I am in the zone. The zone is PillBoxWW2. The location is Aberlady Bay, East Lothian. The time is 22:46. I have just been attacked by eight assailants, some of them juveniles, some mere infants. Thankfully, my time spent on that combat turfing course was money well spent and all attackers have been successfully dispatched though some of them put up a good fight.
So, what, you may be wondering has been attacking this poor lonesome turfer, just out minding his own business, taking a few zones and enjoying the night scenery? No, not a gang of local delinquent Gullane youths. Gullane is far too posh to have gangs of delinquent youths, at least on the north side of Main Street. No, not a crazy drunk hedgehog that supped on a discarded can of Carlsberg. Not even some irate nocturnal golfers (yes, nocturnal golfers!) annoyed at me walking across the fairway. Have you worked out what yet? Okay, I’ll say the name. Oh God, even the thought of saying the word makes my skin crawl. Okay, here goes. Ticks! There, said it. Now I feel itchy. Scratch, scratch. Even today, you think every itch is a tick you missed! Yuck!
I should have known better than to walk through the long damp grass between the concrete anti-tank barriers and zone PillBoxWW2, located behind the main dunes along the coast here. In fact, I did know and was ready for them. While the zone was taking, I did a tick check and soon spotted the little blighters crawling up my bare legs, some moving remarkably swiftly. None had settled in to feed yet and were fairly easily flicked off. The smaller nymph stages are more difficult, being about the size of a poppy seed or the full stop on a page. The larva are almost impossible to see with a torch at night.
After that, it was high speed for the open beach, jumping down the loose sand of the seaward dune face and stopping again for another tick check. All clear this time. I must say these ticks fair put me off going for the PillBoxWW2 zone, especially in summer and when the grass is damp. Makes my skin crawl. Of course, sitting down on the beach at night is not always a good idea. Now I’m under attack again. This time from millions upon millions of sand hoppers, also known as sand fleas. Thankfully, they feed on decaying seaweed and don’t bite.
Okay, I’m not really under attack. They are just landing on me from all sides as they go about their nightly business of feeding, which seems to involve constantly jumping up and falling down. Why the Creator would design an insect, actually a type of crustacean, that seems to spend much of its life hopping about. Now, having read up on the sand hopper, the hopping is apparently their means of escape from potential predators, in this instance myself!
Onwards. Zone SandySocks is next on the list. This one is easy to reach at night. Just follow the shoreline towards Aberlady, continuing when you reach the long sandy spit. Managed to land right in the zone first time. Zone taken. Now, off towards my next two zones, SubWreckOne and SubWreckTwo. I found the best way to do this at night – they are too far away to see with the torch – is to located the flashing beacons on the Forth bridges and head directly for that. This will bring you to the large concrete mooring block between the two sub wrecks. Zones taken.
It’s really a lovely evening, mild with a light breeze and clear starry skies. So peaceful here, the twinkling of lights in distant Fife and Edinburgh. The sound of the surf crashing on the shore. Geese flying overhead and gulls hunting fish offshore. The rumble of a large marine diesel engine seems very close but is probably 12 miles away across the Forth at Kirkcaldy. Might even be that oil rig I can see ablaze with deck lights.
There are three more zones I want to take. The first is TheOldMan, along the beach to the east. The sand today is all ripples, no sand banks where walking is easier, so I head for the beach to look for flat sand and easier walking. It’s a little bit warmer too, with my back to the wind. Millions of sand hoppers again. Kind of like the term sand fleas better, not sure why. I take zone TheOldMan at 23:38, almost midnight. Why am I not tucked up in bed asleep?
Zone HummelRocks is my next destination. Two paths to choose from. One along the beach, across rocks, sand and pebbles. One along the shore above the high tide line but through grass and vegetation. I stay on the beach. Tricky walking with a torch at night but no risk of ticks! Final destination is GullaneHill, taken at 00:03. Was hoping to get there at 00:00 but it’s uphill all the way and not enough time. Zone taken. Home to bed.
And finally, to close. Nice to see a surprise popup on the turf app. I’m now Rank 52 – Turf Caesar having gained 6,500,000 points. This gives me a takeover time of 19.6 seconds and a block time of 23 minutes. And I’m very surprised to note there are only 103 holders of this rank. On the down side, 750,000 points required for the next rank. Better get turfing!
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