Run Report 1940: Send Barnes Lane Layby, Burnt Common

Mind the cap……

Scribed by Hawkeye

The last time we ran from this venue, we were in pods. This week we managed just one pod….of seven plus Sorry John beating a path ahead. The pod in question consisted of TIFM, Dusty, Blonde Party Girl, Hawkeye, Secret Squirrel, Call Girl and Robin Hood. As I arrived, Dusty was lost in misty-eyed recollections of his secret assignations with a particular young lady that took place in this very layby during 1978. Layby name, layby nature……

Despite recent torrential rain the briefing promised dry feet and in contrast to recent events a sawdust marked PH3 trail. The fact that we followed a flour arrow marking our exit from the layby and then paddled along the first footpath of the day – was an obvious irony overlooked by Wally and Sparkly, but not me. What other half-truths lay ahead? With BPG making the early running, we crossed the fields and headed past the cemetery before my radar; honed on setting trails in the area, took me to the front and what I felt was a trail destined for the Wey Navigations near the New Inn.

Ultimately the navigations came into play but not this early and thus I faced the ignominy of having to turn around and re-join the pack, this was compounded by the (visual) injury of running towards Woking as it blotted the horizon. Here and there we were met by hare and hare as the GMs delighted in our tortuous progress as cunning switchbacks kept us guessing before we escaped the village and a rendezvous with those navigations and that ‘high footbridge’. The atmosphere at the top is so rarefied that it disorientated the hares enough to forget setting a circle on the far side!

Progressing along the towpath and considering a promised regroup, it occurred to me that we could use the recently created ‘rest area’ opposite the factories on Tannery Lane, and so we did. There the collective memory of six hashers (CG was MIA) remembered celebrating someone’s birthday and whisky……? I claimed the birthday as mine. [From a look back in time, it was indeed a very kind offering of cake, hot chocolate and I assume whisky to liven it up, on the occasion of my 50th – and a run provided by these very hares!] See https://ph3.org.uk/run-report-1777-the-saddlers-arms-send-marsh/

Back across the navigation, past the hares and our first encounter with Prews Farm. At the point TIFM chose to stop me in my tracks, call my attention to a mushroom which he then picked and waved under my nose. When he claimed it was the deadly Death Cap (Amanita phalloides) – I was less enthused! But five yards further on I offered my own education about the numerous landfill caps sprouting up along the margin of Prews Farm – which as a former landfill is frequently monitored to ensure it not polluting the local watercourse. This explains why the whole area is a bit scruffy.

A less scruffy use of an old gravel pit was next on our agenda as we arrived at Papercourt Lake and viewed the lasers dazzling on the water in the sun by the Sailing club. Somehow Dusty and BPG allowed me to retake the lead as we sailed past Sorry John and hove to a halt on the road by Send Marsh green before returning to Prews Farm once more. The ensuing five minutes was a case of ‘tease and turn’ as the hares teased us into the (obvious?) direct route towards Broughton Hall and home, leading to the inevitable turn as time and again it was a falsie. We eventually emerged near the traffic lights in Send and some misdirection on my part by merely indicating the direction of our starting point sent Dusty off in the wrong direction.

But the last laugh was on me as having correctly found the trail to Broughton Hall Avenue and thence to the Pathway, the on in was trickily on the far side of the main road and Dusty and BPG went ahead. As in 1978, Dusty came first.

VERDICT:  A cunning run that clocked up 6 miles, but was probably closer to 5 without the falsies. One circle aside, it was expertly marked and kept us together until the on in. Many thanks to Sparkly and Wally.

IN THE PUB: We occupied the big top outside the Jovial Sailor and were expecting to see monkeys riding bicycles wearing top hats, but instead were pleased enough with some TEA and a bucket (definition: greater than a single serving) of chips. Under cross examination from Call Girl it became clear that the circle exiting Papercourt Lake was mis-kicked and/or destroyed, the fault for which the pack laid firmly at the feed of the cyclist standing by it and engrossed in a lengthy conversation. Not us guv! As the temperature dropped, so did the pack and we hope TIFM had thoroughly washed his hands as we headed for home. On on

Run Report 1939: East Horsley

“The Hare Apparent”

Scribed by Secret Squirrel

After the impressive turn-out for Call-Girl’s face-off with the Surrey Hash last weekend, it was a rather reduced pack that turned up this Sunday for ITB and Cynthia’s trail from East Horsley. As the “Shalford Bus”, driven by Easily Overlooked and carrying Dusty and Secret Squirrel (your scribe for this week), drew into the car park behind the shops there was concern that we might be in the wrong place as there were no other hashers in sight. But then we spotted Wally lurking in his car in the corner, and soon afterwards Wurzel rolled in followed by Hawkeye, and when Tea-Cosy ran in a magnificent 7 had formed.

Next our hares strolled in, looking relaxed and calm, and ITB confessed he had already been home for a shower. Cynthia opted to run with us, which was reassuring to those who remembered giving up on one of her trails from this location a few years ago because it was taking us too long to find the way. There was no briefing to speak of, every question we asked elicited a negative reply – “Marked falsies? No” – “Regroup? No” – “Back-checks? No (probably)” – and it would not be too long either. So, just a couple of minutes late (without Sparkly to keep us on our toes we had become a touch too relaxed) we set off up the road towards Horsley Towers.

Since most of the pack of 7 were dedicated Pis’to’ffen runners we duly made a right hash of the first circle (and even left it ambiguously kicked). I think Dusty turned back from the correct route before he reached the first blob of flour (I was way up the footpath to the left at the time) so we probably got help from our hare apparent (*) before heading east up Pennymead Drive. This was significant because, unbeknown to us, Virgil & Venus had gone to the wrong carpark by the Village Hall and by the time they had worked out their mistake we had disappeared. They then wasted a lot of time at this same first circle, feeling themselves misled by the way it was kicked, and so never caught up with us.

Heading on up through the still more rarified housing of Pine Walk, our front runners were tempted into the woods at the far end, but the canny ones watched Cynthia as she waited at the next circle and took the hint to head west instead. So began a game that was to be repeated quite a few more times, as we tried to get clues from our hare when the evidence on the ground seemed lacking. We managed to find our own way back to Ockham Road and TC led us south towards the Duke of Wellington, but it was Hawkeye who found the clever dodge around the back of the pub and out onto the A246. We all agreed on the turn to the west but Dusty then lost out with a brave trip towards The Sheepleas and Hawkeye lost ground exploring West Horsley Place, leaving TC to take us across the meadows towards East Horsley before calling a voluntary regroup. Here we discussed the several uses to which West Horsley Place has been put, including a TV series (Ghosts) and an opera house, capped, I think I heard, by Cynthia talking about some star singing in her attic (but I may have got that wrong and in any case there was no mention of luncheon vouchers).

The next few circles did a great job in shuffling the pack as nobody was able to keep the lead for long, EO and Wurzel showing short-lived promise. My own effort at the north end of the village merely allowed me to recce the pub for later, moving me from 2nd to 7th in one simple failure. But then Cynthia tipped me the wink a moment later, as the main pack missed a sneaky left turn, putting me neatly back into 2nd (Hawkeye, of course, got this bit exactly right and was well out of sight at the front). Heading north along Silkmore Lane, I made the foolish mistake of trying to stay ahead of TC for as long as possible before the inevitable blow-out brought me to a halt at the next circle. This one had us all foxed, Hawkeye had had time to explore all possibilities at least twice, including a hostile “Private” sign on an obvious path, an electric fence across another, and a total lack of flour on the onward track, so an involuntary regroup ensued. Even Cynthia looked lost for a moment, but then she led us further north and pointed us into a field to our right just where Hawkeye had given up earlier. This was a rare treat as we were able to run on new footpaths created in “Horsley Meadows”, a new community park with great views to the south and west.

We emerged onto Long Reach and felt the strong draw of the direction towards our start/finish point, south across what Google calls “The St”, up Lollesworth Lane to recross the railway line, and then home along that narrow tarmac path beside the railway. I was way too far behind to see who took line honours but it must have been between TC, H and D as EO was with me and the two W’s were behind us. Who cares? It’s not a race, but it had been a very good run for all of us.

The two V’s rolled in about 5 or 10 minutes after us. We don’t know what had been said between them about the carpark error, but marital harmony appeared to have been restored by the time we saw them. They were able to have a joint moan about our “checking chicken” and that first circle, there’s nothing like having a common enemy to bring folks together!

Verdict: This was an excellent run. A good distance, not too hilly, and with enough uncertainty to keep us together. We were grateful for Cynthia’s presence to keep us on track a few times, but I think we were all happy with the outing. I don’t think the nervous residents of either Horsley village will be querying the strange white powder outside their gates because there wasn’t enough of it to interest any dog. Thank you, Cynthia and ITB, we appreciated your efforts.

At the Pub: It was agreed that we would head to the Barley Mow at East Horsley (which I had already passed twice during the run) where Cynthia claimed that 5 bowls of chips were already on order. A quick head count indicated that, with a little luck, we could be in for half a bowl of chips each. With both hares and a full team of runners we were able to sit at a table inside and enjoy Shere Drop and Ranmore Ale (except for the lager, wine and coffee drinkers – really, is this a “drinking club with a running problem”?).

Despite the prior order, we had to wait a long time for the promised chips, but it was definitely worth the wait as they were soon voted the best chips of the year. Maybe the landlord held them back until Tea-Cosy arrived, because he ran home for a shower first! The pub dog looked almost old enough to be a member of the Surrey Hash, and there was lots of hammering going on outside as some sort of outdoor drinking space seemed to be under construction. Conversation turned to old phantoms and other hash groups, Super and Dissa were recalled with affection and Popeye with bemusement, while ITB recounted tales of visiting an Amsterdam Hash. Meanwhile some competitive bravado was displayed with increasing quantities of mustard being spread on the last few chips – no names mentioned here.

* Hash Joke: What is the connection between Prince Charles, a bald-headed man, an orphan and a gorilla? Answer – one is the Heir Apparent, another has no hair apparent, the next has ne’re a parent, and the last had a hairy parent!

Run Report 1938: The Anchor & Horseshoes, Burpham

G, P, S – somehow we are still not coordinated…….

Scribed by Hawkeye

Burpham bubbled to the top of the PH3 agenda and Call Girl answered that call to hare for the day. Coming from near and far were a diverse pack that varied in age from <6 to >60 but were ultimately prepared for what lay ahead. In attendance were Pis’t’man Pat, Hawkeye, A-list, Robic, Blonde Party Girl, Secret Squirrel, Tea Cosy, Wally, ADHD, Virgil, Venus, Donkey Walloper and Ginger Rogers & Ayrton Senna with our youngest recruit ‘Cadence’. All participants dismounted from their 2 or 4-wheel vehicles to start the run, but Cadence sat it out in his 3-wheel buggy.

Also out and about were Hornblower and Strumpet. No not Surrey’s most unlikely named escort service, but Sunday hares too…..as we were to find out. A regroup was promised as was a GH3 style trail but with some crosses?? I partnered with Virgil to the first non-cross of the day before retracing our route via Coltsfoot Drive and Burpham Parade where we’d already been headed, so far so predictable. However, as we passed behind Sutherland Park the first clues appeared.

The problem with a PH3 pack running a GH3 style trail, is that no matter how many times we’ve tried, we still don’t get it. So with the appearance of multiple three blob markings, arrows and a flour circle seemingly covered (expertly uncovered by Secret Squirrel) – we were utterly screwed! I liken it to algebra – there was a brief moment in 1977 when I fully comprehended the hieroglyphics and regimen, by 1978 it had gone. By the same token, Groper explained GH3 rules to me once in 2013 and by (late) 2013 the concepts were as familiar as an unbroken tory manifesto commitment (e.g. non-existent).

Anyway we headed back towards the Spectrum with a growing sense of foreboding, especially after en route we inspected the ‘mother of all back-checks’ and cursed the hare for her new found streak of deviousness. Then like your sad, drunk uncle falling off the off the roof in a Santa outfit-the penny dropped. There was another trail set alongside ours. Damn! Set in flour. Double damn!! Thoughts of any PH3 splinter group – the Peoples Front of Pis’toff’en perhaps were quickly dispelled as some familiar faces – Le Pro, Kelinchi,  Wankelsplitz and Shit For Brains – confirmed that this was a manifestation of the Surrey Hash. What could we do…..run faster, let’s try that.

And so we did and made it to a regroup beside the lake on the far side of the A3. PP was absent, but as he was ‘fresh’ from two 12hr shifts at Guildford’s premier Oktoberfest event – that was only to be expected. Actually regardless of the Oktoberfest event, it would have been expected. ADHD, running with us for the first time looked a tad bemused but as he is more familiar with GH3, our calm and logical approach was no doubt a reassurance.

With circles next to circles, blobs and arrows the good folk of Burpham could be forgiven for anticipating an imminent alien invasion. As it was we were going head-to-head with the Surrey Hash and crossed paths somewhere around Bowers Lock before crossing the A3 once more. Several runners tried to cash in their Nectar points but the on in actually took us through Weybrook Park, the Glendale Estate and past George Abbot somehow.

A general freestyle ensued but it looked like Wally took line honours. However, a subsequent stewards inquiry revealed that Ginger Rogers prevailed, as the only runner to correctly follow the trail past the allotments on the far side of the A3. Sorry Virgil – I think we called you back from that one!

VERDICT:  An interesting run given more spice by the unpredicted appearance of the Surrey Hash. It seems whether it is GH3, PH3 or SH3 – our General Positioning System has no interoperability. But many thanks to Call Girl for getting her trail laid before SH3 decided to turn up!     

IN THE PUB: A few folk needed to depart, but the remainder settled under a marquee in the garden. IPA and Guinness we consumed and after an hour in a bouncy buggy – cadence necked a quick pint of Gaviscon. Barman’s tales revealed that PP continues to apply his sense of customer service honed after many years at the Post Office – now toward his beer swilling punters. Reassuring to know that he has a bouncer to call upon for support if needed! On on.

PH3/GH3: Bob Feltham Memorial Hash, The Percy Arms, Chilworth

Scribed by Hawkeye

Following hot on the heels this week, Monday evening marked the rare occasion of a joint PH3/GH3 hash in memory of Bob Feltham aka Groper. Of course Bob ran with both hashes and was heavily involved with the Dorking and Mole Valley Athletics Club – so a numerous and diverse representation from all groups turned out. Testament to the impression he made on so many. A roll call was not possible but perhaps 50-60+ people turned up. Some to run, some to walk, all to raise a glass.

Robin Hood made an excellent hare and support for Call Girl and was apparently under strict instructions to keep it short and keep it away from the most vertical slopes. Unusually for a memorial event there were to be no crosses to mark the occasion, just as Bob would have wanted. But what will act as a lasting memorial is the plaque placed on the bench against the wall of St Martha’s church, a place which Groper and Call Girl liked to visit. I encourage you all to stop by and reflect at some point.

On the evening, in the dark having navigated the climb and after a few brief words, RH laid the first of many circles in which Bob was directly involved. An over-enthusiastic interest from an attendant dog made for a near tragi-comic moment but thankfully Dingers reined in his canine companion just in time! So from therein on whilst Groper was scattered across the hillside, his final act brought most of the pack in a much more orderly fashion than any of his numerous outings as hare ever did! I’d like to think he was smiling down on that small irony.

We will all have our own memories of Bob, for me I recall once likening PH3 and GH3 styles to the difference between Rugby Union and Rugby League, then deciding that Groper’s setting was more akin to Gaelic football! I also fondly recall staggering drunkenly round Dorking after a beer festival together that culminated in 8 people trying to get into Scooby’s car. But my first strong and abiding memory was what might have been the first run Bob set for PH3 in Brockham, circa 2013 https://ph3.org.uk/run-report-1559-the-royal-oak-brockham/  which I described as “Mad geese and the PH3 go out for a midday swim……….’ Featuring as it did the notorious ‘back-check’. After this I tried to rename him Mad Goose. And despite a dogged persistence on my part, the continued steely glare any time it was mentioned told me more than any words could that Groper it was and Groper it would always be……

Following some GH3 post-run shenanigans the sizeable pack then took over the patio deck and settled into to drink, chat, reminisce and consume the never ending supply of chips! All in all a fitting end to a lovely evening. Call Girl continues to support HASAG, the asbestos disease support charity so if you weren’t able to donate on the evening, or have a few £ to spare in memory of Groper please visit https://www.justgiving.com/hampasbestos  

You could even post your own memories of Bob below in the comments section…….?

On On.

Run Report 1937: St Mary’s Church, Horsley

Honeysuckle Bottom – my a***!

Scribed by Hawkeye

Tea Cosy has a reputation for possessing a somewhat fair weather constitution, something I am happy to perpetuate. After all, a man’s got to have a hobby. Therefore, the incessant rain on Saturday, when no doubt TC’s just-in-time reccying was in full swing, left several runners wondering what kind of a trail to expect, indeed what mood of hare to expect as we arrived at the appointed hour.

Applying an equally adept just-in-time method, Scooby Doo was last to arrive swinging into the car park just as the only free space emerged in his eye line. He joined a pack consisting of Uphill Gill, Trip Advisor, Venus, Donkey Walloper, Moondance (still walking), Robic, Hawkeye, Robin Hood, A List, Too Bright, Wally and Secret Squirrel. And whilst it may have been wet wet wet it appeared that love was all around as the hare beamed somewhat breathlessly after his morning exertions.

We set off into Sheepleas hoping that we could return looking as contented and with dry feet too. We skirted to the East of the main woodland area and with SD for company soon established a small lead, such that I had to inform a dog walker that I was checking, marking and calling circles for a group of runners….honestly. Of course such an opening lead was relatively short-lived and confusion grew as our new FRBs returned from seemingly non-trails as the pack massed along the box hedged path. I can only assume that having spent a week queuing up for petrol the majority of the pack were applying a similar ‘wait and see’ approach to what happened in front of them….

We crossed out of Sheepleas as Robic took us up Honeysuckle Bottom. As a street name, it is somewhat incongruous as despite being in the bottom of a valley, it leads inexorably to the top of the Downs. En route we encountered some ‘virtual London marathoners’ who advised Robic on the direction of the next section of trail. Five minutes later having followed that advice, found no trail and rejoined the pack at the regroup perched above Gomshall, Robic was not feeling so charitable towards the no doubt charitable runner. Thankfully that was the end of the romantically named, but leg-sapping struggle up Honeysuckle Bottom. Although it later transpired that the hare glimpsed more than a honeysuckle bottom when he was out setting, a full moon no less!

Regrouped and on the North Downs Way we hoped for a downward trajectory. This is what led me to head back down into the woods rather than along the NDW…unlike the rest of the pack. Robic soon took on front running duties again as my internal compass kept deviating to the right when in fact a straight on trajectory led to Combe Lane and the LR manoeuvre that would see us back over towards Sheepleas. Unfortunately Robic opted for a RL manoeuvre! After some delightful running we arrived at Fullers Farm and a ‘non-circle’ presumably erased by the locals. Hunching my back and backing a hunch I next popped out at the farm above Sheepleas where in full sunshine I paused for a voluntary regroup with a stunning view of London straight ahead. In the distance pounding the streets of London, Factor30 was on her last marathon of the year.

Fully regrouped once more we barrelled down towards Sheepleas once more and met more falsies once more, but in the end gravity won out and we returned whence we came an hour plus earlier. Made Marion and Jasper along with ITB and Cynthia were there to welcome us, some or other having tackled some or other of the trail, possibly in the wrong direction.

VERDICT: A corker of a trail that took us all round Sheepleas without hardly taking us through it. Enquiring whether the hare did in fact get wet on Saturday reccying, I learned that multiple reccys e.g. 10miles per day for the preceding 4 days – had ensured such a well-executed trail! Huge thanks TC, just make sure you tell F30 that you ran further than her last weekend 🙂       

IN THE PUB: The King William IVth had a welcoming garden and bar staff but a lack of beer. In fact by the time we’d managed to extract something drinkable from the cellar the weather had turned decidedly iffy. But the novelty of a post-run drink is a powerful force, so we persevered and were rewarded by the hare’s supply of chips! The next days’ memorial hash was one topic of conversation, F30 progress in the ongoing London marathon another and a proposed Xmas Hash Bash courtesy of the ever tolerant RH/Made Marion household on Sunday 5th December another. Quite some agenda…On on.

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 1935: The Abinger Hatch, Abinger Common.

Scribed by Sparkly

Where IS everyone…?

There’s your trainers waiting expectantly by the front door – don’t even think about ignoring them!

It’s going to be great, whatever the weather.  All that beautiful countryside, the flush of clean air ballooning your lungs, your bright oxygenated blood coursing through your veins, feeding your muscles, urging your body on – up that hill, down that dale, winding through the forest, taking in the views, catching up with friends, yet also getting time to be in your own head.

This is what is to be a Hasher, this is what Robic, Trip Advisor, Wurzel, Call Girl, TIFM, Wally, Sparkly and Sorry John knew and know, safe in the knowledge also that Virgil & Venus would have crafted a great trail for them.

We paid scant attention to Virgil’s declaration that it would not be a hilly run, (in the Surrey Hills? Yer, right!), and left promptly sans TIFM, frantically searching for his van keys.  This meant he couldn’t lock his vehicle and Venus was given the task of supervising it for the duration of the run

Sparkly snaffled the first falsie, therefore it had to be through the churchyard and out beyond – familiar territory, with Robic leading us out to The Volunteer, where we caught up with short-cutting Call Girl.  Following her we soon learned she was on a false trail, despite the fact that she’d been given a map of the route.  That left only one definite way it could be – turn right at the junction, cross over the road and up the steps to the infamous steep and narrow path that cuts through Telly Tubby Land. On out towards Sutton Place, which if you look at a map comprises of around five different roads or drives, all named the same!

Sparkly and Robic fell foul of one of the wrong ones and Trip Advisor took up lead towards nearly as many drives/roads called Franksfield!  Glad I’m not a delivery driver in that neck of the woods!

We paralleled the Radnor Road along Riding Bottom, a somewhat open area that was dry and hot and which reduced most of the pack to a walking/jogging pace for a while then veered off in the direction of Holmbury St. Mary to our Regroup.  By this time it was extremely noticeable how few people were out and about, no dog walkers at all, one other lone runner, and we’d seen only 2 cyclists near the Volunteer.  It felt like something serious had happened in the world that we didn’t know about – reminiscent of that weird all encompassing silence as the events of 9/11unfolded.

Knowing Virgil’s penchant for challenging us, Wally was convinced that the route was going to take us out towards St. Belmont’s School and reckoned we had another 2 miles still to go! Robic alone chose the falsie from the regroup, then got caught out again at the next two circles.  It fell to Wurzel to lead that charge for a while then Trip Advisor found the route skirting round to the west of Holmbury, on out to Felday Houses, Pasture Woods, across the jungle maize field and home.

Verdict: Considering there was only 5 of us in the main group (Call Girl & Sorry John doing their own thing, and TIFM somewhat delayed), the hares did a remarkable job of keeping us all together, though I dare see there was also a degree of group consideration going on for the ‘old girl’, Sparkly, who was in danger of getting left behind at times, but the circles gave her time to catch up and stay with them, and she gratefully appreciated all Robic’s effort in checking out the vast majority of the falsies.

It was a pity that so few attended – our participation numbers are poorer than during the lockdowns, and we can’t use ‘August’ as an excuse!  It’s not clear what’s stopping people – if you run, you’re a runner.  It doesn’t matter how fast or how far.  There is no test to pass, to license to earn, no membership card to acquire, and for Pistoffen Hash House Harriers, no fee to pay.  You just run!  And some kind people lay trails for us in our beautiful countryside!  What’s not to like?  So come on – park those trainers by the front door on a Saturday night – you know they need a good outing!

At the Pub:  Virgil & Venus secured us a couple of tables out by the road where non-diners were banished to, and if you couldn’t pay by card for your drinks you didn’t get served.  Fortunately we all got to eat our Hash chips and sup our drinks but a posse of kilt-clad prospective diners, who looked like they were on a John O’ Groats to Lands End hike and were a long way off course seeking lunch, were sent off with a flea in their ear, presumably for the temerity of expecting too much without a booking!  They were last seen hiking hopefully towards the Wotton Hatch.

Run Report 1934 Hammer Vale, Hindhead

Scribed by Sparkly

High road, or Low road,, or any road but THAT road?

Parking looked as though it was going to be problematic when Wally & Sparkly first arrived at the already full Knockhundred Lane.car park.  We nudged up onto the bank just past the entrance.  Slowly but surely however, as the September sun rose towards its zenith, the previous occupiers were led back to their cars by their dogs and departed, creating enough parking in the end for  the somewhat reduced showing for Hash 1934. 

Ensuring that Hawkeye’s efforts on our behalf were not in vain were Uphill Gill, Trip Advisor, Virgil, Venus, Secret Squirrel, who brought along his daughter ‘New Angela’ to savour the delights of a PH3 Sunday outing, Wurzel, and the GMs.  Sorry John had secured his parking space earlier and was already out on the trail.

Hawkeye completed his setting of the Hash with time to spare and brought Sorry John back with him – the first indication that things could go badly wrong.  Sorry John had no way of knowing, but the GMs & the Hare had prior warning of ‘complications’ from Chastity Belt, who, despite her, tag is a somewhat promiscuous Hasher since she spreads herself out amongst GH3, PH3, Haslemere and Surrey, but always with the aptly named His Knees Are Buggered as her escort.  We had learned from Chastity that Haslemere (H4) were also setting in the same area, but from The Prince of Wales Pub, our choice of refreshment venue post Hash.

On learning about this a few days before, communications between the 2 Hares ensued where Hawkeye learned that the H4 Hare would be setting in ‘hemp derivative’ which caused a bit of brain fog; none of us could even imagine what it looked like.  Thus it was that Hawkeye had to make extra special efforts on our behalf – which he briefed us about.  He showed us his fresh, pristine pet-bedding sawdust, then a photo of their Pot….sorry..Hemp, which looked very similar – and we shook our heads.  How was this going to work?  ‘You have to look carefully’, he said, ‘the texture of theirs is more ‘stick-like’ like shredded matchstick’. He declared that he had tried to steer as far away from their route as possible, but inevitably there was going to be some clashes, and that he’d laid his sawdust on the right – emphatically always on the right…except for when it was on the left!

With trepidation (and without any magnifying glasses to help us distinguish between the different media), we set off.  Whatever might happen, it was a beautiful Indian summer’s day to be out in the countryside doing what we love.

Crossing the road from the car park we made our way out towards and along High Pitfold road which took us under the A3.  There was a bit more road along Kingswood Chase before we could leave the black-top behind and enjoy the cooling shade of Kingswood Firs, with Virgil doing a sterling job of checking out most of the falsies for us.  As a pack we arrived at the re-group point at Waggoners Wells together, except for Virgil and Venus who hadn’t spotted it.  Venus was out of sight and earshot, but Virgil returned from a falsie questioning why we had stopped.  Quickly rested we set off in pursuit of Venus, only to find her coming back from a falsie too.  It was not long after that she decided she would let others check them out and take her rest.  New Angela, Uphill Gill and Secret Squirrel variously took it in turns to find the way.

We circumambulated Cooper’s Stream and headed back towards Bramshott Common.  Just before passing under the A3 again we came head-to-head with H4, some of them looking a little perplexed.  It was comforting to know that they also had to be diligent about which markings they were following. The familiar territory of the Canadian War Memorial soon appeared, a favourite of our Hare, but still we could not second-guess him as to the direction he would take us.  According to the Garmin capture it appears we passed within 400 metres or so of the thirst quenching Prince of Wales pub before heading home.

Verdict: This must have been a testing Hash for the Hare to set trying to avoid the same territory being used by H4, but he did a great job, because for the most part we did not stray onto their route, even though we found the evidence of it, apart from Virgil & Venus, who repeatedly called us On on one occasion, but let’s just say that we took the high road, whilst they took the low road…and though none of us got to Loch Lomond, V & V found and followed H4’s route for a while!  Well done and Thank you, Hawkeye – no-one strayed or got lost.

In The Pub: The pub car park was full yet there was hardly anyone in the pub or garden.  Sparkly overheard the barmaid explaining the reason to a young family that it was a Running Club who had promised 6 cars and showed up in 14 cars and a minibus!  As I was ordering drinks and chips for our runners she asked me accusingly if I was from the Running Club?  ‘Yes’, I said, ‘but not that one – a different club, and there is only 8 of us and we have had to park outside’.  Hawkeye managed to claim 2 benches for us outside to enjoy the sun and sup our Hops Head, Fosters, Cider etc and chips – chatted about various Park Run achievements…and were joined by a short-cutting H4-er…it so felt like old times!  We’re back, quiet August is behind us, so come on, seek out your trainers, join back in!  You know PH3 is a great way to stay fit…put it this way – just as we were thinking of leaving, H4 started to turn up – a full 2 hours after setting off!

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.

Verdict
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 1931: Puttenham Upper Car Park

Scribed by Sparkly

In every cloud there is a Silver Lining

Parking up early in the Top Car Park, Wally, Call Girl and I looked out the car windows with dismay at the relentless stair-rods of rain and pondered….

Not for the first time I said out loud  “ Wouldn’t it be just awful if a hare had dutifully set a Hash for us in this abominable weather and no-one showed up to run it”

Nah!  Perish the thought!  Such a travesty could not be allowed to happen!  We were there, even if somewhat reluctantly, and resolved to ensure the Hare’s efforts were rewarded with attendance and participation.  Fortunately, Dusty, Easily Overlooked, Robin Hood, Satisfaction Guaranteed (with her dog Stig), and Scooby Doo thought so too.

We were encouraged by the fact that Too Bright herself didn’t actually look  totally soaked and convened for a short briefing in which she advised us that it was set in flour in GH3 style, with a couple of marked falsies only.

Too Bright knows the area very well, and whilst a number of paths were quite familiar to some of us, others were not and she devised a great Hash for us.  She ran behind us, in case of vandalism to the route markings, but there was none and even the rain hadn’t managed to wash them away.  The Rain Gods seemed to have taken pity on us as it had stopped pelting down and we were afforded a great deal of shelter by the tree canopy. 

Depending on personal preference we circumvented or ran directly through several puddles.  When the Hare said ‘This next path is the wettest’ I braced myself, expecting to have to splosh through unavoidable quagmires but in fact she was referring to the unruly path-clogging tall ferns that duly tangled with and soaked our limbs, but which actually felt quite refreshing.

Dusty & Easily Overlooked were racing one another and though I could often hear EO’s ‘On On’ calls, it was not always easy to discern the direction they had come from, so it left Robin Hood and Scooby Doo still taking falsies, with me blindly following them sometimes too.

Call Girl took a couple of short-cuts, but her 2nd one proved to be a long cut for the Hare; as we emerged from the forest heading back home we realised that Call Girl was not with us, so Too Bright retraced her steps to find her whilst I waited for a while.  Eventually I set off again feeling secure that our errant Hasher would be found, but found myself on my own by now, missed a turn to the right, then came across a circle that wasn’t kicked, took what turned out to be the correct way, but on not finding any flour retraced my steps to the circle when TIFM appeared!  He headed on downwards, and preferring not to be on my own I kicked the circle that way and followed him.  We soon found that we knew where we were – heading home, but not On!

And who should be calmly waiting with the other returnees when we got back?  Call Girl! From her short cut, she’d found the trail and carried on, but neither the Hare nor those of us at the back knew that she’d done that.

Verdict: Everyone thoroughly enjoyed this run, so many thanks Too Bright, for setting us such an interesting Hash.  We were grateful to have an excuse to get out and blow the damp cobwebs away, and to ensure your efforts were not in vain.

In The Pub: Yes, you read that correctly – ‘In The Pub’! The Silver Lining of the day!

Pre-Hash there had been a discussion as to whether we would attempt to visit a Pub afterwards, and the consensus was that we would.  We took a vote on whether it be the Good Intent, or the Cyder House.  The Good Intent won, but then it transpired that the Hare wanted to try the Cyder House as she had never been there.  Decision made, we headed for Shackleford.  Parking was the usual issue, and though the Pub was very busy inside and in the sheltered patio, we managed to find seating out in the small garden – practically in the Car Park. 

Oh, boy, did it feel good?  Normality!  Ciders & beers and socialising in (at)a Pub!!!  And chips!  Courtesy of Easily Overlooked.  Thank you, Ruth.

Something else!  It felt really special to be in that group of Hashers who were there for the great ‘Return to Normality’ event!  Sorry that the rest of you missed it.

Scooby Doo mostly provided the entertainment, keeping us abreast of his latest exploits – life, the universe (ity) and his love life, whilst Too Bright, in true gardener style, grounded him and us with healthy dose of reality.