Turf Blog 24-10-22

At first glance, turfing 26 zones starting with the letter A and finishing with the letter Z, would be a simple and easy task to accomplish. And while I had some minor reservations in the back of my mind at first, I chose to ignore them. Even when Scott aka MuttsCycles, mentioned that’s quite a challenge you’ve got there, I thought, no worries, I can do that. I should have known better.

My first zone was AuldCoal up in the new Hopefield area of Bonnyrigg, the name taken from a long-vanished farm and built on the site of Polton Colliery. The large SUDS pond was where the pit head used to be. From there an easy cycle to Bonnockrigg the second zone on my list. Next zone CatSchool, and what was very odd was passing by zones without taking them. Just felt wrong listening to that “taking zone” alert and after a few seconds “leaving zone”. I suppose I could have taken them but as part of the challenge I’d decided not to take any zones between the 26 A to Z zones.

DobbysSock was next. It was at this point I realised just how much effort was going to be required to complete the 26 zones in a single session. The initial zones had been fairly close together but the next zone, Eskbank, was on the other side of Bonnyrigg. And the one after that is Freekick, right back to the school where I’d taken zone CatSchool not so long ago.

Zone G was next at GeorgeWarMem, so not so far this time. Then back down to Eskbank again for Hardengreen. And, of course, the only zone starting with the letter I is IKnowBroom. And guess where that is located? Yes, back to Bonnyrigg again. I lost track how many times I passed the same dog walkers on the cycle path. One asked if I was lost? On the way to IKnowBroom I also broke one of my own rules for the challenge and inadvertently took zone Slytherin at the community hospital taking too long on the zig-zag path, allowing the zone to be taken. Should have switched off the GPS.

After the letter I comes the letter J and the only zone starting with J is in Dalkeith. So, all the way back to Dalkeith for zone JamesTheLean in the Woodburn area of the town. However, on the plus side zones nearby gave me a K with Kippielaw, an L with Lauder and MinerMemorial gave me the M. At this point I was thinking that continuing all the way to Z was going to be really hard work. And to be honest, I wanted to enjoy this challenge rather than it become a forced slog. So, I cycled across to Kirk Bank Wood above Newbattle and grabbed an N with zone Newbattle.

Two hours had taken me just over half way though the challenge, 14 zones down, 12 to go. The other half, starting with the letter O, would require cycling all the way to Penicuik, grabbing zones P to T there, including a slog up that bloody steep hill to Uttershill Castle for the U zone, then all the way back to Bonnyrigg for zones beginning with W, X and Y, also taking  the V zones at Valleyfield. Of course, that’s leaves the Z zone and guess where the nearest one is, Loanhead. Yes, I could have done it, it would be hard and probably not all that much fun, and indeed had it been a proper official Turf medal, I would have continued. However, I wanted to enjoy myself and decided zones from O to Z could wait for another day. Distance travelled so far about 25 Km or 16 miles but I would estimate another 33 Km or 20 miles still required.

Before we go, one final interesting note. I’ve been riding the Surly Ogre with an LED daytime running light flashing from the handlebars these past few days. And I would say that it does seem to make a difference. People do appear to see me approaching earlier than before and rein in their pooches or move aside to let me pass. Something I would recommend for turfers who cycle. Bye for now.

Copyright ©2022 Gary Buckham. All rights reserved.

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