Turf Blog 14-03-22

Turf zone – SurfnTurf

The sudden and mysterious appearance of a new zone at Fisherrow Harbour, in Musselburgh, right at the furthest point on the eastern pier, was excuse enough for a turfing jaunt to the seaside. Now, normally I’d give you an idea of my plan for this trip but not today. Today, that was my entire plan, head for SurfnTurf and wing-it after that, perhaps staying local and taking a few zones, or heading along the coast to Longniddry and the Gosford estate for a few uniques there, or even heading into Edinburgh for some of the same. We shall see.

The route from Bonnyrigg to Musselburgh is perhaps one of the easiest, as it makes good use of cycle paths, footpaths and quiet backstreets. In addition, it’s downhill overall and there’s usually a tailwind to lend a welcome helping hand. Though that will, of course, mean an uphill cycle into a headwind should I return this way. The ride takes just over an hour and offers up a good 36 easy zones along the route, a nice start to the day and puts the Five-A-Day in the bag as well. And out of interest, that first 30 zones were taken in 57 minutes, without any hurry. That’s a Darkest Ninja medal for the taking. Even quieter between 2.00 and 3.00 am.

With zone SurfnTurf – reminds me of H.R. Pufnstuf, the TV show from the 70’s and that annoyingly annoying washing powder advert “Perf with Surf” – added to the tally, I now had to decide what to do next. But I must say what a pleasant location for a zone. Other than having to cycle the entire pier on teeth-chattering cobbles, avoid the giant toe-nipping land crabs hiding behind fishing creels and dodging the dive bomber attacks from a great black-backed gull – a monster of a seabird that can catch, kill and swallow an entire fish supper in one go or carry away a Yorkshire terrier – it was rather nice. Bright blue skies, a calm sea and warm sunshine. Yes, where to next? I discounted heading east, for Longniddry and Gosford, mainly because I didn’t fancy a long slog back home into the wind afterwards. Staying local was considered but I really wanted to bag a few more uniques, so into Edinburgh it was.

I followed the coast road, then veered left onto the busy and fast Milton Road, heading for the Niddrie area, home of the half-Niddrie, otherwise known as a half-brick, a fearsome weapon in trained hands. My first unique was zone Magdalene, then not knowing the area, meant a very inefficient turf. I hate cycling in Edinburgh, too much traffic and to many bad drivers cutting you off. I understand why some turfers go out at night. However, I survived, and by the time I’d reached the Royal Infirmary at Little France, I’d added another 13 uniques bringing my total to 1309, still a long way short of that cherished 2500 Unique medal. One day, though, one day.

The sights and sounds of Niddrie were interesting. The Niddrie Burn seemed to be a breeding ground for shopping trollies, wheelie bins and old-style television sets. And as for the sounds, well, one was the unsilenced exhaust note from a (probably) stolen two-stroke scrambler motorcycle ridden by two youths in black SAS-style balaclavas. Of course, no helmets or protective clothing, and most likely no insurance or driving licence either. And not a police car in sight. But not to worry, I estimated they were riding at round 60 mph in a 20 zone, waving in and out of traffic without a care in the world, so only a matter of time before they are pushing up daisies. Natural selection at work, I reckon.

Lunch was at the Royal Infirmary; a handy flock of picnic benches was too good a spot to miss. I had hoped to nip into Craigmillar Castle for my lunch stop, as I’m a member of Historic Scotland, but I’d forgotten my wallet and membership card. Bugger! Was looking forward to that. First course was a mini Melton Mowbray pie, followed by a round of smoked ham sandwiches. Interestingly, the benches around me were empty despite there being six hospital staff eating lunch nearby. It took me a wee while to work out why they didn’t use the picnic benches. They were on the other side of what I assumed was the site boundary fence and could get away with smoking there. I cannot understand why staff working in a healthcare environment would want to smoke cigarettes?

I was now heading for Gilmerton, picking off a few zones along the way, though none of them uniques. They say Edinburgh was built on seven hills but I think they missed one, the climb up from Little France to Gilmerton. A long, slow slog and into the wind today as well. Mind you, from Gilmerton, it’s downhill most of the way to Bonnyrigg so an easy end to the trip. In total 66 zones taken and a good bunch of points added. Trying hard to catch up with family friend HappyHibby. Can’t let her beat me this round. Bye for now.

Copyright ©2022 Gary Buckham. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted in Turf. Bookmark the permalink.