Keen to get started bagging zones for the January round of Turf but thwarted by icy conditions at the start and a keen desire not to fall off my bike, by Tuesday morning the ice had largely cleared, and accompanied by Cathryn, my wife, we set off on foot across Bonnyrigg to take a few zones. First a couple of zones a stone’s throw from the front door, Pittendriech and Brixwold, now both offering 170 points, a drop from the last round offering of 185 points.
Next, one of my own zone suggestions, KirkCockpen (185 points), followed by GroovyFarm, ChesterGarden, AuldCoal, CockpenBypass and Skeltiemuir, this last batch also all reduced to 170 points. Next RobinAndTuck, Bonnyrigg, WaverlyPath and finally, WayOfBaird, all again at 170 points, then back home for lunch. Would be interesting to know where the zone name RobinAndTuck came from?
With Cathryn working in the afternoon, I was able to head out again, this time on the Surly Ogre bicycle, heading across to Eskbank, taking Wishart (170 points), Slytherin (170 points) and A7View (155 points). Next stop, Eskbank Railway Station for EskBank (155 points), then back to Hardengreen and WitchTakeOff, both 155 points. EskPath (170 points) was the next to fall but thankfully I didn’t fall, having spotted a considerable patch of thick sheet ice along a low-lying stretch of this railway path. Not sure it would have been easy to see at night.
I now headed into Dalkeith town centre, weaving though the busy traffic and taking WhichKing (170 points) on the way, HolyBuccleuch (170 points) as I passed by and stopping at the health centre to SayAhhh for 185 points. TheGuitar at a footbridge crossing the South Esk, provided another 185 points, then it was across to the Woodburn housing estate to take a few unique zones including ThriftShop, Medway, Langside, ClarindaZone, WhitehillDr, Kippielaw, Lauder, CowdenPark and MinersZone, all with 185 points each. For some unknown reason I managed to miss JamedTheLean and Peppermint but will get them next time.
Now on the way back home, a very, very icy Maiden Bridge and path at Newbattle Abbey – which required hanging onto the low stone parapet for grime life with one hand and dragging the bike slithered sideways on the ice with the other – gave me 185 points for SouthEsk followed by 170 points for BattleForrest, always a difficult zone to get a GPS signal. Beatles, BikeSlooowly and Strawberries were next to fall to me and the Ogre, each for 155 points. A final three, WaverlyPark, LothianSquare and NotFencedIn (all 170 points) were ticked off, with one last zone we’d missed earlier in the morning, LadyMarion with 170 points, taking my points total for this round to over 8,500 and 42 zones in all.
A couple of alerts on the mobile phone informed me that I’d picked up further Medals, 100 Unique, for grabbing at least 100 different zones, and Neutralizer, for at least 20 zones in 5 hours. My rank was also up to the next level, Rank 15 – Great Explorer.
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