New Roslin Rhinos club bring the delights of petanque to Midlothian

A new petanque club in Roslin has hit the ‘boules eye’ as far as the local community is concerned.

Members of the new Roslin Rhinos petanque club
Members of the new Roslin Rhinos petanque club

The Roslin Rhinos were only established by local enthusiasts Jim Hiddlestone and Milke Goldsmith in September but already have more than 30 members.

The clubs was set up through Wellbeing Essentials, a social enterprise project in which both men are heavily involved and which aims to develop community projects in the village.

With the support of Midlothian Council an area within Roslin Park was allocated to the club and converted into a piste.

And this Saturday Jim and Mike will undertake an eight-hour ‘bouleathon’ there, from 8am to 4pm, with the twin aim of raising funds for Wellbeing Essentials and raising awareness of the club and sport.

Petanque, usually played on sandy or gravelly surface, is hugely popular on the continent and involves throwing metal boules at a jack.

And at a time when society’s need need for social interaction has never been stronger following pandemic lockdown, Jim and Mike reckon a sport which can be played and enjoyed by all ages is an ideal outlet.

Jim said: “Petanque is basically French boules and is very popular in European countries. It's a game that any ages can play.

"It's basically throwing bits of metal towards a wee jack but there's a lot involved.

"What we've found is we're getting a lot of bowlers. The bowling season's five months and they're looking for something else to do.

"Like all Midlothian villages we're growing and getting people from new houses mixing in and it's just a community thing, it's a social game that anybody can play.

"The council have backed us. They gave us a wee corner in Roslin Park and it's worked out quite well.

"There is one more in Penicuik and as far as I know they are the only two in Midlothian, but the word's getting out.

"We've been surprised at the response, but it's cheap membership at £10 and a sport that once you get into it it's quite addictive."

“We're members of the Scottish Petanque Association and they have leagues but we're going to Edinburgh, Inverleith, Moffat and Glasgow so we're hoping to drive it in Midlothian to get more competition.”