Turf Blog 12-05-24

I’ve gone and done it again, I’ve been out turfing on my trusty Swifty Air kick scooter in the wee small hours, otherwise, and perhaps more aptly known, as silly o’clock. That is, in military time, 0000 hours, in normal-speak, 12.00 midnight. It was too good a night not to go out. A light breeze to keep the cool, air temps around 14 C., and almost complete low cloud cover to reflect all that wasted streetlight back and help me see where I’m kick scooting. Yes, I do have lights but prefer not to use them when I can. You actually see more that way. And in any case, the hot humid weather made it difficult to sleep, so thought I’d better do something more interesting and go turfing.

I love combining kick scooting and turfing at night, it’s just so peaceful, still and serene. And to be honest, I cannot understand why I’m about the only person who does this, other than MuttsCycles, though he’s not quite into silly o’clock kick scoot turfing. With almost no other people about in the wee small hours, other than taxi and delivery drivers, you have the streets and roads almost to yourself, otherwise busy roundabouts are empty and best of all no dog walkers with uncontrolled dogs. Plenty of bunnies about and Bonnyrigg rabbits have a reputation for being quite vicious at times, so best given a wide berth.

My targets this evening were some Neutral zones across by Melville Castle Hotel and Kings Acres golf course, zones that tend not to be taken all that often. My route took me across a sleepy Bonnyrigg to Broomieknowe golf course, grabbing the zone there of the same name. Not a golfer in sight. Strange they’ve not invented night-golf, perhaps wearing night-vision goggles and using LED-lit golf balls. Next, down by a deserted Melville driving range for the zone there, then round the golf course and across the footbridge to the hotel. All quiet there, no parties in full swing, just one late night taxi driving away. The zone is called SpotTheDog. Watch out for the tall figure sculpture after crossing the footbridge, it can look rather menacing and somewhat akin to a Dementor.

Now, my next zone is at Kings Acres Golf course and there’s a wee shortcut if you know where to look. Opposite the gravel car park at the hotel there’s a wee sign indicating a footpath leading up through the woods. It’s not all that obvious, especially in the dark, but saves a long scoot/cycle/walk way out the access road. Note the path is usually muddy, even in summer, with scattered logs and branches and is not scoot able or easily rideable uphill. It brings you out at an old track which you should follow left and keep left until you reach a gate. Cross over and follow the narrow path – it’s lined with stinging nettles this time of year – until you reach some derelict buildings on your right. A side path to the right will bring you out near the zone, just follow the track.

Next, the two zones at Melville Grange Farm. These can be reached from the rear of the clubhouse buildings. Don’t be misled that your route is blocked by the fence, there’s a gate, it just doesn’t look that obvious. You now have a straight and easy run for both zones. At the second zone be careful of the barbed wire on the top bar of the gate. Note you can go between hedge and field and avoid the gate which has been made difficult to open to discourage folk.

Now, some exploring. Crossing the car free and silent city by-pass, soon after you start the climb to Gilmerton, there’s a secluded track off to the right. This leads to Todhills and also the Shawfair area. Along this track and heading off to the left are two other tracks, one I know links to the Loanhead to Shawfair cycleway, the other leads to Drum Farm and I wondered if this one also gave access to the cycleway. So, I scooted along to find out but as far as I could tell in the darkness it didn’t, at least without clambering over barbed wire fences and clumps of stinging nettles. Oh well, never mind but knowledge gained.

After taking a few zones in Shawfair, I head along to Millerhill for the two zones there, then scoot along the dirt track that would take me under the city by-pass again and out at the haunted graveyard and ruins of Newton Old Church. Saw an opportunity for a photograph at the underpass. I’m still amazed that my Google Pixel 8 Pro mobile phone can produce sharp clear images under low lighting condition when handheld. Love it.

My return through Dalkeith Country Park was pleasant, if uneventful, other than the usual bark of roe deer, fleeing fox and badgers all crashing about in the undergrowth and scaring the crap out of me at times. I wish the estate would change the voice message on the exit gate, to say something like “thank you for visiting”, rather than welcoming you to the park.
And that was about that. Nothing much to say about the scoot home through Dalkeith and Newbattle. Grabbed a few more zones, saw some more roe deer and was looking forwards to a nice cup of tea before jumping into bed. Or rather slipping quietly into bed making as little noise as possible so not to disturb the ChoccyMuffin who was sound asleep. Back again soon.

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