Itâ€™s known to be played in the sunnier climes of Cannes â€“ but Penicuik now has its own slice of the French lifestyle with the opening of a PÃ©tanque piste pitch just in time for summer.
Although once the domain of elderly men, PÃ©tanque now attracts players of all age groups, backgrounds and levels of expertise and is fast attracting a young crowd, with the undisputed young star of the moment being Frenchman Dylan Rocher, who has won a number of world championships.
Around 17 million people are now playing the sport in France while in Scotland, the number of PÃ©tanque pitches is growing and the new sport will appeal to everyone â€“ particularly pupils from nearby Penicuik and Beeslack High Schools.
Members of the public can borrow equipment with a security deposit of Â£5.00 which will be refunded on its safe return.
Opening the pitch, Provost Joe Wallace, said, â€œI am delighted to be opening this new facility for Penicuik. With the summer months fast approaching, what better way to get out and about enjoy the fresh air and take up a new sport?Â I’m sure the new PÃ©tanque piste will benefit the whole community, both young and old and encourage people to get out, enjoy a new pastime and get fit and healthy at the same time.”
Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland, said, â€œIt is terrific to see this new PÃ©tanque piste open to the public, and as the 41st different sport to become part of a Community Sport Hub we are delighted to be supporting the opening of this facility.”
The new pitch was made possible through Â£3,000 funding from Penicuik Community Sport Hub , which is facilitated by Midlothian Council and sportscotland.Â sportscotland is investing Â£1.5 million of National Lottery funding each year into the Community Sport Hubs programme as part of the Scottish Governmentâ€™s 2014 legacy planÂ with 150 hubs across all 32 of Scotlandâ€™s local authorities planned by 2016.
â€œEvery Community Sport HubÂ works on the same basic principles but each has the flexibility to identify the needs of their community,” he explained. “This focus on local needs ensures that all partners get behind the approach and the work they do has the biggest impact.â€
Members of the public can collect equipment from Penicuik Leisure Centre and play the game for free but a new club has been formed â€“ for more information go to www.penicuikpetanque.org.uk, or to find out more about Penicuik Community Sport Hub go to www.penicuik.sporthub.org.uk.