Leicester – Beaster Jam.

 

Beaster Group Photo.

 

I had seen that there was a big Parkour gathering planned for Leicester in a few weeks. I had been invited to the event when it was first published but didn’t really think anything more of it, what with having a bad ankle, not that I travel or train much these days, bar for the Parkour Park. Around a week before the event, I did wonder if it would be any good and who would likely to attend, as in the beginning there were many invites but not many people had confirmed except for locals. I wasn’t sure if any of the Nottingham guys were down for going until much later in the week when I heard a few of them were thinking about heading down. I personally wasn’t up for going, paying money to go for a day I might end up hating and not being able to get the most out of training would have enraged me. At the same time though, I felt if I didn’t go I would be jealous of the ones who went and no doubt it would be an awesome day well missed. On the other hand if I went and wasn’t able to train I would feel just as equally annoyed with myself and envious of others who could, any Traceur will know full well when visiting a new city or areas you have the urge to jump whether you are injured or not, and that is a very hard compulsion to fight!

As the invites and confirmed guests raised it got me increasingly contemplating whether to go or not myself, I was swaying more to go but at the same time I had to think realistically about it. It would be great to see some old Leicester faces though, get some nice photography from the day and just be out and about for once like the old days. I saw more and more people I knew from my Facebook confirming they would be going and had numerous people asking if I, myself would be attending too? I did put myself as a maybe after not answering the initial invite, I also replied to a few of the comments in the event too. It wasn’t until later on in the week, like the day before the event I saw that Steve had said he was a maybe too and I decided to ask if he was really considering about attending the training session, he said he would and asked if I was interesting in going too and how I would be going transport wise. I said I had thought about it but was unsure if I would go at all, Steve offered to give myself a lift and drive down and if someone else wanted to come they could too due to seating. With it being so close to the event, I asked Kezza if he wanted to come as we had all trained the day before and then with that, it was decided and we spoke about what time to meet and where for the morning.

 

Steve – Box Precision.

 

I woke up early for this weekend’s extravaganza, I went downstairs to feed the cats and while checking very briefly online I see a message already sent for Steve asking if I was awake and ready for the day ahead and if I’ve heard from Kezza yet, who had also messed me about being already up and ready. I liked a few posts and made a comment in the event to which James liked too and then messaged me about being up so early, I was shocked to see him active on Facebook at this time, after he always arrives at training sessions at around 1pm or later. I told him I had woke up to go to toilet and feed the cats and had a quick look online before hitting the hay again, not a lie as such only a slight embellishment of the truth and with that I logged off and left James to get ready for his day ahead. He was meeting a friend first and then meeting up with Parkour guys around 12pm at the train station before making their way to Leicester. I felt pretty exhausted from going to bed at two and hadn’t had all that much sleep, I was feeling the cold before I went to bed and then the lack of sleep which together were a bad combination and hoped a hot shower and some warm breakfast in my stomach would do the job at waking me up as well as warming me up too.

I was packed and with that I made my way to the Parkour park for ten o’clock, I was already running slightly late by ten minutes and it wasn’t like I could run there with my bad ankle, and so I had to take my sweet time. While walking with my heavy bag over my shoulder, I decided to switch it to the other shoulder as I crossed the road only for it to end up pulling my trapezius muscle, radiating in some of my shoulder and neck. My ankle felt really painful today too, even if in previous weeks it had felt great and been fine for training on to a degree, this seemed like a sign of worse to come! I made it to the park to find Kieran sat on one of the workout machines, no Steve in sight, no doubt he was held up in traffic. My shoulder felt like it was pulling more now and I dreaded to think how it would be for the rest of the day, we saw a few local kids on the park training and jumping. Time was getting on and it was nearly the meet up time and still no Steve, maybe he wasn’t able to come after all? We joked about what if he didn’t arrive or we didn’t hear anything from him, what a waste of a day it would have been. Just as we said that he arrived, and we finally headed off a little before quarter to, he mentioned he was having a clutch problem with his car and that was why he was late, that and he popped into Tesco’s beforehand too.

 

Random Shot.

 

It was smooth sailing all the way there, we didn’t hit any bad traffic as such, apart from a slight cluster in the town centre which was to be expected. It also looked like there was a football match on too, with masses of supporters in their team shirts walking from the train station to the football ground, while chanting and cheering as they went. While driving there myself and Steve had to laugh at Kezza who was in his own little world when listening to his music, at one stage he was singing along to his music and was unaware we had turned down the radio to listen to him singing to himself, that was until we burst out laughing at him and him feeling like a dick. We arrived at around half eleven, I could see people already jumping around, I shouted Tim over and asked for directions on a parking location to which he hadn’t any real clue. He suggested a NCP up the road but would involve going a long route back around the city centre, with that we made our way back to look for this NCP car park and as we were leaving and driving along the outskirts I could see Yaz and Phil arriving. On navigating through the back streets and main roads the car began to acting up and Steve found it harder to change gear due to the clutch, he said so long as he makes it to a car park he should be alright, then while on a main road low and behold we were stuck on a hill, unable to move. Deflated and late to the jam myself and Kezza had to get out and push it up the hill and over the traffic lights to the car park, god knows what the other drivers were thinking.

What should have been a few minutes to find parking was a half an hour job, at least we were here now and could enjoy our day. If needs be, we could get picked up by a recovery trunk if the car didn’t work when it was time to get home, though I hoped it will work as it was fine until we got into Leicester, so it might be the same on the way home? By the time we got back to the meet up point there were loads of people now and it was great to see so many out, from the distance I could here ‘Zade! Zade! Zade!’ being shouted by Dan who was busy at the time stretching his legs on his foam roller. He said it was good to see me out as he didn’t expect to see me, nor as many people who had turned up, which is great. It was overwhelming the amount that had come to the event, from different cities, quite the array of personalities and skill sets. It was great to talk to different groups of people and catch up with others I hadn’t seen in years. The only thing I did at first were a few handstands with Kezza on the small walls to warm up, people were still arriving and I watched as others jumped around trying to get some inspiration for photos. Will arrived, then some of the Nottingham guys not long afterwards, they didn’t see me due to being behind a wall taking photos and then when they did spot me they smiled and laughed because I said I wouldn’t be going and yet here I was in front of them. All apart from James who seemed to be rather pissed at me, as was Phil to a degree, calling me sly and said had a feeling I might have attended due to me liking and commenting in the event. I guess not everyone was fond of surprises, I could have said something earlier, but again that would have ruined the surprise!

 

Yaz & Ash – Portrait.

 

There was no Denis to be seen with them though, he had missed the meet up time and also the train by five minutes. He said to James he wouldn’t bother coming, then got on the next train and text James saying he is on his way. James told him the the meeting spot was an 18 minutes walk when he arrives in Leicester train station and did he have Google Maps? Denis text back saying “Nope. WTF!? 18 mins! I should have went home!!!!” this had everyone laughing hard as it was such a Denis thing to say and do. Though it was great when he did finally make it to the training session. He had a smile on his face for the whole day, which was very rare to see with Denis, he mentioned that we should all train Leicester more often because of the cool training areas and everything is still fresh and new to us. It wasn’t long before some of the university security came out to move us from the meet up area due to JUMP Parkour not having permission to use the environment, apart from the wooden benches which seemed ridiculous as those are the things most brittle. With that we had to move on to another area, I didn’t think Leicester people got moved on and yet here we were getting moved on… I guess the masses made us more of an attraction, before we left the area we got a giant group shot (seen top of this entry) even if I had forgot how to set the self timer option on my camera and was the cause of much delay and laughter for the group photo.

We left for the next area which was across the road at a very colourful subway, you don’t see many subways these days as many of them have been filled in for whatever reason. We used to have some really awesome ones in Nottingham, which would have been perfect for training at in the present day. Alas, most have been demolished and filled in, one of architectures great Parkour creations going amiss. Some stayed at the subway, trying the kong precision while others moved over to an area they called the Phoenix to train, which was less crowded and had more variety of movements to do and catered for all levels of skill. While Ash did a few kongs over the wall in preparation for the kong precision, one of his hands slid forward along the way as he went over, causing him to do a strange sideways kong. A sign of things to come? Later on when he went to do it with full effort, he had a nasty bail [1] resulting in his hand sliding off the wall from the kong completely and him crashing towards the hand rail back first and hitting his ankle on the top of the wall on his way down too. It looked volatile and he remained on the floor still as can be, winded perhaps? Though he said it was his ankle which hurt the most and took the brunt of the fall, he wasn’t able to walk on it and so it then looked like it was a hospital visit for him, with Tim going with him to make sure he was okay. The footage people had recorded of the accident looked brutal.

I did get some nice images of people attempting the kong precision before Ash’s bail, though afterwards it had put many people off trying it and some of us ventured over to the phoenix area to reunite with the others. It was a big open area where people were doing a running upwards cat towards one of the car park entrances, while avoiding the members of the public who walked to and from the entrance. Some of the guys were on the roofs, while others did kong precisions on the small surrounding walls. The rest of us were having a lunch break, while Rob was busy filming bits for his vlog later on. I took shots of the guys flying through the air and a few portraits, there wasn’t all that much else I could capture in such a small area. My ankle was starting to feel the strain of the day already, I couldn’t try things I saw everyone else doing, which was depressing and I felt it may only get worse, and the day had only just begun. Tim was sat with Ash (seen below) while they waited for a taxi to pick them up for Ash to go to hospital, no doubt he would be waiting for three to four hours to be seen, if not longer if it’s anything like our A&E department in Nottingham. He had to get a friend to drive over to pick him up, as he had come by train and that wasn’t an option for going back home on. A short and eventful day for Ash, I know the injury blues oh too well and no doubt that will be the brunt of his week(s) and months while recovery from the injury.

 

Ash & Tim – Portrait.

 

The phoenix area was cool, and even more appealing when we had moved around the other side of the building. It had small yellow rails, yet more small walls, plant pots, railings and trees. The small fractions merged as one giant group of people all training similar movements and giving a go what others were practising in a single file fashion. I even gave a few things a go like underbars and vaulting the railings. It was a nice area for photography and of course, some people were pulling out more impressive feats. Kezza had two bails in this area and it didn’t seem like it was his day, one while trying a rail kong precision and his hand slipping off the railing and another time him landing on the wall and his foot sliding down off it which both gave me an ankle breaking tweak. It amazed me that such an open area with very few things to do could keep a host of people so entertained with an equally awesome vibe. The next area we moved to was the Leicester City Council building, the building were very tall and we got told they were soon to be demolished. The area was amazing for photos and while myself and others spent our time training here on the small walls and swinging around trees the others were around the other side of the complex and New Walk training. Juan was doing some amazing swinging around the trees, along with Denis also giving them a go with Kezza too. The others using the other side of the area were doing running and standing precision jumps and some laches on the opposite tree too.

We decided to move around to the front of the building with another area with lots of black rails, it felt like it was in the middle of the city centre, with shops, pubs and other shops opposite the area with the public watching in amazement and asking for things to be done. It was strange as everything we were using was okay to be trained on by the building people. It was so strange to see the council / wardens walking in and out of the front of the building, not being bothered about what we were doing. The security only asked not to use one part of the place near the back as it wasn’t secure, but everything else was fine to jump around on. I blame Denis for that telling off, as he was doing some crazy downwards precision jump, which they obviously saw and then decided to tell us to move off it. I really wanted a grab a photo of him doing that precision too! I really liked some of the shots I was taking in the area, especially one of Ben doing a running precision, taken from underneath amongst the foliage. In the distance, Parrish and Holbrook came walking down to join us and said they had managed to get over on the train without paying and that some more of the Derby guys were coming over later too. It was all a very spontaneous thing from them and added to the numbers. Leicester has changed so much since I last visited, I enjoyed walking through the city centre while we moved to a older location I remember well, Cat Alley. The numbers had dwindled a bit now, as it was later in the evening and people had left, through tiredness, being busy later that evening or just having had enough for one day of training.

 

Juan – Tree Swinging.

 

Cat Alley and surrounding areas before it I remember fondly from training back in 2006 onwards, though it had changed a bit since then, with new buildings. The roofs we used to be able to walk up to the top of had now been blocked with anti-climb paint and spikes on all the stairwells not allowing access. A building had been demolished which used to have a catleap and the one across from it was now residential homes. The main, slippery catleap was still there though, the wall hadn’t increased in grip over the years though, which proved to be an added challenge for people to do. I took my last few images while in this area, I had grown tired of taking photos and decided to have a rest. At one point someone said security or the police had arrived, we were all oblivious as many of us were around the corner doing muscle ups on a bike shed thing, until the very confused policemen walked around to ask what was going on here due to the amount of us. They really did seem very bewildered to why we were all congregated in this one place and what it was we were ‘training’ or even doing at that, it seemed like it was going to be one of those encounters… Though once they had, had a chat with us and understood they seemed to be okay about it all and let us be on our way to carry on training. They took Dan’s details and with that we got moved on from the area due to the residents complaining, if they got any other calls from the public they would know it was our group around town and not to worried as such.

The group was split into two now and we found the remaining lot at a different location where many of the guys were on the roofs training and vaulting. I can’t remember the name of the area, one thing I do remember is that Denis once again had managed to set of some secret alarm while wandering around on the roof of a building, this reminded me of the day a similar thing happened when we went exploring some rooftops in Nottingham and due to him, was the reason we got caught by a policeman. The first thought which sprung to my mind was Denis’ statement after we had got caught that day which was ‘is this was it means to have trouble with the law?‘ I didn’t want a repeat of this day and since the alarm was going off I figured it wouldn’t be long until some sort of security would turn up. Some of the guys from Derby had arrived while a few other people had ventured off to the nearest Tesco’s, which myself and some others decided to do too. If anyone did come to move the group on at least I wouldn’t be there. The journey to find a Tesco’s proved to be an adventure and a half, not knowing where to go we decided to walk up the road, only to get told by a local shop keeper the nearest one was in the other direction… So we had to walk all the way back and down to the train station before finding it and passing Phil and Yaz on the way who had just been there. Once we had arrived back at the training spot we found no one to be there and they had all gone to the next location of training at the Slates, another area I remember well, along with many other ones at the University like the QE.

 

Denis – Webster.

 

We took a slow walk over to the area, while Tim shouted and jogged down to us on the way, after returning back to town from A&E, informing us that Ash was okay and nothing was broken. The only thing which had changed at the Slats area was the lack of plants which used to grow wildly there in the summer months, they had all been uprooted and the area was all fenced off too. People were busy jumping around and looking at a catleap with a drop, one which was a great achievement to have down, I remember when I first encountered it and it seems to be quite scary until you have done it. During that moment of everyone looking at the catleap, Yaz had spotted a security guard who was walking down into the area and shouted ‘security!’ to which everyone scattered like an unearthed ants nest and ran out of the area as fast as possible, to avoid an encounter with them. Over the years they have been rather harsh towards practitioners and we wanted to not antagonise this. Once we were leaving the area they had caught up with us and spoke to Dan, they seemed to be refreshingly cool about it all, which was great and with that we made our way over to the QE areas. The jam was now slowing down, people were feeling drained and dropping off for home. The area had changed lots compared to all those years ago, new building had been build, old ones replaced, it was strange and felt like a completely new area compared.

Many of the Nottingham guys were now heading off home, I was lacking energy for any more training or even working out, it had been such a long day! Due to many of the guys being on the rooftops it was inevitable that security would come along and move people off due to being on the roofs, most people were happy to call it a day and make their way back into town and say our goodbyes. It was a long twenty or so minute walk back into the city centre and I was feeling so drained, don’t get me wrong it had been a brilliant day out and had been great to see everyone, it felt a chore to walk back to the car though. Tim walked us back to the car park, not before we nearly got ran over while crossing the main roads to get to it. It felt so good to be ready to set off home, the car seats felt so comfy and I knew once I got home, had a shower and ate properly, my bed would have never felt so comfortable. Steve started up the car, but again the clutch wasn’t having any of it and he couldn’t get it in the gears he wanted, there was no way to sort the problem out either, as he hadn’t brought anything with him tool wise to sort it as he thought it would have been okay until we got home. It had become impossible to drive and so we pulled into the nearest bus lane and had to sit and wait for the recovery truck to come and fix the car, failing that take us home, even if we had a few hours to kill before hand…

 

Ben – Catleap.

 

All I wanted to do was go home and yet we were stranded, with nothing to do but walk around and have a laugh and giggle until they arrived, it’s not like we could even train any more even if we wanted too. It was getting dark, people looked at us gone out as they passed, due to being broken down. We walked around the areas closest to us, spoke about how the day had been and I went through some of the photos I had taken and decided to delete many of the bad while we waited, saving me a job later on. I didn’t want to jinx anything, but I joked about what if something else went wrong with the day like the tow truck arriving, then breaking down on top of everything else, that would be the icing on the cake. I was so glad when the tow truck did arrive, the guy (called Lee) had a shiny bald head, a tough looking exterior and yet when he spoke he had a high pitch, soft voice which made myself and Kezza laugh as he spoke to Steve, it wasn’t what we thought he would sound like at all. The car wasn’t going to be able to be fixed here on the road and so with that we hopped in the truck and were being escorted back to Nottingham.

I took a few photos of the journey back and we reflected on the day of training, while all Kezza wanted to do was go to sleep, but instead watched some porn on his phone. We also learnt about some of Steve’s crazy life stories and how he even knew one of Kieran’s brothers too! One of his stories was of a guy who lives down the road from him, with the exact same name as him and due to this he was able to have the guys car he was saying as nothing had to be changed over name wise! He had many other equally bizarre stories too. It was strange with the ride home, at one part of being on the motorway there was no street lighting at all for miles, and felt like we weren’t near any civilization. By the time we did get back to Nottingham I felt so disorientated and was going to be glad when getting back to my own house, I finally got back after eleven and forgot that I had no food in the house, it was also the weekend which meant the local shops were already closed and so had to venture out to stock up on food, while being equally starving and with zero energy. I was well and truly shattered and after eating, showering, I collapsed in bed and hoped that the next day I wasn’t feeling too worse for wear muscle wise.

 

Yaz’s Thumb Injury.

 

Juan – Box to Cat.

 

Juan – Catleap.

 

Beaster Group Photo.

 

Josh – Kong Precision.

 

Josh – Kong Precision.

 

James – Kong Precision.

 

Ben – Kong Precision.

 

Ben – Kong.

 

James – Kong.

 

James – Kong Precision.

 

Juan – Kong Precision.

 

Andrew – Running Catleap.

 

Eugene – Running Catleap.

 

Eugene – Running Catleap.

 

Ash & Tim – Portrait.

 

James – Diving Kong.

 

James – Diving Kong.

 

Same Level Kong.

 

Dan – Kong.

 

Kezza – Kong Precision.

 

Kezza – Kong Precision.

 

Steve – Box Precision.

 

James – Running Precision.

 

James – Running Precision.

 

Pete – Running Precision.

 

Joshua & Elliott.

 

Phil – Kong Precision.

 

Phil – Kong Precision.

 

Phil – Extreme Portrait.

 

Phil – Portrait.

 

Ben – Running Precision.

 

Ben – Running Precision.

 

Ben – Running Precision.

 

Juan – Precision.

 

Ride Home.

 

Building.

 

Joe & Dan.

 

Dan – Pole Sliding.

 

Yaz – 180 Precision.

 

Joe – Precision.

 

Joe – Precision.

 

Yaz & Ash – Portrait.

 

Precision.

 

Juan – Kong Cat.

 

Eugene – Running Catleap.

 

Joe – Running Catleap.

 

Joe – Running Catleap.

 

Joe – Running Catleap.

 

Rob – Portrait.

 

Kezza – Kong Precision.

 

Tall Building.

 

Kezza – Precision.

 

James – Precision.

 

James – Precision.

 

Tree & Building.

 

Juan – Tree Swinging.

 

Juan – Tree Swinging.

 

Kezza – Tree Swinging.

 

Denis – Tree Swinging.

 

Juan – Tree Swinging.

 

Juan – Tree Swinging.

 

Juan – Tree Swinging.

 

Juan – Tree Swinging.

 

James – Running Precision.

 

Denis – Running Precision.

 

Steve – Box Precision.

 

Steve – Box Precision.

 

Ben – Running Precision.

 

Ben – Running Precision.

 

Rail Running.

 

Dan – Rail Balance.

 

Phil – Kong Precision.

 

Phil – Kong Precision.

 

Phil – Kong Precision.

 

Phil – Kong Precision.

 

Will – Pole Swinging.

 

Denis – Front Tuck.

 

Kezza – Precision.

 

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