Turf Blog 01-05-24

Turf Zone – ColdWarCrib

Welcome to the 666th Turf post on Planet Gary.

It’s tough when you retire, strange random things just happen. For example, you might be making that essential life-giving pre-turf coffee and have your favourite “I Love Turfing” mug at the ready, the unbreakable stainless steel, carbon fibre and Kevlar single person cafetiere* by its side. The milk goes in the mug without issue yet the filter coffee also ends up in same said mug. Why does that happen? Did some invisible being nudge your elbow? No. Did some random passing dark-matter move the mug? No. You are just getting old. Or still half-asleep, yes that’s the one. Better than saying you are getting old.

Sometimes I just cannot be bothered loading the exceedingly heavy bike rack onto the car, bolting it down, plugging in the electrics, haul on the bike, strap it down, then gather all the other stuff I “think” need for an away-day turfing. In fact, most of the so-called “needed” stuff never gets used. However, today I managed to actually get moving and aimed for the Gyle area of Edinburgh to hunt down a few unique zones for my 2500 Unique medal.

My plan was to park near the Gyle, thinking I’d find a space along an apparently quiet Turnhouse Road, as suggested by Google Maps, however, about a million houses have erupted like a fungus from the ground and no bloody chance of that. And the nearby streets have restrictions due to services being installed. Eventually, I ended up at Barnton and found a space there. And easy enough to unload the bike and get turf-ready. Then I was faced with a mighty challenge. Crossing the A90 Queensferry Road and living to tell the tale.

Thankfully, there’s a pedestrian crossing and I took no small delight at pressing the wee button and waiting for the red man to turn green, which he did in due course. Mind you some of the drivers looked rather red in the face and angry at the delay. Perhaps I should not have waved and smiled so much? Or was I actually smirking? Not sure. Started off with zones in the Clermiston area, followed by a few on Corstorphine Hill, discovered the Barnton Bunker, an attraction I always wanted to visit. Next picked off a few isolated uniques around Davidson Mains, before heading back to the car for some sustenance.

The weather when I left Bonnyrigg was sunny but Barnton could be another world. Thick, chilling mist was blowing in from the sea, as Sir Paul once sang, and it was not very pleasant in the wind. I also didn’t expect all those steep hills, not very obvious when viewing the turf app. However, one should perhaps read the streets names before venturing into a new area. Street names like Hillview and Drum Brae are clearly suggestive of terrain far from that found in the Netherlands. Oh, met fellow turfer Barking who was across from home in Dunblane. He was also after unique zones towards his 5000 Unique medal with only, and I say only, 1500 to go. Good luck with that.

Now, I rode my trusty single speed today, once known as Harley Quinn, and so far I’m undecided what to call this fine example of a velocipede followed the new paint job. Should I retain Harley Quinn or the original name of Genesis Day One Reynolds 853? Suggestions on a postcard please. However, what I must say is that I rode smooth tarmac, rough tarmac, badly lain cobbles, climbed steep hills, slithered both up and down loose gravel and some soggy grass as well, yet this one single speed bike coped admirably. Who needs a gravel bike, or suspension, or chunky tyres, or electric motors, or silly numbers of gears, when a skinny-tyre single speed does all? Just saying, bicycle marketing industry!

After lunch, back across that bloody road again and up though the East Craigs area. Luckily, I found a secluded path (with zones!) that runs parallel to the busy Maybury Road, aiming for Cammo Walk, which would take me through the Cammo Estate and the zones there. To be honest by now I’d had enough of busy streets and noisy death-dealing traffic. You don’t get these conditions in Bonnyrigg, thankfully. Interestingly, once I entered the Cammo Estate everyone was much more chilled, would say hello without prompting, even stop chat. A much more pleasant environment. Grabbed seven Uniques there and very enjoyable it was.

Not a bad day out turfing with about 33 Uniques added to the tally and some parts of Edinburgh explored I would never have dreamed of visiting and the Cammo Estate was well worth the trip. Downside was that traffic on the A90 Queensferry Road, totally mental. I recall looking backwards trying to see a gap to join the carriageway but seeing a wall off vehicles hurtling along at 40-plus and not an inch to spare kerbside. I rode on the pavement until I located a pedestrian crossing. Scary stuff, the traffic, not the crossing.

And finally, you might be wondering what happened to the coffee mentioned above? Well, I used a tea strainer to filter the coffee grains from the milk. No point wasting precious coffee. Back soon.

*Bought for me by ChoccyMuffin because I broke all the glass ones.

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