Well folks, I’ve finally set myself something of a wee turf challenge, or mission. Okay, it’s might not be that much of a mission but should be interesting and fun all the same. My mission is to take 26 zones in 260 minutes (4 hours, 20 minutes). What I hear you cry! That’s easy! But wait, those 26 zones must be taken in strict alphabetical order. The first zone must begin with the letter A, the next the letter B and so on, all the way to a zone starting with the letter Z. Easy? To be honest, I’m not very sure.
There are a number of issues here. First, I need to identify the required 26 zones. Next, I need to plan a route between them, and finally, work out if it can all be accomplished within the set time limit. I will only be taking the set 26 zones; no other takes are allowed between the A2Z zones. My mode of transport will be my Surly Ogre bicycle.
Originally, I thought that I might find all the required zones locally in Midlothian. My thinking was to try Midlothian first, then have the possibility of then doing the same A2Z Mission in Edinburgh or East Lothian. However, I know from listing the Midlothian zones using https://turf.lundkvist.com/ that there are no zones beginning with X or Y in Midlothian. For the X zone, the nearest I can see is Xing in the Niddrie area of Edinburgh. For the Y zone, the closest is YouAreTheAce located in the far reaches of Dalkeith Country Park, which is actually in East Lothian. So, quite possibly a fair bit of cycling involved.
Of course, should some kind-hearted newly-qualified zone-maker find a few minutes spare between their ultra-mega-turfing sessions to add just a couple of new zones anywhere in Midlothian, one starting with X, say, called XrtaZone, and the other with Y, perhaps called YinMairZone, that would be pure dead brilliant, I would be forever in their dept and I’d happily buy them a coffee and a scone.
So, at the moment I’m busy planning, deciding which zones to take and planning a route between them. By the way, the 260-minute time limit was calculated by allowing 10 minutes per zone times 26 zones. Kind off looks about right, hopefully a good balance between actually being able to complete the mission and it actually being possible. Only time will tell, I guess. More to follow in due course.
Today was the laziest day I’ve had that actually included some turfing. I was down in Selkirk visiting my mother for lunch, a chat and to look at a few DIY tasks that required attention. So, I decided to allow some time beforehand to try car-turfing the 5 zones dotted about Selkirk. I started at zone EttrickWater, located on the new bridge that replaced an older bridge known locally as the “Silver Brig”, so named because it was painted silver and to avoid confusion with another bridge further downstream called the “Green Brig”. Clever folk in Selkirk. I parked at the roadside and walked the few meters to the zone.
Next zone was SelkirkRugby, located beside the pitch beside Selkirk Rugby Club. I walked to the zone from the nearby parking area but could probably have driven the car in. Then it was back to the car and up The Green to the Haining Gates where the next zone might be found. TheHaining is located in the woodland to the left-hand side of the arched gateway. Through some nettles I might add. Parked the car on the street and walked in.
Zone SelkirkKirk was probably the most interesting, located in the old churchyard. Known as the Auld Kirk or the Kirk in the Forest. It was here that William Wallace was declared the Guardian of Scotland in 1297 after the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Or so they say. The kirk ruins date from around 1750 and replaced an even older church from around 1500. Again, parked in the street and walked. The final zone of the morning was StandardMan, outside the Victoria Hall in Selkirk. I didn’t even have to get out of the car for this one.
And finally, a pleasant surprise. The weather in Selkirk was dull grey and overcast, not good lighting conditions for zone photography and I wasn’t expecting good results. However, I’d been mucking about with the camera settings on the mobile phone the other day and had left the auto HDR setting switched on. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range where the phone takes a rapid series of different exposures of the same scene and combines them bringing out more highlight and shadow detail to your photos. Quite like the results and may leave it on and see what happens. Back soon.
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