Turf Blog 05-02-24

Turf Zone – HareyIssac

You have to be really quick these days to bag a First To Take or FTT zone, that’s taking a new zone that have never been taken before. I almost didn’t notice this one, it was actually my wife Cathryn, a.k.a. turfer ChoccyMuffin, who shouted through from the bedroom to ask what a certain Turf icon meant. The icon was a yellow square with a black cross, which means a new zone has been created. But of course, you all already knew that, didn’t you? The zone in question was located in Newton Village and goes by the name of HareyIsaac.

So, I immediately made plans to be first to get this one. No point hanging about, as across the vast gulfs of Midlothian, intellects, vast and cold and unsympathetic regarded zones like this with envious eyes. And slowly and surely, drew their plans to take them. Well, in Dalkeith and Penicuik anyway. Not sure there are any zones on Mars, yet!

My transport of choice in this War of the Turf Zones was the humble bus, the No 46 Musselburgh, ideal as it passes through Shawfair Park and Ride, leaving me with an easy walk across to Newton Village. To be honest, I wasn’t very keen on cycling today as the wind was gusting to 50 mph. So, public transport it was. And I would add that 50 mph would be a touch on the low side when I was standing at the bus shelter on Pendreich Avenue, Bonnyrigg. The wind here was channelling down the road and with the so-called bus shelter standing parallel to the road, not much shelter to be had. More like a bus wind tunnel than a bus shelter.

The walk across to Newton Village was not too bad, with the wind at my back I was protected from the worst of it. However, what I will mention is the topic of buffs. You know, those tubes of cloth you wear around your neck. One problem I’ve found is that they compress down too much and leave your upper neck exposed. I suppose you could wear two or three of them but then I recalled I had an old one bought over 30-years ago, at a time before these fashionable thin efforts became widely available. It’s made from a thicker jersey-type fabric and is stiff enough to hold its shape. Much better at keeping the neck warm in cold winds.

New zone HareyIsaac was not anything I’d want to send a postcard home about. It’s a footbridge across the Borders Railway line, though it does have the exalted status of having the bridge attribute, which does raise it slightly above the lesser common or garden variety of zones. I suppose one might get excited if one was a railway enthusiast. I did take some photographs but really, it’s a footbridge.

From Newton Village I walked back a different route, following the track known as The Kaim, actually a glacial feature left after the last ice age. I’ve been this way many times, usually by bicycle or kick scooter but never on foot. I described what a Kaim is back on Turf Blog 30-08-21.

“The Kaim, a geological feature deposited when the ice melted at the end of the last Ice Age. Imagine a glacier, you know, a great muckle sheet of ice covering Scotland. Now, imagine a meltwater river flowing under the glacier. As it flows it picks up particles of silt, sand, small pebbles and larger cobbles, and this load eventually gets deposited on the bed of the river. Over time the riverbed increases in depth, eventually becoming many meters thick. Then after many, many, moons, all the ice melts and a narrow sinuous strip of sand and gravel are left, a Kaim, also called as esker.”

Today, as well as grabbing the two zones along the Kaim, I wanted to see if there was any other evidence that this was actually a Kaim. Not being a professional geologist, I thought that finding some washed river gravel or cobbles along the edges might add to the theory. And indeed, that was the case, although the large cobbles and boulders at the base are probably from field clearance.

With zones taken it was back to Shawfair Park and Ride for the No 46 bus, this time for Rosewell. The bus runs every 30 minutes and I always hope to arrive just in time to step on board. And also hope against the situation where you arrive just after the bus is departing and have to wait the entire 30 minutes. There always those tense few moments when you are approaching the bus stop. You’re too far away to make it should the bus arrive, even when running. Then as you get closer, and no bus appears, you start to relax. Had to wait 13 minutes for this one. At least the bus shelter did it job, though the wind was doing its best to pop the Perspex windows out. Back soon.

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