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Report - Athena, Stratford, London, Aug 09

Discussion in 'High Stuff' started by leanrascal, Aug 12, 2009.

  1. leanrascal

    leanrascal social constructionist
    Regular User

    Jun 3, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Place: Athena Building
    Location: Stratford London E16
    Floors: 26
    Height: 79 metres

    This time, D went first. After what happened to me the last time we attempted to do Athena (http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=42153), I was understandably a bit anxious. Although we’d warmed up by doing the Edge just a few days previously (http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=42270), which went without a hitch, I was still a bit apprehensive about Athena. However D was feeling extremely confident about tonight’s adventure and convinced that I’d just been really unlucky to come across security the moment I stepped within the perimeter on our first attempt. So for our second attempt, D took the lead. No checking the area, no pussy-footing around, as soon as we got there we quickly checked there was nobody around, D climbed the gate, looked around, then jumped back down inside. Given the all clear, I stepped over the gate myself. All was peace and quiet.

    Canary Wharf, safely tucked under the crane opposite the road

    We discussed for a few seconds, whispering, which direction we should go. Ten yards away was a ladder going up to the scaffolding, leading to the back of the building. We slowly made our way there, hiding behind pillars but still feeling a bit exposed, since there wasn’t much to hide behind, the lights were illuminating the whole place and the security lodge seemed to be just round the corner. We quickly went two levels up the scaffolding and made our way inside the building. We shared a smile and gave each other a hug. The hardest part was done.

    Same as above, but including Stratford High Street below

    We found the stairs and went up to the 8th floor, where the back of the building stopped. At this stage, we both realised we needed to relieve ourselves, probably due to a mixture of excitement and relief. Thankfully the plumbing and toilets had already been installed up to that floor so, respectful urban explorers that we are, we made good use of them. Admittedly there was no flush, but I’m convinced workers use those all day long anyway. This would make no difference whatsoever.

    I can’t believe we’re here. What a view.

    Feeling less tense, and a little lighter, we made our way to the front part of the building. This was more difficult than I thought. I generally have a pretty good sense of direction, but with just grey walls all around us, wherever we were, and with no obvious outside features to guide us, I kept forgetting which way we were going. Nevertheless, going back outside and walking along the building on balconies and a bit more scaffolding, right next to the crane, we reached the front part of the building.

    Yes D, it’s really really high...

    We found the stairs, went to the 15th floor where we stopped a few minutes to catch our breath, then went on to the 26th floor and top of Athena. The ascent must have taken us about an hour in total from the moment we jumped the gate to the moment we reached the top. Once there, the feeling was incredible. We, again, shared a smile and a hug, and stayed up there for about an hour, taking pictures, looking around, and congratulating ourselves on our achievement.

    Panoramic shot, Canary Wharf to the right, the Millennium Dome to the left

    We went back down the same way we came, which took us about thirty minutes. We went back outside the perimeter and at that stage I realised how easy and smooth the whole operation had been, and how different from our first experience of Athena. We didn’t spot any security personnel, and we didn’t see any cameras whatsoever, though this might be due to the fact we might not be that good at spotting security devices yet.

    Towards Stratford Station

    Successfully doing Athena felt like a real milestone to me. It was the tallest building I’d ever been up to. I’d never done as much recce before. And after our first failed attempt, success was also that much sweeter. Somehow, as far as UE is concerned, I felt that I’d arrived. A great and memorable evening.

    No report of mine would be complete without a picture of a crane. Oh no.

    I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who have expressed support since I joined this site nearly 3 months ago, in particular DownFallen and Loops for their encouragement and sharing their opinion and expertise regarding Athena, as well as D, of course, for being an incredible urban exploration partner as well as, of course, my dearest friend.

    Get off that cage, you monkey.

    After three reports on this website you might get an idea of what kind of explorer I am. I like jumping, I like climbing, I don’t shy away from physically challenging explores, and I have a predilection for high buildings and very much look forward to going up cranes. So if you want to take me on an interesting explore in and around London, don’t hesitate to give me a shout.

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