Deciding what to do and where to go is always an important question before starting any turfing session. Will I go for more uniques to add to the next medal (320 required), will I stay local and take back the zones I’ve lost recently to other local turfers or will I head for the big city with the hustle and busy, the noisy traffic and loads of turfers everywhere? A no-brainer really, I decided to stay local.
A quick scan of the turf map showed there was zones for the taking in Bonnyrigg, Eskbank, Dalkeith, Mayfield, Newtongrange and Gorebridge. About 75 in total, and as Goldilocks might have said had she been a turfer, not too many and not too few, ideal for a morning turf session. There was also another dozen or so in Newbattle woods and around Dalhousie Castle but I wanted to keep them for a night turf with the Swifty kick scooter, perhaps later on tonight, or in the wee small hours.
The zones in each area were fairly well distributed and I already held control of most of the others, so today would be a very inefficient turf session, and in addition, I’d only hold them for a couple of days at most, as the next round start on Sunday at 11.00 am when all zones are reset. However, the points still count towards the next Rank and the takes will help me on my way to the Take-5000 medal (only 383 now required), so all good and useful. I’ll get some exercise to boot and the Surly Ogre likes to get out and about when the weather’s good.
I started with Bonnyrigg, then Eskbank, and then onto Dalkeith. Not much to report zone -wise other than running over some wet sticky tar at zone SayAhhh. The road has recently been resurfaced and they were using hot tar to seal the joints. It wasn’t much tar but enough to quickly pick up every little bit of grit and gravel I cycled across. Then, of course, it set hard as rock and I had that annoying thump, thump, thump as the wheels revolved. Eventually I had to stop, grab the Swiss Army knife from the tool roll and scrap off as much as I could. Of course, it was impossible to clear the sticky tar from the treads and I was plagued with this issue for much of the morning. I’ll be paying more attention next time.
I’m now going to take a short break to go and clean the tar from my Swiss army knife. Back soon. (Pause for 5 minutes) Right, that was easy. Good old WD40, a few wipes with an old rag and the blade is as good a new.
Mayfield was next, followed by the top side of Newtongrange. Again, little to report from the norm. The streets were quiet, very few people about and not even a dodgy encounter with dog walkers, so rather boring really. At zone Woodyladiho, I cleared a lot of broken glass from the path. Seems to be an area where the locals like to smash bottles for some reason. I’m going to suggest this zone be renamed BreakingGlass, in honour of the song by David Bowie or perhaps HeartOfGlass by Blondie. I guess I’m showing my age?
I arrived at the mining museum around 11.00 am and after taking the zone made use of a bench for a break, scoffing down a raspberry and honey Stott’s bar. I’ve recently become quite fond of these, though they will never replace a four-finger Kit-Kat. I also connected up the power pack to the mobile phone. I’ve found that the phone battery does not last very long during the day, especially when the brightness of the screen is turned way up to counter the bright sunlight. A very useful, nay essential, bit of turfing kit.
Next along the busy A7 to Gorebridge. For zone LochArniston, I wanted to check out a possible shortcut I’d noticed while driving past the other week. To reach the zone, you would normally have to continue along the A7, turn left at the roundabout into Aspen Drive, up Whitehouse Way to tackle to climb in, a drop down to the zone and a climb back out again. However, always keen to find a more efficient route, I noticed an unofficial path going directly to the zone from the A7. Cycling along the A7 you will see an open grass area with young trees to your left. Where this ends the little path does a steep ascent and comes out at the pond. You will have to push the bike up a steep muddy slope but it’s a good shortcut as shortcuts go.
The next zone, ArnistonPark also has a shortcut, which saves having to drop downhill and climb back up again. As you drop down Whitehouse Way, you will see a narrow wood off to the left with a path leading up the small burn. This path, while rough, brings you out at Arniston Park where the zone is located. Saves some time and effort.
Today is turning into a day for shortcuts in Gorebridge, and the next one was at the railway station and zone GoreBridgeSt. After taking the zone, and if heading for zones LouisBraille or TheBank, continue along the platform and ascend the steps. This brings you onto Lady Brae useful for either zone. Saves you dropping down the hill, only to have to climb back up again.
Lunch was taken at zone ArnistonBing, then after grabbing the two zones down in Gore Glen, it was along the Povert Road to Newtongrange for the final eight zones left to take in the village. I stopped at Mutts Cycles, a small bike repair shop on Station Road, Newtongrange, for a quick look in the window. After a few minutes I was surprised to be addressed by name, and someone appeared in the doorway. He was not anyone I recognised but he knew me from my Pugsley On Patrol videos, having recognised both me and the Ogre bicycle. Pugsley On Patrol was a blog I had a few years ago.
I chatted with Scott for some time, mostly about bikes, but also about turf. We even had a common acquaintance in Féarglas, who had called into the shop once. It’s strange to come across people who have been influenced by something I’ve posted online. It was my videos about fat biking that had got him interested. It kind of makes you think again about what you post online and how it might influence people, all be it in a positive way. Bye for now.
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