A British free runner has released extraordinary footage of his latest stunt, climbing London’s Southbank Tower to watch the sun rise over the city.
Without any safety equipment and armed with only a helmet-mounted camera to capture the ascent, 23-year-old James Kingston broke into the building site around the tower and made his way to the top of a 150 metre- (490 ft-) tall crane.
The climb took just 20 to 30 minutes, Kingston said, and he was able to get up and down from 5am earlier this month without being spotted by security guards.
Once at the top he can be seen performing his signature move, hanging from the crane by one arm with his feet dangling over the city.
The footage has been uploaded to the Epic TV online extreme sports channel, which made its highlight from Kingston’s stunt a jump over an “insane” gap on the way up.
Kingston describes himself as a “professional adventurer”, and made headlines around the world earlier this year when he was arrested for performing a backflip at the top of Ukraine’s tallest bridge.
Speaking to London Live, he said the motive behind his stunts is simply “because I enjoy it”.
Explaining why he went the extra mile to actually hang from the crane instead of simply climbing it, Kingston said: “There’s something about hanging from a crane that is very attractive to me. People may not understand it but, to me, when I get up there I think ‘this is cool – but hanging off it would be cooler’.”
Kingston has been criticised in the past on the grounds of trespassing, damaging property, risking his own life and risking the lives of others – but he insists that every stunt he does is completely safe and leaves building unchanged.
He said that he practised the climb at Southbank Tower three times at night before filming the sunrise attempt, and that there were never any “hairy moments”.
“I’m 100 per cent sure that I will not fall. The only thing that would cause me to die is me choosing to let go.
“There’s no way the wind would blow my grip off or blow me off entirely, and as far as my hand failing or my strength fading that wont happen either. I’ve trained for many years and can hang from one arm for more than a minute so it’s not going to happen.”
He admitted that there were people who don’t want him to do some stunts – including his own mother. “Mainly she doesn’t like me hanging off stuff. But she has seen where I’ve come from – years ago I was in a bad place, I was unhappy, unfit and unhealthy, and now I’m the opposite, I know what I want in life.
“She understands I need to do what I love to be happy.”
Kingston told the Telegraph that among all the stunts he has done, his latest in London has at least one claim to fame.
“As views go, this is probably the best climb I've done,” he said. “I could see the whole of London, the sun rising behind the Shard, with the shadow of the building pointing at me. It was immense. I think it was the best view I’ve ever seen.”