GES080 - The Shard Skycraper (Trip 2)
If one's going to climb a tall building, I always feel the most should be made of the experience. Seeing the mighty vistas of London at night hold one image in a person's head. Watching dawn rise (or the sunset) over London another. And Daylight gives yet another visual treat. London is a beautiful city that's benefited handsomely through the centuries to give us the architectural glut of edifices we see today.
I'd already climbed the Shard some weeks previously, but GE031 was in town, and I knew he'd want to climb the tallest building in Europe. So after saying farewell to GES004 at an aborted attempt to do St. M's ghost station. We headed over to London Bridge, and had little problem entering using the same method and route as before.
The build approach was to concentrate on the core getting completed, and then completing the skeleton and skin from the bottom up around the still being built core. This resulted in the skeleton reaching the 39th floor and the core reaching up to the 72nd floor. The observation platform.
We ascended sensibly under the cover of darkness, so still time to grab some night shots. Looking upstream and West.
Looking South East. The Crystal Palace TV transmitters (right with red lights) and the dark river of tracks (left) that lead out from London Bridge station.
A heavily fisheyed shot from the crane atop the Shard.
The city sits awaiting dawn not far away now. The very bright Heron sits amongst the City triplets. On the left next to London Bridge is another climb, Adelaide Hse.
Not quite what i'd hoped due to shake, but London Bridge reflection shot.
A cold, tired and slightly nervous GE032 looks up.
Southwark and the London bridges along the curving Thames. Centre Point tower (right of centre) sits up by itself. Only the lights give away the BT Tower to it's left.
Waterloo Station and the Shell complex buildings line the Thames. The Palace of Westminster on the left.
The spires of the City, Heron showing off what was at the time a new edition, it's mast and red bulb on top. I do love the way some cities and areas of cities (thinking Tokyo here) have tall building all pushing up to the highest buildings point. Like a skinny mountain rising from the city, and then the various main thoroughfares leading away like rivers or veins.
The other mountain in London, Canary Wharf, slightly less high as the Shard tower. And I was 2 storeys higher than the Shard on the crane.
And here she comes, dawn approaches from the East, like the 3 wise men in the fictional bible stories.
Got to get a pose in before that nasty daylight ruins it all.
The night sky breaks up, as daylight invades the space it held. The once dark river that is the rail tracks out of London Bridge, now populated by the first trains.
South West London, with the now not so tall Strata upset at having it's South London crown stolen.
The previous sea of lights dissipate under the tsunami of light coming from the approaching dawn.
Bizarrely quite a sharp shot from me. The City and north, the Olympic Stadium on the right edge.
When looking at things in the distance from up here, one kind of explains them off as just that, 'they're small because they're in the distance.' However when you look down like at the neighbouring Southwark Cathedral, which normally you'd crane your neck up to look at. You can see just how small it looks from up here.
The Thames acting like a mirror as it disappears off to it's Estuary. HMS Belfast below, looking like it could be scooped up and put into your bath tub.
A clearer shot of Canary Wharf and the Thames, sadly a great dawn would allude us. Wisps of red tinted cloud and glimpses of orange were all we saw.
The City looking amazing in the early dawn light. Luckily a fairly sharp shot.
Just on the left edge, the KRT tower, and Tate Modern with it's chimney from a former life. Those that complain about unobstructed views of St. Paul's, can't complain about that from here.
Rail lines running through Southwark and Waterloo.
Straight down, the blue flat boarding on the 40th floor. And then the roof of Guys Hospital.
Zoom shot out to the North East, and former explore, the Olympic Stadium.
A building that's seen a thousand years of History in London, from plagues to fires, to civil war to Victorian splendour. I wonder even in Victorian times what they'd make of the Shard sitting 72 storeys high across the river?
Tower Bridge without the light pollution of the earlier shots.
The main route into London Bridge now fully operational with trains.
Grey skies over the Thames and Canary Wharf.
The Pipe Ninja surveys Central London.
Southwark and Waterloo, Hyde Park in the distance with the Hyde Park Hilton clearly visible.
The Palace of Westminster, Waterloo Station and London Eye.
Whitehall on the north bank. KRT and Shell complex. The Savoy sticks up above the top of the KRT tower.
Battersea upside down table power station and West London reaches.
Christmas tree sits next to Southwark Cathedral indicating the time of year we were up here.
Not as obvious as with the Heron daylight trip, but lots of the taller buildings picking up the early sun, while around them the lower areas still dark. The newly completed Heron tower sticking up above the others.
A zoomed shot of Wren's masterpiece, St. Paul's with it's silvery-blue Lead dome topping out at 111m. Hard to believe until 1962 this was London's tallest building.
Fisheye looking North
Fisheye down the Thames.
A rare clip of the dawn sun after it climbs above the grey skyline. The roof of the crane cab below.
Slightly clearer shot of HMS Belfast and buildings below.
The Thames becomes exposed behind Canary Wharf, and at the base of Docklands as it sweeps around the area.
A last look at the Strata tower before GE031 almost literally dragged me from the top to begin a somewhat nervy descent.
I had been keeping an eye on things from above, but hadn't seem much activity, so felt fairly confident. We knew there were security people on the lower floors, but would they be checking higher up? We began a descent down the haki stairs, constantly looking through the gaps to try to spot anyone coming up. As we got to the stair swap at the 39th floor, we sat at the top of the stairs and listened. Nothing, so we tip-toed down the stairs, aware of the need to get the hell down, but also of the need to be vigilant and stealth-like. At the 18th floor, we happily left the main stair shaft, for the less used stair shaft. Creeping through the netting and into the stairs. We felt more confident descending here, as all the floors were sectioned off, so we got to the mezzanine level OK. It was here that I was feeling my ballsiest. We walked across the open Mezzanine floor, where we'd have been fairly easily spotted. To reach a door in the hoardings. A quick turn of the handle, and we were out into London Bridge Station. A quick walk past the taxi rank, and across the bridge and we were outta there! A high-five with GE031, and we sputtered off into the morning traffic. Yet another tower i've been privileged to have watched dawn rise up over this glorious city from.