Turf Blog 24-10-23

Turf Zone – GladOfTheEnd

Zone GladOfTheEnd was always going to be challenging. Located on the far side of Gladhouse Reservoir in Midlothian and with tracks and footpaths few and far between it was never going to be a popular destination. Not so bad during the height of summer, when water levels in the reservoir would likely be low enough to expose a wide stretch of beach allowing dry, fairly easy, foot access. Today, however, with high water levels, I had to find other ways to get there. Either that or get wet feet and I don’t own a pair of wellies.

Normally, I would have cycled out but I’m just not happy chaining up my bike anywhere I cannot keep an eye on it, so this turf session would have to be on foot. And as I was reluctant to spend 3.5 hours waking the 9-mile route there, and another 9-miles back home again. So, car it was. Decided to take my new Range Rover* and hope that idiots from the local branch of Tyre Extinguishers don’t deflate my tyres. Should be okay out in the wilds of Midlothian. As for public transport, what public transport?

Started at zone Toxside, situated right next to the small parking area on the track to Moorfoot Farm. Began looking for a route through the trees but soon gave up when the ground became too boggy and took to the road. Next, I followed the fields edges with the reservoir to my left, climbing numerous rickety styles and fences. Note that there is a footbridge across the River South Esk hidden in the woodland after the conifer strip ends. Saves getting wet feet!

Turf Zone – Toxside

Tried heading through the woodland but again, ended up in the field until opposite the zone. Easy enough to find a route from there. Good tip is to look for disturbed vegetation as the paths are little more than faint game trails, if even that. Though the more turfers take this zone the more obvious the route will become. Zone GladOfTheEnd isn’t all that exciting but does offer good views across the reservoir. For those interested in birds, plenty of interest out on the water. My return to the car was similar to the way in but I did find an alternative route under the conifer strip between the fields and reservoir.

Initially, I was going to suggest this zone be relocated due to the difficulty of actually getting to the zone. However, once back at the car, I actually found myself having enjoyed the experience. So, perhaps, the occasional hard-to-get-zone might be better kept that way, offering something more of a challenge.

Grabbed a few zones on the way home, including a revisit to zone GladhoosePath, also on the shores of Gladhouse. I had trouble getting into the zone on my last visit, finding myself having to stretch out over a wide ditch to get into the zone. This time I approached the zone from the east, walking along the raised embankment. This time I had no issues taking the zone. Worth noting if you visit yourself.

Now, here’s a wee tip for the people out there that absolutely hate it when something starts creaking or rattling on your bicycle. And if you are not one of those people, how can you not notice it? I’ve just about solved all my little annoyances, other than an intermittent noise from the crank set on the Surly ogre, but I’m looking into that. New chainring bolts required, I think. The latest rattle I’ve solved was my mobile phone mount.

It was almost constantly rattling and driving me crazy. However, some detective work along with some trial and error resolved the issue. In best Sherlock Holmes fashion, I deduced that the gap between the mobile phone and handlebar phone mount was where the rattle was emanating from. A test with some self-sealing poly bags to fill the gap and take up the slack in the spring mechanism – all I had to hand out in the field – resulted in no more rattle. A final solution back in the bike shed was to add two strips of 5 mm thick x 10 mm wide self-adhesive neoprene rubber, of the kind you use to seal the gaps in external doors, directly to the plate of the phone mount. Rattle banished forever. Job done.

*It’s an imaginary Range Rover. I drive a humble wee Ford Fiesta.

Copyright ©2023 Gary Buckham. All rights reserved.

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