Having set my internal alarm clock for Midnight, I was delighted to find myself waking up at 12:15 am, often known as silly o’clock. And the purpose of getting up at this un-godly hour? Well, to head out on the kick scooter, of course. I’ve been making good use of the warm August nights we’ve been having, heading out after sunset for a range of excellent scoots. This morning I’ve an interesting route in mind, all local, starting straight from the house in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian and around 10 miles in length.
Temperatures were mild, around 12 Degrees C., and shorts and t-shirt were in order, although soon after starting out at few drops of mist were noticeable on my spectacles but nothing much to bother about. The start of my route follows a mix of footpaths and cycle ways up to Broomieknowe Golf Course, where I follow the perimeter of the fairway to a small gap in the boundary that leads down to the parking area of the adjacent Melville Golf Course driving range, well lit up by a serious floodlight.
From there a quick scoot across the A768, very quiet of traffic at this time of the morning, and onto Melville Golf Course. Again, I followed the perimeter, keeping to the “rough” avoiding any greens or bunkers, no matter how tempting the smooth surface of the greens might be. My exit from the course, a small gap leading into the woods to the north, is easy to spot, conveniently indicated by an electricity pylon.
My lights hadn’t been required so far but now that I was into the woods, they most certainly were. I carry a pair of Knog Blinder Road 400 LED lights, usually only using s single light, set on its lowest brightness level, which I find more than adequate. Following the zig-zag path downhill, I crossed the River North Esk, using a new footbridge that’s only been constructed recently, opening up a new route for me and my Swifty Air.
I was now in the grounds of Melville Castle Hotel, and scooted out the tarmac access road, a few widely spaced street lamps highlighting the road. Strangely, at one point there’s a mechanical click from a tree, so some device has noticed my passing. I’ll need to return during the day to find out what and I need to return anyway to get some pictures of the route for the blog and gallery. Leaving the tarmac road, I head back into the woods, following an muddy dirt track towards yet another golf course, Kings Acre.
Scooting the same golf course etiquette routine, I then dropped down onto the A768 again, and into Lasswade. My plan now was to follow a series of hidden footpaths that wind their way up the River North Esk towards Polton. Now, these hidden paths are not easy to spot during the day and at night I was hard pressed to find the correct route, on one occasion almost heading down a residential driveway. However, I eventually arrived where I wanted to be, a series of steps leading downhill to the river.
The trail upstream is easy to follow, comprising well packed earth or compacted stone chippings, all offering a fast, easy scoot. Most noticeable were patches of the invasive Himalayan balsam, their scent strong in the still night air. A road bridge at Polton takes me back across the river again and I’m now heading up a trail known as “The Cast”.
The Cast is not an easy route to scoot along, or even walk for that matter. While it may have been a passable surfaced trail at some point in the past, today it resembles a stream bed, lots of boulders, bricks and ankle deep mud. And it’s all uphill as well, ideal for those silly types who like pushing and carrying kick scooters for fun in the dead of night.
Soon, the fun was over and I’m just about to head along the road back into Bonnyrigg when I notice a sign post reading “Footpath to Polton Sports Centre”. Not having been this way before, I decided to gave it a try. More grass field boundary than footpath, it eventually brought me out near where I had originally planned, the Dalkeith to Penicuik Cycleway, giving me an easy downhill scoot back to the house.
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