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[personal profile] denny
This might be the first in a series of posts about London freerunning spots from the perspective of a total beginner. Or I might decide this one took so long that I'm not doing any more. :)

(If you're somewhere above beginner level and you know this spot, maybe you could chip in with some comments (and pics!) about what there is for you to do in this area - obviously I mostly only notice the things that I can do (or nearly do), which ain't that much!)


Location: https://maps.google.co.uk/?q=Laxfield+Court,+Hackney


The main thing here is a series of three ornamental garden areas in-between blocks of flats, which look like this:



There are a few useful things here. The first one I noticed was this low wall with grass behind it, on the way into the first garden (coming from the west):



That's about 80cm tall, at most. Good for practising kong vaults if you're not very confident about getting them right, with that soft(ish) landing behind it.

The second is a bunch of reasonably low places to practise precisions. There's an obvious one between the two walls on the way in, which has a gap of about 200cm (so a jump of 210/220cm maybe?):



Then a slightly shorter one between the two diagonal walls in the centre - about 180cm gap:



There's also another 180cm gap between two walls at one edge, and because of the diagonal wall running behind that you can try a double precision, with the length of the shorter first jump being adjustable to some extent:



Another nice thing about the edge one is that the grass between the two parallel walls runs up to meet the walls:



...so if you're a bit nervous you can do the jump at a really low wall height, with grass for landing on if you come down a bit short and fall back on your arse. Always reassuring. :)

If 180cm is too far for you, then there are some smaller jumps off of the flower-bed thing in the centre. This one is ever-so-slightly uphill, but there's only 120cm or less gap between the walls:



With all those precision spots, note that there are two styles of top surface on the walls - you can just about see them both on the right-hand wall in the photo of the diagonal jump above. One is an older gravel finish and really grippy, the other is a newer smooth white finish and can be slippy - check the smooth ones for grip before you jump to them.

Heading under the blocks of flats (away from the canal slightly), each garden has a set of steps and railings like this in one corner:





They're a nice height for practising hauling yourself up and then over a railing from a lower starting position, or vaulting from the top side with a 180 turn, landing your feet on the floor under the railing before dropping down the extra bit.

Also easy to find in a few places are these gates, as you go further back towards the garages behind some of the blocks of flats:



They're about as high as I'm comfortable with for lazy vaults - around 110cm. They also have a nice wide square top rail for balancing along. Make sure they're closed properly first, you don't want one of them moving while you're jumping over it or walking along it! The one at the east end of this area has a low square-top bollard near it, so you can do a baby precision at the end of your rail balance if you want:



Some of the walls around the garages in this area are a good height for lazy vaults - varying between 100cm and 120cm tall:



Some of them have a really harsh gravel finish though, which might eat your hands a bit. I stuck with the smoother ones personally.

There are also some railings marking off raised areas between paths out the front of the flats. Most of them are too low to be of interest (other than for balancing, and you might get heckled a bit there), but there was this one with a choice of either a high jump or a high drop when you vault it - could be interesting to work along as you progress:



Coming back along the front of this estate, next to the canal, there are a series of the low square bollards which you can do baby precisions or baby strides on:







And then a whole load of long stretches of these super-low walls to run along, with a 180cm gap precision opportunity in the middle of each one:



Keep an eye out for loose top-stones on those, by the way:



There's also a kids' adventure playground thing down here. I had a quick mess around on it as it was completely deserted when I was there, but I imagine it's probably covered in small children usually so use your common sense:



On the way home from this spot I crossed Queensbridge Road (going west) and found this long round wall to walk/run along:



Nice little balance challenge to finish my afternoon off.

July 2014

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