Turf Blog 01-03-23

Turf Zone – BraidView

Back into Edinburgh again yesterday hunting more uniques. This time the Fairmilehead and Braid Hills areas. And I’ll start by saying that people on this side of town seem much more friendly than those encountered on my previous turfing visit to the Cramond and the Granton areas. Most of those I offered greetings too today replied quite cheerily, though there were still a few grumpy sour-faces who made clear they were not going to reply. Nought weird as folk as they say. I do wonder if some folk still think bicycles should not be allowed on footpaths?

My steed for this session was the Surly Ogre, as you can see from the above turf zone image taken on Buckstone Snab. And yes, this daft turfer climbed the hill from the west, the steep rocky hard way, rather than taking the easier and gentler route from the east, all be it a much longer and slow climb. Mind you, I did get a great downhill run from the summit. This route, I see from the map, is called The Ride. The word snab, by the way, of Buckstone Snab, refers to the “brow of a steep rise” in the Scots language. I did encounter another cyclist bombing down the hill far too fast to stop when he came across me puffing up the hard way. Luckily the gorse was thinner where I was and he just managed to scrape through, the idiot. This is Braid Hills, not the Black route at Glentress!

Of the 44 zones taken in this turfing session, I reckon about 40 of them were uniques, at least at a guess, as I cannot find anything online that lists the unique status against the takes for this turfing session. Not a problem really, it’s adding unique takes towards that Unique 2500 medal I’m aiming for that matters. Tally so far is 1800, leaving 700 to go.

There’s a useful app at https://turf.lundkvist.com/ which is good for keeping track of your unique status for various regions. As of star date 02-03-23, my own efforts are:

  • United Kingdom, 5%, 1800 unique zones taken of 38535.
  • Scotland, 15%, 1800 unique zones taken of 12001.
  • City of Edinburgh, 52%, 640 unique zones taken of 1226.
  • Midlothian, 89%, 379 unique zones taken of 428.
  • East Lothian, 77%, 504 unique zones taken of 658.
  • Scottish Borders, 32%, 151 unique zones taken of 479.
  • Fife, 2%, 16 unique zones taken of 820.

Which means, of the five regions above I’m aiming to take all the zones in, I’ve still got over 2700 unique zones to take overall so plenty to be getting on with. I will not be aiming to take all the unique zones in Scotland or the United Kingdom. Interesting that Scotland has 31% of all the zones in the United Kingdom. And for those good a mental arithmetic, yes the figures above do not add up. I’ve 110 unique takes in other regions, e.g. Perth and Kinross.

I was gutted the other night about missing some fine sightings of the Aurora borealis. In fact, I did consider going out turfing that night as the skies were clear, but off course, stayed in bed. So, in an attempt to encourage myself, and anyone else who feels the same way, to get out turfing more at night and, fingers crossed, have a better chance at witnessing these celestial wonders, I created yet another unofficial Planet Gary turfing medal, the Aurora borealis medal.

The idea is simple, just take zones when you can see the Aurora borealis (or Aurora australis, if you are Down Under). Okay, taking the zones is the easy part, actually being there in the right place at the right time for the sky show is the hard part. However, you can increase your chances.

First, check the weather reports for the coming nights. Clear skies are what we are looking for. Next, get hold of one of the aurora watch apps for the mobile phone, there are a few of them about or check the various online websites and blogs. They will send a notification of the potential for possible Aurora borealis sighting at your location and may also offer Aurora forecasts. Note, the words potential and possible here. It’s not a dead cert you will actually see anything even for a good forecast.

Now, should you be lucky enough to actually witness the Aurora borealis you might want to try taking a photograph of it. However, this is not as simple as it sounds and is a bit hit and miss. Here’s a few tips:

  • set your camera to manual mode.
  • place it in a sturdy tripod or similar.
  • set to night mode, if available.
  • turn off the flash.
  • set the ISO to 800.
  • set the aperture to the widest, e.g. f1.8
  • set focus to infinity.
  • use self timer to avoid camera shake.
  • vary exposures, e.g. 10, 15, 20 or more seconds.

Good luck.

Copyright ©2023 Gary Buckham. All rights reserved.

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