Turf Blog 13-09-22

Turf zone – BridgeOfFaith

Not a lot to report today on my turfing session for Team Scotland. My cycle around Dalkeith only added 22 zones to the total and there isn’t much I can talk about without repeating myself. However, I was out late yesterday evening on the Swifty Air kick scooter.

With the moon classed as waning gibbous (96.5% illumination) after a full moon on the night of the 10th, it was still reflecting enough light to make a night-time turfing session that little bit more interesting. If you like the kind of interesting where dark shadows resemble the orcs I watched on Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, or where a huge pale glowing shape thundering towards you across the field reveals itself only to be a horse wondering what you are up to at this time of the night. Yes, dark shadows and moonlight can be quite interesting.

I had initially only planned a quick kick scoot around Dalkeith, for an hour or so, but a posting on the turf app about a large police presence in Dalkeith Country Park had the nosy-parker in me keen to find out what was going on. After working my way across Eskbank and Dalkeith, ticking off a few zones along the way, I approached the gate to the park, shoogling across the cobbles. Of course, it was locked. Bugger, I’d forgotten to bring my Friends of Dalkeith Acorn Membership card which would allow me access through the gate. But, wait a moment, did I remove it from my pannier after my last visit? A quick delve into the bottomless depths of the pannier and there it was. A quick swipe and the nice nano-imp inside the gate box said Welcome to Dalkeith Country Park. Though she didn’t say it with capitals.

Now, the quickest route to my first zone, Restoration, would have been to follow the main road to Restoration Yard. But where’s the fun in that? Why settle for nice smooth tarmac with street lights when you can have rough gravel path and near-pitch darkness inside a spooky wood. So, as usual, I took the path to the right down through the beech wood, rattling across the loose gravel, bumping across fallen branches and squishing through the muddy patches. Well, I hope it was mud. I guess part of me also wants to be that little bit secretive, taking the covert route rather than being out in the open. Adds that little bit more interest to the adventure.

The buildings at Restoration Yard are well appointed with floodlights and I always feel very exposed. Particularly when I leave the road and scoot along the gravel path beside the old Orangery to take the zone. I always think I’m being watched by security on the CCTV cameras they have all over the place. I’d also spotted a police van at Dalkeith Palace. I don’t know why I feel guilty as I’m actually not doing anything wrong. The Scottish Access Code says I can be here and I also have an official pass. Yet I still feel slightly guilty. Why is that? My kick scooter is legal, I’m not carrying firearms or going equipped, other than for turfing, and I’ve got all my clothing on. Warm as the weather may be this isn’t Aberlady Bay Nature Reserve. Unfortunately. Must be the way I’ve been brought up.

My next zone was DoNOTCrossEsk, a quick and easy scoot along the tarmac road heading east. The steep climb over the A68 has be puffing a bit but worth it for the speedy descent down the other side. A few pot holes to watch out for once the road levels out. Down the hill and across the bridge. Had to walk up the track a way to take the zone this time. Managed it from the gate last visit. Next two zones, TheUnknown and YouAreTheAce, both still neutrals, are off the beaten track, down in an area of woodland which I think is called Smeaton Glen. Cannot help thinking of the character Kryten in Red Dwarf when I see the word Smeaton. The Smeg Head episode where Lister is trying to teach Kryten to swear. Oh, spin my nipple nuts and send me to Alaska.

The path here is supposedly for horses only and there’s signs indicating as such. However, bollocks to them, I’m taking my Swifty Air down so bugger off! Anyway, not likely to meet horse riders at night. Of course, horses make a right mess of the path, all churned up in places, presenting a challenge for any kick scooter rider. It would be so easy to come a cropper, hitting a deep patch of mud and taking an impromptu flying lesson. It was safer to walk across deeper muddy parts.

Next, I made my way back towards Dalkeith, past the stables marked on older maps as Poultry Yard, past the house known as Castle Steads, under the A68 and down to my next zone, BridgeOfFaith, perhaps named after the sign warning no more than two persons on bridge at the same time. Myself and Swifty should be okay then? I then followed the path towards my next zone, ToEdinburgh, continued on past keeping the fence to my left, until reaching a metal gate. This is the quickest route to my next zone, ParkOfSteel, located in the middle of a field known as Steel Park. Good to pick of a few zones still at neutral status.

After a final flurry of zone taking in the Lugton/Lugton Haugh areas of the park, I was heading for home. And I must say my legs were beginning to feel the effects of kick scooting. It’s been a while since I was last on the kick scooter. The temperature was also falling and I’m thankful for bringing a light jacket. The moonlight made taking zone HolyDalkeith rather spooky. It being located in the dead centre of Dalkeith, the cemetery. So easy to let the imagination run wild. Shadows become dark spectres lurking in wait for the unwary. Patches of light become ghostly beings hovering in the air. And when Ratty Rat runs across my path, I’m out of there, fast. Back tomorrow.

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