The first of two new zones in Midlothian appeared at 10:57 pm last night. The zone was called LinghillFarm, located between Rosslyn and Bilston. Shortly afterwards, at 11:46 pm, another new zone popped into existence from the Turf Netherworld. This one is called MrPink and could be found at the outflow of Edgelaw reservoir. Unfortunately, I missed this miraculous event having been tucked up in bed and most likely sound asleep. The fact that I cannot recall what I was doing does suggest I was, indeed, fast asleep.
However, next morning both new zones were still untaken. This was good news. Looks like my rivals for collecting new zones and getting those cherished FTT’s (First To Take) have yet to get off the starting blocks. I have three main rivals locally, though there is always the chance that invaders from the Big City, or from the mysterious Far East, as in East Lothian, might chance to appear. My main rivals are two members of the Penicuik Crew, namely a lovely lass called Aibo and “Hardcore” Hodge, who I will also call lovely to keep everything fair. My other rival is bicycle repairman MuttsCycles who rides a fearsome fat bike with big bollocks. That’s the fat bike not MuttsCycles. Just wanted to make that clear.
So, by 10.00 am, or thereabouts, I was ready for the off, taking the Surly Ogre single speed in account of the terrible road condition likely to be encountered. A quick final look at the Turf app for any signs of other turfers showed I had a clear run. For now. Though this might change at any moment. My first concern was turfer Aibo, who works nearby at Bush and might, conceivably, nip across and grab these rare new zones for the FTT value on her way to work. And not forgetting turfer Hodge, who might also appear at light speed in his trusty bicycle.
With a rough route plan in mind, I started off towards Rosslyn first. My thinking was that new zone LinghillFarm had the highest risk of being taken before I managed to get there. The other new zone, MrPink, was less risky, as turfer MuttsCycles, who resides in Dalkeith and does not work on Mondays, usually heads further afield on his days off. I followed the Dalkeith to Penicuik cycleway – might as well get some zones along the way – then dropped down through the old Gunpowder Mill site and up to Rosslyn.
Unfortunately, a quirk of geography, or is that geology, or perhaps both, means I have to cross the steep sided river valley of the North Esk. We have the last Ice Age to thank for this. The glaciers rolled in from the west, carving out the deep valleys we see today and while you get a great freewheel down, what goes down needs to go up again. The road, a “B” road, from the river to Rosslyn is very steep, narrow and busy with speeding traffic. It was not designed for bicycles or cyclists who think riding single speed bicycle is a good idea. Thankfully, there are spots you can safely stop for a breather. The tight hair-pin bends are not for the faint-hearted.
Zone LinghillFarm, was as expected, disappointing, and I do wonder the wisdom of placing a zone here. It’s on the busy B7006 to Rosslyn and while designated 40 mph, drivers hereabouts seem to lack any understanding what that means. There’s a narrow pavement and a gap in the wall with a signpost. I certainly do not feel a safe place to stop to take a zone, even with the pavement. But that’s just my opinion.
Now, before heading off to get new zone MrPink. Love that name, by the way. There’s a unique I want to bag along the way. It’s called CooksLinks, for reasons which will probably be known to someone, and is located on the B6372 heading for Gladhouse reservoir and the most direct route means down through Auchendinny followed by the long, slow climb up towards Howgate. And what a long, slow, tedious climb it is. And again, I’m wondering the wisdom is riding single speed. But I eventually get there, albeit with a few short walks along the way. Once the climb is over its relatively easy cycling, even on a single speed bike.
Initially, I did wonder why a zone was placed here, effectively in the middle of nowhere. However, once there, the views are quite splendid, making it worth the effort of getting there. Mind you, the weather today was cool but bright and dry. I’ve been here in more inclement winter weather and it’s not a place to linger. I was thinking of suggesting this be moved to a more interesting location but I think it’s well worth the effort, if only once to get the unique.
New zone MrPink was next, and being largely downhill all the way back, an easy cycle from zone CooksLinks. Had some bother lifting the bike over the style at the entrance to Edgelaw. The style has collapsed on one side. However, once over I noticed a gap in the fence a few meters along the road. So, you can now have the benefit of the easy option. It was very peaceful at the reservoir, where I scoffed down my sandwiches and watched the birdies on the water. With two new zones taken, along with two FTT’s to add to the collection, and a unique in the bag, it was job done and time to head for home. Must remember to keep more of an eye open for those new zones. Back soon.
P.S. Just remembered. Mr Pink was a character in the movie Reservoir Dogs. Directed by Quentin Tarantino.
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