Back to Black………heath
Scribed by Hawkeye
As I fired up the motor on Sunday morning it occurred to me that I’m likely to have cycled more miles than I’ve driven in 2020. I know that to be the case for Moondance. I’d left my departure and travel time a bit tight, especially when I now have to navigate the regular congestion at Newlands Corner. That said the enforced adrenalin rush was quite a novel sensation – I’ve not been late for an appointment in about nine months……on account of not having any!
And on to another novel sensation, hashing with PH3 again. Out of the shackles of Lockdown 2 and into the arms of Tier 2. I don’t know about you but Lockdown 2.0 felt like all sequels, rather uncertain, no clear plot and with the general feeling that it was only done for the money. But nonetheless here we were in a surprisingly large, but busy country car park.
In fine fettle was a socially distanced pack consisting of Call Girl, Sparkly, Robin Hood, ITB, Cynthia, Easily Overlooked, 3s4d, Lady Chatterley, Pis’t’man Pat, Trip Advisor, Uphill Gill, Paul Newman, Hawkeye, Robic, Black Cat, Too Bright, A-List and Secret Squirrel. Hipless and TIFM were roamin’ somewhere near the villa. Arriving just on time, I was fully prepared to wait for a late arriving BC, after all Black Cat Matters, but he arrived on time too.
The weather wasn’t too bright but our group was and we set off. Its revealing what four weeks of poorly enforced house arrest does to a person, or not. Robic went off like her life depended on it, Squirrel was faster than a whippet up a drainpipe and BC harnessed the power from his full Sunderland kit and surged onwards and off course. This left A-list, Too Bright and I to acclimatize, it’s a marathon not a sprint.
Virgil and Venus had reccied the run during the preceding week in a downpour and were accompanied by Uphill Gill and Paul Newman. In a touch of schadenfreude (which is actually German for rain) they then significantly changed the route on the day! Who needs enemies when you have friends like that. This condemned UG, PN and their unwitting pod-mates into a day of dead ends.
Early in my exploration of the trail, I had strayed into what Secret Squirrel informed me was known as ‘Warren’s Gulley’ on account of Rubberlegs (aka Warren) being the only person able to find it. But today I had my senses fully trained and was able to pursue a seemingly endless number of wild geese including Hawkeye’s blind alley, Hawkeye’s dead end, Hawkeye’s cul-de-sac and Hawkeye’s one-way street! I’ll be honest the trail we followed remains a mystery to me to this day, and that despite the fact that Virgil gave me his planning map to keep and Sparkly the Garmin readout…….
What I do recall is that we soon emerged onto Blackheath and the scene of RH’s pre-lockdown run and Virgil’s ankle twisting. First we crossed Littleton Lane then we crossed back, then we collected the remnants of Pod 2 (LC, Squid and 3s4s) before crossing Blackheath Lane and then contemplated crossing Sample Oak Lane but didn’t. The regroup at the War Memorial was welcome to re-orientate ourselves from a dizzying few minutes. As we caught our breathe, we assumed BC was being sarcastic when he said he hadn’t been here before, until we realised he wasn’t!
There were plenty of walkers out and about on the heath but it’s amazing what a week or two at home does to everyone – they all seemed genuinely pleased to be out and to chat to other people. So no vandalism and welcoming smiles – a welcome side effect of 2020, long may it last. We found two separate self-reported former overseas hashers through such encounters. And then within a blink of eye we transited heath to heath, from Black to Farley and a slow and gentle but inexorable climb home.
VERDICT: Field Marshall Rommel is attributed with the saying ‘time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted’, which seemed very appropriate for this occasion and I can envision V&V poring over maps during November, awaiting their next opportunity to inflict a trail on PH3. But what a trail and perfectly marked too. In fact it was a perfect day out, that was no doubt only bested for the hares when Tottenham took their north London arrivals apart on the football pitch later in the day! Many thanks Venus and Virgil.
IN THE CAR PARK: Our groups attempted to stay in our pods, which was difficult after our recent break and spontaneous socializing. But we didn’t stand out amongst the general throng of walkers and riders milling about. So finding out the latest gossip for a run report was quite a challenge. All I gleaned was that PN had done the run with three gloves – no me neither? PP however was pleased to report that following a couple of weeks of back pain (apparently he sneezed while putting on his socks – which seems an extremely over cautious preventative measure to halt the spread of Covid), he was now fully cured. I am sure being chased through the woods by Robic also convinced him that sometimes your dreams do come true. On on.