In today's world of computer games and social media, scrambling over walls, shinning up trees and leaping from railings seem like pursuits from a bygone age.

Not so for 14-year-old Robbie Griffith, known as "Wee Beastie", who can often be found propelling himself around the urban landscape.

Griffith is a leading parkour athlete; a discipline that developed in the 1980s in France from military obstacle course training which uses only the human body and the environment to move around.

Watch Robbie in action below

"I'd always loved rock-climbing and tree-climbing and as soon as I found parkour I loved it," says Robbie, a pupil at St Ambrose High in Coatbridge.

He joined a class after seeing a flyer at school and has been honing his skills for the past four years. "At the gym they use horses to vault over and the gymnastic boxes to jump to. You can use the beam to walk along as if it was a railing. It's really safe and there is a coach supporting you as well."

By the age of 12, he had taken to the streets. "The first time I tried it outside was in a swing park in Coatbridge. I remember trying to vault the railings. It was much harder outside, I wasn't as used to it."

Despite the risks, he has never had a major fall. "I've never broken a bone in my body. I've only had a bump or a scrape, I've never had anything serious, just a couple of bruises."

Robbie will often take note of a spot that he is keen to use for parkour and come back and work out a rough route. He often film his moves and puts them online.

Keeping calm is important. "If you are about to do something and you are really nervous about it, then you are not 100 per cent sure that you can do it, and that is when it becomes dangerous."

He now trains with Parkour Generations, a London-based organisation, and has signed on with management company JLM Urban Sports, which supplies stunt men for films including James Bond, Iron Man and Star Wars.



Through his YouTube films, Robbie's mesmerising stunts have attracted an online audience and he was invited to star in the Paul Smith Junior spring-summer campaign 2015. "It was a bit strange at first doing it in front of more people and cameras but by the end of the day's shooting I was more comfortable with it and the camera crew were really friendly.

"I'd love to be a professional parkour athlete, going all around the world coaching and performing live and doing shoots like Paul Smith one. I'd love to travel."

Robbie's father Jim, who did gymnastics in his youth, has given his support, along with mother Lorraine.

Jim says he didn't mind what sport his sons got into (he also has an elder son, Tom, 18) so long as they were active. Given the breathtaking moves his son is capable of, did he ever fear for Robbie's safety?

"He went to Parkour Scotland's classes twice a week and it's inside, in a gym. It's all crash mats and there is no height stuff and I've watched him train and get better. He was always a wee fidget, a bit of a monkey as a kid, so he improved once he started training outside."

There is a school of thought which believes that channelling their natural thrill-seeking desire into one activity can actually make children less likely to engage in other, less desirable risk-taking behaviour and this seems to chime with Jim's experience.

"For me, what it has helped is his risk-tasking. It has matured him so much and helped his focus. He will no doubt break something at some point but he trampolines competitively for Glasgow Trampoline Club so that also helps his awareness when he is in the air."

In 2014, Robbie was involved with the Commonwealth Youth Circus tour. "For a 13-year-old, training for nine months for six days a week and then touring Scotland for six weeks and performing with kids aged between 18 and 25 has been another good experience. He's like any other 14-year-old - cheeky in the house and carrying on with his brother - but it has matured him a lot, being around older kids."

Since his star has ascended in the parkour world, Robbie has been featured in the New York Times and his dad is proud of the way he is handling the attention.

"That's what I am very proud of, not only his talent but how he comes across. He is shy and he is humble about it all and that's important for me."

While Jim is keen for his son to forge a career using his skills, he is philosophical about the future. "If nothing comes of this and he joins the rat race like most of us, he has had some great childhood memories."