Turf Blog 31-10-22

Turf zone – Uttershill

I needed some O’s today. No, not garden hose. Not panty hose either. Letter O’s, for zones that start with the letter O. Not many of those about here in Midlothian, a right bugger when you are planning a turf challenge called the Midlothian A2Z, taking zones beginning with the letters of the alphabet, all in the correct alphabetical order. Not many Q’s, U’s, V’s, X’s and Z’s either come to mention it. And J’s as well. No, it was zones starting with the letter O that I required this morning. I’d already managed to get all the zones from A to N, and was picking up where I left off previously. You can read all about that on Turf Blog 24-10-22, if you want the whole story.

The first zone starting with the letter O that I located was OldDalkeith, out at the Sheriffhall roundabout, slightly out of the way as my next zone was located in Penicuik. However, I did some further researching and located one the Penicuik to Musselburgh cycle path, a zone called OneHare. Could be better but does reduce some of the time and effort involved.

My session today starts with a long slog up the cycle path to Penicuik, with a good strong headwind to add to the fun. But the weather was still mild for the time of year and only a minimal chance of rain to spoil the day. My zone with the letter O, OneHare, is about 2/3rds of the way to Penicuik, an easy take from the railway line. I must say I still find it strange not to be taking zones other than the 26 A to Z ones. I do wonder if that rule was a sensible one. Mind you, if you are trying to stay within the allocated time limit of 260 minutes, you would not have the time anyway.

Next, I needed some P’s. No, not tinned peas, the letter P. I needed a zone starting with letter P. No problem there was the letter P is a commonly used letter. Zone PenicuikC, located in the wee pedestrian shopping area in the town enter sorted that one out. Q was next and the letter Q being one of the least used letters of the alphabet, hence the high score in Scrabble, means suitable zones are few and far between, at least here in Midlothian. In fact, Penicuik has the only zone beginning with Q in Midlothian, zone QueenDean, situated beside the Dean Burn.

After some climbing to do, up to zone Rullion, them back down again to zone Scuilkin. I always seem to read this zone as Scullion, after the name of the head porter in Tom Sharpe’s novel Porterhouse Blue. I very funny read if you’ve not come across it.  Actor David Jason player the part in the TV program. After R and S comes T, and zone TwinMosaic was an easy take. However, my next target zone was not so easy.

For a zone starting with the letter U, my only option was Uttershill, located at the ruined Uttershill castle above Penicuik, and involving a very steep climb up the Pomathorn Road. I’m not ashamed to say I got off and walked. Interestingly, older maps use the name Outtershill, a ruinous 16th Century tower house. Of course, what goes up must come down, so a very easy freewheel brought me back into Penicuik and a short cycle gave my letter V, at Valleyfield Pond. And there ended my visit to Penicuik. I wonder what the local turfers thought of my choice of zones taken?

Next back onto the cycle path and heading home to Bonnyrigg. Stopping at Rosslyn Castle Station for some lunch. A picnic lunch that is, the station closed in the 1950’s. Back in Bonnyrigg zone WaverlyPath gave me that all important W. Now, the next two zones, those starting with X and Y, were initially a problem as no zones starting with those letters existed in Midlothian, I was originally looking at having to venture into East Lothian and Edinburgh. This would have spoiled my idea to do A2Z in other regions as well. However, a couple of zone name changes resolved that issue. So, with XRaySpex and YourDiary in the bag, that just left the Z zone.

Yes, one more zone to go, one starting with the letter Z. Of course, the letter Z is another of the uncommonly used letters, but fortunately one did exist in Midlothian. However, unfortunately, it was located in Loanhead and while the round trip adds only another six miles to the day, I really had had enough. It would have to keep for another day. Time wise I’ve used about 240 minutes of that allocated 260 minute time limit. And that does not include travel between zone Newbattle and OneHare. And then there’s the travel time to get to Loanhead for the Z zone. It would seem that my original idea that 260 minutes would be a good target time is way off, though I suspect other, fitter turfers, might do better. Back again for the final episode soon.

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