Run Report 1877: The Bat & Ball, Wisborough Green

Bricks and bats, but no brickbats……

Scribed by Hawkeye

There is a geological inevitability when visiting Sussex in a month with an R( R for rain) – it’s called the Sussex Weald, a Cretaceous formation of mudstones/clays. After all Wisborough Green is a mere 15 miles from Capel – brick making capital of the south east.  So a Surrey-based pack took a trip back through to the time when dinosaurs ruled the South East (fill in your own political-based punch line here!) and hoped for the Bat and Ball rather than brickbats.

We were welcomed into the CP by PP fiddling in his trench coat and shorts and seemingly fiddling with his Bat and Ball?! The hares had been spotted running down the main road to get back for 11am and the rumour mill had been rife about reccying mishaps. All good confidence building stuff. As welcomes go – Scooby Doo stating “it’s going to rain at 1pm sharp” was not the encouragement we needed to hear at 11am for what we hoped was our customary one hour run! But PH3 are a sturdy bunch, so we noted the proposed two regroups and headed off anyway.

This weeks’ pack probably contained Madonna, Ayrton Senna, Moondance, Robic 1, Hawkeye, TIFM, Cynthia, Wally, Call Girl, Pis’t’man Pat, Uphill Gill, Paul Newman and ‘New Jane’ a recent recruit awaiting baptism. As predicted it was a baptism of mud as the route took us down to and along some of the remnants of the Wey and Arun canal. That said it was delightful to set forth on new territory, for me at least.

Robic 1 was so named as on this Sunday morning she’d gone green but not in a Goop, Jade egg or eco-friendly kind of fashion. And I am told she spent the early part of the run concentrating on keeping her feet (and breakfast!) firmly down. Somehow, from the outset, I found myself at the front of affairs. I like to think that hashing is running with friends, but after 15 minutes I wondered whether this was true as I was still running or indeed whether I still had any friends! The briefest encounter with AS and Mad led me to believe that I was being subjected to a form of the ‘Ali rope-a-dope’ whereby I ran with energy and enthusiasm at the front whilst the remainder of the pack took it easy and allowed me just enough rope to have the illusion of leadership.

Of course I eventually hung myself with that rope and a very cunning falsie near Keepers Cottage (I saw at least two such named homesteads on this run) brought a reordering of pack beautifully timed for our first regroup. A regroup I’m told, that was chosen on distance elapsed rather than scenic potential, which explains why we huddled beside a watering trough in the middle of a three hectare field. Anyway it could have been worse. Robic 1 was progressing nicely in her ‘reverse Hulk’, turning less green by the mile.

Passing the watching hares for the second time, on Okehurst Road for the second time we struck out cross country on some ankle turning territory which turned into a fully ploughed field. Running that field was like a shortened version of my December…I entered it full of energy and exited absolutely exhausted and inexplicably heavier! Doing our best to shed the accumulated clay from our shoes we paused once more to look at a lock on the Wey & Arun and consider the navigational options ahead.

Somehow the ‘best of the mud’ had been saved till last and after passing through our third farm yard of the day a wooded slow ascent along a stream valley threw up the best that the Cretaceous could offer. I think we all strayed slightly from the true path but found the on in where the hare’s intended that we could clean our shoes on the 1km tarmac stretch – or die in the attempt. There was a headcount rather than a body count at the end, so thankfully we all made it and Robic 1 had fully metamorphosed to Robic 2 and was now almost evangelically enthusiastic about the day’s events. What a difference an hour makes.

VERDICT: From trepidation to triumph. The nerves were on edge as we’d learned of reccying issues and saw the hares traffic dodging on the on in, but such concerns were unwarranted as we followed an excellently marked trail and left our mark in this virgin territory. Sure there was plenty of mud (see earlier inevitability) but that aside it was lovely to venture to paths and pastures new. Many thanks EO and SD – the unlikeliest of haring duos, but maybe now finding its stride…….

IN THE WARDROBE: A magical run completed, we now stepped into the Bat and Ball and ‘through the looking glass’. This was a lovely and welcoming pub with a large snug complete with a (not roaring sadly) fire that was accessed through the back of the bar. Robic 2 had regained her appetite and was in good company as she devoured the chips. And those with an appetite for alcohol could sample the fursty ferret amongst others. And I was entertained to see ‘new jane’ with that look of amazement that fixes when you first realize that that’s just what PP is like! On on.

STOP PRESS: In other news it seems that Boris Johnson was incredibly prescient by ensuring that the UK exits from the EU as a protection measure from the fast spreading Corona virus and yet somehow simultaneously seems willing to allow other Chinese bugs into the country through Huawei. Go figure?!

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