The sound of a vehicle stopping outside the front door, the slam of a van door and the chime of the front door bell heralded the arrival of my latest turfing gadget, a new torch, the Ledlenser MT14. It was ordered through Amazon at 15:45 on the 1st September and arrived next day at 13:35. I cannot complain about that. And it gives me plenty of time to get it fully charged up for a late evening turfing session in the woods and fields around Dalhousie Castle Hotel. I had previously planned to head along the coast to Aberlady but when the time came, yet again, I changed my mind. It will always be there for another visit.
With the weather forecast for mild temperatures around 15 Degree Celsius, minimal risk of rain and very light winds, I was able to travel light, just wearing shorts and t-shirt, and my trusty sandals. Inside my other latest turfing gadget, the Willesden Sustainable Scooter Bag, I carried my mobile phone, house keys and the Ledlenser MT14. No need for waterproofs and all the other stuff I tend to carry and never use. But before we head out turfing, I want to share a few mods I’ve made to both the Willesden and the MT14.
On the Willesden, I’ve added a small red LED flashing safety light to the strap. I wanted something to make me more visible from the rear when walking along dark roads at night. The light is the Guardian Adventure Light. It simply clips onto the strap, runs on two CR2032 coin cell batteries and will flash for an amazing 240 hours. Visible range is a claimed 3 miles! It’s available in five output colours; blue, green, red, white and yellow so you can look like a UFO from Close Encounters if you want too. I also use them on my Swifty kick scooter. I’ve tried various other makes over the years but this one has lasted the test of time.
With the Ledlenser MT14, I added a spring-loaded cord lock to the wrist strap. This allows me to tighten up the strap around my wrist and helps prevent me dropping the torch when, for example, I’m handling the mobile phone when turfing. Another little tweak I do is to add some reflective tape to the torch barrel. Helps to locate the torch should you place it down on the ground in the dark when it’s switched off. Now, off for some turfing.
It doesn’t take long to walk to Dalhousie Castle, it’s only about 10 minutes’ walk from the house. And the nine zones there take about an hour to gather on foot, quicker on a bicycle but not the easiest place to ride a bike. With the daylight hours now getting shorter all the time and sunset at 20:05, when I arrived at my first zone, DeanWoodTurn, just after 9.00 pm, it was quite dark, more so under the dense woodland canopy. The perfect place to test my new torch.
Yes, this was it. The final moment. The big switch on. I hoped it wouldn’t be a dud! It wasn’t. Now, the torch works like this. One press for dim, two for fair-to-middling and three for supernova. Thankfully, I changed the mode during testing in the linen cupboard – the only dark place I could find – from Mode 1 to Mode 2. Mode 2 reverses the order of brightness settings. Rather than supernova, then fair-to-middling, then dim, it’s the other way round. Thank goodness for that. You do not want supernova first, way too bright. I think the mistake I made in the linen cupboard was thinking the torch was fully charged with enough light juice. It wasn’t. Only now when fully charged do I see the true picture.
The lowest setting, dim, was a surprise. Initially I thought it too low powered but now, here in the woodland, it’s just about perfect, that mere 10 lumens of light are adequate for seeing your way without being over bright. When you need more light, the second level of 200 lumens, or fair-to-middling, is just what you need. Supernova is just overkill, at least here inside the woods. Out in the open, that 1000 lumens will light up the woods on the other side of the field. Pretty impressive. One word of warning though, don’t be tempted to look at the lens. No, really, don’t.
Walking up the path to the next zone, DeanWoodPath, the torch did its job well, revealing all those roots, fallen branches and rocks that trip the unwary, or those too busy looking at the turf app to be paying attention to where they step. The GPS did its usual merry dance here, one minute I’m in the zone, the next, leaving the zone. Eventually, I got the zone without falling off the wee bridge or disturbing the resident troll.
The next two zone, UpperDalPath and DalhousiePath are on field boundaries. It’s quite light out in the open after the darkness of the woodland, the street lights are reflecting off the low clouds. Last time I was here, the crops hadn’t been harvested and I walked along the edge of the field, and that was where I suspect I picked up some of those seven ticks I carried home with me. Tonight, with the harvest in, I walked across the stubble fields, well away from any suspicious grass stems or vegetation where ticks lurk. Later, back home, I checked for ticks and found none. So, either my plan worked or the ticks are away in holiday.
After zone WatchTheMud, of which there wasn’t any, I playing with the torch on supernova mode, lighting up the trees over 250m away (I checked the distance on the urbangeeks turf map). Very impressive. I also spotted what appeared to be a light bobbling across the field towards Bonnyrigg, in the same location I saw one on a previous visit. Couldn’t quite work out if it was a person walking across the field or just the house light from a distant source peeking through the trees. Can be difficult to work those things out at night.
To reach my next zone, SouthEskAside, I wanted to avoid the path along the River South Esk, which is well overgrown with potentially tick infested grass and vegetation. Instead, I followed the old road that wends its way down to the old ford to Prestonholm House and mill, now long gone following a fire, now a disused landfill. The only potential downside to this route is the cattle. Not that I’m worried about the cattle themselves, more stepping on what they leave behind. As it turned out the cattle had been taken elsewhere, quite possibly now being served at your local McDonalds. If you know what I mean.
The next part of the walk follows the river downstream, the water gurgling its way south towards the North Sea at Musselburgh. Not much of a breeze tonight, just enough to gently rustle the leaves. Very pleasant, peaceful and quiet. Only a couple of tawny owls calling to break the stillness. Zone MillHolm was taken without issue. Just the two final zones to take this evening, WitchesHouse and Dalhousie, then I’m off home again.
Finally, the fact that a mere 10 lumens of light is good enough for night turfing, lends my thoughts that a second backup torch around that output would be useful. The Ledlenser P2R Core with an output of 15 lumens and 5-hour duration would be enough to get-you-home should the main torch fail. Might just order one up. Back soon.
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