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.

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

Slowest ‘common’ denominator….…..

Scribed by Hawkeye

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* PH3 dog owning members obviously excluded!

Run Report 1928: Sidney Wood CP, Nr Alfold

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

Scribed by Hawkeye

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scribed by Hawkeye

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TIFM escaping the firing squad!

Run Report 1926: Denbies, Dorking

Dazed and confused …

Scribed by Secret Squirrel

Trying to get ahead of the curve, I had agreed the day before to offer Easily Overlooked a lift to Dorking for Sunday’s hash run, and she had confirmed that she would be there “come rain or shine” – what neither of us recognised was that it would be rain and shine. Sunshine in Shalford soon became a torrential downpour in Abinger Hammer and a small flood on the approach road to Denbies. This, being Britain, did not deter the many people coming to the vineyard for a wide variety of activities and so it was not easy for the PH3 gang to find each other in the car park – especially when the first arrivals ignored the clear instruction to park at the place “furthest from the buildings”. I don’t know if we missed any lost hashers before we even started but the following managed to assemble near the front of the car park: Robin Hood, Factor100, Robic, Wally, Easily Overlooked, Wurzel, Secret Squirrel, Sparkly and Call Girl.

Venus gave us a short briefing, pointing out that there would be mud and hills, no regroup, and marked falsies (though the crosses might be hidden in long grass to minimise the risk of vandalism). There was also something about an impassable path which was marked with a large blob. Virgil grumbled that we had chosen to assemble as far away from the marked start as it was possible to go, and with that we were off.

In the car on the way to Dorking, EO and I had reminisced about a trail set by V & V at Denbies a few years ago which kept us within the bounds of the vineyard for almost half of the run, by means of devious double-backs amongst the vines. So we assumed something similar might happen again and for a while we were not disappointed. EO had also mentioned that she felt she was running more slowly these days but there was no sign of that as she sped off to the south and uphill along the boundary of the estate getting a string of circles right first time. It took Robic and F100 a long time to catch up with her after they had guessed wrong at the very first circle. With a few stages taking us into the western cwm of the vineyard, the pack got reshuffled before a long drag up to a gate finally led us out into the world beyond – which was indeed muddy.

A few more ups and downs took us to a bridge under Ranmore Road and then we found ourselves climbing diagonally up the escarpment and into the clouds. When a brief clearing in the mist allowed us a glimpse of F100 speeding up the slope we managed to call her to wait and effect an unofficial regroup at a spot with a marvellous view across to Leith Hill, and from where we could see the rain showers queueing up to drench us over the next half hour. Wally and Wurzel were able to bring back happy memories of runs between Ranmore and Leith Hill, while F100 probably mused on her forthcoming 100K event for which the slippery mud underfoot was the worst sort of preparation. It was too cold to linger so, as soon as we had all caught up, EO was off again leading us up towards the NT car park and The Spains, where the mists descended once more and it felt as though we were about 12,000 feet up in the alps.

Some brave guessing at a couple of circles misled our front runners and it was more in hope than expectation that I briefly took the lead by turning right as we entered the woods. Emerging onto Ranmore Common Road I encountered The Incredible Furious Man who was dazed and confused by the trail markings there. We hadn’t even known he was out on the hash but I went across to try to decipher what he was shouting about. He got very cross with EO when she tried to explore what eventually turned out to be the correct route and it was only when I managed to show him that the last blob he had found was in fact a cross (in the long grass, he had missed the briefing of course) that he became pacified. We had long since lost Sparkly and Call Girl but now our little group of 7 became a more rounded 8 as we turned east once more and headed along the top of the ridge.

The third phase of this run now began when we turned off the North Downs Way and headed past the Old Vicarage and into Sorry John’s territory on the long track that eventually leads to Bagden Farm. I wondered aloud whether V & V had obtained the necessary permission from SJ to use his area but that was the last intelligent thought I had as the woods and rain clouded my brain for a long time. There were some cunning falsies off this track to the right, all of which were explored at some stage of this descent, culminating in me returning from the correct route because I thought I heard Robic calling me back to another circle. Eventually we emerged onto a lane and turned left towards what looked like a familiar farm house (Bagden ?) so when we headed into the woods on our right but were forced to take a left fork at a circle I became dazed and confused myself, thinking we were heading away from home and into Chapelhill Wood. I did not enjoy the next stretch along what should have felt like a lovely narrow path contouring around the spur that is actually Ashcombe Wood. I only came to my senses when our leaders took what I thought was an insane left turn downhill from a circle to emerge from the trees with a delightful view over Westhumble and Box Hill. Euphoria swept through me as I realised that we were not miles from the start and heading into Great Bookham, but were in fact just a hop, skip and a jump away from Denbies once more!

I am afraid to admit that, being concerned for the hamstring which had only recently recovered from the last outing on Ranmore Common, I decided to run through a cross and take a direct route back into the vineyard, leaving my 7 companions to complete the trail as marked with a short loop via the upper reaches of Westhumble village. It was a relief to find Sparkly and Call Girl already home and waiting with Virgil & Venus to welcome the pack at the end of a long level grassy path by the Denbies buildings.

VERDICT: As promised it was muddy and hilly, but there was no great need to hide the crosses in the long grass as we did not notice any vandalism (or maybe the ploy defeated any would-be-vandals?). I think that we tended to over-think the route and so took many more falsies between us than was strictly necessary, but isn’t that always the way with a hash trail? F100 managed to avoid injury on the slippery surfaces and my hamstring survived intact. The pack was kept together remarkably well, so all in all this was another great run for the PH3, thank you Virgil and Venus for your considerable efforts in laying it.

AT THE CAR PARK: I had hoped to buy a tray of Shere Drop from the Surrey Hills Brewery, which now trades from the back of the Denbies building, but they do not open on a Sunday. Having assembled at the front of the car park, our group seemed to feel inhibited from setting up camp and enjoying a full social gathering, as we might have done over on the other side near the place where Virgil intended us to start. So there was some amiable chat, standing up, but not a lot more than that. In an attempt to bolster our credentials as a drinking club, EO and I donned face masks and went into the Denbies shop where we purchased more wine than we intended (damn the discount if you buy 6 bottles, but the girl did let us split one batch of 6 between us). And when we came out with our purchases everyone from the PH3 had gone home. I think we are going to have to work on our drinking to get it back up to scratch, especially now we are to be without Pistman Pat, roll on the full re-opening of the pubs!

Run Report 1925: National Trust CP, North Holmwood

Points of view, on viewpoints……..

Scribed by Hawkeye

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hash 1924: Ludshott Common Road

Better late than never…

Scribed by Sparkly

Those that parked on time at Ludshott Common Car Park, namely Robic & Moondance, Cynthia & In The Bum, Too Bright & A-List, Wally, Sparkly, & Call Girl, Pistman Pat, Robin Hood, and Wurzel, began to wonder why TIFM had been seen running along the Headley Road, but could see no sign of his van, nor any sign of the hare’s vehicle either.  Never mind, we were early enough for Cynthia to open up her free Greengrocer’s store and offer Mother Nature’s best to any who wanted it.  Lovely fresh broad beans, mange tout, broccoli lettuce, spinach, coriander and mint were there for the taking.  After some time we began to wonder about our location – Sparkly & Moondance set off in search of sawdust but found no evidence.  Pistman Pat got on the blower to the hare and revealed that we were at the wrong car park – something had got lost in translation between the hare and the GM when figuring out the directions.

We all trundled back towards Grayshott to turn severely right into Ludshott Common Road – immediately next to Waggoners Wells Road and arrived at a little secret car park no-one except the hare knew of.  White Van Man’s vehicle was there in all it’s glory, as was the hare, waiting patiently for his pack.

Hawkeye must have been mightily relieved to see us, given that his briefing pointed out how the road we had driven along was at the top of a ridge and that either side of it was steep and there was nothing he could do about that, but he had obviously covered all that ground when setting and wanted us all to ‘enjoy’ his efforts!. He offered a short-cut to Call Girl & In The Bum, and was informed that Georgia and Tom would be turning up at some point possibly needing the short-cut too.  Suitably forewarned about altitude we set off just a few minutes later than the 11am start time.

Sparkly had gained a bit of a ‘heads up’ by having seen TIFM earlier on the Headley Road, and apart from a couple of little falsies led the way out past Grayshott Hall and across the road, hotly pursued by Robin Hood whom, Robic alleged later, was sprinting to stay ahead of the rest of the pack.  About a mile or so in Sparkly was feeling a bit like Billy No Mates and relinquished the lead just in time for the first of several inclines. Thereafter it was mainly Robic and/or Moondance taking the lead and showing the rest of us the way through some fabulous woodland paths and the promised steep inclines and declines.  Robic had time to do a full stretch class whilst waiting for the stragglers to join her at the re-group.  It was then we discovered we had been joined by other late-comers, Prince Charming & Cinderella, and Birthday Boy 3s4d & Lady Chatterley.  We serenaded 3s4d with a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ as he struggled up with his hangover from the night before.

Setting off again, we delighted in the hollow sound from the earth below as we navigated one part of the woodland but I can’t tell you if this was before or after we emerged out onto the side of the playing fields at Grayshott.

We re-crossed the B1002 and headed towards Waggoners Wells, seeing increasing pools of water on our right but never quite made it that far – the way Home beckoned just before the first of the larger pools.

Verdict: Wally reckoned that he had not run any of those paths before, but I think we must have, just not recognised them, because this is a favourite haunt of Hawkeye’s – he has set many a Hash from the public car park in Grayshott near the War Memorial.  Whatever, this was my favourite type of Hashing – loamy woodland, twisty-turning paths and very little mud, although my heart and lungs were fit to burst on some of the steep climbs.  Surprisingly few people about too, though one or two circles had been vandalised

After The Hash: 3s4d regaled us with his early Birthday celebrations that left him feeling under the weather.  Whilst the rest of us milled around drinking tea/coffee/whatever…and scoffed his Birthday cake, 3s4d had to sit down in his fold-up chair.  Apparently it was the spices from the night before’s dinner that did for him..ahem!! 

Run Report 1923: Pine View Close, Chilworth

C’mon, c’mon hurry up Harry c’mon……

Scribed by Hawkeye

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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