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Report - NEO Bankside crane, Southwark, London, Sep 09

Discussion in 'High Stuff' started by leanrascal, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. leanrascal

    leanrascal social constructionist
    Regular User

    Jun 3, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Place: NEO Bankside (Native Land and Grosvenor joint venture)
    Location: Southwark, London
    Height: 80 metres (estimate)

    I like it when things go well, and keep getting better. My urban exploration adventures have followed a wonderful upward curve, upward both figuratively and literally.

    Looking up at the beast

    Figuratively in the sense that from doing a shitty boring little 3-storey building of no interest at all and doing a report which rightfully made the Epic Fail Bin just a few months ago, I’ve progressively made more and more exciting and challenging expeditions (and hopefully better reports!). Of course, said shitty building was of extreme importance and significance at the time. It was the building that made me rediscover UE. I don’t rule out going back there, much in the same way that an old man would have a nostalgic walk along the significant landmarks of his youth, but since I’m not an old man yet, it’ll have to wait, by which time the building will probably have been knocked down, which won’t be much of a loss at all.

    Looking down from the beast

    Following on from than shitty little building, things have also gone upwards literally, which is no surprise at all since I’ve always liked to go upwards and climb things, from the side panels of my cot as a toddler, to bigger and taller things as time went on: trees, scaffoldings, the cathedral in my home town, and, more conventionally, doing rock-climbing. So from shitty little buildings I went on to do 28-storey towers, and from those I shifted my attention to cranes, and this is the reason I’m here today.

    Blackfriars Bridge

    Having done my first crane only two weeks previously (report here), I scaled a much bigger and taller one recently, thanks to Mito who came up with the location, showed a vast amount of enthusiasm and determination, and created a sense of urgency which I was very happy to go along with, being particularly partial to living life to the full and maximising the number of thrilling experiences I can fit into whatever time I have left on this desolate/wonderful (please delete as applicable depending on your particular emotional disposition or world view) planet.

    Dancing may significantly increase your risk of looking silly

    Having entered the perimeter making as much noise as we possibly could (well, the noise we made was unintentional, but our attempt at being discreet was so pathetic I might as well pretend it was intentional), we went under cover for a few minutes to congratulate ourselves of having successfully dealt with the first hurdle and look out for any signs that our rattle had roused someone’s attention. After a few minutes, it was clear it hadn’t. The initial adrenaline rush already subsiding, we went on for the big fix and natural high. We went to the tallest of the 3 cranes on site and, without delay, went up the ladder.

    The jib and the London Eye forming a halo around the Shell Tower

    Mito went first. We’d correctly assumed that his youthful energy would beat my composed more mature approach as far as scaling speed was concerned, and he reached to top far earlier than I did. Once at the top the views were truly outstanding. From the Tate Modern virtually below our feet, we could see, among other things, St Paul ’s, Tower 42, the Gherkin, the Shell Tower , Blackfriars Bridge , the London Eye and, much further away but still our personal favourite, Strata.


    The evening was fairly windy, and even though I was oblivious to it, Mito had spotted and felt the crane shift slightly sideways. This could actually be observed in some of the photos we took, whereby the crane would look very sharp while the background cityscape would look slightly blurred.

    The Tate Modern with its tower and the Millenium Bridge over the Thames leading to St Paul ’s Cathedral

    After an hour at the top, taking pictures of everything we could see as well as ourselves on the counterweight and sitting at the beginning of the jib (lack of safety equipment is – for the time being – preventing us from going any further, but this will eventually be remedied), and feeling a bit chilly, we went back down, quite predictably – and thankfully – the same way we went up. Then again, I’m sure some of you would have gone to the end of the jib, abseiled down, packed the ropes and left. Don’t rub it in. I’m jealous.

    The jib, the London Eye to the left, King’s Reach Tower to the right

    On our way out of the perimeter we evidently made sure we made as much noise as on the way in. Being discreet is so overrated. The latest trend in urban exploration is carefree bravado. Trust me. Just don’t mention my name when you get caught.


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