Give a retired man a map and he’ll set you a hash, and then some…..
Scribed by Hawkeye
The banner spanning the High Street to mark Pis’t’man Pat’s recent relocation to Haslemere, was taken down shortly before the PH3 rolled into town last weekend, and the ticker tape lay in the gutter. In the weeks following his retirement, whilst most people would be synchronizing their body clock to ‘Homes Under the Hammer’ or itemising golf courses to frequent, PP was planning this hash. He had gone to extraordinary lengths, it seems. Haslemere Rec sits atop a hill sufficient you’d think to give the Shalford Away team a nosebleed and altitude sickness. Struggling to the start line by various routes were Wally, Sparkly, Call Girl, TIFM, Tea Cosy, Hawkeye, Moondance, Robic, Le Pro, ITB, A-List and Robin Hood. There was also a grumpy bugger along for the ride.
ITB turned the car park into a Sunday market and distributed the fruits of his allotment labours and in a warm and gentle rain the pack took instruction from a clearly fatigued hare. We jogged off with the entertaining sight of an £80K+ soft top sports car getting a damp interior. Or perhaps it was only the grumpy bugger who saw that. Seeing the trail wasn’t so hard but numerous switches and three blob turns kept us guessing and cursing in equal measure. We headed down Haste Hill with haste only to come back up. I tried Tennyson Lane, when in fact Tennyson Ridge was the correct route. By the time I’d rejoined the pack, I’d been overtaken by the Grumpy Bugger as we reached and crossed……Tennyson Lane! Where we descended a steep hill only to come straight back up. Lung and sense of humour failure were conjoined twins.
On the flip side of the coin we were heading out into some stunning countryside and felt the magnetic pull of ‘The Temple of the Winds’. The hare continued to set the trail as if undergoing an existential crisis, a bit like Bojo where he has to hide the truth – even from himself. Somehow Robic, Moondance, TC and Co maintained forward momentum. Clearly they’d avoided the worst of the falsies. Whereas the crosses I’d encountered were reminiscent of Darren Anderton in Euro 96 – weak and ineffective.
The hare shepherded his flock to ensure that they could interpret his somewhat haphazard trail, in particular a vertical descent across a field of recently felled trees to…..yes you’ve guessed it…..immediately ascend to the hilltop the other side! Shortly before this section I managed a high speed face plant after catching a toe on a tree root. The fact that three young ladies about half my age were strolling toward me at the time was in no way responsible for my lack of attention to the trail. Honest. Those of you with the ‘good book’ to hand can check Proverbs 16:18 which I think has something to say on the matter.
Having earlier glimpsed signs of a near 10 mile read out on his phone, it was no surprise therefore that the hare’s trail continued to head us away and maybe still towards the Temple of the Winds, the grumpy bugger doubled down as for the second week ‘running’ a cuckoo marked our passing. In the end the regroup happened at an absolutely stunning location with panoramic views for miles around. But Wally brought us back down to earth recounting the 1967 air crash that unfolded in the foreground below us. (see an interesting Pathé news clip here). We descended the hill past the scene of Call Girls’ recent downfall (physical not moral) and headed North in a general direction of ‘home’. Therefore to head South at the next circle was a blow to body and soul. The grumpy bugger resurfaced and two sides of a triangle later he spouted forth about the hare’s parentage. The on in was a mercy killing of a 20% climb across half a mile. Halfway up, the hare felt confident enough to admire his charges return, safe in the knowledge that energy and oxygen starvation alone protected him from immediate physical or verbal assault.
VERDICT: The grumpy bugger was hypoxic and apoplectic whereas he should have been glad to be alive. I feel this was the main emotion displayed by the hare who had set the trail in heavy mist, got disorientated, covered ten miles and spent four hours setting! Our small pack had remained tightly packed, in part due to the voluntary regroups called by Tea Cosy, but generally due to the sheer befuddlement of the trail. As predicted by the GM, in hindsight I am prepared to offer a charitable interpretation of a 7 mile, 3,000ft and 90 min trail. My body less so. Thank you PP for going to and taking us to such extraordinary lengths – a memorable outing.
POST RUN CONVERSATION: Due to our late return there wasn’t much time for post run catch ups, but the sunny Rec Ground looked a convivial spot for such things. TC and Robic informed us a little of Factor 30’s Ultra exploits the preceding day – now playing to a more sympathetic audience. And with that I departed, promising myself to leave the grumpy bugger at home next time. On on.