Simon Theurer (left) with Mike McKay Assistant Head Groundsman and Allen Whellans (right) from local dealer Sherriff Groundcare.

Head Groundsman at George Heriot’s School, Simon Theurer, describes the facilities at one of Scotland’s most distinguished schools as ‘small’.  But it hosts 3 full size and 2 junior sized rugby pitches; 4 full size hockey surfaces; an astro hockey pitch and 2 cricket squares – a site totalling 22 acres is hardly small!  Inaugurated some 350 years ago, George Heriot’s School today is an independent co-educational day school to children aged 3-18 from in and around Edinburgh.

Despite 30 years of experience as a groundsman in the private school environment, 21 of those at George Heriot’s, Simon and his team of 3 full time staff have had to enlist the help of contractors from time to time to maintain top quality surfaces. “We had one guy come in to specifically scarify the grandstand rugby pitch, which worked really well.  However, it was quite costly and we began to think could we achieve, in some way, that level of result ourselves?  If we could then perhaps other areas of the facility could benefit too.  So, when we were given a grant by the school to expand our fleet of machinery, a scarifier was top of our wish-list.  After researching and trialling a number of models we settled on the Turf Tidy 2300 from Charterhouse Turf Machinery, which we took delivery of in July 2015.

“It just suited our needs the best. It gave us the level of finish we wanted whilst offering the fine level of height adjustment we required to be able to use the machine on multiple surfaces. It’s been in constant use since we’ve had it, initially for scarification then with the optional brush attachment fitted we cleared leaves and debris as well as power brushing our surfaces during autumn and winter. With the hockey pitches especially, it is critical we provide a true playing surface. All areas look clean and tidy and at the end of February we put the scarification unit back on ready for spring renovation work.”

The Turf Tidy also comes with an optional mowing attachment which Simon hasn’t used yet but plans to if the weather means they cannot get out with their normal mowers.

Last word from Simon, “We are delighted with the unit, it’s easy to operate and has fantastic collecting capabilities. The high lift to facilitate emptying is also fantastic as it means we can leave the trailer pitch-side, tipping the matter into it and taking it away without having to drive the trailer over the surface.”