Turf Blog 13-07-21

Turf Zone – HillWest

Another fine and mild but blustery day in Edinburgh hunting uniques. Added another 40 or thereabouts, (never quite sure how many are uniques) bringing me to 2002, breaking that all important 2000 barrier. Only downhill all the way now to that elusive 2500 medal. My transport today was the SS Harley Quinn. That’s the single speed Harley Quinn bicycle, not the steam ship of the same name. Ah, just realised, SS also references the movie Suicide Squad.

My hunting grounds today, the Greenbank and Craiglockhart areas of the city. Tried to concentrate on only uniques, doing my best to ignore any zones I’ve taken previously and save time and effort. Now, what to say about the zones? Well, some were interesting, some were okay and some were plain old boring. Okay, let look at some of the more interesting ones.

Let’s start with zone TheTightPath, which I’m assuming is called that due to the tight narrow nature of the path and nothing to do with that horrid garment known as tights. This one led me a merry dance. Just could not find a way to access the zone without cycling around George Watson’s school sports fields. Which I suspect might cause some comment from the groundsmen. It was only when I was actually in the groundmen’s yard that I noticed the narrow “tight” path between myself and the railway line. Backtracking, I found the entrance off Myreside Road at the traffic lights. I guess the other end emerges onto Colinton Road. Missed that one when I passed. I looked at Google Streetview later on and no wonder I missed the path. It’s well hidden in a corner by the railway line.

Turf Zone – RatBank

Another zone that led me a merry dance was Ratbank. Again, I could not find a way to access the zone. I initially tried to reach the zone from zone ThePixies and while the path started off in the right direction, it soon branched and I found myself up against a fence with no way through. It then looped back to where I started. The woods here are riddled with paths and trails. I tried from the Firhill and Greenbank sides but to no avail. Eventually, back near zone Ashyzone, one I taken earlier, I found the path and took the zone. I then continued along the path to see where I’d strayed earlier. Seems I should have taken the right-hand fork, not the left.

Craiglockhart Hill West had two zones I was keen to have, CraigHillWest and HillWest. However, and again, I didn’t know where the paths might be. But, Lady Luck was on my side this time and soon noticed a little notice with an arrow on a fence post off Greenbank Drive. It also stated access to Craiglockhart Hill. Looked promising, so I followed it. No cycling here though. The path was muddy with slippery roots and loose rocks, and Harley Quinn was complaining about getting dirty. But eventually, after a few false leads, found the summit. Also checked out the two circular features which I think might be the site of the WW2 anti-aircraft battery but I’m not certain.

Turf Zone – BoatLaunch

Now my favourite zones of the day, the two at Craiglockhart Pond. Amazed to see so many mallards, coot, moorhen, mute swans and tufties, all hanging about. Stayed for wee while watching the birdies then noticed people watching me from the gym while running on treadmills. My goodness. You’ve got all these amazing scenic paths and trails around Craiglockhart, and all over Edinburgh for that matter, yet here they are paying good money to run indoors on a treadmill in a hot sweaty sticky gym with other hot sweaty sticky people. Why on earth would you possibly want to do that, especially on a fine day like today? Weight training for strength I can understand but running? I wonder how many of them drove their car to the gym as well?

Well, that’s me taken 723 of the 1249 zones in the City of Edinburgh, some 58% completed but still 526 zones to plunder. And good to see the sea of white unique dots slowly spreading across the turf map. And before we go, some further thoughts on single speed turfing. Okay, there was one of two hills I was unable to cycle up, Craiglockhart Hill for one, Craighouse Road for another. But would I have been any faster cycling with gears, likely in the lowest grannie-gear, which is slower than walking? I suspect not. Yes, I might have been faster cycling downhill from HillWest but at what risk to life and limb? No, I’m not missing having gears on my bike at all.

Something that I want to mention came to me while turfing this morning, and that was what put me off single speed cycling until recently. And that was the fear, well, more accurately concern, about not being able to cycle up hills and having to get off and walk. Even the shame of being seen pushing the bike rather than cycling. I actually bought the frame I used for the Harley Quinn about 10-years ago and did build a single speed, yet stopped using it for those same reasons. Today, I don’t give a (insert suitable sweary word here) about what people think. I guess that what comes with growing older, perhaps wiser, and entirely not bothered by what people think. And I can ride up those hills after all. Single speed rules, ok!

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