Turf Blog 17-01-21

Sunday, and time for something completely different, well, more different place rather than thing. Yes, out turfing again this morning and off down to Musselburgh in East Lothian to take a few unique zones rather than re-taking all the old local zones again. Having decided not to take any local zones it was strange passing them by without stopping but I could always get them on the way back home.

An overnight frost had left a few icy patches to be wary off and care was certainly needed at tight corners but by the time I’d crossed Dalkeith conditions were better and I stopped to re-take the first zones of the day, ThriftShop (185 points) and DalkeithHigh (185 points), both taken and later lost, yesterday. Joining the cycleway to Musselburgh, I started taking unique zones with ExitDalkeith (185 points) and Smeatonhead (185 points) falling to me in quick succession, then it was into East Lothian for PowerTurf (185 points), located beside a large electricity sub-station. You can hear the wires buzzing here in wet weather.

Turf zone – Smeatonhead

The cycleway is generally pretty good, mostly smooth tarmac but raised ridges caused by tree roots are worth keeping a watch for as they can surprise the unwary. They certainly caught me one night on my Swifty Air kick scooter. CraigTheWhite (185 points) was next on the list, just outside Whitecraigs, followed by Deantown (185 points), beside the bowling club. At this point the GPS signal was lost but resolved with a phone restart. Whitecraig (185 points) was easy to find in the middle of a small public park, then it was along the A6094 for a short way before heading down to the River Esk again and on towards Musselburgh.

Turf zone – CraigTheWhite

The cycleway follows the banks of the River Esk downstream, or upstream depending on your direction of travel, and IKnow (185 points), MonktonEscape (170 points), WedderburnLow (170 points), Fault (170 points) and EskIsland (170 points) were all picked off easily. The only problem along this stretch was the sheer number of runners, dog walkers and cyclists. My wee jingly bell earned its keep here and would continue to ting-ting away for most of the day.

Turf zone – MonktonEscape

The next four zones were all bridges, first Eskview (140 points), then RiverEsk (125 points), followed by EsksideBridge (125 points) and finally LorettoXing (125 points). It was after EsksideBridge that three medal alerts popped up on the phone in quick succession, Bridge Crosser, Bridge Lover and Bridge Fanatic. A very welcome surprise and one I was not expecting. I’d actually been planning to try for these medals locally around home in Bonnyrigg. So there you go. After taking TheCadets (125 points), the path swings left along the shore towards Fisherrow Harbour, offering Musselbreak (125 points) and SeaPromenade (125 points), then it was out along the harbour wall for Fisherrow (125 points).

Turf zone – Fisherrow

My plan now was to backtrack a bit and head for Levenhall Links and take a few more zones. The first was beside the race course and aptly named 1hp (155 points). That’s 1 Horse Power, from the race course, horses, get it? At the entrance to the old ash filter ponds from the now demolished Cockenzie power station, I was able to tick off BalcarresRd (155 points) and TheOldCourse (155 points), followed with CapMuir (155 points) and MusselLagoon (155 points), this last one located beside the boating pond.

The John Muir Way follows the route of the sea-wall, a great place for birdwatching and zone taking, grabbing two, JohnMuirWay (170 points) and John (170 points), before peeling off to the South to take Prestongrange (170 points) and make use of the benches for a picnic lunch. I must admit to laughing as I watched a couple geocaching, searching high and low for the geocache only to later realise it was a virtual cache. They were laughing as well.

Turf zone – Prestongrange

Refuelled again it was back on the Surly Ogre towards Musselburgh to pick off a few more zones located between the race course and the ash lagoons. MusselAshes (155 points) and LevenhallLink (170 points) both offered up points. I’d taken BalcarresRd (155 points) and TheOldCourse (155 points) earlier this morning and had lost them to another turfer soon after but was able to take them again in the passing.

I wanted now to head in the general direction of home, picking off zones on the way. First to catch my eye was LadyLoretto, a holy zone in the centre of Musselburgh, actually a church called Our Lady of Loretto. It was a nice place to sit in the warm sunshine for a wee break. I next tried to locate SportyMussels but ended up followed a narrow path behind some houses. I guess it should have approached from the other side but decided to leave it for another visit. Plenty other zones to take in the area.

Turf zone – HolyInveresk

Sticking with the ecclesiastical theme I ticked off another holy zone, HolyInveresk (St. Michael’s Parish Church) for 155 points, approaching uphill through Inveresk Cemetery. From there I dropped back down the hill to Lewisvale Public Park, stopping to view the caged birds at Lewisvale (155 points) and adding a few more points at LewisvalePark (155 points), a switch-back path leading up to the cricket pitch. With my legs getting a bit on the weary side, I picked off a couple nearby, EdensPinkie (170 points) and MusselsAhead (185 points), before heading for home.

From MusselsAhead (185 points), I cycled under the railway line and up towards Wallyford, following a way-marked path. As well as turfing, I love exploring these types of trails and footpaths. Every town has them, secret little routes, often hidden behind factories, housing estates or whatever. This one took me to the A6094 which I followed as far as the A1 before following another path (old road?) down to Inveresk to re-join the path along the River Esk. When exploring these trails, it doesn’t matter where they go, just explore them. Ask yourself, “I wonder where that goes?”, then go and find out.

Turf zone – Lewisvale

The route back home took me past quite a few local zones I’ve taken and lost numerous times so it seemed a shame not to take them again. So, CowdenPark (185 points), MinersZone (185 points), JamesTheLean (185 points), Peppermint (185 points), SouthEsk (185 points), BattleForrest (170 points), Beatles (155 points), BikeSlooowly (155 points), CollegeZone (155 points), Eskbank (155 points), A7View (155 points), Wishart (170 points) and lastly, but not least, WayOfBaird (170 points), all gave up their points.

I was well pleased with today’s efforts. Rank was up to Rank 19 – Master Adventurer, round points was now over 52,300 and total points was 96,500, just about the 100,000 needed for the next rank, Rank 20 – Super Adventurer. In addition, I had all three bridge zone medals and to top things off, I’d also achieved the Stamina Medal for taking 50 zones in a 24-hour period, also a nice surprise.

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