GES041 - The Salesforce Tower (formerly Heron Tower), London (Dawn Trip)
I'd hoped to do this with someone else, but as it was over the post xmas period, few people were about. I'd left a message with Downfallen, thinking he'd be up for it. But sadly he was in Switzerland, and would never return alive. So I went solo, and was as far as I'm aware, the only explorer to have snapped views from the Heron in daylight.
I'd been before, so access was a cinch. It had grown a few more floors since i'd last visited as well. This shot is taken on the 39th floor, which is now a restaurant and bar.
Gleeming new girderage.
The Charlatans once sang "How High?" well, certainly taller than the 183m Tower 42 who's top can be seen poking up. The Heron even incomplete was now higher Tower 42, making it the tallest building in the City of London.
I sat on the penultimate floor, quite literally freezing in a cold December wind. I had clearly underestimated the number of layers i'd need. Eventually the sky started to lighten, and I emerged to grab some pics. Tower 42 again looking South West.
A little bit of HDR never hurt anyone. Looking South East.
With the sky tinging red, the views from up here were just amazing. I love London to bits, and very much consider myself a Londoner now. But seeing London from such a rare perspective was amazing. I didn't have a remote on me, so this was taken with a 10" timer. To date it's probably my favourite pic of all my explores. The memories it conjures up to me of the views and feelings i had, can't be replaced.
More HDR i'm afraid to those that despise it. The round ball like building just to the right of the tip of the Gherkin is the London Assembly and Mayor's office.
Looking North East, the Nido down below.
The sun finally breaks blurring Canary Wharf. A little bit of winter warmth emanates, just as I was about to collapse with hypothermia.
White London caught in the morning rays.
Looking North West over Finsbury Circus on the bottom left.
West and Centre Point with the BT tower. The cab of the crane, a chap who get's to see this every day. The moon get's to see it only now and again.
South over the Thames, the Strata tower a recent accomplishment at the time.
Some rather worrying bolts left undone!
Full profile shot of the Gherkin Tower, at 180m, it's more than a mouthful.
The Tower of London and London Bridge creeping out behind the Gherkin.
The most amazing thing I saw as dawn rose, was that the taller building picked up the suns rays first, while the ground below them remained dark. You can sort of see that here in this shot of Bow in East London by the Olympic Stadium. The blocks of flats lapping up the sun, while the lower buildings remain dark.
Tate Modern next to the Tower 42 and south West London beyond.
Bringing out the zoom and looking West, the Empress building and neighbour Earls Court in the centre. The wedding cake top of the Victoria & Albert building.
The taller buildings still taking in the morning sun. Can't get over how amazing this looks in reality. Charing Cross station and the MoD building next to it line the Thames in the centre of the photo.
BT tower, master of it's domain.
The pitiful site of the Pinnacle tower, yet to get going.
Liverpool Street Station in full profile.
North West and beyond.
Finsbury Circus in the lower centre of the picture, looking out North West. One of the Barbican triplets visible on the far left centre.
A Crane on what at the time was the top floor of the building. Looking East.
The Gherkin just seemed to want to muscle in on every shot.
Into the suburbs, Hampstead Heath and beyond.
Looking down at Bishopsgate, I was a bit apprehensive about the 3 white police cars parked up below (centre of the road). Were they waiting for me? Probably time to get down.
A final shot of St. Pauls, and behind the MoD building, just make out Buckingham Palace over St.James Park.
The scaff stairs one has to climb to get to the top. Or the rather odd second choice of a caged ladder.
The metal sheeting, that gets covered with iron rod sheeting, and then concrete.
With no real protection from disappearing off the side, ice on the stairs isn't something you want to miss spotting.
The art of the construction worker, a bit disturbing.
I think the squares are some kind of solar panel thing. The sun coming up by the Gherkin on the other side of the glass.
Starting work on the air conditioning pipes etc. This was on the lower floors.
As I got down to the 2nd floor, I spotted some workers on the outside of the gate where i'd entered. It looked like they were waiting for someone to let them in. I decided to leg it and hop over the hoarding into Bishopsgate. It was quiet, and only a couple of bemused pedestrians saw me hop over, and quickly disappear down a side street. I couldn't believe i'd got away with it, I also couldn't believe i'd been lucky enough to have such an amazing experience up there. I grabbed a final pic as i scooted off back through London for a nice warm bed.