Run Report 1936: The Wotton Hatch, Wotton

Hatchback to back.….…..

Scribed by Hawkeye

Post-lockdown has been as challenging for PH3 as the pre-version. First of all we couldn’t run, then when fully jabbed and untethered; 18 months of pent up enthusiasm took us off and out and about, but unfortunately not always hashing in Surrey! Therefore, it was with some hope of a returning flock that perennial hares Venus and Virgil set a trail from the Wotton Hatch….

Post-summer enthusiasm or a sense of guilt delivered, when twelve runners and two walkers chose to reacquaint themselves with the concept we love so much. They are listed as follows Uphill Gill, Trip Advisor, Tea Cosy, Robic, Sparkly, Wally, Hawkeye, Robin Hood, Too Bright, Scooby Doo, Secret Squirrel and Dusty. Sorry John was already out and Moondance plodded off in pursuit.

The pre-run briefing revealed some minor marital strife about who had/hadn’t set a falsie here and there and Virgil waxed lyrical about the hills ahead and the lack of conflict with the Surrey Hill marathon & Ultra trail that was passing nearby en route from Leith Hill to Denbies. I believed the first part, but not the second. Secret Squirrel is famous for ‘enjoying’ a circle to kick off a run and perhaps with good cause as he and I took 2 of the falsies on offer before settling into the back of the pack as we barrelled down dale past the church.

TC had effected a Le Mans style start that did not hinder him quickly taking the lead as we looped back to cross the A25 by Balchins Lane and ascend to Wescott Church, being closely followed by Robic, Robin Hood and Dusty. He held the lead all the way up to ‘Surrey Yurts’ along narrow and overgrown paths, the very same paths on which I’ve seen him previously perilously tip-toe along the margins to avoid the all-consuming mud. A twisted ankle was a more likely outcome today.

With the option of a clock or anti-clockwise route still open, TC came a cropper at Logmore Lane and I assumed FRB duties stopping for a brief ‘how do you do’ with SJ. SJ and my greetings over the years have often rotated around the previous days’ performance of our beloved Norwich City But this weekend having played 6 games and accumulated zero points – it was the briefest of exchanges 🙁  The promised hill loomed and I used my marathon toned legs to summit and stagger to the regroup (without a view?) and await all comers.

With Scooby (or was that Rogier de Merédithe the French alpinist inexplicably running without his walking poles?) within earshot, we were itching to get going. Heading homeward too soon, we were duty bound to drop down a valley and cross paths with the marathon/ultra route, but as several of our pack returned oblivious to the existence of that event, it clearly wasn’t troublesome. Having completed said marathon before, I tried to think how the hares could avoid too much confusion so with TC correctly guessed the need to cross the Tillingbourne and Sheephouse Lane before heading north. Well almost.

As ever TC had the advantage over me, so having crossed the Tillingbourne once more, I ascended a short hill alone to join the marathon trail and start a conversation with a runner who looked decidedly confused by a random runner appearing out of the hedgerow and despite claiming not to be on the same route; knowing so much about what lay ahead! If only hashing was that predictable. We parted company and via a cul-de-sac regained the trail home and a welcome from the hares. Hatchback.

VERDICT: Whilst the briefing was disingenuous (it alluded to the North Downs) the outcome was as predicted with some leg sapping hills. But overall an excellent trail and as SJ later commented it touched on some small sections of paths rarely used. Many thanks once more to Venus & Virgil.     

IN THE PUB: My chariot awaited so I was not able to luxuriate in the post run beer and banter, so please fill in your own commentary here. I merely reflect that in the last two and consecutive runs, these hares have chosen back to back hatches. Is there a third hatch lurking somewhere soon………On On.

Run Report 1929: Lakewood Car Park, Portsmouth Road, Cobham

Slowest ‘common’ denominator….…..

Scribed by Hawkeye

It’s a fair mile from Guildford up to Cobham but not far enough to deter an enthusiastic pack from pursuing the one man wizard that is Wurzel. In floury expectation were Venus, TIFM, Hawkeye, Scooby Doo, Robic, Moondance, Factor 100, Wally and Sparkly. Virgil was largely a bystander to let his latest injury heal properly and Sorry John was the advance party.

To follow on from the previous weeks’ near invisible sawdust, the early stages of this flour-marked GH3 style trail went very well as we jinked left and right through the wood to the lake that no doubt provided the ‘inspiration’ for the imaginatively named car park we’d started from. Thereafter vandalism piled confusion upon chaos.

The hare had covered 4.5 miles in flour but (thankfully) was out to double up the distance, replay and relay his trail. I suspect without this support the pack would have raised a white flag and turned for home. Therefore, with the cart often before the horse we proceeded through prime dog walking country. They say you’re either a dog or cat person, but if a ‘dog person’ has the small minded personality to wipe out hash trail markings*, I’m glad to count myself amongst the latter. But like the pack on much of this run, I’m getting ahead of myself and putting the cart before the horse or perhaps the owner before the dog……as on several occasions during the run, what flour did remain was seen being greedily lapped up by dogs, often Labradors. So maybe we should look at our four-footed friends first?

Back on two feet what I term ‘the GH3 logic’ began to prevail as more and more would-be FRBs began to drift back behind the hare having recognised their earlier ‘rewards’ for attempting infinite false trails. So out on Esher we were now at the slowest common denominator. Our first section complete and back across the Portsmouth Road the vandalism faded and we assembled for a voluntary regroup overlooking the river Mole, except it was impossible to glimpse through the trees.

The terrain however was great for running with ample paths, plenty of tree cover and generally soft underfoot conditions. At some point we lost the background rumble of the A3 which was pleasant but also disorientating. Having half crossed the first footbridge across the A3 on the out-trail without success I guessed that the trail needed to head south towards the International School in search of a way back home. But as always knowing in your head and finding with your feet seem more than six foot apart.

We found our way across the undulating scrubby woodland, more easily following the trail now the vandals had departed, or the dogs were full. A cruel left turn around the perimeter of a palatial house fooled the first FRBs but whilst I was able to lead us through this section, I succumbed to the sound of the road and to a non-existent false trail. In the end we emerged from the woods on the slip road to the International School before crossing the A3 and adjacent common home.

VERDICT: Wurzel did his best, the vandals did their worst and the pack picked the bones out of it, but in the end we successfully completed a loop just shy of 6 miles in a little over the hour. Many thanks Wurzel for your considerable efforts both before and during the run to ensure the pack had a good morning out.

POST RUN CONVERSATION: Muggy with a threat of rain plus external commitments was enough to see the pack quickly disperse. F100 was running well (2 weeks after her 100km event) and is ticking off a half marathon next week before a couple of marathons in September. With that energetic information I headed home to an afternoon on the sofa avoiding the rain. On on.

* PH3 dog owning members obviously excluded!

Run Report 1928: Sidney Wood CP, Nr Alfold

Leaders grasp the nettle….well occasionally….…..

Scribed by Hawkeye

As I drove to Sidney Wood last weekend, I was reminded of the legend of this great Victorian explorer. Sidney, the discoverer of Chiddingfold and the first woman to complete the tricky solo ascent of the North Face of St Martha’s, and surely her most daring adventure – an expedition to Woking. The woods named in her honour surround another fading (pre-) Victorian memory – remnants of the Wey and Arun Canal.

Twenty-first century intrepid explorers ready to make the trip today included TIFM, Robic, Moondance, Hawkeye, Robin Hood, Lady Chatterley, 3s4d, Scooby Doo and Pis’t’man Pat. That’s right PH3’s most inappropriately apostrophe’ d man was back. You can’t keep a good man down, nor PP. The temperature was brewing to be the hottest day of the year and as the mercury nudged 30o the hare’s briefing spoke of copious mud to cope with. I was already considering wallowing in it. We were also warned of near invisible sawdust, so whilst this was set in PH3 style – in parts it would turn into a GH3 style free for all. Talking of GH3, with the GMs and several other twin-hatters absent, rumours circulated of a pre-freedom day GH3 get away. I always imagine a GH3 trip descending in to farce as the pack scatters in all directions at the first roundabout – never to regroup again. But maybe that’s just me.

Our first five minutes was spent unsuccessfully leaving the car park. The next eighty more successfully out on the trail. For this run, rhythm and flow were an eternal challenge, within the woods the sawdust faded to obscurity, out in the open the temperature rose incredibly – a hard day ensued. We slithered through some early mud looking for ways to exit the treacherous canal towpath. It was good to have SD back in the pack, he may be lacking stamina but the decibel count always increases when he’s in the lead. Which he was for a while as he helped pilot me out of the woods and around some high value housing.

We made a voluntary regroup in an appropriately shaded spot which according to TIFM turned out to be next to a field of scabious. Field of Scabious, the difficult second album by Hamsters are the Master Race. Those familiar with the pre-run briefing were expecting overgrown paths and scratchy legs but only SD had opted for full trousers, the others presuming them to be too hot. And then we arrived at our collective downfall. As places to come a cropper, there could be worse as the pack struggled to find an ongoing trail, with circumstances such as multiple paths and no circle (we had missed the cross), a large trail and no markings (we had missed the cross) and little other choices ( I didn’t like the look of the waist high nettles). Much toing and froing and cursing ensued. Eventually we found the cross that was so obviously placed that it was comical – and decided to grasp the nettle.

The nettles made way for more glutinous mud and led to FRB Moondance going all ‘Zola Budd’ as he carried on whilst one of his shoes didn’t. This path brought us back into the ambit of the old canal, and it shows the level of disorientation that I then spent considerable efforts in trying to turn right when in fact ‘home’ was more of a hard-left direction.

The on in extended somewhat further than I expected and Robic, Moondance and I broke away for a short while in pursuit of a consistent route home. I backed a hunch to cross the old canal and shouted that an immediate right fork was necessary in the verdant surroundings. This message clearly didn’t carry, meaning the next runners either forked right off or were forked right off. We returned in good order to the welcome of two relieved-looking hares. 3s4d went astray somewhere but eventually found his way home ten minutes later.

VERDICT: To the hares’ consternation the pack had covered approximately 7 miles that contradicted with their claim of 6.4 including falsies. I’m no techno-geek but from a quick google it boils down to GPS watches using direct satellite fixing and phone apps using relays via masts etc. and averaging out any errors. When the top tip to get an accurate reading on your phone is “First, try to choose outdoor routes along open, relatively flat areas whenever possible. Dense, overhead foliage, tall buildings and other types of satellite or cellular interference make for greater inaccuracies”, I think you can draw your own conclusions!

But many thanks to the hares Easily Overlooked and Secret Squirrel for their efforts, the trail was generally well marked but sadly the colour of the sawdust and sunshine made it very difficult to follow.

POST RUN CONVERSATION: Cooling down was the first task as we ambled round the shaded but sticky car park.  PP was grilled on his new lodgings etc. and even offered to welcome us for a weekend hash at some point. SD was so enlivened by the run that he offered to buy the drinks in the nearby and appropriately named Sun Inn. But with prior commitments or a need for a lie down in the shade, for the majority ‘A run & on their Wey’ was enough excitement for the day. On on.

WEY & ARUN FOOTNOTE: For those interested (perhaps just me!), the roadworks on the bend by the car park are in fact preparatory for a new road bridge (and adjacent footbridge) that will be within the width of the existing highway. When the bridge is completed and the road reopened to traffic, a new canal cut some 200yards long will be excavated below the bridge and will then curve around to re-join the original canal to the west of the old crossing.

Run Report 1927: Old Guildford Road Car Park, Near Deepcut

We’ll keep the red flag flying here…..

Scribed by Hawkeye

TIFM has a habit, one of many, of appropriating other people’s venues for his own. A trait borne of lethargy or economy, or perhaps a general lack of cartographic support. I’ll let you decide. A stoic but slim pack were assembling beside the Old Guildford Road as I undulated along it from the other direction whilst simultaneously trying to keep my feet dry. The pack included Too Bright, Wurzel, ITB, Cynthia, Virgil, Venus and daughter ‘new Chloe’.

The hare had used one of those new-fangled mobile phone things to try and contact me during the morning, but without success. But after a complete failure to find a single blob after the first circle, I repaid the compliment and extracted some basic information such as it was generally to GH3 style and generally anti-clockwise. Venus made the initial breakthrough and we were off, though in fact I think we somehow short-cutted to an early section of the trail and avoided the sinuous section that Virgil spotted during his solo walking. Anyway no harm done.

This is ‘Wurzel territory’ and thankfully he was along for the morning to keep an eye on things. Sadly this did not include tree roots and an early tumble nearly took him headfirst into the Basingstoke Canal which might have been a softer landing than the ground that came up to meet him. With such a small group, survival and route finding shared equal footing so Venus, Too Bright, Cynthia etc. – all took up the cudgels.

Heathland and pine woods can be very disorienting environments. Combined they completely threw my internal compass, though with an undulating terrain there were some (painful) landmarks to mark our progress. And as is often the case a sense of familiarity grew within the pack as we struggled in the wake of FRB Wurzel. This was because in large part we were running Wurzel’s trail (see RR1908), but in reverse – Lezruw if you like.

All was going well until we regained the BOAT that is the Old Guildford Road. From my earlier pedestrian entrance I knew the trail would appear here but had not spotted that it tracked diametrically away from the car park. We followed somewhat reluctantly right up to Mychett Place Road where the trail appeared to cross the road but then petered out. All options (and the pack) exhausted we looked again at the path, the locked gate and the red flag fluttering in the gentle morning breeze……..I’d like to say that my phone call with TIFM was like a scene from M*A*S*H with live shells falling all around as he cowered to hear my voice, but in reality it was more prosaic than that.

With just over 4 miles on the clock the pack agreed that the direct route back to the CP was the best/safest option, so they paddled the boat home. Meanwhile I waited to see that the hare escaped the firing squad (see photograph). Having exchanged pleasantries with the hare who swore blind (was blind?) that the red flag was not flying earlier, I departed on foot back to Whitmoor Common to complete my ‘long run’. No doubt ‘New Chloe’ set off to contact social services or adoption services?! Having anticipated a morning mileage of 7-6-7, it ended with 8-4-8, either of which would have been a good formation for the England football team later that evening.

VERDICT: You can’t fault the enthusiasm or the execution, just the preparation. Without a full reccy or reliable map coverage the hare got carried away and nearly carried off in a box. From my brief conversation with the hare, I understand he’d set another two to three miles in the closed off firing ranges. So the packs’ escape was maybe a mercy killing after all.

POST RUN CONVERSATION: Making my own sinuous route around the ranges home, I was not present at any post run debrief, but the pack was in good humour and perhaps relieved not to have strayed as far as the hare. So maybe the hare dodged a bullet there too….Perhaps when the hare returned he claimed that when he checked on the internet the ranges were not due to be closed, or more likely that the red flag wasn’t shown on his 1980 copy of the Surrey A-Z. On on.

TIFM escaping the firing squad!

Run Report 1925: National Trust CP, North Holmwood

Points of view, on viewpoints……..

Scribed by Hawkeye

An intimate knowledge of local carparks is an unusual by-product of being a hasher, alongside developing the personal alcohol consumption capability of a full rugby seven team. On this occasion there was little excuse for not knowing the CP in question – it was a mere few hundred yards from the hares’ home. Enjoying the surrey countryside, enduring the numerous cyclists and exiting the Dorking one-way system we arrived, ready to roll.

The ‘we’ in question were Hawkeye, Robic, Moondance, Wurzel, Factor 100 (100km that is), ITB, Cynthia, Wally, Sparkly, Call Girl, Robin Hood, Virgil and Venus. Tom (House)Martin was also present and is now known as ‘Swift’. Finally we were accompanied by Hugh-Mid – you remember him…rather cloying and a bit too close for comfort, leaving you in a sweat. So we were 14 runners.

As it turns out 14 is the average IQ of the average dog walker in the North Holmwood area, either that or they all have such pronounced limps such that sawdust is scrubbed out as they pass by. But undeterred the intrepid pack doubled-down and sweated through the jungle-like early sections and the oak woodland that ensued.  This was lovely running territory and very confusing. But confusion became our best friend as we tackled copious circles, persistent vandalism and terrain that looked identical (to the untrained eye).

Front running was dominated by Swift supported by Robic, Robin Hood and so on. Back running was dominated by Virgil who arrived last despite living the closest and then proceeded to pump up a tyre on his car. Personally I would have spared the energy and just feigned tying up my shoelaces to avoid any route finding. But maybe he was being magnanimous…….

With few natural visual clues to go on, like hills, power lines or rivers – I resorted to trying to decipher the numerous fingerpost signs and their meaning. For example ‘Mill Road CP’, ‘Fourwents Pond’ and ‘Viewpoint’. But information only becomes knowledge when you have the context to interpret it, and I didn’t. Therefore, having winkled the smallest snippet from the hares that there wasn’t a planned regroup, but an occasion to do so at a viewpoint – I honed in on the viewpoint signs.

This was a mistake. For every advancement, I fell back at the next attempt and got quite grumpy when Robic tried to make a voluntary regroup within the woods – what about the bloody viewpoint I cried, internally. But thereafter my luck changed as slipping away from Swift I crossed the road to arrive at a viewpoint next to the War Memorial. Whether this was ‘a’ or ‘the’ view point depended on your point of view, but the presence of a cross (not just the one on the war memorial!), didn’t support my case. Hero to zero yet again.

Back across the road once more and through Mill Road CP we headed for the much anticipated viewpoint where a local christened us the Surrey Chipmunk Society on account of the sawdust spreading. Virgil now joined Surrey’s newest society and did his best to not lead us anywhere useful. Venus was more accommodating. By now Fourwents had been and went as had all other markers, so we followed our instincts and when that didn’t work Venus or Virgil. By such devious measures we crossed the glade by the CP where the hares were enjoying tea and sandwiches.

VERDICT: Whatever your view on viewpoints, the pack was unanimous in its view on a great run. Statistics escape me, but it felt very much on time and course. The course rated highly on the complexity rating, even to confuse a Sat Nav and yet barely left the confines of Holmwood Common. Many thanks UG and PN – a cracker.

POST RUN CONVERSATION: Despite being humid the threat of rain prevailed and an alfresco post-run ensued in the car park, rather than the nearby glade as folk considered the afternoon ahead. And confirmation of the complexity of the trail arrived as Wally was summoned by phone to recover a stranded Call Girl, Sparkly and Sat Nav, somewhere on the common. On on….

Run Report 1923: Pine View Close, Chilworth

C’mon, c’mon hurry up Harry c’mon……

Scribed by Hawkeye

June is becoming blooming marvellous (excl. latest extension to corona-restrictions!) and no more so than in the bucolic setting of the Robin Hood, Maid Marion garden which was where I found the hare relaxing with a coffee last Sunday. It was already stickily hot and cold drinks (non-alcoholic) were on offer to would be runners.

These included Hawkeye, Pis’t’man Pat, Wally, Le Pro, Virgil, Venus, ITB, Cynthia, Tea Cosy, Lady Chatterley and at some point TIFM. So another week and another recently retired hare – how would this week turn out….. Pre-run briefing/bull**** was intended to make us think that Blackheath not St Martha’s was to receive our attention. I knew a little better.

Retracing my steps down by Lockner Farm from my run to the start and reaching the gunpowder mills – my small advantage ceased. A welcoming cool enveloped us as we trotted left and right beside the Tillingbourne to eventually escape up to Chilworth Manor. Hoping the trail took a less vertical direction, I found no sign of a trail and succumbed to the inevitable. Therefore with FRB Venus I commented that come what may, I was going to ascend this track (‘the gulley’) – after all whilst the hill was the same, this route was in the shade. A few breathless minutes later and several fruitless long distance vocal exchanges with the concerned pack, thinking I had gone astray – I arrived at the view point to watch the pack struggle in the full sun.

Robin Hood made good pace to the voluntary regroup and enticed us to ascend further, this we did but without succumbing to the summit, even though our interest was ‘peaked’. In the end we passed all the way round the back and despite provocation – “maybe this is the circle where you head up to the top…” were never tempted. At this point it was TC, myself and the hare who were making pretty good speed considering he’d already set the run.  Caffeine fuelled no doubt. But Venus, Cynthia and co were also in close company.

At the church car park we tried to dissuade Venus from heading off down the ‘llama path’ into the distance and at that moment I caught the sound of an ‘on on’ from I assumed the hare. Somehow thereafter TC and I broke away from the group and enjoyed some shaded downhill running through Colyers Hanger and ultimately to the bottom of the hill. The hare was MIA but by now we had TIFM, who had started late and was ‘running’ the trail backwards.

TIFM remains incorrigible, infuriating and untameable in equal measure. In fact alongside his gardening business I am sure he could give Fancy Bears a run for their money and stress test any fool proof system beyond its limits. Case in point this week had the GM lamenting his inability to contact TIFM, who only has a mobile phone, rarely has it switched on, has no voicemail system and rarely ever reads or sends texts. So not having spoken, Wally sent him a text assuming (as you would) that he would eventually read it and note the switch of venue from Abinger Roughs…….As it transpired the mobile phone was resident in my car all week, inside a jacket that TIFM left behind last week! I suspect no one else in PH3 would forego their mobile phone (also noting that this is TIFM’s only means of communication – he has no email) for a whole week. No surprises then that he arrived late and started the trail backwards – because forwards was too easy.

TC and I seemed to find the on in rather too easily and it later transpired that the majority of the ensuing pack took a no doubt delightful but imaginary loop around the ponds when in fact the trail passed by the most direct route back to the Lockner Farm lane and home. We were joined again briefly by the hare who seemed to be struggling to keep ahead of the pack, as we were in the throes of crossing over to the outbound trail. More coffee required…….and maybe with the lyrics of Sham 69 ringing in his ears…. C’mon, c’mon hurry up Harry c’mon……

VERDICT: What’s not to like about a beautiful day spent in the shadow of St Martha’s – except on such a hot day, maybe more shadows and less hills, but in reality we had a great time out, many thanks Robin Hood for your considerable efforts. Puzzlingly – TC and I somehow covered 5.5 miles in our efforts whereas the GM with the GarMin, who met his Waterloo (pond) did a mile less – but we’ll put that down to a technology rather than user error.

POST RUN ENTERTAINMENT: Copious cool water saw us rehydrated, and as I left c1230 I don’t think I’d seen a single beer consumed – which is scandalous behaviour for a hash group. The ensuing BBQ no doubt made up for it, with 3s4d and Miriam swelling the numbers. As TIFM had arrived for a run in a different place without a post-run BBQ, who knows what he made of the afternoons’ events……on on.

Run Report 1922: Haslemere Recreation Ground, Haslemere

Give a retired man a map and he’ll set you a hash, and then some…..

Scribed by Hawkeye

The banner spanning the High Street to mark Pis’t’man Pat’s recent relocation to Haslemere, was taken down shortly before the PH3 rolled into town last weekend, and the ticker tape lay in the gutter. In the weeks following his retirement, whilst most people would be synchronizing their body clock to ‘Homes Under the Hammer’ or itemising golf courses to frequent, PP was planning this hash. He had gone to extraordinary lengths, it seems. Haslemere Rec sits atop a hill sufficient you’d think to give the Shalford Away team a nosebleed and altitude sickness. Struggling to the start line by various routes were Wally, Sparkly, Call Girl, TIFM, Tea Cosy, Hawkeye, Moondance, Robic, Le Pro, ITB, A-List and Robin Hood. There was also a grumpy bugger along for the ride.

ITB turned the car park into a Sunday market and distributed the fruits of his allotment labours and in a warm and gentle rain the pack took instruction from a clearly fatigued hare. We jogged off with the entertaining sight of an £80K+ soft top sports car getting a damp interior. Or perhaps it was only the grumpy bugger who saw that. Seeing the trail wasn’t so hard but numerous switches and three blob turns kept us guessing and cursing in equal measure. We headed down Haste Hill with haste only to come back up. I tried Tennyson Lane, when in fact Tennyson Ridge was the correct route. By the time I’d rejoined the pack, I’d been overtaken by the Grumpy Bugger as we reached and crossed……Tennyson Lane! Where we descended a steep hill only to come straight back up. Lung and sense of humour failure were conjoined twins.

On the flip side of the coin we were heading out into some stunning countryside and felt the magnetic pull of ‘The Temple of the Winds’.  The hare continued to set the trail as if undergoing an existential crisis, a bit like Bojo where he has to hide the truth – even from himself. Somehow Robic, Moondance, TC and Co maintained forward momentum. Clearly they’d avoided the worst of the falsies. Whereas the crosses I’d encountered were reminiscent of Darren Anderton in Euro 96 – weak and ineffective.

The hare shepherded his flock to ensure that they could interpret his somewhat haphazard trail, in particular a vertical descent across a field of recently felled trees to…..yes you’ve guessed it…..immediately ascend to the hilltop the other side! Shortly before this section I managed a high speed face plant after catching a toe on a tree root. The fact that three young ladies about half my age were strolling toward me at the time was in no way responsible for my lack of attention to the trail. Honest.  Those of you with the ‘good book’ to hand can check Proverbs 16:18 which I think has something to say on the matter.

Having earlier glimpsed signs of a near 10 mile read out on his phone, it was no surprise therefore that the hare’s trail continued to head us away and maybe still towards the Temple of the Winds, the grumpy bugger doubled down as for the second week ‘running’ a cuckoo marked our passing. In the end the regroup happened at an absolutely stunning location with panoramic views for miles around. But Wally brought us back down to earth recounting the 1967 air crash that unfolded in the foreground below us. (see an interesting Pathé news clip here). We descended the hill past the scene of Call Girls’ recent downfall (physical not moral) and headed North in a general direction of ‘home’. Therefore to head South at the next circle was a blow to body and soul. The grumpy bugger resurfaced and two sides of a triangle later he spouted forth about the hare’s parentage. The on in was a mercy killing of a 20% climb across half a mile. Halfway up, the hare felt confident enough to admire his charges return, safe in the knowledge that energy and oxygen starvation alone protected him from immediate physical or verbal assault.

VERDICT: The grumpy bugger was hypoxic and apoplectic whereas he should have been glad to be alive. I feel this was the main emotion displayed by the hare who had set the trail in heavy mist, got disorientated, covered ten miles and spent four hours setting! Our small pack had remained tightly packed, in part due to the voluntary regroups called by Tea Cosy, but generally due to the sheer befuddlement of the trail. As predicted by the GM, in hindsight I am prepared to offer a charitable interpretation of a 7 mile, 3,000ft and 90 min trail. My body less so. Thank you PP for going to and taking us to such extraordinary lengths – a memorable outing.

POST RUN CONVERSATION: Due to our late return there wasn’t much time for post run catch ups, but the sunny Rec Ground looked a convivial spot for such things. TC and Robic informed us a little of Factor 30’s Ultra exploits the preceding day – now playing to a more sympathetic audience. And with that I departed, promising myself to leave the grumpy bugger at home next time. On on.

Run Report 1921: Rodborough Common CP, Near Milford

A yaffley good run……

Scribed by Hawkeye

The saying goes that it is a long time from May to September, but with an emerging climate crisis it’s a long time from one May Bank Holiday to another. From Hypothermia to Hyperthermia in twenty eight days! With the prospect of a sunnier outlook, a stalwart and reduced pack resisted other temptations to assemble adjacent to the A3 expecting some enigmatic entertainment courtesy of PH3’s version of Professor Yaffle. And not to be disappointed the car park proved as dusty as our hare, who I assume was named due to his dry sense of humour?

The pack numbered Sparkly, Wally, A-list, Too Bright, Cynthia, ITB, Prince Charming, Pis’t’man Pat, TIFM, Hawkeye, Call Girl and Robin Hood. A taciturn briefing and then we took our turn to find what lay in store, or more precisely on footpaths and roads. The route out took us back under the A3 and an ongoing and confusing series of twists and turns that bamboozled the bejesus out of the majority of the pack. This led to some heated debate as to whether this particular section of abandoned road was the old A3 or not. I think after my third attempt to make such a claim, my paper thin credibility had evaporated.

Paper thin leads were also the order of the day as the constantly turning trail ensured a constantly rotating lead. Finding myself near the front of affairs in the company of Prince Charming I offered the opinion that we could very likely emerge near the old pub, the White Lion (?) in Milford. But after hitting a road and crossing it, I confidently declared that I had no idea where I was. Then PC politely pointed out that we had just arrived at the aforementioned closed pub that I’d just been blathering on about!

The next footpath was a complete surprise and provided a bluebell glade complete with an Araucaria araucana. Worked that out yet – well it is a monkey puzzle. But the real solution to my mental puzzle emerged as a hitherto unknown (to me) crossing of the A3 emerged, on Lower Moushill Lane no less. This was the physical release for my mental block on how the bl***y hell we were going to return to whence we came.

This led us to some fine woodland and common running where we met the hare for a regroup. Before being dispatched to play on Rodborough Common proper. Common land has a certain samey-ness to it, and some of the more densely wooded parts, the feel of abandoned military grounds. But fully restored to nature they were wild enough for us.

And as the cuckoo struck 13, I for one was looking for a way home. With the A3 as an aural guide I navigated by ear not eye, only to realize that we had looped much further south than I’d thought and hence needed to head further North. This led to an impasse the likes of which I have not experienced since 1987 and Ogof Fechan (a welsh cave), where I became convinced that we had already passed this point and where now re-covering old ground. As in Wales, it took a wiser mind to break me from my reverie and run past what I swore was our earlier regroup, but in fact wasn’t. See earlier comment about samey-ness! As the sawdust faded (as briefed by the hare), so did we but, with TIFM as our guide we eventually divined our route back towards the A3 and home.

VERDICT: A great run, intricately planned and executed, though I understand it took the hare a few hours, due to running short of sawdust on a few occasions. But from our perspective this was time well spent, as it kept us well on track. Many thanks Dusty, Professor Yaffle would have been proud.

POST RUN CONVERSATION: BH plans quickly dragged me away but not before sampling the cookies provided by Too Bright. And with some relaxing in the sunshine I headed off for an afternoon bike ride, possibly with a beer or two.  PP did the same with the guarantee of many more. On on

Run Report 1920: Hogden Lane CP, Ranmore Common

Club 19-20

Scribed by Hawkeye

Commerce and capitalism rarely cross paths with PH3. There were the occasions back in the nineties when we sought sawdust sponsorship from Travis Perkins and chip endorsements from McCain but those brief and unsuccessful forays aside – we remain an altruistic and free spirited bunch. Gin in PP’s case. But this weekend bluebells and payola went head-to-head as SJ (quite understandably) had to prioritize employment over enjoyment. And having survived being self-employed through the pandemic, not let this opportunity pass by.

But cometh the hour, cometh the GMs who valiantly stepped in to set in the area and revel in the bluebells who wait for no man, woman etc. But was this going to be like the Jimi Hendrix version of all along the watchtower (better than the original)  or a right ‘Jamie Oliver’ for suggesting you put chorizo in paella……..a bounteous pack turned out to find out. This included Scooby Doo, Secret Squirrel, TIFM, Call Girl, Easily Overlooked, Robin Hood, Tea Cosy, Robic, Moondance, Cynthia, ITB, Factor30, Hawkeye, Pis’t’man Pat, Uphill Gill, Paul Newman, Trip Advisor, Venus and Dusty. SJ did make a brief appearance off the back of a 6-day 12hr shift, so for Run 1920 we had 19 or 20 participants depending on your perspective.

I had tried to practice safe drinking whilst watching Saturday night TV, and if ever you needed a drink to watch the TV – it’s the Eurovision song contest. Anyway as I am sure PP can attest, safe drinking (where you match alcohol glass for glass with the equivalent volume of water) is okay in principle, but even I can’t manage the necessary two bottles of water. But suitably hydrated I arrived to the hash where a shower were assembling in…….a shower.

The marking for this hash was impeccable from the outset. Copious markings and a lack of vandals (few people go walking in torrential downpours) meant that we were always certain of our trail. Which was just as well as it was bonkers – think spider on LSD fallen into an inkwell. Setting aside the idea that the GMs are drug-fuelled loons, the reason for such random running was to show off the seasonal best of the bluebells. Therefore the only clue to aid the FRB was whether a section of bluebells was visible from the circle.

An early undulating section did for SS who pulled up lame – some people will do anything to get out of writing a run report, but the early regroup was perched on the edge of the downs at that pillbox overlooking Westcott. We made it further along the NDW before a brutal ascent into the woods and the best of what Fern Britain had to offer – a mesmeric greenery dotted with bluebells, not a show reel from 1990’s Good Morning show. It’s good to know that at least the ferns have been enjoying the recent and incessant rains.

But what goes up, must use the North Downs Way, so we quickly descended and cross White Lane. In my mental map there is a Bermuda/Bluebell Triangle section between where the NDW and Drove Road bifurcate just past Gomshall and into which I rarely venture. But throwing all caution to the wind, the route took us through the eye of the hypotenuse and into uncharted territory. The novelty of running once more in a large pack is that you can go a whole run without taking the lead, or is that just a circumstance of running with TC? I think Dusty and Moondance offered him some company at some points but it looked like he had it covered on his own.

Emerging from some delightful beech woods onto the Drove Road, my hard fought insider knowledge, from my run to the start, was pretty redundant as the FRBs were so far ahead, but at least I had survived the Bermuda/bluebell triangle. Having crossed Crocknorth Road, we dropped down to Critten Lane to pass behind the former Ranmore Arms and a close encounter with a pen of sheep, pre-numbered for the menu. The on in continued the theme of well-marked but undulating and with some familiar territory (from Yew Tree Farm) we regained the height needed for a flat run across the common and home. Oh and ‘Germany won on penalties’.

VERDICT: Simply delightful. The advantage of May’s excessive rainfall is a stupendous level of greenery to counterpoint a full flush of bluebells. A devious trail that was under time but over (the usual) incline – but all the better to slowly take in the surroundings. Many thanks Sparkly and Wally

POST RUN CONVERSATION: The post run entertainment was lacking chips. It was lacking piping hot sausage rolls. And it was lacking an Aga-warmed atmosphere. So whilst the run was upholding of expected standards – a damp, chilly carpark after party was not! But the warmth of conversation was unchanged. I caught up on F30s somewhat challenging marathon and Ultra plans for the year ahead – #this girl can and left for a much anticipated hot shower, relaxing in the comfort of a delightful run in similar terrain and company. On on

Run Report 1919:Hollowdene Recreation Ground, Shortfield Common Road, Nr Frensham

The perfect wedding shower……

Scribed by Hawkeye

Lockdown continues to ease and having spent a year on the sofa to save lives and protect the NHS, it was high time to leave the sofa…..to save my life and protect the NHS. April showers had also dutifully respected social distancing but had been making up for lost time in May. Time to Frensham things up a little. With some or other similar justification (or just sympathy for bedraggled hares) Robin Hood, 3s4d, Lady Chatterley, Call Girl, Sparkly, Wally, Prince Charming, Cinderella, Hawkeye, Secret Squirrel,  Pis’t’man Pat, Easily Overlooked, Tea Cosy, Sorry John and TIFM arrived at Shortfield Common Road. EO was one of the last to arrive, which was surprising considering the venue….

The following hour tested some/all of the following myths:

  • It never rains between 11 and 12 on a Sunday.
  • Interbreeding between hashers is alive and ‘well’.
  • Tea Cosy can be early for a run
  • Covid is not transmissible through torrential downpours
  • PP remains in full control of his faculties if not his liver
  • The Tufty Club survives – for some
  • Frensham with its ponds etc., is largely flat

Read on to find out which ones.

We were promised a sub 5 mile trail, wildlife and a regroup. Running the touchline we passed the offside of the football pitch and were away. Within five minutes we had successfully crossed the main road onto the heath. I am pleased to report that Secret Squirrel still holds his Tufty Club badge, less so Policeman Badger who’s lifeless form was the ‘wildlife’ referred to by the hares. Not a good omen for the run ahead.

Running ahead was Prince Charming who with youth and local knowledge on his side, was a force to be reckoned with. But first of all we had to reckon with the novelty of running in a group of over six people – albeit suitably distanced. This we accomplished seemingly seamlessly even hovering over circles like a well-oiled machine. The early section was accomplished in torrential rain that somehow grew stronger as we climbed to the high ground and an al fresco marked regroup with a panoramic of the great pond/lake below.

For some reason this brought forth a ditty about the Duke of Buckingham from Secret Squirrel. Maybe it was the onset of hypothermia as despite being mid-May and just before midday, soaked to the skin the regroup was distinctly chilly. But joy unbridled is a woman in love and Lady Chatterley chose this moment to announce her recent betrothal to 3s4d. Brief cheers and clapped/chapped hands ensued before, for safety’s sake we moved on.

I took a falsie as we tipped over the crest of the hill and never saw Prince Charming again. But the entertainment proceeded nonetheless. Descending the hill just ahead of the tongue of water that was turning the path into a stream, I joined the pack as it wove alongside the Pond/Pond Road and emerged by the hotel. Next up we encountered PH3’s very own Mary Poppins e.g. TIFM jogging with a golf umbrella!

Closing out a half lap of the lake my legs and lungs felt it was time to turn for home. TC already had and in the company of SS we encountered some wildlife (thankfully in rude health) in the shape of lambs and bullocks as we crossed the meadows towards St Mary the Virgin and some rather bucolic scenery as we climbed up from the river, to the playing field and home.

VERDICT: Rumour has it that Robic suffered from a last minute cancellation, but Moondance looked a natural as the plus one. And as foretold the run length of 5.1m (include some of the predicted long falsies) covered in c56min – was just what we like. We also like cake and in celebration of the announcement LC (for I assume it was not 3s4d) conjured up our necessary sugar fix.

POST RUN CONVERSATION: the rain had abated but temperatures remained low until full past 12noon when the sun came out (see myth busting below) and we relaxed like lizards in search of solar gain. This allowed us to catch up (physically and verbally) with PC and Cinderella on local housing developments and explore PP’s future plans in that regard. I think CG and Sparkly were absent for the photoshoot but more importantly present for the cake. And then the rains came again…..

So many thanks Robic and Moondance and what of those myths, well……….

  • It never rains between 11 and 12 on a Sunday – myth busted!
  • Interbreeding between hashers is alive and ‘well’ – with nuptials planned – apparently so.
  • Tea Cosy can be early for a run – True, but only because he took a lift to get there
  • Covid is not transmissible through torrential downpours – the jury’s still out, but hopefully not!
  • PP remains in full control of his faculties if not his liver – seemingly so……..
  • The Tufty Club survives, for some – True.
  • Frensham with its ponds etc., is largely flat – largely busted.

On on.