Today was a day for hunting unique zones in Edinburgh, working out and about from Salamander Street by the Leith docks area. My steed for the day, my faithful friend the Swifty Air kick scooter. Now, on a previous visit to the area, before I discovered the delights of turf, I used the more road orientated Swifty Zero but to be honest I find the off-road specific Swifty Air handles the rough streets, pavements, cycleways and roads of the city much better and more comfortably.
My first observation today concerns the people of Edinburgh, and this is perhaps something I’ve mentioned before, and that is how dour almost everyone seems to be. Not a smiling face did I see all morning. No-one even seems to look at you, afraid to even catch your eye. This is a stark contrast to Midlothian where just about anyone you encounter will at the very least say hello. Normally, the sight of myself riding a giant kick scooter attracts some reactions but not in Edinburgh today. I’m very tempted to try something outrageous such as wearing a skirt or carrying live chicken with me, just to get some reactions. Very strange the people of Edinburgh. Something else I could hardly fail to notice is the amount of disruption caused by the tram works. Even crossing the street in places means a long detour. Must be a bit of a nightmare for the locals.
However, not everyone I came across today was like that. At zone Sandport, located on the Water of Leith path, I heard someone asking if I was Planet Gary. Locating the source of the enquiry I saw this attractive young lady approaching. It could only be a turfer and indeed it was, turfer ESOC-Q, out during her lunch break. It’s an odd thing when you meet other turfers for the first time. I tend to find it a little uncomfortable, like you don’t know what to say. Reminds me of first dates when I was a quiet shy spotty teenager or when the most attractive girl in the class stops and speaks to you in the corridor. But we blethered for a few minutes about turf and stuff. Nice to meet you, ESCO-Q. Wonder what the Q stands for? At the time we met there was quite a few people close passing by, we were on a narrow path beside the Water of Leith. I wonder what they made of our initial greeting. “Hi, are you Planet Gary? I’m, ESOC-Q” Could be mistaken for a covert meeting between secret agents.
Around 3 hours on the Swifty got be a good 41 zones, making good use of the many old railway lines now serving as shared paths, along with the Water of Leith path as well. There’s one problem I find with these routes and that is knowing where the access and egress points are. Probably not an issue if you are a local. For example, you’ve taken a zone on the path and the next nearest zone is not far away but the map on the turf app does not show enough detail to reveal where these access points are. Do you go this way or that way? One of the joys of turfing I suppose. I have a copy of the Spokes Cycle Map for Edinburgh, perhaps that might be off use?
A handy bench in Victoria Park was my lunch spot. A welcome feast of sandwiches, yogurt and muesli bar. I shared my sandwich with an adult carrion crow that flew down to give me the once over. Much to my surprise it didn’t feed either of the two fledging it had in tow but buried the bread in the long grass. Perhaps it was trying to teach the young birds this technique or just caching food for another day. I wonder what might grow from the sandwich should it be forgotten, A Tesco Finest Oak & Barley loaf tree, a Flora Lighter bush or a Tesco Ready to Eat B-b-q Chicken Breast plant?
Being on the Water of Leith path today reminds me of my plans to Turf the route using the Swifty Air kick scooter. My thinking was to complete the entire 13-mile route in a single session, which means at least a 26-mile round trip, not including any short detours to take tempting nearby zones. Another option is to do two separate visits, as I’ve done in the past but that feels like a cop out. Food for thought.
Something else I wonder about is whether it’s better to kick scoot when turfing in Edinburgh or to ride the bicycle. I think today, down in Leith, a very congested area of the town, that by far the kick scooter wins. The beauty of the kick scooter is that you can use the pavements and don’t need to hang around waiting for traffic, or have to actually be in all that traffic. Okay, I’m probably biased as I like kick scooters and don’t mind all the attention they bring, nor do I mind what other people might think – which I believe is one reason why there are so few of them about. Back soon.
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