Turf insider December 2020

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Round winners[edit]

Congratulations to the winners of round 125: Király from Skåne secured his umpteenth gold, féarglas from Scotland biked home her first silver and M0112 from Lounais-Suomi turfed home a third bronze to the collection. All medal winners turfed home way over 1 million points.
Well done, mates!

Lusseturf 2020[edit]

Turf Västmanland is organizing Lusseturf for the 8th year. This time it will be different. No general assembly before the event, no coffee and buns afterwards. Even a different area for the event. But it will take place on the day of Lucia: Sunday the 13th of December.

From the home of Turf Västmanland on Facebook:

"Of course we must keep the tradition alive! But this year, like so much else, it will be a little different. The event is open to everyone and completely free! On Lucia Day itself, 13th of December, between 11.00-13.00 this year's event is taking place. The event area this time will be the area between Lugna Gatan on Finnslätten, Österleden and Tillbergaleden.

And we urge you to keep your distance, no assembly will take place either before or after the event. We will just Turf. It also means that there is no toilet or serving. After the event, someone on the board of Turf Västmanland will present a small prize to the winner, and we hope that we can take a photo and post it online so that the competitors can enjoy seeing who won. But this contact will take place a while after the event, not immediately as it usually is.”

Another longer ”event” is the Advent Calendar organized by Turf Örebro that begun on the First of Advent. Each day the participants get a task, for example ”Take two 170 tp zones” or ”Take 10 zones”. The daily task is e-mailed to the participants and also posted on the Facebook page of Turf Örebro. If you succeed with the task every day until the 22nd of December, you are part of the raffle of a USB bike light. Although I think most people participating, is not doing it for the prize, but for the fun of getting out and about with a daily mission to complete.

Expansion in the UK[edit]

I don't think anyone has missed the fact that a Scottish turfer named féarglas biked home a Silver medal this round. The activity in Scotland, but also in other regions of UK, is really taking off. I asked ESOCWalter and two other turfers in Scotland to answer some basic Turf-related questions for Turf insider. I think most of you will smile in recognition to many of the answers and stories by the Scottish turfers :)

First out is ESOCWalter himself[edit]

Your Turf-nick/alias and the story behind it:

ESOCWalter is not really very imaginative, but I’ve stuck with it! A lot of the Edinburgh Turfers are members of Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club and so have ESOC in our names. A lot of our club is mad for it, and we even have a Turf page on our website now! https://www.esoc.org.uk/category/turf

What made you begin with Turf?

CSL in our club got me involved. I was editing the ESOC newsletter for a few months, and CSL provided an article about Turf one month. I put that in but then forgot about it. Then he gave me a second article for the next edition, two months later, and I thought ok I will try it! And then I was hooked straight away. I love the fact that the concept of Turf is so simple – go to a zone and take it – but there’s so much to think about as well with the medals, the points, etc.

Favorite Zone or zone you take most often

My favourite zone is a new one very near my house, which I suggested and is called DustyZone, after my dog, Dusty, who is a cavapoo. She is a great dog, and she has visited the zone a number of times already with me.

Which medal has so far been the hardest to take? Why?

The hardest one I am currently working on is the Trainer! Especially as I started trying to visit a different train station every day, which took me all over Edinburgh. I have had some good adventures with this medal, taking the train out of Edinburgh and cycling home, doing dog walks, combining with orienteering challenges we have had on in the club at local parks, and most recently taking the IslandIsland medal – see answer 10 below. I am terrified I will miss a day and I’m currently on day 25, so the end is in sight!

What is the best thing about Turf?

The best thing about Turf is the interaction which it has generated between us in ESOC. We have a WhatsApp group with about 30 of us on it. The chat is non-stop – in a good way! People sharing tips about taking zones, posting pictures of their new medals, encouraging each other, and sharing photos of zones and adventures they’ve been on. With the travel restrictions in Scotland just now, we also get a chance to bump into our club members when we are out turfing, which is always great as well.

What is the most frustrating thing about Turf?

At the moment, the government travel restrictions are frustrating as we can’t travel far to get all the zones which now exist in Scotland. Bring on the vaccine! I am over Covid-19 and ready to get back to normal.

A personal Turf goal you've achieved that you're most proud of?

Eager ferret medal! I tried it three nights in a row, getting faster each time, by getting better at where to take the zones. QuirkESOCs in our club managed to get this medal on foot in central Edinburgh, going in the opposite direction, and on a bike it’s better in the other direction. There are some tricky ones on the route, including HarryPotter, and on the final attempt I had the ESOC Turfers watching me on Turf-TV, so I felt the pressure. It was so cool to see the medal appear at the end, as I didn’t know how I was doing along the way.

Something, besides a bike, you've used to take a zone (which zone?)

As part of my Trainer medal quest, I have taken a couple of zones when on a train, and I have learned where it’s best to sit on a train (near the front, generally) in order to position best for the zones at the stations. Sometimes you need to run up or down the train to get into position, while it is in the station and before it moves off.

A medal you would like to see in the future?

I would love to see harder versions of the Revisitor. This is a REAL challenge to get in Edinburgh, as all your zones can easily be taken before you even get home. I think there is a real skill to this one, in terms of picking your zones and the timing of it all. I would suggest they are called Revisitier and Revisitiest, and maybe they are for 100 zones and 200 zones over 5 days, so a step up from the 50 of the Revisitor.

Most memorable zone you've taken. Why?

IslandIsland is a new zone which (as the name suggests) is on an island, and it is in a loch at one of the local universities. This is a new zone that our zone-setter Kingslayer created recently, and it had not been visited before. I went out on a freezing day at the start of December, and wore my wetsuit and goggles. I had no idea how deep it would be, but it wasn’t too bad – only up to my chest, but very muddy and sludgy under the brown water, and very cold. But despite all of this it was good fun!

Secondly we get to hear from MarkuuEsoc[edit]

Your Turf-nick/alias and the story behind it:

My Turf-nick is ’MarkkuEsoc’ which is an amalgamation of my first name, my rally driving hero of yesteryear in Markku Alén and most of us ESOC members also incorporate the club initials into our Turf-nick!

What made you begin with Turf?

Our orienteering club president Walter can be very persuasive when he wants to be. Didn’t have any other option than to play!

Favorite Zone or zone you take most often

ArthursSeat, a key Edinburgh landmark is an amazing zone to take because from there you can plan and see all the Edinburgh zones you’d like to take if only you had unlimited time! I take AdamCathzone most frequently as it is close by to home, named after my 2 children. It changes hands on average about 4 times a day so is probably the most frequently taken zone in Scotland at present.

Which medal has so far been the hardest to take? Why?

The children have been the driving force behind me obtaining the night ninja badge, they were only too delighted about the prospect of going for a wander in the middle of the night – but less so for me! Now they have their own Turf accounts they are badgering me to help them do it too - arggh!

What is the best thing about Turf?

A great excuse to get out of the house and get fitter!

What is the most frustrating thing about Turf?

Getting to a zone and then not being able to take it due to GPS. We have RiskyTurfing at the National Library of Scotland, but as I tend to Turf later on at night when the gates are locked and it is 50/50 if my GPS will allow me inside the zone border.

A personal Turf goal you've achieved that you're most proud of?

I was delighted to be number 1 in the world league overnight at the start of the October 2020 round, might just be tempted to try for it again at some point....

Something, besides a bike, you've used to take a zone (which zone?)

Nothing out of the ordinary, maybe I should start carrying a selfie stick to help take the RiskyTurfing zone mentioned above.

A medal you would like to see in the future?

A ‘Daily’ range of medals given for taking at least say 10 zones for a consecutive series of days, so ‘Daily-10’ would be achieved by getting 10 zones on 10 consecutive days, ‘Daily-50’ for 10 zones on 50 consecutive days and so on (This would encourage you to get out even on poor weather days and increase Turf loyalty)

Zone collector medal range for gaining at least one of each of the 11 zone types (this could be very difficult dependent on where you live), so perhaps this would start from ‘Zone Collector 8’ and work up through ‘Zone Collector 9’, ‘Zone Collector 10’ and ‘Zone Collector 11’ medals.

International Turfer – having taken zones in more than say 5 countries. This could be expanded to a 10 country and 15 country badges for example.

Expand the Neutralizer range of medals, so for example it is similar to the ‘Diverse’ medals format where you earn a medal for taking say 100, 250, 500 neutral zones within a round.

A League medal, given out on a hierarchical basis for the highest league level achieved during your Turf life, maybe starting at League 5 (for Turfers who at some point reached League 5). Then you’d have League 4, League 3, League 2, League One and finally Elite for any Turfer who has managed to get into the Elite league at any point.

Most memorable zone you've taken. Why?

BerwickLaw in North Berwick, for the fabulous view of the Bass Rock and out to sea.

MarkuuEsoc with his very helpful kids

Third one out féarglas[edit]

And finally, after winning her silver medal, féarglas took the time to answer the same questions :)

Your Turf-nick/alias and the story behind it:

People often think I’m Scottish and I have lived here for 20+ years now, but I am Irish. My Turf-nick is féarglas, (pronounced fair-gloss) which is Gaeilge, the Irish language, and translates to ‘green grass/turf’ in English. And isn’t that what we are after in Turf? Change all those red zones green.

PS: Often people leave out the fada (ie. the line) over the e, which makes the word ‘fearglas' (pronounced far-gloss) meaning ‘green man’. Which of course I am not.

What made you begin with Turf?

I started Turf in round 122, August 2020, after reading an article written by CSL in my orienteering club (ESOC) newsletter. CSL has been turfing for many years, our turf guru. The club president, ESOCWalter, who has a reputation for banging on about things, went on and on and on and on until we started using Turf!! I couldn’t find the app at first, but once I worked out the different country apple-ids, I was hooked.

We had a club competition on the first day of round 122 in August, which I won with 17,567 points. I smile now at how I bumbled around zones for the first time in areas I didn’t know, on a borrowed bike with no lights (after 17+ years of not cycling), getting lost frequently and down to 1% battery. A junior in the club, aged 10 years old was neck and neck with me until 10.30 pm when luckily, it was too late for them and they had to go home before the midnight finish. We’ve come a long way since August, with many great Turfers in the club and winning points totals for the subsequent first day of the round competition of 32,353 / 43,392 /37,825 and now ESOCWoody - 46,152.

Favorite Zone or zone you take most often?

A favorite zone is always a tough question, as everyone has a few. I like Kirkgate, as it is a pretty setting with a view of Currie Kirk, and the ride to it along the Water of Leith, a pathway which runs along the river through forest, is always a pleasant nature experience and very restorative after hours of city & concrete.

Which medal has so far been the hardest to take? Why?

The hardest medal to take so far has been the ‘Dark Ninja’. This isn’t because it is done at night time, which is my preferred time for going out, I just couldn’t work out which time zone the 2 am - 3 am referred to. To cover all bases of UTC, GMT, BST, UTC+1 etc., I tried every hour from midnight (local time) to 3 am. Nothing, no medal. I then asked CSL, the local guru, who explained it was 2 - 3 am local time but re-visits don’t count. And sods law - the only re-visits I had done were local time 2 – 3 am, the only hour that mattered.

What is the best thing about Turf?

The best thing about TURF is there is something in it for everyone, regardless of character, age or fitness. For me as a working Mum/parent, Turf has re-claimed a part of me lost to other commitments, and provides my space in a busy family. I love the mental challenge especially, the physical exercise, discovering new places both local and further afield, learning about places I thought I knew and piecing together the jigsaw of places I know individually. I enjoy sharing it with others, and seeing them get their own enjoyment from it.

What is the most frustrating thing about Turf?

There are a few things that frustrate me with TURF, like the vague often inaccurate map without contours, but the most frustrating thing for me is its complete and absolute reliance on GPS, which I find varies hugely in reliability and accuracy. I spend too much time dancing and circling around zones trying to coax the green avatar in to the zone, determined to not leave without taking it. When it does register eventually, I often freeze like a statue, not daring to move or breathe in case I hear the dreaded ‘Leaving Zone’. My common reply, to my inanimate phone - ‘I am not leaving the zone!’ It makes me laugh though when it battles itself with ’taking zone’ ‘leaving zone’ ’taking zone’ as the signal settles, as it reminds me of Father Dougal with the Christmas Tree lights. (Father Ted, ‘A Christmassy Ted’ aired December 1996, and repeated every year since as it is so great!!).

A personal Turf goal you have achieved that you’re most proud of?

Winning the silver medal in round 125 with 1.4 million points, both achievements I thought that were beyond me. And to be the first person outside of the Nordic Countries to win a medal, or exceed 1 million points, is further reward. We have a great community of Turfers here in Scotland and the UK, and I think I have done us all proud, putting us on the World Turf map. I was bowled over and warmed by the both the messages of encouragement and congratulations from home and abroad. (To Oberoff - a special thank you)

It was certainly a challenging 35 days, trying to fit Turf in around other commitments (which is why I often turf evenings/nights), playing the head game, battling the demons and to just keep going day after day with the motto of ’no days or nights off’. I did miss one night when I had bailed out of a day ride (after 70 km though) when I got very cold in poor weather, and intended going out later but I was ordered to sleep instead by my family. I met CSL the next day who said he was very surprised to wake and find he still owned his zones! There was also one overnight turf session which took longer than expected and being late home, everyone was late for school & work, but delighted children getting a lie-in.

Something, besides a bike, you've used to take a zone (which zone?)

I once used a stunt scooter to take zones, starting with SaughtonRoses, which is next to the skate park. Oh boy, never again. The little wheels are not well suited to uneven pavements/kerbs, and pushing with one leg while trying to remain balanced was very hard work. At least it wasn’t on the skateboard, or the final zone would definitely have been AcheInMyTummy, the local A&E.

A medal you would like to see in the future?

This would have to be a medal for reaching 1 million points in a round, and more medals as you achieve even higher points again.

Most memorable zone you've taken. Why?

My most memorable zone is nowhere special, but it has a special memory taking it. In round 123, my target was a top 5 finishing position. On the last day, I was in 5th, but went for a ride to ensure I didn’t lose it. It was a dreadful day here, a storm with wind, heavy rain and very cold - even the ducks weren’t out. It is up there with the most miserable rides ever! As I came close to home, I met my 8-year son, out in the storm. He had gone out to re-take the two ‘home’ zones so I could take them again. I was very moved by this, and we walked together to take the last zone.

Photo of ESOCWalter and féarglas

Thank you ESOCWalter, MarkkuEsoc and féarglas for answering my questions with interesting information and stories! I sure enjoyed reading their answers, I hope you did too :)

Turfa lugnt/Safe turfing!

Munin