Run Report 1517: Norbury Park CP, West Humble

Making a mountain out of a Mole hill…..
Scribed by Hawkeye

I’ve reflected before that starting a run at the top of a hill is a great way to set off. It offers the instant reward of distant views and vistas without the expense of the energy needed to slog up. It also allows the legs and lungs a more civilised start to the day. Unfortunately it’s this type of ‘use now, pay later’ attitude than has caused this country untold stress in the last five years…….Anyway allowing horsepower rather than lung power to propel them to the start at Norbury Park CP were Moondance, TIFM, DVD, Dusty, Jonno Groans, Cinderella, Pis’t’man Pat, Secret Squirrel, Heavenly Blonde, Man in Black, Dusty, Virgil, Venus, Nat the Hat, Sparkly, Wally, Upgill Hill, Paul Newman, El Caudello and A N Other.

I arrived fashionably on time and hence didn’t have much time for chatting in the refreshing spring sunshine…so I never found the name of A N Other, but rumour has it that she was a transferee from the Guildford Hash. To our eternal shame no one else found out any details either and she’d departed before we all staggered back 55 minutes later exhausted from our exertions. But that rather glosses over the morning’s events…..

Our hare was on hand to offer the briefest of briefings but one that involved something about Louis De Bernieres and his final resting place? Now, personally I thought he was the bloke who had written Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and was still alive and well and living in Berkhamstead but apparently we were talking about someone else buried somewhere on our route….

So we set off at a veritable gambol across the first fields and downhill where I exchanged my first (and last) words with A N Other where she confessed that she did not like running downhill. Oh boy. Now it’s been a hard winter and especially in the PH3, Dusty was more hobbling than running having sustained an ankle injury while ice climbing in the Apuljarras (North Wales actually), El Caudello is receiving deep body Thai massages on a daily basis – not that this is improving his hamstring but he’s enjoying it nonetheless and Uphill Gill would not ‘Upgill Hill’ on account of a missing cartilage (and only 2 weeks to the London Marathon!). Meanwhile others have fared better – PP now treats his body like he would a 20yr old woman’s…from a distance and with no idea what he’s doing, whilst Billy Graham’s tennis has earned him a Davis Cup place as I can’t think of what other lame excuse kept him away last weekend.

Anyway, I digress – as we did in many differing directions. In short order the downs were counterbalanced with the ups and we passed Denbies where Jonno Groans was heard to whine at the wine on a long and picturesque falsie. Our leader till the Stepping Stones (river feature not pub) was Virgil who it transpires both ran to the start of the run [a sentence that doesn’t bear further scrutiny] and knew where Peter Labilliere was buried and hence that the route involved a full ascent of Boxhill. If I’d known that at the start…..

The hill tops out at 735ft and I reckon we ran, walked, staggered and crawled up an equivalent number of steps to get there – all the time encouraged by ramblers of all types descending. We passed the aforementioned grave (he was buried upside down) and with some prevarication assembled for a regroup on a sunny grassy slope where Virgil took great delight in pointing out how far we had to go to cross the valley and re-climb to our starting point. In the four footed category both Moss and Vegemite were in attendance, Moss no doubt detaining MIB with his slow progress whilst Vegemite proceeded at near supersonic speed usually through my legs.

So if we knew where we were on Boxhill the resultant on-in proved a long one. First up we had to negotiate the cloud of testosterone and gamut of leather that was assembling in the Burford Bridge CP and then under the A24 before tracking alongside it for an interminable stretch up towards Mickleham. Long enough to force SS to pull up and offer up the lead voluntarily! But once off the main drag we were back into the tranquil delights of the Mole valley. But if only it was a mole hill to follow the mole valley……in the end of course it was more mountain than molehill and what comes down must go back up. Therefore, appropriately fatigued, sweaty and relived we traipsed back to where it all began.

VERDICT: We like Sorry John, he sets us lovely runs, treats us to fields of bluebells and plates of sausage rolls. That’s the only reason I can think that he wasn’t lambasted by the pack. Sure he’d set us a beautifully crafted run that was only 50mins long and less than 5 miles. But he’d taken us straight up Boxhill? Clearly we’re an indulgent bunch. So many thank SJ, I for one thoroughly enjoyed it and have no truck with PP’s suggestion that you should be charged with attempted murder…..

AT THE PUB: Refurbished and refitted but still with a garden totally cut off from the bar, The Stepping Stones was once again our destination. But a very pleasant setting it was, where we were joined by Angela and all fell in love with the Tillingbourne Ale Falls Gold for a pint or more. That’s unless you were Virgil who insisted on contributing to global warming by drinking gassy San Miguel. Chips were once again the snack of choice being purchased by El Caudello I presume. TIFM was trying to make a case for making an afternoon of it…..we resisted temptation, just. On on.


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