Run Report 1932: Wotton Hatch

Maximum Heart Rate of 197 bpm

Scribed by Tea Cosy

So I’d run with Factor 30 a few months back from Wotton Hatch and shown her some of the gems around this area. So it was with some trepidation to run from here. Was she going to just have pinched my run, and palmed it off as her own as our hare? Along to find out were Wally, Too Bright, A-List, Robin Hood, Scooby Doo, Easily Overlooked, Dusty, Wurzel, In the Bum, Cynthia, Trip Advisor. Sorry John was already out there. And Spark(l)y was on key-keeping duty, having helped factor 30 set the trail. A good turnout I thought given Summer Holidays can so often deplete our numbers.

Off we headed South across the field before the pack forked right at the circle over the stile, leaving Dusty to find the falsie. Hang on a second I thought, this is exactly the way I led Factor 30. Further on I correctly guessed left, before I caught up with Scooby Doo as we tried to avoid the mud (I do running but I don’t do muddy shoes). As the FRB I then correctly went right over the river, and realised this was my exact bloody route!

My new found confidence was short-lived though when the trail took us across the tarmac and up the footpath before a succession of circles led me to take nearly every falsie. So much so that the pack was more or less together again. What followed next was a glorious trail twisting and turning through the woods to properly make us lose all sense of direction. One moment we’re heading westbound towards Leith Hill Road, before a sharp dogleg sent us in the opposite direction. The fact it began to rain didn’t matter as a plentiful supply of circles and falsies kept us all in check. There was a section where the hare briefly took us off-piste (or rogue as some in the running game call it) but this didn’t matter as the trail was clearly marked, and continued to keep us confused.

Out we popped (just up from the Stephen Langton) and the trail steadily climbed up the meandering stream before I once again took a falsie. The pack suffered somewhat on the steep climb and yours truly got ahead, guessing correctly on the next couple of circles. I was convinced ‘I had it in the bag’ when we approached the car park, only to let Dusty take the lead as I took both falsies. We then gently descended, before hitting some more tarmac which eventually led to our regroup at Surrey’s second biggest waterfall (in case you’re wondering, Virginia Water is the highest). Out of nowhere the sun suddenly shone and for a fleeting moment, some even talked of taking a dip. From there it was more or less a straight run back, but not before our hare took us up one last hill to join up with the Green Sands Way. This was the route I took Factor 30 back on but she had the last laugh as I foolishly ran through a falsie at Damphurst Lane, only to gift Dusty line honours in correctly following the trail left down the residential street to bring us back through the field where we started from.

An excellent route that continually kept us guessing, with a plentiful supply of circles & falsies to dash any confidence of local knowledge. Well done Factor 30, and thank you Spark(l)y for your assistance with those extra long falsies. No wonder my watch told me I peaked at a maximum heart rate of 197 bpm!

At The Pub
We experienced this thing called the pub. You all sit around close together, drink alcohol and talk rubbish. I rather liked it and hope this becomes the new norm. On on.

Run Report 1821: Yew Tree Farm, Polesden Lacey

The Tortoise and the Hare

At the top of a rolling hill on the Polesden Lacey estate
Stood a bunch of hashers contemplating their impending fate
But at least today they would not have too long to wait
For yours truly was for once on time, far from being late.

Hashers today included Wally, Sparkly & TIFM. Jasper, Moss, and of course their owner Robin Hood
Factor 30, Call Girl, Gingers Rogers, Uphill Gill – ready to roam the Ranmore Common wood
Groper, Aytron Senna, Scooby Doo, Paul Newman – how mighty they all stood
And so with Pis’t’man Pat, Quasimodo, Lady Chatterly, Secret Squirrel, it was all looking pretty good.

Unusually North we headed down and up a steep muddy field
The pack immediately a little weary from the climb, PP’s heavy-breathing soon did yield
Before a circle confused us all, the trail was not on the same road we drove in on, our eyes had all been peeled
But Sorry John had disguised the route, the sawdust so cleverly concealed

Off Polesden Road we headed East, Ayrton Senna bombing on ahead
Whilst I caught up with Factor 30, there was lots of chat to be said
AS foolishly took the circle straight on, finding the long falsie we all dread
That allowed the rest of the pack to turn South, Quasimdo then speedily led

Off to the right and back towards home, surely this wasn’t already the end?
Of course not. There was plenty more to come. And boy did we continue to ascend. Aytron Senna was back before you knew it. His valiant efforts one must commend.
Tea Cosy took the falsie right, allowing AS’s lead to further extend.

Yet this is a tale of good versus evil, and so Tea Cosy (reluctantly) decided to stop for a rest
To allow the remainder of the pack to catch up, of the hashers, he was surely the nicest
By this time AS had stormed on way ahead, running like a hasher possessed
Leaving the rest of us to catch our breath, and accept we were just second best

It was then up on Ranmore Common Rd when Karma worked its special magic way
For AS had suffered the cruelest of tricks, a vandalised circle had caused him to stray
I was quite enjoying my chat with Sparkly, us deciding on which golf course next to play
So imagine our delight at seeing a lost AS, with a miserable look of dismay

A few wiggles here and there, and we were heading back towards home
The odd falsie keeping the pack together, allowing those FRB’s to roam
AS went particularly wrong down the hill, his lead truly blown
Allowing Tea Cosy to romp to victory, and be crowned king of the throne

So the moral of the story, according to Aytron Senna, is it pays to have a real good yak
To take it easy, get others to do the hard work, and hang out comfortably at the back
Have a good gossip, rest those weary legs, and generally be ever so slack
Personally I think I need more practice. I just haven’t yet got the knack.

Verdict / Chez Sorry John

A great run by Sorry John, there was an awful lot to cheer
And on top he provided chips and sausage rolls, washed down with a little beer
Pis’t’man Pat mentioned something about a bar that has a canoe as a urinal, it all sounded a little queer
So on that note best we not ask anything further. Here’s to 2019. To one and all, a very Happy New Year!

Run Report 1816: The Bulls Head, Ewhurst

I’m a hasher, get me a beer

Scribed by Tea Cosy

Twas a Sunday morning, just a few miles south of Shere
A group of pristinely-dressed adults begrudgingly began to appear
How would they be treated? There was a genuine sense of fear
It was like a PH3 version of ITV’s I’m a Celebrity, Get me Out of Here

Factor 30, Venus, Call Girl – would most likely tend to the camp fire
Aytron Senna, BG, Virgil – would undertake one of those challenges on a high wire
Secret Squirrel, The Flying Scotsman, Easily Overlooked – would all be there to inspire
Whilst Tea Cosy would just complain about getting his trainers dirty in the driest possible quagmire

Groper, Cynthia, Sparkly, Wally – they’d all be there to support
And then there’s Pis’t’man Pat. The Australian authorities would be waiting ready to deport
Like Ant missing from the telly, TIFM was not around to hold the court
And so without further ado, off we departed, no time to abort.

Into the jungle we entered, before Aytron Senna quickly took a wrong turn
Allowing Virgil to correctly go left, an early lead he did earn
But that was short-lived as losing the trail around the school caused us all a brief adjourn
Until eventually we located the trail down the hill and over the road again – the hash was back on an upturn.

What followed next was our hare doing what he does the best
No I’m not talking about identifying any wild bird by just the colour of their breast
But just a masterful display of hash laying as we made our way through Sayers Croft on routes nobody could have guessed
Lots of mud and puddles for Tea Cosy, those trainers were definitely now well-messed.

From the circle Virgil claimed no trail went left, giving the rest of the pack much heartache
The Flying Scotsman cleverly returning back left to discover the blobs, and the lead he did take
A non-official regroup gave everyone a welcomed break
And then off we trotted again, weaving through the woods like an Australian Outback snake

Yet more blissful hashing as our hare continued to delight, his mind so difficult to read
Billy Graham and Aytron Senna becoming croppers, TIFM was definitely on the road to succeed
Allowing Tea Cosy to bound on ahead with grace, agility and speed
Before choosing not to follow the clearly laid sawdust along the Cranleigh Rd, it was sheer stupidity indeed.

With signs marked to Ewhurst, people started to sense that the end was nearly in sight
But oh no – not our TIFM. This was like a Bushtucker trial – something lurking with a bit of bite
That falsie hurt, but Mapledrakes Drive incline more so. The distance between AS and TC so tight
Until TC ran into someone’s driveway, all he had to do was take the footpath off to the right

Factor 30’s circle-hugging paid dividends before she took a wrong turn on Rectory Close, her chances truly bungled
Others taking advantage of her misfortune, as she most likely murmured “thanks a bundle”
TC just didn’t have the legs in the end, perhaps he’d been dreaming too much of eating apple crumble
Leaving AS to romp home to victory and be crowned the King of the Jungle

We may jest about TIFM being able to intrically explain the difference between oak and ash
About him thinking contactless is about one’s eyesight, rather than a better way to carry cash
Think he’s a bit peculiar for owning a Nokia, rather than an iPhone and being flash
But by god when it comes to laying a run, he sets a flippin’ good old hash.

Across to the Bulls Head we did venture, for our intentions were quite clear
No I’m not talking about Pis’t’man Pat and the way he wanted the conversation to be steered
Just to enjoy a plentiful supply of chips and condiments, there was much reason for the cheer
And mutter those infamous words, “I’m a hasher, get me another beer”

Run Report 1783: The King’s Head, Guildford

“PP was full of sexual innuendos – one day it will be that man’s undoing
But we just accept he’s stuck in the 1970’s, and hope the authorities won’t go pursuing”

Scribed by Tea Cosy

Rain rain, go away
Come again another day
Rain rain, go away
Pistoffen just want to run and play.

The rain was so thick & wet
Our hash potentially under threat?
But our hares needed not to fret
For Pistoffen will always break a sweat.

Robic & Factor 30 a little weary in the eyes
Drinking with Blonde Party Girl was probably not so wise
Lay a hash though and a hangover quickly subsides
And just 1hr to go before you can have your booze & fries.

Wally, Call Girl, Groper, Dissa were just some at The King’s Head
Joining Ayrton Senna, Ginger Rogers and your scribe for hidden paths to be tred
PP, Blonde Party Girl, Yogi Bare and Babe completed a decent hashing spread
11am on the nose and off we all fled.

BPG and TC were rewarded with a lucky early lead
TC taking over from Robic, enjoying a lot of chat that was much in need
But those back runners fought back with plenty of zest and speed
That circle at the river was a cunning one, it was all very much agreed.

A subsequent set of circles kept us together as we ascended our first hill
With lots of twists & turns, this was way more fun than any mundane treadmill
And just when you thought the ascent might be enough to kill
We summitted at Guildford Cathedral. This was going to be a run to thrill.

After a quick regroup with our hares, down Stag Hill we did all go
Cutting across The Chase, and then up Irwin Rd, to a place many of us did not know
Circle hugging with BPG paid dividends as our hares gave a tip to her and those in tow
Allowing us to watch AS run downhill to a falsie, oh how our faces did glow

More twists & turns followed, as the hashing group weaved and flowed
Some drivers less appreciative of PH3 as we crossed the busy Farnham Road
Yet more climbing entailed, before the pack finally slowed
And when BPG was accused of breaking the gate, we thought she may actually explode

Up to the top of the Mount and a falsie made PP run wrong a long way
The look of disappointment was something to behold, that sad look of sheer dismay
YB stormed on ahead down Guildown Road with bags of energy on display
Before TC took a lucky turn right, allowing him to briefly fly away

Across the Portsmouth Road we crossed, and up to the St Catherine’s Hill church ruins
One never gets tired of seeing Guildford from here, it was one special regroup viewing
PP was full of sexual innuendos – one day it will be that man’s undoing
But we just accept he’s stuck in the 1970’s, and hope the authorities won’t go pursuing

A steep descent down to the River Wey again and hashers were once again caught out
Our hares planting circles either side of the bridge, their abilty was never in doubt
The deluge of rain made paths muddy, there certainly won’t be a Summer drought
A disappointed TC now had wet, dirty trainers, he was close to actually pulling out

Some final encouragement came from our hares after traversing a slippy Shalford Park
Beyond Shalford Road we all knew what was coming, yet another hill climb we did embark
But what goes up must eventually come down. This was becoming our hares’s trademark
And with a few clever circles towards the finish, the girls had set a new hash route benchmark.

This was a fantastic hash, it was really quite a run
The perfect mix of urban and countryside, it was just the right amount of fun
Robic and Factor 30 should be congratulated on what they both had done
I vote they set every week. Objections, anyone?

In a little quiet corner, our unruly hashers devoured chips, and sank just the odd pint of Tea
Whilst Babe arranged a Skid Row Marathon cinema trip on 9 May, we’ve been told it’s a movie you should really see
Then it was all downhill from then on, the usual Pis’t’offen tomfoolery
PP requested this report end on a note about fishnet stockings. I say put that man under lock & key.

Run Report 1762: The Wotton Hatch, Wotton

Friday on my mind……….

Scribed by Hawkeye

Looks can be deceptive. If that were ever in doubt then the fact that the affable looking Boris Johnson is actually a complete a***hole, should be the global reference point. The Sunday morning weather was equally deceptive – it looked pleasant enough through the window, until you actually went out into it, whereupon chilblains and Reynaud’s syndrome were mere moments away.

Mere moments away from a Wotton Hatch hash were willing wanderers Ayrton Senna, Ginger Rogers, Tree Cosy, Pis’t’man Pat, Hawkeye, TIFM, Uphill Gill, Paul Newman, Wally, Lady Chatterley, Yogi Bare, Groper, Call Girl and Secret Squirrel. Moss and Jasper were also along for the ride. Out for a walk were Sorry John and canine friends plus Sparkly. The hares arrived looking gleeful if somewhat painful after Virgil fell foul of his own trail. We were to witness the scene of the crime at first hand.

It being an 11 o’clock start on 12th November the GM called us to order but for only a single minute’s silence in case we joined rather than just remembered the fallen. This felt like due respect. Chattering during that minute’s silence is less acceptable, except in this case it was the teeth, not the tongues. I think you get the meteorological picture.

Onto the trail and we were quickly upon the aforementioned crime scene where we paused for the briefest time to determine what crime shape the spilt sawdust portrayed……fallen pride perhaps? The cause was obvious but at the same time invisible. This was the perfect storm of deep mud, large stones and a strong wind providing a willing covering of falling leaves. Therefore it was a cautious pack that proceeded towards Friday Street hoping that they wouldn’t be the next one to sink into unseen deep mud or slip on an unseen boulder.

Although it was Sunday, I had Friday on my mind as although this weeks’ hares knew that I was setting from Friday Street the following week – here they were stomping on ‘my ground’ with gay abandon! I’m not sure gay abandon describes the scene that greeted me just south of FS Lake as a returning Ayrton was miffed at a cross and now with Yogi in hot pursuit of Tree Cosy and Secret Squirrel. A sharp climb has not been enough to dislodge SS from the lead and a later revealed 8 circle winning streak. But like a plot from Midsomer Murders it was ‘the mangelwurzel that was his undoing’ and a tempting falsie towards Wolven Lane. TC was not so tempted and thereby gained the lead which he held until a voluntary regrouping up on Wolvens Lane from whence the struggling pack could be seen sweating its inexorable way Eastwards.

We were warmed up from the first twenty minutes but not warm enough that we wanted to wait a full 8 minutes for the whole pack to assemble, but they were all in sight more or less. We headed along Wolvens Lane and remembered that we had two hares – as the options ahead were a duathlon – whether to run or swim in the humungous puddles. We stuck to running. We’d been warned about a treacherous descent and being passed by mountain bikers at the same time the pack descended towards Westcott. But it was a falsie. Not being there to witness it the stories retold seemed somewhat contradictory, coming as they did from the accusers and the accused. From this I am drawn to conclude that whilst we have always known that Tree Cosy is a civilised chap, we weren’t so aware that he was a rampant tree hugger. Or why he chose to hug that particular tree. By the side of the path. Out of view from the pack. Or why he needed to cover himself in branches………Crouching TC, hidden cross maybe?

Having twigged that this was a in fact a falsie the first 8 runners had to turn tail and take the next descent. Having passed SJ, Sparkly was next welcomed into the PH3 bosom and we made a brief visit to the outskirts of Westcott, the A25 and home via the church. By now AS was ahead and whilst undoubtedly TC and I had the athletic ability to reel him in, we live and die by the club motto – a drinking club with a running problem and rather than cause ourselves any problems with the running we concentrated on preparing for the drinking.

VERDICT: For some exercise is itself an exercise in futility, running round in circles even more so. But I beg to disagree and for so long as likeminded folk agree with me, we’ll be hugely entertained by runs like this. 5.7 miles (incl some falsies) and 1hr 2min with perfect marking. SJ called it perfect – I rest my case. Many thanks V&V – pity the poor bugger who has live up to that and set next week……….

IN THE PUB: Chips arrived faster than beer and runners this weekend which was a problem for the late arrivals (though I saw some extras portions arrive later) and my choice of Seafarers needed a new barrel – which they might have fetched direct from the Southwold brewery, but it was good when it came. Dog walkers and handlers assembled by the bar whilst the rest sprawled inelegantly on the comfy seats and talked b****cks as usual. On on.

Run Report 1761: Sidney Woods CP, Nr Dunsfold

Free Parkin………

Scribed by Hawkeye

Despite fast approaching apocalyptical global warming, carbon-based transport continues to prevail and it seems more likely that an inability to store your Suzuki or rest up you Renault will limit vehicle sales more than an ultimate end to our petrol lust. So it is always welcome to head out to a hash (car sharing of course) in the knowledge that there will be adequate free parkin at the end. Availing of the muddy but sufficient facilities were TIFM, Hawkeye, Billy Graham, Loose Article, Wally, 3s4d, Lady Chatterley, Uphill Gill, Paul Newman, Secret Squirrel, Cinderella, Call Girl, Pis’t’man Pat, Ayrton Senna and Factor 30. The walking party, witnessed or otherwise included Sparkly, Hipless, Sorry John and Dissa plus Beryl.

Two hares is always a concern but in truth today there was only one and a half. No comment on either hare’s height (!), but Scooby Doo seems half the man he used to be – until he shakes of his latest malady. Get well Scoobs! But would the trail suffer as a result. In a word ‘no’ – so you can skip to the ‘In the Pub’ section now if you’re so inclined. But of course we didn’t know this at the outset. In fact the opening yards were most inauspicious – ankle grabbing mud. We prayed for better things and were duly rewarded.

We hit the main trail until some sparse setting that lured Wally to the point of a breakthrough, except he turned back. This caused us to regroup and eventually try Wally’s way and a near complete return to the car park. Next it was my turn to stop the pack in its tracks as I lost conviction in what I was seeing, cross or blob, blob or cross? In the end BG, 3s4d and others took up the lead whilst Lady Chatterley had dropped it and a comedy caper of hunt the dog took place. Jasper was eventually found at the head of affairs where Sorry John was also welcomed. Next Secret Squirrel picked up 3 faults for a refusal to follow the marked trail on to ‘private property’ as advised by Dissa. Never out of sight he traced one legal side of the old Wey and Arun Canal as we took the more manicured and presumably illegal other.

At a voluntary regroup we thought it rude that TIFM, LA and Cinderella couldn’t wait. It emerged that Cinderella really couldn’t wait whereas the other two had merely tried to sneak ahead……..without success. SS and BG led us onwards and seemingly knowing where he was going I recalled that Secret Squirrel and former hasher, Hat Trick actually dug* the whole length of the canal. So hardly surprising, then.

In my mind canals are always straight, except here where it seems to go round in circles! Suitably confused we sauntered past the delightful lakeside regroup used on a previous run but pawsed/paused to watch Jasper revel in the watery fun. Open fields next provided a stunning sunny sky-scape as distant horizons and autumnal colours combined to perfect effect. A hypotenoidal shortcut was taken by some but there is nothing to stop Loose Article these days; faster, fitter and fickle – he headed off to a very very distant cross.

Next up there was more free Parkin this time of the gingerbread variety when Babe offered a refreshment regroup with water and this oatmeal and black treacle Northern delicacy – Parkin. From the mouth clogged mumblings – this went down extremely well. Apparently it is very popular on Bonfire Night which was….today! This thought and the late hour (gone midday) acted as a rocket to inspire us onwards and homewards and bounding across the Springbok Estate, home to the Merchant Seaman’s War Memorial Society. Line honours were somewhere up the road from me, but my Hawkeye spotted a podium finish for Carlos Puigdemont followed closely by two Guardia Civil then probably F30, AS, BG etc.

* that’s dug as in ‘really appreciated it’, when they walked the length over a series of outings.

VERDICT: A delightful and confusing run, executed to perfection. By some miracle they managed to set a trail that on the Garmin outlines India and highlights the region of Uttar Pradesh, coincidentally the location of Babe’s next marathon. So many thanks to our hares and also for the delightful northern pudding……

IN THE PUB: With the sun out, it was the Sun Inn whence we departed and a capacious table to be dotted with fifteen bowls of chips (or nearly). There was some confusion at the bar when both Dunsfold Best and Loxhill Biscuit were mentioned. PP thought he’d put a tenner on the second one to win in the 2:15 at Haydock. But in the end they both turned out to be beers. We heard tale of why a ropey Groper was absent from the pack (red wine) and one of our number suggested that in light of recent shocking revelations, as a group we should be in favour of ‘positive harassment’! Only on a PH3 hash…..on on.

1761: Sidney Wood, near Alfold, by Scooby Doo & Babe, as captured by Wally

Run Report 1760: The Percy Arms, Chilworth

Enough to make you quiver…

Scribed by Pis’tman Pat

The less is more philosophy led to nouvelle cuisine, the Sinclair C5 and the approach David Davis has been showing towards Brexit negotiations. It is a means by which to rip off the gullible, a tool of the charlatan and the modern equivalent of selling snake oil. Sadly it has ever been thus. Back in medieval times the rich and powerful oppressed and starved the peasantry. These were days before VAT, congestion charges and 6% interest on student loans, so the rich just swiped the odd chicken, bullock or daughter, suggesting as they so did, that the farm labourers were all the richer for being poorer – a mantra more recently adopted by UKIP.

At the end of the eleven hundreds Richard the Lionheart was away laying the foundations for centuries of animosity between two world faiths and the poor were getting a right kicking. It fell to one Robin Hood to bring respite and happiness to the oppressed and desperate.

Last Sunday morning history was repeating itself as a ragtag grouping of the downtrodden assembled at the Percy Arms: Wally, Groper, Call Girl, Lady Chatterley, 3s4d, Ayrton Senna, TIFM, Ginger Rogers, Factor30, Dusty, Dingers, Billy Graham, Babe and your scribe, PP were there to run. Sparkly with Lowis, Sam, Miriam, Made Marion, Jasper & Moss were there to walk. All were there to be heartened by a second Robin Hood.

The ruling elite had announced that light would shine upon the planet for an extra hour by dint of fiddling with the clocks and that this would allow the average London window box to feed a family of eight should Dover get so clogged as to prevent food arriving before it has the toxicity of a Trump handshake.

Brave Robin stood before the rabble and spoke of a great vision where they might unite, and then he spoke of a second vision where they might unite again, and then he sent them all off, in the wrong direction.

Vera’s path was soon identified as the way to the green glen through which we wiggled, resisted the urge to climb trees and emerged, numbers intact, to ascend the path going north west from the corner of Blacksmith’s Lane. We then headed west towards Shalford and north east towards The Chantries. This gave the fitties ample opportunity to turn the knife and the pack became a little strung out as the steep hill to the ridge took its toll. A well-placed regroup out on the western end of the ridge above East Shalford Lane came not a moment too soon. Here we enjoyed RH’s first vision.

Leaving the regroup we headed into the woods where Robin Hood had been at his most crafty. (He might shoot straight but he’s got some lovely curved balls.) One circle in particular proved my downfall when BG parted from fellow front-runners AS, F30, Dingers and Dusty to head for the track leading toward Pewley Down. Launching myself from a pine-needled cliff, I attempted to beat him to the bottom of the long gully in which he was running. With eyes fixed firmly on the tree roots and crazy drops before me, I seemed mostly to be in free-fall until reaching a squelchy patch of marsh. Just as planned, I was first to be there. Then the penny dropped; I was the only one that would ever be there. I don’t know when BG turned back but that short-cut to nowhere hurt and probably served me right. The front runners were now well ahead and on much higher ground. I slogged up the gully to join Groper and TIFM whereupon we wound our way through the trees on the beautifully springy needle paths; glimpses of Ginger Rogers and the occasional marks of the checking chicken, GM Wally, helped us on our way.

We crossed the road to the cut-through beside the St Martha car park and were delighted to see not just our hare, but Made Marion providing water to a merry throng of hashers, the additional soupcon of lemon making this a perfect and much needed refreshment.

With renewed vigour the pack surged forward for all of fifty yards before dropping down a cambered bank which nearly had some individuals going both sides of the same small tree. Gender-changing injuries averted, we hit the bottom and started a short climb up to a veritable forest of rhododendrons. Of late Hawkeye has been as absent as a new idea in Downing Street. It has been rumoured he is in Norfolk, a major cultural centre beloved by many artists. (In 1821 after finishing off his hay wain, Constable travelled from Suffolk to paint “Norfolk in Mist”; a work donated to Norwich museum. Upon his first sight of the painting the curator is recorded to have remarked “I was expecting clear skies”. A hundred years later the genealogy of the locals was claimed as an inspiration to Escher.) Anyway, I for one was glad Hawkeye was in Norfolk. The verdancy and omnipresence of those rhododendrons would have been more than our ex-GM could stand. (On the other hand, an early return to write these wretched reports would be appreciated.)

With the triffids behind us we really should have been heading for a lighthouse but our instincts suggested the church a more likely destination. The ascent was brutal for anyone over 70 kilos and we stumbled into the cemetery to the strains of “He who would valiant be” regrouping with a patiently-waiting Sparkly to enjoy Robin Hood’s second vision.

We all know the way down from St Martha to The Percy but our hare is a devious cove. Had the choir been taking requests, for the run-in I would have asked for something along the lines of “Guide Me Oh Thou Great Redeemer” but we settled instead for a full throttle dash down the sandy path disregarding two opportunities to turn right before dropping on to the path that traverses the lower south side of the hill. Here AS and F30, turned right again tangling with TIFM, who had left the regroup early. Your scribe began to follow but had scarcely left the circle when a cross was found. Deep joy! Lighting both after-burners I turned and took off like a scolded cat. After thirty yards or so I thought I heard F30 doing her best to eat a holly tree (vegetarians always overdo things). Then it went quiet and for a blissful few seconds I knew I was going to win the hash. Colyer’s Hanger couldn’t come quickly enough, the first slight rise felt like a staircase but then it was flat and I was flying again. Then there was a second slight rise and AS cruised past muttering “You should save something for the hills.”
It’s a bloody long way from Waterloo Pond to the Percy when you’re running with crushed dreams. F30 and Dusty helped pace me for a while. There may have been others but the finish by the gunpowder mills got a tad confused. Suffice to say, everyone was back within just a few minutes of each other and all seemed in good fettle and great spirits.

Verdict: Robin Hood lived up to his name on this one. He took a small tribe of folk with mixed abilities and took them on a beautiful journey. We shared his appreciation of the views from the Chantries and from St Martha’s and we quaffed the refreshments half way round. The variety and splendour of the trail more than compensated for the hard ascents. Thanks Harry.

At the Pub: The beer was being served by a giant who certainly caught the eye of one of our number. (For the purpose of anonymity we’ll just call her Holly.) To avoid any unseemly advances we all had to sit outside and freeze. Call Girl led the conversation into the unsavoury world of tortoise sex with Groper explaining how his shoes are in permanent peril. Dingers impressed everyone by wearing only a simple shirt whilst others were watching their extremities turn quite amazing colours. Robin Hood’s dad, Mr Moss, took all in his stride, no doubt concluding his son keeps very strange company.

1760: The Percy Arms, Chilworth, by Robin Hood, as captured by Ayrton Senna

Run Report 1759: The Royal Oak, Holmbury St Mary

Holmbury Hill regroup


Scribed by Tea Cosy

There have been mutterings that people don’t read the Run Reports these days. I blame Brexit. So in an effort to win back those readers I’ve gone for the simple, direct approach of an alluring title. If you’re still reading this then it has clearly worked.

I have mixed emotions about Holmbury St Mary. On the one hand we’ve had some cracking runs here with so much beautiful undulating (i.e. hilly) terrain. On the other I lost my car keys when acting as hare here once which meant the entire finishing group had to stand out in the rain for an extra 30 minutes. But today we had veteran hare Pis’t’man Pat (that’s a reference to his experience, not age) so we knew we were likely to be in safe hands. Hands so safe they have been able to lay trails up near-cliff precipices as PP strives to set only the hilliest of hashes. One thing was for certain, any chips today would need to be earnt. Along for today’s run were Wally, Robin Hood (with Jasper & Moss), Groper, Call Girl, Aytron Senna, Ginger Rogers, Factor 30, Cynthia, Secret Squirrel, Venus, Chloe, Uphill Gill, Paul Newman, Kelinchi (with Biscuit), Tea Cosy, Lady Chatterly, Robic and Moondance. Walkers were Dissa & Beryl, Made Marion, Sorry John and Spark(l)y.

At 11:02 we set off. Up Felday Glade we trotted before a circle demanded us to decide whether we were heading straight on along a gentle, dry, tarmac’d road, or go right towards a steep muddy hill. The majority took the easy option, led my Secret Squirrel who went as far as to find the On-In. Yours truly took a right instead and was rewarded with a further circle at the top. Taking the right again was the correct option before seeing walkers Dissa & Beryl coming towards to me beyond the next circle meant my luck had run out. Down the hill we’d just climbed up was the intention of our hare, who stood there suitably smug hoping to catch us out with another circle. I guessed correctly to take us back up the hill, that we’d already climbed up, to then run all the way down again (are you people at the back of the class still following?) I’m not quite sure where it all came from but I suddenly found the energy to run like I’d stolen something. Stolen a brief march on the others for sure. A series of correctly guessed circles meant others were quite some way back. The hare’s cleverly placed circle at the end of the mountain-biking trail ‘Telegraph Road’ gave the impression the route would be straight on but after finding the falsie, I wisely chose left to meander through the Holmbury woods. A couple of circles stalled me long enough for Ayrton Senna, Robic, Factor 30 and others to catch up. Factor 30 seemed to have found solace in the art of ‘circle hugging’ – a phrase I believe originally coined by Virgil – that is loitering around a circle whilst others do the hard work and find the false trails. Something I mastered in Dorset but was greatly abused for. I hope you will do the same to her.

Our hare then took us further away from Holmbury St Mary, with paths weaving mainly gently downhill which meant sooner or later an ascent was required. So when the pack hit Sutton Place road it was obvious the trail would be left and we should simply ignore the ‘Private Drive’ sign so clearly displayed. Wrong. We continued to descend, until the circle in the field with the rolling hills took us off left for a gentle climb up. This was completely new terrain to us and subsequent conversations in the pub suggest this used to be private woodland. A circle hidden by the dappled sunlight and 3 blobs forking right suggested the trail went right so I was rather disheartened to find I was on a false trail. Whilst Factor 30, Robic, Moondance and Aytron Senna, charged on ahead, Secret Squirrel & I went beyond the call of hashing duty and relaid blobs of sawdust left to direct the pack accordingly. A regroup with our hare was most welcomed shortly after where, upon observing a passing walker with her two Great Danes, we discussed the merits of possible hashing whilst riding such dogs. The conclusion was it would be faster, less onerous on the legs and allow us more drinking time. The dogs didn’t get a say.

With everyone more or less present we started our gradual ascent up a main access track. The hare kept us on our toes with three circles planted on the three fire break trails to our right. Ayrton Senna foolishly took the first one, no one was foolish enough to take the second, I was stupid enough to take the third one, and Moondance incorrectly guessed not to go right on the fourth one. Robic & Ayrton Senna charged on ahead before more circles expertly brought us more back together, complete with walkers too. We were almost in Peaslake and as we hit Radnor Road, we all knew which way we were going. Up. I may have led an early lead but this was quickly thwarted as our hare cunningly placed circle after a circle to tempt us off the tarmac. The trouble was the correct route stayed on the tarmac. Signs that the hare had began to panic over time taken to set his run were also visible by the invisible falsies. This led to some frustration to front runners but utter joy to the remaining pack. After taking us round the reservoir, it was becoming clear that our hare would be taking us to Holmbury Hill, but not the direct route as I discovered. It may have taken us 1hrs 8mins to summit but we were rewarded with a perfect autumnal view of the South Downs, even seeing the sea glistening around Shoreham. Apparently on a bad day you can see France. From then on it was a fairly direct route back (our hare joining us) but not before a few circles caught us out and kept us in line. Line honours went to Robic, Ayrton Senna and myself but not before AS mentioned he had a cold – nothing to do with his friend’s booze-fuelled late night wedding.

VERDICT: Ok it was a bit longer than an hour (have you ever been on a PP run where it isn’t?) and there could have been some falsies marked for the latter part of the trail but this is minor nitpicking. This run had something for everybody. Woodland, tarmac, ascents, descents, great Danes and an incredible view. PP – once again you fail to disappoint. A great run. Very much appreciate your efforts.

AT THE PUB: Felday Beer is brewed on site at the Royal Oak so was the chosen tipple for many, whilst the chips (cheesy ones too) soon vanished. We braved it outdoors overlooking the village green, before the sun came out and it turned positively barmy (the weather and the conversation). Much attention turned to the merits of possibly buying the property for sale opposite the pub (all of about 10 metres) and it’s been decided that Christmas Party donations may have to increase to afford this.

1759: The Royal Oak, Holmbury St.Mary, by Pis’t’man Pat, as captured by Tea Cosy

Run Report 1758: Blackdown NT Car Park

Hash 1758 Blackdown NT regroup

The Crushed Nuts Conundrum.

Scribed by Pis’t’man Pat

Self-delusion is an amazing, and surprisingly an essential, human trait. It is the armour we don to protect ourselves from the harsh reality of life. It is what tells the vast majority of folk they are better than average drivers and of above average intelligence. Without self-delusion we would never start to assemble a flat pack from Ikea, never start a diet, never pucker-up on a first date. It helps us exaggerate the chances of success and promotes our hopes beyond their rightful levels.

On Sunday morning as I drove South with Secret Squirrel, the facts about Black Down were well known to us. It is a colossal lump of rock lying South East of Haslemere and North East of Fernhurst. It measures about 2.0km by 0.7km and has viciously steep sides. We never visit it without an oxygen-sapping ascent that challenges even the fittest of our runners. Fortunately on Sunday both SS and I were positively pumped full of self-delusion and thus we cruised towards our destination ready to sprint up the near vertical ascents. Others convinced they were capable of rising to the challenge included: Wally, Groper, Call Girl, Factor 30, Moondance. Robic, Head Boy, Billy Graham and the lesser-spotted Sparkly who, being a bit thirsty, left ahead of the pack to be at the pub for opening time.

As we gathered in the somewhat over-crowded car park, conversation turned to concerns about Yogi, the absent hare. I’m not sure I got the full story, but at a recent visit to body-pump (don’t forget the duct tape) he’d apparently disclosed that he has been having difficulty with movement.
From what I can gather some sort of nut allergy may have been reducing his body’s flexibility. Facts were offered and retracted in a swirling debate. Suffice to say, a notable bone of contention had something to do with crushed nuts – do they, or don’t they, instantly immobilize him? A vision of our hare somewhere on the heath looking like Lot’s wife when she rubber-necked on the borders of Sodom was just taking shape, when a familiar tanned orb came into view. Cheeriness personified and happily moving with great freedom, our host for the morning explained he’d been in a bit of a hurry whilst setting; a regroup would be approached and departed along the same track, the finish ran over the start and there wouldn’t be any sawdust. This last surprise was nothing to worry about– he’d marked the trail in flour.

After the warnings about the start and finish overlapping, we set off fearing some of us could easily end up running the whole course backwards. We were still pondering this danger when we hit the first circle. Robic turned right towards a little wooden gate. This seemed the most likely way to get to the open heath but only I followed. The hash had already split and it looked almost certain that Robic and I were destined to spend the next hour running as a solitary unit of two.
Normally when finding a cross the lead runner is irritated but still manages to shout a forthright warning to those behind. Modesty forbids me to over-analyse why, when my running partner found an unexpected
cross on this our joint foray into the forest, she managed only what might be described as a stifled sob of disappointment.

In our absence the main pack had progressed south and appeared to be on course for The Temple of Winds where many of us expected to find the regroup. Factor 30, who had been selected to run with the Garmin, had already added a nice spike to the core route. At the third or fourth circle Moondance chose a broad bridleway continuing south, Factor 30 followed, as did your scribe but alas the true trail went east before running parallel – another spike on the Garmin. There followed a wonderful collection of cuddly cattle and then choice after choice of route as we switched back and forth across the heath. As we patiently solved the circles some of the trees ahead slowly revealed blue-grey sky between their trunks and we knew we were closing in on the southern edge of the plateau. Soon after, next to a bench, we found the regroup and a really good view.

The bench was within thirty yards of the Temple of Winds, one of 80’s favourite spots, and a point where the vista is even more compelling. Inevitably we drifted across whereupon a kindly bystander recorded the moment for the Facebook page. Sadly there is a strong possibility you will have an opportunity to play Where’s Wally? whilst enjoying the photo – I believe our Grand Master was tying his laces or some such at the crucial moment.

We retraced our steps from the regroup and dropped down the side of Black Down towards Fernhurst. A circle at Fernden Lane had us checking in several directions before we picked up the trail by going firstly right then quickly left on to a small lane. Still descending, we were soon off-road again and dealing with a pretty wet, stone-strewn path which rapidly morphed into a fully-fledged stream. This terrain is the rough and tough stuff in which Secret Squirrel and Billy Graham excel and they were soon at the front ahead of your scribe and forcing the pace. Up to this point our hare had excelled in keeping the pack together but for just a minute or so I could see no runners behind and had only glimpses of the two front runners ahead. My isolation didn’t last long, Factor 30, Robic, Moondance and Head Boy swept past leaving me looking like a surfer that had just missed his wave.

The running that followed was invigorating and probably the fastest of the day but then we started a gradual climb to hit Fernden Lane for a second time. We crossed the road by dog-legging to the left and began the payback for the three hundred feet we had descended from the regroup. It wasn’t exactly crampon-steep but few in their right mind would try to run more than a fraction of the near kilometre up which we toiled. It is amazing how quickly self-delusion is removed by a simple dose of pain, or in my case, a mild coronary.

At the top we began running again but it took a while to shake the effects of the climb from our tired legs. Although the pack was now strung out over two or three hundred metres the open heath gave the back markers a clear view of the course ahead and for a while there were opportunities to really enjoy some of the firmer stretches of path. Shortly thereafter, in some sort of parody of elementary physics, I couldn’t help but notice the density of the trees (D) seemed directly proportional to our proximity to the car park (PCP). This in term meant the degree to which we could see those ahead (c B’tds)) was becoming inversely proportional to PCP. Whilst calculating at what value D might cause a catastrophic problem, I (TWONK) forgot to look for flour and headed off on an unmarked trail …. and that is how your hare arrived from a direction perpendicular to the rest of the pack.

I’m sure somebody arrived first, and somebody second and so forth. Don’t ask me for details. I’m going to take a leaf out of our local school’s book on political correctness for the terminally timid and say we were all winners really.

The End ! (and not a single reference to Trump, Boris or even Weinstein. I must be slipping).

THE VERDICT : I have loved Black Down since coming across it back in 2009. It is an amazing place and provides great paths for hashing. Our hare claims to have been under the cosh time-wise, but it really didn’t notice or detract from an excellent run. The occasional sparsity of flour helped keep the pack together and we were never long finding the next section of trail. Class run – thank you Steve.

IN THE PUB: The White Horse in Haslemere has an unusual array of “down-with-the kids” drinks and, matching our willingness to embrace alcohol with a willingness to embrace change, several of us enjoyed a range of citrus flavoured beers from places well beyond the reach of Heineken. The chips were great, the conversation both varied and revealing (cross ref: Where’s Big Dog?) and some who like to slide on white stuff went shopping for added excitement. What not to like.