With a Friday early finish at 3.00 o’clock, I’d just enough time to grab a couple of hours turfing before starting the dinner and with snow falls during the week leaving some 450 mm of the stuff in places, there was still plenty lying around to entice the Surly Pugsley fat bike from the shed and head down to the Newbattle area to grab a few zones.
First take of the afternoon was StoneGate (185 points) then through the Newbattle housing estate to avoid the busy A7 Trunk road, across the River South Esk, past the Sun Inn and into the woods to follow Lady Lothian Walk. But first task was to remove a layer of clothing, as I was already too warm, despite the temperature hovering around freezing.
Next zone to fall was TheRedWoods (170 points) with a few photos for the blog. Quite a few dog walkers and family groups out this afternoon, most if not all, smiling at this strange apparition riding an over-tyred bicycle in the snow, puffing for breath on the climbs, sliding on the slippy bits and bouncing around on the rough descents. All encounters were pleasant enough and a few comments about the size of the tyres was the norm. Seems to be a trend for men to wear shorts this winter. Looks odd when their upper half is togged out for tackling the Munros in winter, yet there’s skinny pale legs sticking out of a pair of shorts.
On the long climb towards Mayfield, I stopped to take TheSouthPath (170 points) then continued upwards, though not easy to get going again on the slick snow. The bike lost traction on some soft sugar-snow sections a few times and almost had me stopping but some cunning placement of my derriere over the rear wheel to aid traction and some careful pedalling to keep the torque low, kept me moving forward. Mary (185 points) was my next take, followed with TheNorthPath (185 points) on the long easy descent down to Newbattle Abbey. At the gardens to the rear, BattleAbbey (185 points) was the next zone on my route, the abbey grounds looking splendid in the welcome bright sunshine and covering of snow.
From here the path follows the River South Esk downstream, and with the snow and ice covered path immediately next to the river, it was slow careful cycling to avoid any potential slips that might result in me taking an unwelcome cold bath in the South Esk. It was here last summer when I met an older lady standing beside her bicycle. She looked pale and shaken and was also soaking wet. I stopped and asked if she was okay. She explained that she’d been cycling downstream and had stopped but failed to remember she was using clip-on pedals and had tumbled sideways, complete with her bike, down a 2.00 m drop into the river, narrowly missing some rocks. She was a very lucky lady!
The Maiden Bridge gave me zone SouthEsk for 170 points, then it was along the path to pick off BattleForrest for another 170 points. I took a near miss from an errant snowball thrown by a lad aiming for one of his mates in a group walking in front of him. I don’t think it was deliberate, he probably didn’t see me coming, so no harm done.
Now making my way towards home, I headed for Kirk Bank Wood, taking NewBattle, RecentBattle and OldBattle, each for 170 points. By now my time was getting short but I still had enough to detour across to Edinburgh College for CollegeZone (155 points) and Eskbank (155 points) at the Railway Station. The cycleway gave up A7View (155 points), Slytherin (170 points), Wishart (170 points) and the final zone of the day being Waverly Park (170 points).
My rank has gone up again since my last turfing adventure, now sitting at Rank 25 – The Seeker and round points so far up to 25,500, which brings by overall score to about 192,000. Hope to out again tomorrow. Time to get the dinner ready.
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