Decided on some local turfing today. Originally, planned on heading to Gorebridge, even started off in that direction, then thought, I don’t want to go to Gorebridge. Where can I go instead? Perusing the turf app revealed a few zones in the Melville area still at round unique status. Yes, that will do, a nice ride in the countryside after a hectic day in the city yesterday.
My first unique zone was at Melville Castle Hotel. So, wheeling the Surly Ogre from the shed – the best bike for this route and type of terrain – and with Shaun the Sheep waving to passersby from the rucksack, we made our way across town, grabbing zones in the passing. Taking the zone at the hotel, Shaun suggested posting a “Where’s Shaun?” on the WhatsApp group. Of course, Aileen a.k.a. turfer Aibo, was first off the block and correctly named the zone as SpotTheDog. Well done, Aileen. Should you not be working?
We now made our way towards King’s Acre golf course, stopping to take zone MelvillePark and to photograph the ominous grey clouds (feature image above) towards Edinburgh. Next was zone GolfWatchCCTV at the golf club. Here, the path leads round the front of the club house and I always feel that the golfers here don’t like people cycling there. There’s always someone with a scowl on their face. Tough, it’s a footpath and I can ride there. Okay. Shaun blew a raspberry.
Then we all backtracked, encountering those same scowling faces, Shaun blew another raspberry, and we cycled back along the track to zone WalkLasswade, located beside the busy A7. Now, a wee tip here. The gate is difficult to open (quite possibly deliberately to discourage people like turfer) and there’s barbed wire wrapped along the top rail. So, go left between the hedge and field and emerge at the drying green. Much quicker and easier. Next, off to Dobbie’s for zone Entomophobia. Sad to see Butterfly and Insect World closed up and derelict. A casualty of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Zone OldDalkeith was another at round unique status. Lot of standing traffic on the roundabout approach but not a problem on a bicycle. Was soon able to scoot past and grab the zone. Great fun weaving in and out of the lanes, pausing here and there to let oncoming traffic pass, and most likely annoying one or two drivers. Mind you, I suspect they are all stunned by the bright colours on Ogre anyway. One lady at the lights was waving at me and smiling from ear to ear. Wish I’d had that effect on women when I was a teenager!
Next stop The Kaim, and a chance for another “Where’s Shaun?” Sheila a.k.a. turfer HappyHibby, got this one in record time. Posted on WhatsApp at 11:49. Sheila posted the zone name at 11:50. KaimsGlacial was the zone name. I suppose when you have a geography degree and can spell geomorphology you have a head start. Well done, HappyHibby.
The village of Millerhill was next on the route, for zones TheSculpture and ToMillerHill. While taking zone TheSculpture, a pack of youngsters on bicycles came across to look at the Surly Ogre. All were primary school age and seemed quite at ease talking to a stranger. They were most impressed by the bike and asked all manner of questions. Some even understood what masking tape was for. Good to see children outside playing like I did when I was a lad.
My final round unique was NewtonChurch, where I stopped for a picnic lunch. There’s a stone slab that makes a nice sheltered seat. Refreshed, I then grabbed a few zones in Dalkeith Country Park, posting another “Where’s Shaun?” at Restoration Yard. Aileen got this one again but she was a little slow. Posted on WhatsApp at 12:48, Aileen posted her reply at 12:50. Not good enough Aileen! I promise not to mention single speed in this blog. Oops, there I’ve gone and mentioned it! More again soon.
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