Run Report 1965: The Bricklayers Arms, Shamley Green

Brilliantly unprincipled….

Scribed by Hawkeye

The chances of securing the services of a bricklayer in 2022 remain pretty low, but thankfully the possibility of a post-run beer at the Bricklayers Arms remains high. With such expectations, a thirsty pack arrived in Shamley Green for a punctual start – even Tea Cosy was ten minutes early. In truth the foretold roadworks (that did not actually materialize) prodded people into earlier than usual activity. To trail in TCs wake were Sparkly, Wally, ITB, Cynthia, Dusty, Hawkeye, TIFM, Robin Hood, Venus, Call Girl and Sorry John.

And Shamley was green and soaking up the light rain that began to fall. On the weekend that BoJo rolled back the rules on BOGOFs (Buy One Get One Free), PH3 persisted with its own version of using two hares for one run; Secret Squirrel and ah, um, er her name escapes me for now. Not sure what you get for that extra hare, certainly not in the briefing anyway – but we set off to test out the trail ahead. Having arrived from Farley Heath I had inadvertently witnessed some markings that turned out to be the outbound trail, in any case we were following the premature start of TIFM.

We looped up across the fields towards the church where the eagle-eyed were able to spot a Buzzard. If you are buzzard eyed, I have no idea what you saw. Across the road the tempo lifted as the rain didn’t and the pack spread out and headed South. I think there was some Wey & Arun canal involved and I’m pretty certain we crossed the Run Common Road before reaching the Downs Link where TIFM took TC onto a falsie and TC then missed a cross. The pack headed north dodging cyclist like a computer arcade game of old.

There had already been some (valid) grumblings about the state of kicking, and I redoubled my efforts to do less badly from here on, I know my abilities. Dusty was on a flyer and left us for…dust as we headed back under Run Common Road and to an eventual right turn where we headed into some welcome woods/shade/shelter from the rain and a small climb to make a voluntary regroup. The next thing I remember we were back on the Downs Link in furious pursuit of Dusty and TC before taking a turn (for the better) on the edge of Bramley towards Westland Farm.

At this point TC and I – having kicked a circle then run to a cross only to find that Dusty had ignored our invitation and was now well advanced again(!) – discussed the metaphysical nature of hashing. When is it right to kick a circle, or not? If you kick a circle and no one is there to see you, did it happen. Can a circle simultaneously be kicked and not-kicked aka ‘Schrodinger’s Circle’. Snapping out of such reverie we then set about catching the very real person in front of us….again.

Lords Hill Common looks like a fine place for a pub and despite my hunch that the imposing house on the green must have been one in the past, in fact Lords Hill House was a shop as per local records “Lords Hill Common was once called Parsons Common. The Parson needed a horse to get about and it had to graze somewhere. The Cokelers built Lords Hill House as their commercial centre with bakery and butchers behind the grocery and emporium for hardware and haberdashery”. Once again on the green, Dusty (aka Mr Parsons) gave us the slip, but in the end, TC was not to be denied and a concertinaed pack came jogging in across the cricket field as a disconsolate groundsman looked at the work, he’d put into preparing the wicket only for it to go to waste in the rain. A bit like how my run had felt…

VERDICT: A cracking run guys, to a plan no doubt set out by Dusty(!), the Downs Link sections were a leg stretcher and a tad more sawdust on the circles to re-mark my many failed attempts wouldn’t have gone amiss, but it was a good stretch out before the real rain came. Many thanks SS and….who was that again?, anyway many thanks SS.

UNDER THE RAINY GAZEBO: Sunday lunch was in full swing in the pub, but the hares commandeered a palatial gazebo – perfect for our needs. Sadly, no chips were available, but this disappointment was partially offset by the fine Shere Drop and less-admired Harvey’s Best, a mistake TIFM didn’t make the second time. To be clear by now Dusty had confessed that his bike journey to the venue had taken him along the Downs Link and via Westland Farm – doh! During other exchanges we learned that Wally once hoovered the Queens bedroom, SS had his (not so secret) stash of sawdust stolen/vandalised on the run today and that he was once described as ‘Brilliantly unprincipled’ by none other than the Daily Telegraph. I’ll leave you to guess what that referred to. As the rain increased from a steady drip drip, we all departed to consume the vegetables grown by Cynthia and ITB with Easily Overlooked of all people somehow managing to bang her head on a hanging basket. Now remind me, what was she doing at this run…….On on!

Run Report 1964: The Percy Arms, Chilworth

Familiarity breeds respect…….

Scribed by Hawkeye

I arrived on Sunday to find Call Girl parking outside Chilworth Primary School as apparently the Percy Arms CP was displaying signs about CCTV and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR). Is that technology, progress, or none of the above…..Having lashed my two-wheel transportation to the school railings we prepared for an increasingly warm run. Next Dusty arrived by bike as did the hare. Eventually those brave enough to run the gauntlet in the CP spotted the chattering classes at the school gates and came to join us. This included Virgil, Venus, TIFM and Trip Advisor. Pis’t’man Pat rolled into a recently vacated spot by the school and our party was completed with Sorry John already beating the path.

Robin Hood’s pre-run preamble was a eulogy to legendary Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci most famous for his ‘sequence’ which is a series of numbers in which each number is the sum of the two that precede it. Even in the presence of former maths tutor, Dusty this seemed to fall on deaf ears. I think the intended ruse was to throw confusion on whether on this occasion the run headed to the Blackheath or St Martha’s side of town. Having cycled over St Martha’s to get to the start, Fibonacci remained an irrelevance to me.

The level crossing was crossed off from the start and we cocked our sights towards the gunpowder mills. Exiting towards Lockner Farm, we in fact took up the cross-field route and were only delayed in arriving at Postford and Waterloo Ponds by the sight of two huge hairy hogs basking in the sun. An ascent towards St Martha’s seemed in order and trailing behind Virgil and Dusty, I set about the task when Dusty kindly stepped aside to ease my passage….only then to resume a dogged pursuit close on my heels. What became apparent quite quickly was that it was in fact Tea Cosy hot in pursuit after a late start occasioned by the avid watching of the Sunday politics and calling by the local Conservative Party office on his way (ask Virgil to explain this one?!)

Sun, sand, and a sapping incline made for a welcome respite and regroup at St Martha’s the patron saint of hashing. We all gathered including Trip Advisor who complained of descending all the way on the Downs Link, having missed a cross, in which case we’d expect her to still be there now! After a brief regroup accompanied by organ music wafting from the church it was time to test our own pipes once again. Departing last, having spoken with the hare, TIFM and I were lucky enough to catch the spring call of a cuckoo. Sometimes dawdling pays off.

We crossed the road and slogged through the sand to reach the Chantries. Here PP led us on a merry dance despite having formed an advanced party to inspect the area (e.g. short-cutted!). In the end as a reasonably compact group we found our way down and to the powder mils once more to return home by the Vera well-worn path.

VERDICT: They say that familiarity breeds contempt, but in this instance, it evokes respect – as time after time, new routes and variety unfold for us. Many thanks Robin Hood

IN THE GARDEN: After the ANPR in the CP, what awaited us in the pub….Here it seems technology is making great strides and a sign expertly taped to the taps informed all-comers that orders could now only be place by downloading the App! Is that technology, progress, or none of the above…..

Ignoring such restrictions, I managed to persuade a barman to serve me a round of drinks before retiring to the garden where CG had commandeered a chalet to occupy. The temperature had remained warm, but the air got bluer and bluer as hashers emerged from the pub having being refused human service and reluctantly reaching for their mobiles. I’m tempted to say that if we’d not already got some drinks in – we’d have moved on. In the end we Percy-veered. The ale, Twickenham was very nice as were the chips and Sunday lunch procured by RH and Made Marion. In fact, the hare proved more effective than the app, able to conjure beer from a face-to-face encounter! As the beer flowed the conversation ebbed too, alighting on the concept for an obscure equine dating service ‘Horses for Zorses’ and the likely wording on PP’s tombstone which was something to the effect of ‘Here lies Graham Fagg, as surprised as you not to have succumbed to a drinking-related illness’! Usual stuff for a Sunday. On on…

Run Report 1963: Yew Tree Farm, Polseden Lacey

May day, may day……….bluebells ahead!

Scribed by Hawkeye

When Wisden and Nostradamus connived to plan the 2022 annual bluebell run important factors like long-term climate evolution, rainfall cycles and species decline had to be considered. Then SJ also worked out when he was available, and the date was set. May Day on the BH weekend turned out to be less sunny that some days, but a fine day for running if not marching.

Apparently if you saw Sorry John in half, you can track the date of annual bluebell runs back through millennia, in much the same way that you date trees. It’s something to do with chip-fat accumulation.  I’ve never been that tempted, not whilst he keeps setting runs and serving those chips! Assembling at Yew Tree Farm were Call Girl, Venus, Factor 30, Uphill Gill, TIFM, Secret Squirrel, Sparkly, Wally and Hawkeye. TIFM was a man with a plan and headed off early to fathom the hare’s route from paper rather than sawdust. The rest set off in pursuit.

We love traditional marking involving our own version of noughts and crosses and having cycled to the venue, passing the jogging Venus and UG – we should have had a good start on that puzzle. So, the fact that only Venus correctly solved the first circles said much about my ineptitude and UG’s inattention. Our briefing had foretold of a regroup at a popular spot and the possible ‘sighting’ by ear(?) of a cuckoo. Therefore, after being enveloped in a blue blanket of bluebells early on, we then approached Tanners Hatch and began the ascent towards the Ranmore Common Road and the NDW. This we achieved indirectly and without the assistance of bottled oxygen, just.

As foretold, the Downs were a busier spot and having escaped the leash, I waited awhile on a bench overlooking Westcott and gave a nodding acquaintance to passing runner and dog. Fully regrouped (sans TIFM), the onward trail beckoned and for me nature. Emerging from behind a freshly watered tree I was accosted with “Hello Andy!” and a former neighbour from Merrow. Just as well shaking hands has fallen out of fashion!

Regaining the pack, I was also overtaken by a fast jogging ‘checking chicken’ whose task was to remove the numerous arrow markers denoting an ongoing organized run on the North Downs Way. Meanwhile on the disorganized run SJ had taken us vertical to admire some more Hyacinthoides non-scripta. Emerging breathless we were now accosted by the aforementioned runner and dog who seemingly had been following the aforementioned run markers when in fact she wanted the aforementioned NDW. Keeping up…..no, neither was she. Anyway, Wally went out of his way to put her on it and harmony was restored.

Our route recrossed Ranmore Common Road as the drizzle intensified and TIFM was overhauled. Across Hogden Lane and we smelt the on in – or more bluebells to be precise as SS led the charge. Some attempted cuckoo impressionism on his part did little for his credibility or lead and we entered the final decompression zone to emerge fully relaxed as the blue bells chimed at YT Farm with 59min45sec and with 6 miles on the clock.

VERDICT: The bluebells keep popping up and SJ keeps knocking them down, well the runs do anyway. So many thanks SJ, another fine run and notch on the PH3 timeline.

IN THE KITCHEN: Zero rain during April (wot no showers!) meant that for the much-anticipated relaxation on the ‘patio with a view’ on the first day of May, we were confined to the ‘kitchen with a few’. But all the cosier for it. We were joined by the current Mrs Hawkeye who got wind of the chips and fired up the e-bike to pedal out to Polesden. In fine and canine company, we occupied all the chairs at the hare’s disposal to enjoy, tea, beer and chips in various combinations and quantities. Inevitably our conversation turned to the ‘invasive’ Hyacinthoides hispanica – Spanish bluebells, that are colonizing England, no doubt after landing in southern England in small boats. Pretty but another thing that Priti Vacant (aka Patel), is powerless to stop. And with that I departed ‘a velo’ to battle with runners still plodding along the NDW, on on.

Run Report 1962 – The Volunteer, Abinger Sutton

Never accuse Virgil of short-cutting!

Scribed by Secret Squirrel

The Spring is sprung, the grass is riz

I wonder where dem hashers is?

They should be out upon the trail,

But they’re getting old, and bodies fail …

(apologies to whatever comedian coined the original about birds on the wing and wings on the bird).

It was a glorious spring morning on Sunday in the Tillingbourne Valley. The sun was shining strongly, and the ground was firm and dry underfoot. It was not too hot or too cold, in fact the conditions for running could not have been better. The only fly in the ointment was that someone had closed the road from Abinger Hammer towards Holmbury and everyone was trying to use Raikes Lane as the alternative route. Gathering on the junction with Raikes Lane just outside The Volunteer were Call Girl, TIFM, Secret Squirrel and the hares (Wally & Sparkly). Was this going to be it? Well, it was only 10:30 so there was time for some more to arrive, and Cynthia, ITB, Virgil and Venus duly responded (I won’t mention Virgil’s struggles to park in the pub’s empty carpark, sometimes you can have just too much choice). Sorry John’s motor was there, so we guessed that he was somewhere ahead of us, but, with CG and ITB also walking, it was a very select pack that intended to run. Luckily Wally decided to be checking-chicken and so we became six.

Wally’s briefing told us that it was marked in sawdust in Guildford Hash style (ie no marked falsies), not one but 2 re-groups to look forward to, and we should beware of mountain bikes which were out in force that morning, and then Sparkly waved us off towards the Abinger road. Clearly Virgil has set trails around this area before and he set off as though in a hurry to get away from the rest of us (or maybe just Venus, who had been very rude about his parking). Like a shot from a gun or a rat up a drainpipe he was away and racing up that steep and narrow footpath leading to Tellytubby Land (as Sparkly calls it), that area of big houses on private roads east of Peaslake. There is only one footpath through there and Wally’s circles were no challenge to a hasher in the know.

I was however just close enough behind to hear Virgil asking a dog-walker whether they had seen any sawdust when he got to the first circle where a real choice of routes existed. (He was probably wise because S-J admitted later that he had tried the correct route, given up, tried the wrong route, given up, and then persevered that bit further to find the trail at last, just beyond the stile.) But that is a downside to this type of trail marking, if a passer-by can tell you they have seen just one blob of sawdust along a possible path then they have told you all you need to know at that point!

It didn’t matter too much because the next couple of circles, when we emerged onto Franksfield, did for Virgil and me very comprehensively and brought about a natural re-group. Wally must have been pleased to witness that! We jinked this way and that around those confusing lanes until we finally came out onto Pursers Lane, the main road into Peaslake. Virgil went a long way down the road towards that village while Venus found the trail going in the opposite direction, towards Gomshall, and then led us on tracks west and south, returning to Pursers Lane just beyond the point where Virgil had last been seen. A little way beyond that we came to a circle at a place that has been used many times before with a choice of going on into Peaslake (and towards Holmbury Hill, where the mountain bikers we had been warned about would probably be found) or turning back and west into a grassy field on a path contouring around a gentle slope. I had only gone about 15 yards beyond that circle when a male voice called “on-on” from about 40 yards along the other trail – clearly that wasn’t Venus, maybe TIFM had taken a short-cut? I hurried back and round the hill, only to see Virgil way out ahead of us. The last time I had seen him he was about 100 yards behind us at the bottom of a hill going the wrong way – how had he got so far in front? Well, he took the wrong direction again at the next circle and so I was in front of him as we toiled up the big field, once more heading towards Peaslake, and as he passed me I casually chided him on taking a short-cut on Pursers Lane instead of doing the loop that Venus had led round there. I might just as well have accused him of raping and murdering small children – let’s just say he was mightily offended! But he must have made a huge effort to get past us all like that.

Fortunately, by the time we reached the first regroup, in a field with a lovely avenue of beech (?) trees (that hadn’t been planted the first few times I ran that path) and a glorious view to the North Downs above Gomshall, Virgil had recovered his sense of humour and I had acknowledged the error of my suspicions. Wally was disappointed that we not so much guessed as knew the correct way to leave that re-group, directly down to The Hurtwood Inn and “Mountain biker central”. Foolishly, I started up the road beside Peaslake Church despite it being on the wrong ridge for our destination, but Virgil’s calls as he ran through the middle of the village were so loud that they could be heard in Guildford, and I was soon following him again.

The hares wanted us to do 2 sides of a small triangle and thus avoid the very steep path up from Peaslake, but their system of marking didn’t allow them to make this clear. Virgil found a blob about 25 yards from the circle (and 50 feet above it) on the direct route and so naturally called us on that way. (Hmmm – a cross, marking it as a falsie, would have worked really well there, to send him back down to the road and then irritate him when the full trail brought him back just above that cross a few moments later – sigh!!).

The remainder of the trail, where we soon caught up with S-J and his one dog, was a delight. We ran hither and thither around Holmbury Woods, on wide tracks and narrow paths, with gentle ascents and descents, the glorious sunshine was making everyone happy, and there was hardly a mountain bike to be seen. Virgil made enough mistakes at circles to allow most of the rest of us to have the lead at some point, and we were so close together at the 2nd re-group that we didn’t linger much at all. The final descent in the woods, down to the Abinger-Holmbury road gave Venus plenty to think about with treacherous tree roots aplenty, so she and Cynthia took that gently, while Virgil roared ahead. We crossed the road with a little arrow pointing us towards a lovely footpath, crossing the valley and taking us to Sutton Lane and the on-in along Water Lane. Virgil took line-honours, of course, but he didn’t have to track back very far before he met Venus to accompany her to the finish in a demonstration of restored marital harmony.

Verdict: I hope that those of you reading this who missed this run were having a good time on Sunday – because you missed a cracker! The route provided some good running and a variety of views and conditions. Despite a very small pack, we coped with unmarked falsies pretty well (or Virgil did, because he probably did more route finding and explored more non-trails than anyone else) and all got back within a few minutes of each other having covered nearly 6 miles. Thank you Sparkly and Wally for your efforts, they were worth it!

At the Pub: We gathered in the garden at the picnic benches furthest away from the bar (because all the others were marked as reserved), where some could lie on the warm soft grass. The beers were all Badger brewed and Fursty Ferret seemed the most popular. Venus was especially pleased to get a huge tea-pot and even a jug of hot water to go with it, she was able to drink about 2 pints of that warming beverage (and I am not talking about the one made at the Hogs Back Brewery), all it (and we) lacked was a Tea-Cosy! We had a choice of plain or cheesy chips, both of which were soon consumed.

Sadly, Sparkly was struggling with a shoulder injury which was really giving her grief. Apparently, it had started as an arm injury on the golf course but had somehow spread and taking a jacket on and off caused her acute pain. Hopefully she will recover soon – and stay off the golf course!

From our vantage point in The Volunteer’s garden, we had a grandstand view of the junction between Raikes Lane and the Abinger road as a queue of classic cars tried to pass through towards the A25. It was fun guessing which way they would turn and betting on which ones would return having given up on either Hoe Lane or Raikes Lane in the face of on-coming SUVs driven by Surrey people who don’t know how to find reverse gear. Oh, how we laughed – and then plotted our escape via Sutton Lane and Hollow Lane. What an excellent morning it had been!

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Run Report 1961: Albury Heath Cricket Ground

Something that rhymed with duckedy-duck-duck

Scribed by Tea Cosy

The PH3 Notices group went into overdrive this week with the warning that Surrey H3 were running from the same location as PH3. Whilst hares Virgil & Venus kindly offered to set elsewhere, the consensus was a PH3 sawdust trail and a Surrey H3 flour trail were quite compatible. So along for this week’s seemingly simple hash were Tea Cosy, Wally, Trip Advisor, Dusty, Easily Overlooked, TIFM, Robin Hood, plus walkers Sorry John, Call girl and Spark(l)y. There were was gentle banter with the other group (Wally telling one of the Surrey lot that they’d probably still be out on the course at 2pm because of their slow running) but we generally kept ourselves to ourselves. Dusty mentioned he’d heard some story about someone even running the wrong hash. Who would do such a foolish thing? I was quick to defend my actions all those years ago. As we neared 11 o’clock, it was a reassuring sight to see hare Venus meet us for the start. That confidence was quickly dashed when she told us that Northants H3 were also nearby AND setting in sawdust. Apparently the Northants H3 hare on hearing that we were also setting in sawdust kept saying something that rhymed with duckedy-duck-duck. Our hares had taken the decision to set a ‘P’ alongside each circle to identify our route but no guarantees were given that this all the way through the route. So with some trepidation, off we trotted.

We found a circle near the entrance and the majority confidently ran out of the Cricket Ground entrance, whilst a couple veered left to find a falsie. Back we all came to veer right instead, crossing New Road into semi-heathland. Any lead I had was quickly dashed by taking a couple of falsies left, allowing the group to nicely form back together again. Back over New Road we crossed before the sound of gunfire to the right of the circle meant everyone wanted to understandably run left instead. But no, our hares had other plans and once more unto the breach we headed. There was clay pigeon shooting going on and the hares steered us neatly around to have a clear vantage point to watch. From there we meandered through woodland before popping out on Sandy Lane, where Dusty was on fine form as he led us towards Blackheath. I got caught out on the next couple of circles which allowed Easily Overlooked and Trip Advisor to join as FRBs. It was then that we came across the multitude of circles and then Northants H3 walkers coming in the opposite direction. Whilst there could have been total carnage, somehow it worked. There was only one occasion where the circle was too close to foliage which made it hard to kick the circle. Fortunately we were close enough together that we could always see the runner ahead. Our hares adding ‘P’ to each circle enabled us to follow our trail despite places where three separate trails were marked. We took an informal regroup on the open heath of Blackheath and TIFM decided that the P next to our circles was in fact ‘OP’ for ‘Old People’. Maybe Surrey H3 should have been running our run?
We then headed back across the heath where Tea Cosy guessed correctly on a few circles which allowed him to briefly lead, before a wrong turning allowed Dusty used his local knowledge to take first place. Tea Cosy’s eventually caught Dusty up, and blessed with crossing before a train, allowed him to storm on ahead. Plenty of circles kept the pack guessing, and before we knew it we were safely back on Albury Cricket Ground near enough at midday.

VERDICT: A wonderful run with plenty of circles to keep it interesting and hold the group together. To deal with one other hash run is bad enough, but two hash runs was downright cruel. Our hares quick-thinking to specially mark every circle for us was very much appreciated. A very big thank you to Virgil & Venus. I just about forgive you now for that wet Pirbright run!

IN THE PUB: After finding out the Albury Cricket Clubhouse was serving beer, it was swiftly decided to stay put. Robin Hood accidentally took out the clubhouse donations device by walking into it but the staff were friendly enough to know that we were decent folk (unlike the Surrey H3 mob). Camden Hells and Pale ale were on tap, and whilst there were no chips, packets of crisps were aplenty. We basked in the occasional sunshine outside and watched the Surrey H3 lot plod across to the finish over the next hour. On on.

Whaaat??

Run Report 1960: The Wotton Hatch

Pheasant Fun

Scribed by Secret Squirrel

The Pis’t’offen Ramblers’ Club met up at the Wotton Hatch last Sunday in bright but chilly conditions. The walkers set off in various groups at different times, and included some of the following: Sorry John, Robic, Moondance, Sparkly, Call Girl, Maid Marion, and ITB. Around the same time a few runners turned up to try and follow Trip Advisor’s sawdust trail in its entirety, without hesitation, repetition or deviation – these included: Wally, Robin Hood, Venus, Cynthia, Newish Heather, TIFM and your scribe Secret Squirrel. Actually, TIFM very nearly missed this run because he went to the other Hatch first (the one at Abinger) but realised his mistake when he found no runners or walkers waiting there!

As the Speaking Clock called us to order, our hare issued a short briefing to the effect that it was set in “Guildford” style (so no marked falsies), there would be one re-group after 4.39 miles, and the overall trail was at least 7 miles. Oh, and the trail started and finished through the housing estate just behind the pub where TA’s lovely neighbours had already been out with their dustpans and brushes to remove the sawdust trail!

With that, we were off, and passed through the vandalised section without trouble as there is only one way to go. An early attempt to go towards Wolvens Lane was foiled by a lack of sawdust, but TIFM found our route along the Greensand Way until a pair of circles barely 20 feet apart caused us some confusion, with Venus taking the lead and heading down onto Sheephouse Lane (I think that she was convinced we were going to be taken to Leith Hill and based her guesses around that hunch for quite a lot of the run, this time it worked for her). For a while we headed towards Friday Street, until a decisive circle near Kempslade Farm turned us east and back down to the Tillingbourne stream, which we followed for a while, past the artificial waterfall and into the hamlet of Broadmoor. Here I lost my substantial lead with 2 wrong choices in quick succession, and so ended up following Cynthia further to the East and up a very steep climb into Simons Copse (where TIFM should surely have had the advantage of personal knowledge) and eventually to a circle at Wolvens Lane.

TA could have taken us anywhere from this point, south towards Leith Hill would have been Venus’s choice, north towards home was where the short-cutting ramblers went, but we were led on further to the east and a merry dance around Squire’s Great Wood. Newish Heather made a bold move here and led us round the hill on a wide forest track, but the next circle deceived her as she wisely hesitated to take the downhill route although that was eventually the way to go. At the next, Venus boldly announced that she was not a gambler and was still on her way to Leith Hill, so she did not follow me when I headed sharp left and steeply downhill – but I was right and she was wrong, and in the end she had to follow me. We twisted and turned in the woods, still going downhill, until we arrived at Squire’s Farm where I made my last mistake of the morning and explored a path which Virgil had used sometime ago coming up from Westcott.

But Venus was right this time as she headed down the smooth concrete road – and found she had made a new friend (or collected a new pet)! There was a splendid cock pheasant in the field beside the road and he started running down the fence beside Venus – his legs must have been less than one-twentieth of the length of hers but he was a game bird (get it?) and he kept pace with her. To test his resolve, Venus stopped and ran back up the slope again, but he was up for that challenge and stayed beside her. A phone was produced so that these antics could be filmed, and I expect you will find them posted somewhere on social media. The parallel running was repeated several times before Venus tired of the game (the pheasant was still up for it) and headed off down the hill again. I think several of the pack kept it going for a while longer because they were a little way behind us when we made a mess of a pair of circles at Logmore Lane.

So the group was quite close together as we headed to the north, down onto the flatlands and at last found the re-group just before we reached the lake at Bury Hill Fisheries. It was past 12 o’clock, and that used to mean that we were missing drinking time, so we didn’t linger here and soon pressed on all together. There was a short stretch of tricky ground with tree roots, mud, rocks and all sorts of hazards underfoot; here Venus slowed down announcing that she didn’t want to fall flat on her face – only to do precisely that about 50 yards further on when it was difficult to identify just what had tripped her up! Luckily the mud there was soft and gentle, so no damage was done other than to her dignity.

A sharp left turn at the next circle allowed us to feel we were heading towards home, but there was still a daunting climb ahead of us. Wally was amused by a sign on a gate advising us that we were on a “Public Footpath across Private Land, so we should take only photographs and leave only footprints”. Thus warned, we staggered on as the contour lines began to accumulate across our route. We went up through Logmore Green, and more and more steeply uphill to finally reach Wolvens Lane for the third time of the morning in a breathless state. At last, we were allowed to follow it, initially to the north and finally west to return to Wotton and the cleaned up on-in past TA’s neighbours.

All the runners returned between 12:35 and 12:40, to be met by Sparkly and Call Girl who had returned a short while before. There was no sign of the hare to welcome us back, I think she was already in the pub without a care in the world, having supreme confidence that we would all find her trail and come home safely.

VERDICT: This was a long but interesting route which certainly took us in some unexpected directions at times. From a technical point of view, and in the interests of “hare training” I would like to suggest that it is helpful to keep laying blobs of sawdust at fairly regular intervals along all of the route, even after the correct direction from a circle has been established. This is because I had a few anxious times, wondering whether I had passed a circle without seeing it, because I found no blobs to reassure me. I am sure that those following my calls were quite happy and we all enjoyed a great morning’s outing in the Surrey Hills, so thank you Trip Advisor for all your efforts.

AT THE PUB: By the time I had stretched and changed, there was quite a gang seated in a far corner of the pub as the ramblers and hashers were now united. A party of other diners at the next table were probably less happy with the general noise and the difficulty of allowing me to squeeze through to join Sparkly and Wally by the window, so sensibly they left soon after. The St Austell Brewery’s Tribute Ale was the choice preferred over the ubiquitous Doombar, but chips were not ordered due to overpricing and under-delivery on our last visit to this pub. I did not linger, despite the pleasant company, as it was Boat Race day and I wanted to watch the full broadcast. But some of our number looked well settled and maybe they are still there now.

Run Report 1959: The Merry Harriers, Hambledon

Taking the biscuit…….

Scribed by Hawkeye

The annual spring forward or daylight saving was a logical explanation as to why I had a groggy head on Sunday morning. An overconsumption of red wine the truthful one. We arrived toute á l’heure as a result of three grown men walking up and down my road trying to decide which car to ‘share’. TIFM’s van was impractical, my blood alcohol ratio implausible so we snuggled into TC’s mini. Awaiting us in a bustling car park at the Merry Harriers, were a throng of….. merry harriers consisting of Virgil, Venus, Robin Hood, Secret Squirrel and daughter now known as Morocco Mole (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmLf7_LmP6I), Sparkly, Wally, ITB, Cynthia, Sorry John, Call Girl and……..Easily Overlooked. Quasimodo was absent having recently contracted the dreaded covid, which may have been a blessing in disguise as his P&O trip to Dublin to see the Foo Fighters was starting to a look a bit shaky anyway.

I’d missed breakfast and now the pre-run briefing so set off up the hill wondering whether my feet or head were pounding harder. EO and I paused to take in the bucolic scene of a sweeping field and masticating sheep but couldn’t see any sawdust. Having got a head start on my hangover, I wasn’t prepared to let it catch up, so ploughed on regardless and was rewarded by a craftily concealed trail that took us towards the village before a cruel switchback took us up to Hilltop Farm.

You know times are hard when landowners resort to stealing your sawdust from the trail, but this landowner has form see RR1944 and “I spotted the guilty welly-clad vandal who’s only excuse was that she hoped we wouldn’t make so much noise if there were horses in the field…..well if you didn’t vandalize our trail we wouldn’t need to make so much bloody noise – idiot!” – and repeat again today. West Surrey Golf Course also stood in eerie silence as we crossed en route towards Hydon’s Ball.

Puffing and panting then dominated the aural landscape as the route went up and the already distended pack struggled up an increasing and increasingly sandy incline. Virgil and TC received scant reward for their efforts as copious circles threw one or other off the trail and allowed for the middle-distance runners to bunch up. As noted in the pub later there was one delightful upward looking vista framed by the beaming morning sun. That said, I was less enamoured than others to have the sun on my back when I had to turnaround at a cross. Emulating Juantarena, TC opened his legs and showed his (cl)ass as he summited first followed by Virgil and I. Beautifully timed, SJ arrived to join the party.

TIFM was somewhat off the pace (still changing his shoes at the start probably) so it fell to Morocco Mole to get a bit angsty about heading on (she had left her children with the current Mrs Squirrel) – and was not prepared to accept SJ’s word that no trail existed on the short cut route he’d used. No respect for their elders, these young ‘uns.

The on in was straightforward but teasing. We descended ably towards the ‘top track’ where a circle took care of TC and Hawkeye at the obvious and second most obvious choices. Therefore with Virgil and EO we headed back to the woods and then back out across a long diagonally and sunny track to the church and home. Line honours a forgone conclusion

VERDICT: From memory the distance and duration were spot on and as head clearing material, it also delivered admirably. Many thanks Dusty, a lovely run.

IN THE PUB: a sunny courtyard awaited with a variety of seating options (oh no not the comfy chair), whilst inside the collective wisdom decided to take the biscuit. More specifically Loxhill Biscuit a rather fine, light, and hoppy ale from the nearby Dunsfold Brewery. The hare provided chips but they don’t stand out in the memory to the same extent as the biscuits! Venus ‘went off on one’ about ‘boy banter’ on the hash and we watched and pondered whether a hash run had ever been cited in divorce proceedings? I guess there’s always a first time for everything. Multiple name variations for ‘new Angela’ were considered by the kangaroo court that eventually decided on Morocco Mole. And just as we were leaving TIFM recalled once spotting a Hobby (small bird of prey) in this area and made the rather brazen claim that the Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo) Was in fact the reason the beloved football game of my youth was named Subbuteo; the inventor Peter Adolph had failed to get a patent to call it Hobby (his favourite bird), so called it Subbuteo instead. Another example of taking the biscuit! On On.

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/animals/birds/hobby/

Run Report 1958 – Hindhead

Take my breath away

Scribed by Secret Squirrel

We were given fair warning at the previous week’s hash that this was going to be a mountainous run. Hawkeye’s words then were something like “Ice-axes and crampons would probably be useful”. So, as I drove towards the Hindhead Tunnel on a sunny spring morning, it seemed appropriate that Steve Wright played the hit song from the film Top Gun – “Take my breath away”. Yes, I thought, breath is going to be in short supply this morning.

But all was peaceful in the sheltered glade where we gathered somewhere between the Churt Road and The Devil’s Punch Bowl. It was a bit chilly in the shade so the assembly kept finding sunny patches as we moved to greet each new arrival. Wally got there first, followed by your scribe, Pis’t’man Pat, Easily Overlooked, Robin Hood, Venus, Trip Advisor, Tea Cosy, and finally TIFM. We later discovered that Sorry John was somewhere out on the trail, although I didn’t see his car parked on the track. TIFM had evidently taken Hawkeye’s warning to another level because he brought a ladder with him, though fortunately the hare was able to persuade him to leave it strapped to the roof of his van because it would have been a cumbersome accessory to carry on the downhill stretches.

We were told the route was fairly short but mostly up and down, there would be a flatter bit towards the end, and there was a re-group. Setting off back the way we had come, we found it just as difficult to run along the pot-holed and bumpy track as it had been to drive on it a few moments earlier, but we managed to get to the woods without any fallers. We were led to the top of Golden Valley and were then presented repeatedly with a conundrum – an old PH3 maxim is “never run downhill from a circle”, so Hawkeye set a series of circles along the path down the valley knowing that we would have to explore all of their falsies before reluctantly taking the downhill route. This worked a treat until we reached the bottom with everyone except PP taking at least one falsie on the way down.

But what goes down must go up again (in another, less well-known, PH3 maxim) and so we had to struggle up a steep hill to our left to regain most of the altitude we had just lost. We did enjoy a little bit of gentle downhill heading west again at the top of that ridge, before a steeper descent took us towards Whitmore Vale Farm. Here we were joined by TIFM who had benefitted from a short cut at the first circle. I recognized the location of the circle in that valley as one used before by Hawkeye when setting from Grayshott, but that knowledge was of little use since he took us in a new direction – up the valley to our left. This was a long and wearisome climb, during which my breathless, oxygen-starved brain gave up trying to work out where we were – so I failed to recognize the road junction at the top as being the approach to Grayshott from the old A3.

We briefly lost the trail as we crossed the mini-roundabout (our hare admitted later that he laid very little sawdust here because he didn’t want us to spot it as we drove in) but we managed to pick it up and lose it a couple of times before Trip Advisor led a few of us on a long downhill falsie to the left, while Venus rejoiced in a lucky guess straight on to a grassy bridge over the new A3 just south of the tunnel mouth. All this had created a natural re-group, so we were together as we headed steeply down into Nutcombe Valley, a place I don’t think I have ever visited before. Once again we reached the bottom only to immediately start climbing again, with Trip Advisor redeeming herself with some inspired guessing at several circles. I think that it was at one stage on this particular climb that TIFM’s ladder might have come in handy because it did get very steep indeed.

At the top of that ascent we crossed the Haslemere to Hindhead road, dived onto a side path and headed right back down a long flight of steps. So now both the climbing and descending muscles were giving us grief, and our heads were spinning. TIFM still couldn’t understand how we could re- cross the A3, he had forgotten that it was in a tunnel somewhere beneath our feet. I am getting worried about him as last week he was convinced we were running a clockwise circuit when we neatly circum-ambulated Pirbright in an anti-clockwise direction.

Now it was Tea Cosy’s turn to get inspired and he led us on a long gradual climb up a gentle grassy valley, heading north-east in the direction of Gibbet Hill (where I fully expected the re-group to be found). Eventually, he fell foul of a circle/falsie combination so that we could still see him as he crested yet another ridge. And when each of us came over that summit we joined him sitting on a bench with a lovely view across the Weald towards Brighton. It wasn’t the official re-group but we felt that we had earned one anyway.

TIFM can never bear to wait at a re-group, so he headed on along the obvious path to our left, only to tell us when we eventually followed him that he had lost the trail. It was Venus who spotted the vandalized circle and Tea Cosy and I who led the charge along a good track, spotting tiny remnants of sawdust from time to time amongst the chalk, where somebody had had a really good go at disrupting us – they failed of course! At the end of this we found the proper re-group, but it was occupied by 2 ladies, one on a mobility scooter, so we were glad we had stopped earlier, and I suspected that we had completed the tough part of the morning’s exercise.

Indeed, there was no more climbing to be done and the rest of the trail was flat or gently downhill as we headed, with a few diversions, back towards the Punch Bowl Café and the big track along the left of the valley that brought us back to where we had started.

Verdict:  Last week we were grumbling about getting wet feet in the swamps around Pirbright, so at least this week our feet stayed dry. I reckon we did 1 gentle and 3 steep descents, with 2 gentle (but long) and 2 steep ascents in this circum-ambulation of Hindhead. I would be interested to know if anyone’s GPS recorded an accurate total amount of climbing, PP’s guess was 1,000 feet. But I am not complaining because there was a lot of unfamiliar territory and we were kept together by lots of devious trail-setting. So, thanks Hawkeye, this has to count as a great run – once I discover how to walk again!

At the Pub:  By mutual consent we repaired to the Fox & Pelican at Grayshott, passing the roundabout where we had briefly lost the trail an hour earlier. Here we settled in the tented enclosure where the temperature was much more pleasant than in the overheated dining-room, and we could assemble plenty of chairs together. The range of beers was impressive with London Pride, HSB, and a pair of Dark Star brews – Hophead and Nordland. Of these the Hophead seemed to get the general seal of approval, although our GM had to wait a long time for his (bog-standard) lager and some of the ladies preferred to take tea in cups (with or without extra hot water). The chips were very pleasant, but nothing to write home about. The company was similar to that we had enjoyed on the run but with the addition of Sorry-John (did anyone see him during the run – or was he only here for the beer?). The mirth was cut short this week because PP had to get to Brighton by 2pm for lunch with his sister. We managed to talk about quite a few things other than the war (“Don’t mention the war!”) but it is difficult to escape the fact that these are troubling times.

Run Report 1957: Pirbright Common CP, Pirbright

Led by donkeys……

Scribed by Hawkeye

Being surrounded by heathland, we set off to Pirbright with expectations of remaining dry. We returned later fully qualified in doggy paddle and in one case with a level 1 scuba qualification. Pirbright is a little out of the normal range of hares Virgil and Venus, but the nearby ranges could be heard firing off as usual as we parked up alongside football mums and dads perhaps watching the next Phil Foden. Or not.

The eleven names on the PH3 team starting sheet were Paul Newman (goal keeper), Call Girl (left back), Tea Cosy (right back….in the car park), Wally & Trip Advisor (centre half), TIFM & Sparkly (Midfield), No Nookie & Uphill Gill (wings), Hawkeye (up front). A classic 4-4-2-1 formation. Secret Squirrel started on the bench, but clearly you can’t keep a good man down, for long. Venus provided the briefing, Virgil was gagged and confined to the car. The information of note was to expect a regroup, a GH3 style trail and markings without political bias – on both the left and the right.

At the first circle SS guessed right and left me meandering on the green. In fact, SS sset such an early ppace that we couldn’t kkeep up. But I’ll be honest any report on this run is going to be a bit vague as having just spent five minutes on Google Earth I’ve worked out we went anti-clockwise – not what I thought on the day!! I think SS relinquished his lead to the late starting TC who for the second week (not) running then pulled up at a water feature. Whereas I took the view that with less than 15 minutes gone, further hazards awaited us, so best to get on with it.

This led me to a solo ten-minute exploration of some drier heathland and what I now know to be the edge of Brookwood Cemetery (I did the falsie there), before picking up a very straight trail back towards Pirbright. Next up I became acquainted with a nice ass or two and we found some donkeys too. In fact, in short order we’d been led by donkeys, seen farabellas, llamas and pigs, the later with a very familiar face. At some point in this juncture the hares emerged from hiding as we crossed yet another flooded copse area. Here the water was deep enough for No Nookie aka No Knees to practice scuba diving and TC the long jump.

We broke away towards yet more heathland and with everyone, clocking the 50 minutes elapsed started looking for the regroup. And No Nookie for an excuse for being late for Sunday lunch. This prompted No Morals to shortcut at every opportunity until we arrived at the regroup at 1hr elapsed. Collective wisdom (yes there is some) divined the most likely direction home and with only road ahead a straightforward on in was anticipated. But there was trouble at Mill (Lane), and we headed across to Church Lane where having left the green at 11 on the hour we returned as the chimes sounded the quarter hour.

VERDICT: If this is what Virgil sets like when he has covid, gawd help us when he gets back to full fitness again! And I am also reminded that he’s a qualified swimming instructor – figures. But all said this was a proper job and a properly confusing hash. That tested everyone in some way or another. Many thanks V&V – and we hope V recovers soon.

IN THE PUB: The White Hart secured our custom and served a cracking pint of Proper Job but we didn’t chance our arm on the chips. UG and PN revealed their Cambridge Half times (<2hrs) as I forewarned that next week’s run at Hindhead might need crampons and an ice axe. I suspect excuses are already being made – you’d think I’d have learned by now. On on!

Run Report 1956: The Anchor & Horseshoes, Burpham

We were stoked……lock, park and two sets of traffic lights…….

Scribed by Hawkeye

As we celebrate international women’s day, it seemed totally appropriate that two international women of mystery set last weekend’s run when Call Girl took on the role, ably supported by Sparkly. Girl power. Arriving to stretch mind, body and soul were a gender balanced group consisting of Quasimodo, Tea Cosy, TIFM (aka TICDM), Hawkeye, ITB, Cynthia and Doggy Style. Sorry John had already made a good start on proceedings and preceded us. A forthright call to attention informed us of a regroup. And we enquired on the setting style – which was ‘Guildford’, but with a few crosses to avoid any ‘trail jumping’. Just as we were about to leave TC asked innocently about back-checks. This brought a wry smile to CG’s face…..

We encountered the first circle and first cross close to the ‘George Abbot roundabout’ and after a few minutes fannying around, fathomed that the first circle was in fact a back check! – and we headed on a run-by tour past CG’s house and round the neighbourhood before breaking out into the meadows. It’s a truth often repeated in these run reports that runs without crosses tend to make the PH3 cross, but a back-check from the start – that’s a new highwater mark!!

Another highwater mark saw the lead change as TC stopped to consider how he could carry on without getting his feet wet, whilst Hawkeye and Quasi splashed onwards. Apparently, these Muddy Waters also claimed CG’s bobble hat whilst setting and maybe got her mojo working. We ducked under the A3 and along the Wey, where further along the way a promised regroup materialized by Stoke Locks. All obviously onwards trails were explored until it dawned (on me at least) that the route had to flip back towards Guildford, courtesy of the (Surrey Advertiser) Mill.

I could probably write a good run report alone on the fact that hashers In the Bum and Doggy Style disappeared together for an hour in the countryside (!!), but they were sighted at the first regroup before the hares trail caused some cunning lingering along the canal and after that they were not seen till the pub……

Another regroup was instituted by FRB TC and yet another forced itself into the day, as runners had to wait for the (lengthy) crossings at Stoke Crossroads. A nostalgia trip through the pond and play areas of Stoke Park brought us out on to the fully exposed expanse of the Park where we regrouped for another time near to the AS/GR abode and considered our options. In the end a majority vote saw us continue and having seen the on in during my bike ride to the start, I opted to ascend Boxgrove Lane.

This was now toe to toe combat as we tried to guess which way round this urban jungle, the hares had planned for us. No mean feat for a pack of six. In short order we made it through to Merrow Woods and returned home via the underpass and George Abbott school.

VERDICT: A leg stretching and symmetrical 6.01 miles that we completed in 1.06 hours. Many thanks CG and Sparkly for twisting us around familiar ground in an unfamiliar way.

IN THE PUB: Indoor seating was needed, it still being only early March, and I high table by the dart board was reserved for our purpose. Once more we were well rewarded on the ale front, with Black Sheep extra pale ale hitting the spot and all thoughts of the back-check were dismissed as the chips appeared. Whilst we await news of half marathon results (AS in Woking, PG and UG in Cambridge), the subject turned to music and a favoured London venue in Chalk Farm. This led to Sorry John uttering the astonishing phrase…. I once did a Bah Mitsvah in the Roundhouse”. If that wasn’t amazing enough, the lucky person coming of age was lowered into the auditorium on a trapeze. On on.