On Sunday, as I returned from a late afternoon cycle ride out in northern Enfield and southern Hertfordshire, I noticed the view from The Ridgeway, a road that as it suggests, is quite high up above London. (It’s all relative).
Yes – you can normally look out to the City of London, and then across to Docklands. But it’s normally quite a hazy view. On this beautiful day, with pollution now vastly lower as an unintended consequence of the coronavirus lockdown, London was pin sharp from this distance.
I didn’t have a camera with me to capture it, but returned the next day with a camera an a 200mm telephoto lens (I was out on an exercise walk – no breaking the rules here!). It wasn’t quite as good as the previous day, when the sun had somehow been perfect, but these photos give a good impression.
The picture above shows The Shard, and just to its left, the cluster of skyscrapers mostly within The City of London. To put this in perspective, the tallest building in the City’s cluster is 22 Bishopsgate, which is 10.7m from where I’m standing as the crow flies. To its right is the taller Shard, which is 11.4m distant from me.
Slightly closer, and off to the right from my perspective are Alexandra Palace (Ally Pally) and the BT Tower. You can see why Ally Pally was used in the early days of television to broadcast across the capital. As the crow flies, it’s 5.2m away from me. You can also see the vast hall adjacent to the mast.
“Just” beyond is the BT Tower – which in fact is nearly twice as far away at 10.2m.
But go back to that first photo again. Just to the left of the cluster of buildings that make up the City, you can also see a distant ridgeline. That is in fact the North Downs, and I can honestly say that I’ve never seen them from my location. These hills are 27m distant as the crow flies from where I am in north London. We are looking towards a section somewhere between Caterham and Shoreham. The mass of London between where I am and them would nearly always mean too much pollution and haze for them to be visible here.
NB. You may need to click through on the pictures to Flickr to really see the detail in these photos.