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GES171 - Walkie Talkie Building, London

I was starting to get annoyed with this tower, having seen some rather nice photos coming from it, I was keen to get up there. The main thrust of early explorers visits was to climb the crane. 160m of crane climb is not an easy task. In fact GE077 informed me that he'd actually had to take a breather on the way up. I turned up to tackle the crane on attempt 1, and found a group of workers there at 1am. attempt 2 I turned up with GE063 and GE074, but it was raining, not ideal for climbing or photos. Attempt 3 saw me waiting around for an explorer who had contacted me to do this, and then never showed up, so I decided to climb the actual core, but the stairs ended around the 23rd floor. And search as I might, I couldn't find another way up, without starting up the work lift. By the time attempt 4 came around, the crane had been removed, and local information showed the roof was now accessible from the core, along with the addition of not one, but two cranes on the roof. As seen here.

After having seen another explorer post an iconic photo on facebook, I thought I'd have a go at producing something different as well up there. I decided to take my Fender guitar up there, and packed it carefully into my backpack. As I arrived at the site, I bumped into media legend GE045 , as well as GE099, and GE041. They were with two guys who weren't explorers, I think they were graffiti guys. We had a catch-up chat, and then I went in where they had just exited. The easiest I've ever entered a construction site, lifting up a heras fence, and walking in. There was no security on site, so just an easy walk into the base of the core. The blue doors are for lift shafts. The stairs were on the left in this picture, around the back of the lifts.

I'd recently got over an illness, yes, this is my excuse and I'm sticking to it! So found myself struggling a bit. Finally the cold air swept around me, as I neared the top of the stairs. I walked out onto the roof, a little perturbed by how well lit up it was. It was then a case of choosing which crane to climb first, so I went for the crane that sat more over the building. How on earth they secure these things I'll never know, they don't look particularly well secured.

The view looking out over East London with the crane cab sneaking into the picture.

And West, with BT lighting the horizon. The roads converge to form spokes of a wheel by the Bank of England just below the centre of the picture.

Further East is the Canary Wharf development, and the UK's former tallest building.

The A3 snakes off into the distance through South London, the Strata on the left.

The main towers of the City, with Lombard and Fenchurch St acting as a vein running through the area.

The rather wonderful Leadenhall market building spotted down below, edged with the Lloyds building.

The twin towers, Tower Bridge and The Tower of London. Sadly I couldn't control the lighting on one of the bridge towers.

Finally, I set about taking a few shots with my guitar. This is similar to a shot taken by a fellow explorer that is just awesome, and infinitely better than the below image. Seen here. Not having anyone to help, I set up my camera on one crane, and then carefully took my guitar up the other crane. Then I used my remote trigger to automate the 10second timer. Thankfully it worked first time, and this was one of a few shots I took. Four previous explores fill up the background.

And with that, I packed up all my various bits, and jogged down to ground level. Exiting was just as easy as entering. The security guard for the buildings opposite the access point didn't bat an eyelid.

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