When the tennis courts were installed on Leith Links some years ago now, a boules court (rink? piste?) was built alongside, between the courts and the defunct bowling green clubhouse building. So far so good!
BUT – nobody ever put signs up to tell park users that the boules court was there, or to explain what the fenced area with a lovely flat sand and grit surface was for! As a result, the court has really hardly ever been used for boules, which is very sad as boules is a great game that is accessible to people of all ages and abilities.
What is boules? (pronounced ‘boolz’ in English)
Well, if you’ve been to France, you’ve probably seen it played in every park and village square! The French call it ‘petanque’ as well as ‘boules’ The Italians also play – they call it ‘bocce’. It’s a fun and sociable game based on similar principles to bowling or curling -2 players or players in 2 teams try to get their balls as close as possible to a small jack. But instead of rolling or sliding, the balls are tossed.
You can find plenty examples on YouTube if you want to see what it’s all about, here are a couple:
A game of Boules often seems to go very well with warm evenings and a wee glass of something.
How will it work on Leith Links?
Step 1 – get the court refurbished – sadly it has been used as a dog pen, which means the surface is badly degraded, but we have persuaded the Council to refurbish it, and that is being done currently. It’s now just waiting for some weedkiller and a top dressing surface of grit.
Step 2 – try to stop people with dogs using it as a dog toilet / exercise pen / digging area, so that the surface stays flat and clean. Signs have been put up. We hope that people will take their dogs elsewhere in the Links once they realise that the court is in use.
Step 3 – have a grand re-launch of the court one day soon, when the refurbishment is complete. We will keep you posted. Everyone is invited, please come and join in! We can play some demo games, explain the rules and hopefully get some expert playing tips from the legendary Trinity Petanque Club. Then everyone can play, whenever they want to.
Sadly, there’s no seating near the court, so please bring your own chair if you feel the need to sit down in between times.
Step 4 – maybe we can set up a regular day / evening every week in the summer when people can come along and know that there will be games going on.
See you there soon!
I haven’t got any boules! How can I get some?
Well, do try to borrow some if you can but if not just come along anyway - we will try to ensure that there are sets that can be shared / borrowed on the launch day. If you decide you like the game you may want to buy your own eventually. There are various kinds of boules. Like so many things, you get what you pay for…. If you search online, you’ll find that you can get a plastic set (8 boules and a jack) for well under £10, a chrome or other metal set for around £18-£20, or a rust proof steel set from £25 upwards (and upwards….)
Any of these will do (don’t get wooden ones though).