Turf Blog 22-08-23

Turf zone – BridgeOfFaith

Another night and another turfing session down to Dalkeith Country Park. There are two zones still at neutral status, TheUnknown and YouAreTheAce, both located in No-Man’s Land, an off-road dirt track claimed by local horse riders as their own, and only their own. Woe betides any walker or cyclist who encounters a certain horse rider here. If I were to mention the evil balrog in JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, you might get the idea of the temperament of this person. Just so you know!

The time is not silly o’clock. It’s a more sensible time of night, 11.00 pm, though I guess by the time I get back from my round on the Swifty Air kick scooter it will indeed be silly o’clock. This afternoon I received news that my Friends of Dalkeith Country Park access card has been activated and I can now enter the park via the town gate in Dalkeith. Very handy and saves a long roundabout trip to the hole-in-the-wall access via zone NewtonChurch and Millerhill village. Or alternatively, the Smeaton entrance.

First take is zone Restoration, reached the long way round through the woodland to the right rather than a fast scoot down the tarmac road. I sometimes feel slightly uncomfortable here at night, often wondering if I’m being watched by security via the many CCTV cameras about this area. I will probably have been spotted entering the town gate and would not have been surprised to hear the duty security chap/chapess arriving. Not a problem really, I have some Planet Gary cards I can hand out to show I’m turfing/blogging. Might even get a turf convert!

Out past the Go Ape adult adventure playground where a giant statue of a gorilla has me thinking someone is standing there. Okay, it was dark and seen from a distance through vegetation. Feel quite conspicuous in the glare of a floodlight. Then out along the tarmac road towards Smeaton and lots of cars in the camping parking area. Great scooting here. The road is smooth and I’m soon zooming along, the wind in my hair and whistling up my shorts, the delightful smell of fresh horse droppings which I take care to avoid on the scooter and bats flitting across the beam of my lights. Magic!

Next zone is DoNOTCrossEsk, an easy take a short way up a dirt track. No need to climb the gate as it’s open this time. Very dry underfoot and I get gravel in my sandals, so need to shake them out. There’s a tawny owl calling nearby and something splashing down by the river but I cannot see anything. Probably Gollum catching fish to eat raw.

Now into the woods for TheUnknown and YouAreTheAce. I’m taking the upper access this time, a little further along the tarmac road. Not having been this way before I was keen to see where it goes. Unfortunately, the track starts of fairly well but ends up at a field gate. However, I spy a slight trail leading to the right in the direction I want to travel. Again, starts off reasonable but soon narrows into a game trail, complete with stinging nettles, fallen trees and brambles. Not a great trail to follow but I soon find myself at zone TheUnknown and join the main track I’ve used previously.

YouAreTheAce is located just after the bridge where the A1 road crossed the River Esk. It’s not a quiet place with traffic whizzing past at all hours. The track that leads here also ends here. It’s a dead end with no other place to go. Further progress is stopped by a 2.00m high stone wall. You can cross over, albeit with some herculean effort if on a bike or kick scooter and the onward route is little used and overgrown. You can get onto Musselburgh golf club but again some fighting the undergrowth required. The track itself does continue but only in a short loop back to the zone.

With my two round uniques in the bag, it’s back towards Dalkeith. Approaching zone BridgeOfFaith I have an encounter with a young roe deer. I first notice something reflecting my lights back at me and thought it might be a sign or part of a sign, but then it moved and became two glowing amber eyes. As I continued the eyes started moving towards me. Stopping I waited to see what would happen. Then, in fits and starts, the young deer came right up to me, stopped about 2.00m to my left, then short off in a cloud of dust. It probably could not see me because of the bright LED lights. It’s not often you get that close to a roe deer. Cool.

And that was the highlight of the night. A few more zones on the way home, though fewer that I would have liked due to tired legs (a result of too little kick scooting lately) and it was home to bed. Not a single soul did I see all the way home. Felt a little spooky. Back soon.

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