Run Report 1909: Albury Heath Cricket Ground

This is the way…

Scribed by several & Sparkly!

‘This is the way’ is the Mandalorian catch phrase adopted by Hawkeye, which I have borrowed here to highlight that there IS a way still, in these most abnormal times, that PH3 can legally Hash, within the constraints of the latest Covid 19 (and its variants) guidance and rules.  So, it is not Hashing as we know it, hasn’t been for most of the year, and probably won’t be yet for quite a few more months….and furthermore…we’re getting used to it!

We’ve had to dispense with the pods of 6 and settle for running in a maximum of 2’s – only with one person from another household.  Fortunately we have a hare, and hopefully future hares who are still happy to lay trails for us to enjoy 2 by 2.

The route took us directly south, crossing New Road and towards Albury Heath, then under the railway bridge and out along Brook Lane where the markings were either washed away or vandalised.  From there it was along Brook Hill a little way then we had to traverse a couple of fields, bringing us out on the edge of Edgeley Holiday Park.  We veered away westwards along a very muddy stretch to join Ponds Lane Track, and even muddier Byway.  Back over the railway line and a short traverse through the woods of Shere Heath before emerging at The Pink Willy in Little London.  The vandalism here up to Park Road did little to deter or detain us.  We forged on, crossing Park Road into the lovely wooded grounds of Albury Park, exiting onto the drive and back to New Road.  From here it was in to Albury, and the first path up Warren Lane near the church may have temped a few, as it did Call Girl & Sparkly, who had to brave going past a team of builders up on scaffolding with hods of cement, then return past them again!  On into the junction by the Post Office in Albury and left up towards Blackheath, where Sparkly guessed correctly that we should go past the church, and Call Girl did her only falsie of the day. We kept looking over our shoulders expecting Virgil & Venus to overtake us, but it seemed that we might get back before that happened.  A fellow walker warned us of an underwater area ‘like a swimming pool’ ahead to which I remember thinking ‘Oh good – I can clean my shoes’.  Not long after we heard the familiar sound of Robic hollering ‘On On!’ followed soon after by Factor 30 – they’d managed to overtake V & V!  A short distance more through the woods found us back at the car park, with V & V coming in a few minutes later.

For reporting though, we didn’t know exactly who turned up and ventured forth to follow the sawdust, so I’ve had to ask for and rely on feedback published on the PH3 WhatsApp group from those that did, which I share with you here:

Hawkeye was prepared to write the Run Report for his own run though –

‘It was a perfect hash, set by a true master without a hint of mud or a single hill….as dictated by TIFM…..honest! 🤞🤔

Ignoring the above aberration, the others who came out, two by two, and braved the new restrictions offered their verdict:

Pistman Pat, running with Secret Squirrel said:

 ‘Great run, but my Dad kept leaving me behind’, providing us with different opinion on the mud situation:

“Without a hint of mud”!!  My duck begs to differ…’

He also said: ‘Super trail Andy. As my dad mentioned, there were one or two bits that we’ve only ever run going in the opposite direction. I didn’t experience any hostility but there was some vandalism up the gully from the Pink Willy.  Joyous event and so pleasing to be out and about after yesterday’s depressing news.  The weather was a wonderful bonus. Altogether a well organised event where all the organisation was directed towards ensuring a minimum of contact with each other.’

Hmm…   Pink Willies and gullies – I know it is strange times but really? In PH3?!

Cynthia, (running with ITB), always one to be that little bit different said –

‘Great run and perfect weather – doing it in reverse (Yes – you read that right!)meant that we could say hello to lots of hashers.  I believe there was mud as I got truly splattered when 4 motorbikes drove through one of the deeper puddles as I was pressed up against the side of path!’

First out Call Girl & Sparkly didn’t expect to meet anyone they knew until near the end when it was likely they would be over-taken, but they too came across 2 bikers – who were very polite and mindful of us, graciously stopping and switching off their engines.  When they said, in a friendly sort of way, that they wouldn’t have ventured along that path if they’d known it was quite so muddy, the barbed reply from Sparkly was that it was so muddy precisely because of people like them on motor bikes!  Continuing to grumble about the misuse of footpaths by the likes of them and mountain bikers and horse riders, she discovered at the end of the ‘footpath’ that it was a By Way, so they were perfectly within their rights to be there.  Ooops!

For sure this was easily the muddiest Hash this year.  Venus said –

‘It was deep deep mud but my feet are still dry.  (How?)  My ‘hare’ (Virgil) did all the falsies but I still managed to do a very nice 5.9m run, saw parts of Albury I‘ve never seen before, and ran muddier puddles than I’ve run for a while!!!! ………. someone had def been there before us though (yes, there was evidence of another sawdust laid Hash)………… and someone didn’t like us being there!!!!!!! …… a grumpy dog walker shook his head at me on that lovely long uphill finish, so I smiled sweetly and said ‘Good Morning’ –  to which he told me I still had a long way to go, but at least it stopped him looking grumpy and stopped the head shaking……… Sadly we got caught!!!!!……… …… but only on a downhill where it’s easy to run fast ……… great run!!!!! Loved it!’

This way – the ‘New Way’ – even caught the attention of our long absent friend Tea Cosy, who proffered an anthem:  Mud’s ‘Lonely This Christmas.’  Perhaps we shall sing it on our post-Christmas Hash.

I wanted to ask what Robic had been on the previous evening!

‘Jody and I ran yesterday and chatted about all our plans over Christmas, who we were going to meet and what we were both doing over the next 2 weeks, and we didn’t see anyone we knew on our run.We arranged to meet again today but it was so weird. Firstly we had nothing to say as we now are doing zip all, but amazingly we saw SO many familiar faces. Who would have thought Hawkeye would be hanging around Albury car park?  We had no idea why! Off we trotted and soon saw a bandy legged man in shorts and a long orange jacket. He kept telling us which way we should be running (it was almost always the opposite way). We managed to shake him off and keep going, when soon after a railway crossing we met a very friendly couple running backwards – bizarre.  A few miles of deep mud later, there was another couple – she was very friendly, but he seemed to be a bit grumpy!  We not only caught them up but then overtook them. We went a bit wrong along the road but then going up a steep muddy trench I didn’t know if I was hallucinating but I saw Santa Claus with a very Sparkly elf. Thankfully that was the end of the run and whilst it was beautifully set and a decent distance, I wasn’t sure if this was all a weird surreal dream. Maybe tomorrow I’ll wake up and Christmas won’t be cancelled, we’ll still be in the EU next year and hashing will end at a pub!!’

How we wish, Robic!  But no!  This is the way…

Virgil, not known for his epic poems, kept it simple and succinct:

‘Grumpy, who’re you calling Grumpy?  Well set run Andy and a thoroughly enjoyable adventure it was too, apart from being caught.’

Okay, I suppose that’s a small reason to be grumpy, if you’re the competitive sort, even when there is no one to really compete with.

Call Girl & Sparkly were amazed they didn’t get caught until about 200 metres from the finish – but then again, we did set off just before 10:00, and first Robic, then Factor 30 over-took us having set off some 40 minutes later. Oh to be young and under 50 again!  I remember when…

Scoobydoo – ‘Like there’s times I’ll do anything for a Scooby snack’ –

‘Great route and lovely to see everyone we passed

Holly and I got back to the car park at 1pm from a 10pm start.  Had a picnic (Scooby snack) on the pitch and bumped into TIFM who had detoured to pick up a bottle of whiskey Christmas present from a friend on Blackheath.’

Easily Overlooked – er… did she run?  She intimated that she would, but it seems she overlooked herself.  All to easily!

The last word goes to Factor 30:

‘What a lovely sunny run we had. Started off well with some good strong blobs, but alas some vandalism did jolt us a little at one point, as did some of the deep mud. At one point also I lost Robic to a big puddle as she decided through the middle was the only way!! Next we came upon a circle where a gate was guarded by a rather frisky and grumpy horse, and I was rather pleased and relieved to find we didn’t have to try and enter the field.  Before we started Robic had warned me she would be picking up the pace, and that she did, as she was gone like the wind up the final furlong heading for home. Cracking route and run, and thanks for arranging such lovely weather Hawkeye!’

Overall Verdict:  I think it’s fair to surmise from the above that everyone was delighted to be out doing their ‘normal’ Sunday activity and very pleased indeed that Hawkeye was happy to set us his trail, for which we are very grateful.  Even the sun shone, and whilst there was the usual vandalism and some grumps, we still had mud, puddles, hills, woodland, bridges and rail tracks, and fantastic views.  Those of us residing in a Tier 4 area can be comforted that we can still hash, but differently…

Shame about all the mulled wine, snacks and mini mince pies Sparkly had organised for a teensy weeny bit of socially distanced revelry…’tis is the way of things…

This is the way!

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