Turf Blog 15-06-24

Some strange goings-on around Dalhousie Castle Hotel. Seems that the Harry Potter universe and Turf World have started to merge. So, what’s going on here? Well, I spotted a new turf player at the castle. It was displaying on the Turf app as StrangeName as shown above. All normal so far. However, when I clicked on the turfman icon it displayed BuckBeak* as the turf name. Perhaps, as this was a newbie without any takes, and they changed their turf name soon after creation, the different software systems or databases had yet to catch up.

Of course, with a new turf name in the area, that means another tempting turfer unique for the taking. However, all this was happening I was at the far side of Bonnyrigg clearing the town, some distance away. But I was keeping my fingers crossed that the two zones BuckBeak eventually took would stay untaken for long enough to allow me to get there. And getting there was another matter entirely.

Using my local knowledge, I determined that the quickest and easiest route was to head up the Carrington road and follow the farm track opposite Upper Dalhousie farm. Now, there’s an old adage that the existence of a track or path or the map, or indeed one known from memory or local knowledge, does not mean that track or path with be navigable. As I would soon find out.

The deep ruts, muddy puddles and general mess at the start of the track, beside the house, immediately had me wondering if this was a good idea. And when I saw the remainder of the track, I realised it was not. The track was thigh deep in long grass and weeds, almost impossible to cycle through. Add to that deep tractor corrugations hidden in the grass and you have a real pain in the butt route, teeth rattling cycle. Not only that but it was raining and everything was soaking wet. There is also the issue that bicycle derailleurs and long grass are not the best of friends. Twice I had to stop to clear grass from the pulley wheels.

However, with very wet feet and soggy trousers, I managed to reach the zone and add another turfer unique to the list. This brings my tally to 334, with 97 taken this year so far. Hoping to reach 100 in the new few weeks. And yes, had to endure the same route on the return as well. What fun!

And to finish, was thinking of a few things I’ve learned these past few weeks while turfing. So, here they are:

  • New, modern bicycles are better for turfing than older 14-year-old bicycles.
  • Hunting turfer uniques can sometimes take a lot of time and effort.
  • Shimano 12-speed chains should be installed the correct way round.
  • Donating your unused old bicycles to charity is very satisfying.
  • Some people who go turfing are not very nice people.
  • Turfing your local patch following a different route is refreshing.
  • Having gears on your bike is better than single speed. Yes, yes, I know.

*BuckBeak was the name of a character in the Harry Potter books, a mythological creature known as a hippogriff.

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