Following a recent comment from another turfer about Turf Video 10-06-23, asking about cycling though fields of crops and having zones in such locations, I thought it might be informative to take a look briefly at some legislation we lucky Scots have called the Scottish Outdoor Access Code with respect to turfing across arable land. The code essentially gives us the right to walk, run, cycle or ride a horse on most paths or tracks (with the notable exception of pavements or footways) as long as we do so responsibly and with some common sense. It was brought into law under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.
The two zones I visit in the above video, UpperDalPath and DalhousiePath, are located at the edges of fields and are usually under crops at this time of year. They can be accessed at all times, including at night, along the edge of the field. However, cycling along these field margins is very difficult as the pedals catch the sides of the narrow furrow left by the plough and the tussock grass margins are even more difficult to ride along. The easiest route is to follow the tram lines left by the tractor when working the field.
Now, I’ve looked at the Scottish Outdoor Access Code with regards to this before and there are a number of points it mentions about crossing fields of crops. When crossing a field with sown crops you should avoid causing any damage by:
- using any paths or tracks.
- using the margins of the field.
- keeping close to the edge.
- going along any unsown ground.
- using any headrigs or endrigs.
Looking through the code I’ve been unable to find any mention of the tram lines left by the farmer’s tractor during cultivation and Google wasn’t any help either. However, to my mind tram lines are clearly a path or track, are also unsown ground and using them does not damage the crops if you ride carefully. So, in my humble opinion, I’m staying within the guidelines of the code.
Now, there is the matter of actually reaching those tram lines. This is usually not an issue if you enter the field at the same access point as the tractor that created them. At other locations I’ve often found existing paths through the crop, either created by animals such as fox, badger or deer, though more often than not by humans, and would make use of these and avoid causing any further damage. If not carry your bike and step carefully across the crop.
At zone DalhousiePath you cannot take the zone from the nearest tram lines and have to cross over the growing crop. You can do this without causing damage by stepping between the lines of sown crop. You will look like someone from the Ministry of Funny Walks but that does not matter unless you have companions with you who will no doubt be splitting their sides laughing. Quite good fun anyway and also a challenge not to cause damage. So, there we are. Zones in fields are usually okay as long as you take steps to avoid damaging the crop.
And to finish, another aspect of using a single speed bike. Now that the new Hope bottom bracket, Surly rear hub and White Industries freewheel have all settled in and loosen up, I’m delighted how readily the pedals spin on Harley Quinn. The difference when compared to the internal hub gears’ I’ve been using is quite astonishing. So, go single speed, you will not regret it! Back soon.
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