Turf Blog 15-01-24

Turf Zone – KirkCockpen

You may have heard the saying, winter is coming. It’s an often-repeated line from Game of Thrones. Well, it’s cold outside tonight, the mercury has dropped below freezing and I would hazard a guess that winter is already here. I have a problem turfing this time of year, or rather I did have a problem. The problem was with my toes getting cold and developing very painful red patches that took weeks to heal.

However, I do not have this problem this year, at least so far and finger crossed it stays that way. I’ve been out turfing in sub-zero conditions, both on the bike and kick scooter as well as walking. And while my poor wee toes have been very cold, I’ve not developed those nasty red patches. So, what’s the secret? Simply, a combination of sheepskin insoles, careful attention to how I wear my footwear and taking steps to warm them properly afterwards.

I did some research online and listed all the many different factors that may, or may not, be the cause. Cathryn, aka turfer ChoccyMuffin, suggested the insoles which was an easy fix. Then I considered another factor, that of mechanical damage. I asked myself the question, could my cold toes be getting damaged inside the footwear, perhaps sliding forwards? For this I made sure my footwear was laced correctly and my foot was secure and not sliding about. The final one was to wear fresh warm socks when back home. All this seems to be working just fine. I must admit it’s a great relief to be able to head out turfing regardless of the weather and not worry too much about developing those painful red patches.

Anyway, out on the Swifty Air kick scooter today, mainly as it’s easier to keep the extremities warm than when cycling. But the first decision was what to wear. The thermometer in the shed stated -4 Degrees C., so how many layers on top and how many layers below? The legs tend to take care of themselves when kick scooting, so only one layer, a pair of black Ron Hill Trackers. These are not as tight fitting as leggings and trap a layer of still air, which soon warms up, and helps keep the legs cosy. They are also more breathable as well. I never understood why some people laugh at Ron Hill Trackers. More fool them, I say.

On top, non-cotton technical t-shirt, ditto long-sleeved t-shirt, lightweight Rohan down jacket and a Pertex Buffalo wind shirt (actually a pull-over smock), at least for starters. It would not take me long to warm up and then need to remove a layer. To close the gaps, an Outdoor Research cap (with ear covers), neck warmer and my warmest Mountain Equipment winter gloves. As it worked out, after 15 zones, I was cooking hot and removed the long-sleeved t-shirt and the neck warmer, stowing them in the scooter front pannier.

Bonnyrigg saw some snowfall last night, though I would hesitate to even call it that. Only a mere dusting, and even that had been blown into cracks in the road, leaving the road dry and clear, ideal for kick scooting. However, as I worked my way across Eskbank and reached the higher areas of Dalkeith, the paths were solid white with snow, though only a few millimetres deep, but just enough to require care on the corners and make it difficult to get traction when kicking the kick scooter forward. Did manage a nice controlled sideways drift when descending from zone Medway.

Returning back through Dalkeith had me facing the biting wind from the north west but not too bad in the sheltered area of town. In fact, quite nice out of the wind and in the weak sunshine. A good day for kick scooting, even with the freezing temperatures. And fingers crossed that tomorrow’s forecast for snow comes to fruition. Surly Pugsley fat bike at the ready. Back soon.

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