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Thread: Duck & Cover, London (who ordered the win?). 2008

  1. #1
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    Talking Duck & Cover, London (who ordered the win?). 2008


    Perched at the roof's edge in the rain we pointed and argued, weighing the merits and failings of the various rope anchoring options before us. Anchors are always critical but tonight the landing zone was deadly, for we were looking down upon a 750v minefield. Suddenly a train rumbled right below us sending tremors through the structure into my feet, accentuating the adrenaline buzz I felt tingling all over. The carriage lights flickered over the bricks illuminating some of the obstacles we'd shortly be amongst. This audacious plan surely our boldest yet, was to abseil into London's train tunnels.





    While not as old as the deep tube tunnels dug with The Great Shield these cut and cover tunnels presented a new London frontier for us having already learned to handle drains, sewers and utility tunnels. The first stage, infiltrating the semi-active building, was done without a hitch owing to our previous recce trips. Around us central London began to sleep and we laid out the SRT kit in preparation for descent. Through the center of our building dropped a shaft, inaccessible from the inside of the building but open to the sky above and those with the vertical knack. While we rigged and donned the gear many more trains rolled on by. Every time we'd note the time and direction of the train. The interval was increasing, an interval we're be counting on for insertion.

    In that moment before descent the alchemic mix of fear and adrenaline pump through your body, doubts and questions race through your mind. Courage suppresses the fear and a few long breaths calm the mind. The steely faces of Jondoe and Stoop softened to toothy grins, while the Otter looked a little queasy. Dropping into the the mayhem below felt so familiar. We always seem to end up in this situation, paused for contemplation before the deed. The consequences have been deliberated, the risks and rewards balanced. It was like so many explores before. No matter how well planned it might be, there is always that hint of madness creeping in at the edges waiting to surprise you. You can plan, create contingencies, check the anchors again, sync your watches but eventually you just have to fucking do whatever it is you came to do. Commit.



    drop zone


    Two ropes rigged Stoop and Otter slid over the edge and began their tandem descent above the electrified lines. Stoop dropped smoothly to the intermediate ledge, mere feet from the trains' rooves. Otter jammed his descender against the bricks, freaked then started banging his head against the wall. "It wasn't this hard on the stairs!" he wailed, were it anywhere else I'd have laughed. A drop this hot wasn't the place for hysterics. I knew it was risky to throw him over this edge but his threats towards us ironically saved his inclusion. We put his dummy back in, consoled him that yes it would be okay and forced him further down the rope. JD and I shared a sigh.







    Smooth as could be JD and I landed at the bottom, tucked the ropes far away from where they might be snagged by a train and slowly turned. It took 6 months of half-arsed effort and half a dozen attempts but finally we stood in the train tunnels below London. It wasn't The Underground but when you're standing there, smell of steel in your nostrils, rumble of rolling stock in the distance splitting those hairs is the furthest from your mind. Three or four sets of lines, each with an electrified third rail, separated us from the remains of the platform of an abandoned station. For those unacquainted with the 3rd rail, solid contact will straighten your nut hairs then leave you crispy and lifeless. In a nutshell the 3rd is human to bacon transmografier. Gingerly and with the delicious irony of exaggerated comedy steps which could not be further from such, we crossed the tunnel to the platform.





    With 2 ropes and a little effort we'd surmounted a boundary into a world few will see but for noses pressed hard against the glass, hands cupped to the sides of their faces, peering into the gloomy tunnels trundling by. This world, unlike an abandonment is ALIVE. Everywhere the evidence of recent human passing could be seen. Workers tools, graffiti, cigarette butts and drink cans. Choose the right time to visit and this sleeping world is all yours.





    More trains rolled smoothly by filled with drones escaping home the daily grind, oblivious to the fantastical world around them needing only a rope, some know how and a little conviction. We snapped a few photos for the alzheimer album, hardcopy proof that we really did these crazy things, then departed. Outside we met a milk truck, bought some orange juice and sat down to discuss our next adventure... the London Underground.





    watch out for the third rail baby, that shit is high voltage

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  3. #2
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    Cool is the biggest understatement. I'm gobsmacked, nice one.
    Quote Originally Posted by phill.d View Post
    Whatever reason you do it for there shouldn't be any stereo typical image of what the 'perfect example of an urb exer' is. As long as people behave and don't give the hobby a bad image, I think we should all respect each others motivations and goals, were all in the same rocky boat at the end of the day.

  4. #3
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    Ace photos chief! Any of them from the rangefinder?
    Keeping the World guessing

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by snappel View Post
    Ace photos chief! Any of them from the rangefinder?
    I found it oddy hard to shoot, so never broke out the range to save myself some money. At the rate I'm burning it up on this trip I'm glad I was so skint.
    watch out for the third rail baby, that shit is high voltage

  6. #5
    BigLoada Guest

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    This is one of the coolest and most rad explores I have read. SRTing into the LU? Its just mental, but genius!

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lithium View Post
    This is one of the coolest and most rad explores I have read. SRTing into the LU? Its just mental, but genius!
    Better than running off the end of a platform
    watch out for the third rail baby, that shit is high voltage

  8. #7
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    I have to say, I respect you guys allot for having the guts to do this and pulling this off! Unfortunately my head is now filled with more endless possibilities :P.

    Must buy a car. Now.

    EDIT: Just curious but what CMS is your site running?

    Thank you very much.

    ---
    Sam, "Jump".
    Last edited by FknSamuelBonney; 2nd Sep 08 at 12:52.

  9. #8
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    A great piece of writing there, had me totally engrossed.
    Respect.
    In a surreal world it all makes sense

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