawbridge 3 is behind the viewer).

Part of Tunnel 2 (up to just before the first counterweight) is above ground. The windows on either side actually reduce to small rectangular apertures.

This is Image 34 of the 62 I took on a visit to the North Center Bastion at the beginning of April 2007. Image 11 is the 'Ghost photo' and Image 12 (of which more anon) was the first in which I noticed the 'Blue Spot' phenomenon - it appears again on the far wall of the photo above. Any info or suggestions on what this optical oddity might be would be welcome.

Part of Dover's Napoleonic defenses embedded into the Western Heights.

(Alt: North Centre Bastion)

John Latter on April 6, 2007

Image 12 - Blue Orb 1 - has now been uploaded with a commentary.

John Latter on April 6, 2007

Also see: Satellite view of the North Center Bastion annotated with tunnel system locations, surface features, drawbridges, etc.

Axel Hölzinger on April 10, 2007

I can't hardly explain this optical oddity either. If you are interested in relating pictures I recommend to take a look at It's in German but if you click on the icons you can see pictures from around the world. I also have one taken with an analog camera in fall 2003 near Salisbury, UK (

John Latter on April 10, 2007

Thank you for the comments and link, AxHo.

As far as the orbs are concerned, the general consensus of opinion appears to be that most orbs are due to environmental factors coupled with the greater depth of field that digital cameras have. Personally, however, I find the 'mist' on the Ghost Photo much more intriguing.

There's more info on the Blue Orb 1 and Ghost pages.

I looked at the links you gave. The images on the first page of the German site are very stylish, but I do have the feeling they are 'a bit too good to be true'.

As a suggestion, there are forums around where you could post your own image and see what people who are into this sort of thing have to say.

John Latter on September 2, 2009

The proper name for the covered tunnel in this photo is the, "South Caponier" which links the North Centre Bastion (behind the viewer) to the Detached Bastion (at the far end).

There's now a three-part video of the North Centre Bastion available on YouTube:

Part 1: The Smokey, North Centre Bastion, Western Heights, Dover UK

Part 2: The Smokey, North Centre Bastion, Western Heights, Dover UK

Part 3: The Smokey, North Centre Bastion, Western Heights, Dover UK

John Latter / Jorolat

My Facebook | My 'Videos of Dover' YouTube | | Dover Blog

John Latter on November 12, 2010

The English Heritage Pastscape entry for the North Centre Bastion and Detached Bastion reads (1):

TR 3110 4083 North Centre and Detached Bastions

North Centre Bastion was begun in 1804 during the Napoleonic Wars, as part of the Western Heights fortress in Dover. It remained unfinished at the end of the war in 1815 but was completed to a revised design between 1859 and 1867; this resulted in two linked bastions known as North Centre Bastion and Detached Bastion (2).

Both were surveyed and researched by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England between 1998 and 2001 as part of the Dover Western Heights Survey Project (event UID 1316220 and monument UID 467989). See the archive report and plans for full details: Pattison P The Western Heights, Dover, Kent; Report no 5 North Centre and Detached Bastions.

An English Heritage site and Scheduled Monument; the Detached Baastion is also known as "Dead Man's Island".

Photos of the Detached Bastion are included under the North Centre Bastion tag.

(1) Pastscape: North Centre Bastion

(2) The bastions are linked by the South Caponier (see South Caponier interior; South Caponier exterior).

All photos of Dover's 'Forgotten Fortress' can be found under the Western Heights tag which includes the Drop Redoubt, Grand Shaft, North Entrance, Pre-Napoleonic Earthworks, and St Martins Battery.

psyandr on February 23, 2012

orb's home...

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on April 4, 2007
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX Optio 33LF
    • Taken on 2007/04/01 09:58:18
    • Exposure: 0.017s (1/60)
    • Focal Length: 5.80mm
    • F/Stop: f/2.600
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • Flash fired