Having lost over 40 zones the previous evening to the Féarglas, Queen of Turfers, I was eager to start re-taking a few of these again and not even Storm Bella was going to stop me. So, after lunch I donned some waterproofs and wheeled my Surly Ogre bicycle from the Man Cave, gritted my teeth against the 40 miles per hour wind and horizontal torrential rain and set off.
I started first picking off the local zones with Pittendriech (185 points), Brixwold (185 points) and LadyMarion falling to my GPS within a few minutes, followed by GroovyFarm (185 points) and ChesterGarden (185 points) a few minutes later, across in the Hopefield area of Bonnyrigg. Next, after battling uphill against strong headwinds and driving rain, I was able to quickly take AuldCoal (185 points) and CockpenBypass (185 points).
From there my plan was to head to the Poltonhall area and re-take the three zones we gathered on our walk the other evening. The area is very exposed but Poltonhall (185 points), Flash (185 points) and ArgylePlaza (185 points) fell in quick order. Now with my back to the wind I fairly flew along to take DobbysSock (185 points) then backtracked a way to take FreeKick (185 points) and SchoolZone (185 points) at Lasswade High School.
Next across town to the Dalkeith to Penicuik Cycleway to take Skeltiemuir (185 points) followed by a fast whizz downhill to RobinAndTuck (185 points). The High Street was almost deserted, partly due to the weather and the holiday period, and also partly due to the increased Covid-19 restrictions now in place. Bonnyrigg (170 points) was the next to be ticked off the list.
I now headed towards Lasswade to take Wee (185 points) at the Wee Brae, pushing the Ogre back up the steep hill again. From there across to Broomieknowe Golf Course to take IKnowBroom (185 points) along with TongueSpatula (185 points) at the health centre. Then after finding a sheltered spot for a quick breather, LothianSquare (185 points) and NotFencedIn (185 points) were next to fall to the all-seeing eye of the GPS.
By now I was getting rather damp, my feet were soaked, my waterproof jacket wasn’t doing the job but my none-waterproof over trousers were working better than my waterproof jacket. Fortunately, Turf cycling keeps you warm, so I decided to continue and grab a few more zones, aiming for around 30 zones in total.
Re-joining the Dalkeith to Penicuik Cycleway I picked off WaverlyPath (185 points), followed by WaverlyPark (185 points) and then across to Midlothian Community Hospital for Wishart, Slytherin and A7View, all 185 points each. The weather by now was much worse and I was tempted to call it a day but the lure of turf points kept me going, much to my own amazement as I’m generally a fair weather cyclist though with the notable exception riding my Surly Pugsley fat bike in the Moorfoot Hills during blizzards.
I decided to take all the zones up to the old A7 road, first heading for Hardengreen (185 points) and WitchTakeOff (185 points), with Strawberries (185 points) for dessert. That left only two more zones to take. I was again heading west, straight into the teeth of Storm Bella with CollegeZone (170 points) the first to go and with a final push to Eskbank railway station, taking Eskbank (185 points) before heading for home.
My zone total was now up to 38, so 31 added to the tally this session. Points were now over 18,200 and I’d jumped a rank from Rank 9 – Master Traveller to Rank 11 – Novice Explorer, skipping out Rank 10 – World Traveller. I’d also gained another medal, Eager Squirrel, for conquering at least 10 zones in 30 minutes. I’m back in the game again.
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