My footsteps gently rustle the carpet of gold, and amber, and rust, on the path before me. A blizzard of autumn leaves gently falls from the beech trees. Further ahead, needles of pine fall silently to the forest floor, blown by the wind. To my right the rushing clear waters of the North Esk tumble and roar some 50 meters below, and where Gollum hunts for fish. I am most conscious of the sheer drop to my right, only a single step away from oblivion. In my imagination, I am searching for the entrance to the Mines of Moria. Turfing Orcs and Goblins are tracking me on the opposite side of the sandstone gorge. But they will not catch me this day. They too desire to take the zone I seek. My destination holds a secret, a place of legend, of magic, and a place where the evil hordes of Mordor fear to tread but will risk anything for the zone. The Cave of Wallace is a special zone, a place where time and space are not what they seem.
A deathly heart-stopping howl breaks the silence, a Warg is close. That Yorkshire terrier I saw earlier must have been enchanted by the Dark Lord, a spy perhaps. I must not linger. A fight is always best avoided but I would not hesitate to tackle any turfing Orc or Goblin, as I have my trusty Ray Mears designed, Wilkinson Sword made, “Woodlore” knife at my side. The blade glows faintly blue when orcs are nearby. As I run silently through the forest, my footfalls light as a elf from Rivendell, I ready my magic Samsung amulet as I will have too little time to take the zone and make good my escape. But Lady Luck is with me, my signal from the heavens above is strong, my pursuers are too late and the zone is mine. It cannot be again taken until the sun sets in the west and rises in the east. Phew, that was a close one.
My quest today is twofold. One, to complete another Five-A-Day of zones towards the Daily-90 medal I’m aiming for, and two, to explore the wooded south side of Roslin Glen, looking for paths to link a continuous trail from Springfield Mill upstream to Roslin Castle. A similar path already exists on the north side of the gorge but not the south, at least as far as I’m aware. Old maps of the area do show the possible existence of paths but nature can reclaim a lot in over 120 years.
One of the great things about turfing your local patch, when you know the zones so well that you could turf them with your eyes close, is that you don’t even need to look at the Turf app on the phone. So, run the Turf app, have the volume up high enough to hear and enable notifications for taking zone, zone taken and leaving zone. Then just turf. Simples. I usually carry the phone in the rucksack side pocket, switching off the screen to save the battery.
The walk from the house in Bonnyrigg, along the cycle path to Rosewell, gave me enough zones for my Five-A-Day. And after my exciting adventure taking zone WallacesCave, I continued downstream following the well-defined path. At Hawthornden Castle, now serving as a writer’s retreat, they don’t encourage visitors, so I skirted round the grounds and found a path that brought be back to the riverside path further downstream. After an hour exploring different paths, I’d managed to link trails as far downstream as the bend in the river at Maiden Castle, just leaving another 500 meters or so to find. Old maps show a path part-way but further exploring will be required. Fun for another day.
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