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