Run Report 1927: Old Guildford Road Car Park, Near Deepcut

We’ll keep the red flag flying here…..

Scribed by Hawkeye

TIFM has a habit, one of many, of appropriating other people’s venues for his own. A trait borne of lethargy or economy, or perhaps a general lack of cartographic support. I’ll let you decide. A stoic but slim pack were assembling beside the Old Guildford Road as I undulated along it from the other direction whilst simultaneously trying to keep my feet dry. The pack included Too Bright, Wurzel, ITB, Cynthia, Virgil, Venus and daughter ‘new Chloe’.

The hare had used one of those new-fangled mobile phone things to try and contact me during the morning, but without success. But after a complete failure to find a single blob after the first circle, I repaid the compliment and extracted some basic information such as it was generally to GH3 style and generally anti-clockwise. Venus made the initial breakthrough and we were off, though in fact I think we somehow short-cutted to an early section of the trail and avoided the sinuous section that Virgil spotted during his solo walking. Anyway no harm done.

This is ‘Wurzel territory’ and thankfully he was along for the morning to keep an eye on things. Sadly this did not include tree roots and an early tumble nearly took him headfirst into the Basingstoke Canal which might have been a softer landing than the ground that came up to meet him. With such a small group, survival and route finding shared equal footing so Venus, Too Bright, Cynthia etc. – all took up the cudgels.

Heathland and pine woods can be very disorienting environments. Combined they completely threw my internal compass, though with an undulating terrain there were some (painful) landmarks to mark our progress. And as is often the case a sense of familiarity grew within the pack as we struggled in the wake of FRB Wurzel. This was because in large part we were running Wurzel’s trail (see RR1908), but in reverse – Lezruw if you like.

All was going well until we regained the BOAT that is the Old Guildford Road. From my earlier pedestrian entrance I knew the trail would appear here but had not spotted that it tracked diametrically away from the car park. We followed somewhat reluctantly right up to Mychett Place Road where the trail appeared to cross the road but then petered out. All options (and the pack) exhausted we looked again at the path, the locked gate and the red flag fluttering in the gentle morning breeze……..I’d like to say that my phone call with TIFM was like a scene from M*A*S*H with live shells falling all around as he cowered to hear my voice, but in reality it was more prosaic than that.

With just over 4 miles on the clock the pack agreed that the direct route back to the CP was the best/safest option, so they paddled the boat home. Meanwhile I waited to see that the hare escaped the firing squad (see photograph). Having exchanged pleasantries with the hare who swore blind (was blind?) that the red flag was not flying earlier, I departed on foot back to Whitmoor Common to complete my ‘long run’. No doubt ‘New Chloe’ set off to contact social services or adoption services?! Having anticipated a morning mileage of 7-6-7, it ended with 8-4-8, either of which would have been a good formation for the England football team later that evening.

VERDICT: You can’t fault the enthusiasm or the execution, just the preparation. Without a full reccy or reliable map coverage the hare got carried away and nearly carried off in a box. From my brief conversation with the hare, I understand he’d set another two to three miles in the closed off firing ranges. So the packs’ escape was maybe a mercy killing after all.

POST RUN CONVERSATION: Making my own sinuous route around the ranges home, I was not present at any post run debrief, but the pack was in good humour and perhaps relieved not to have strayed as far as the hare. So maybe the hare dodged a bullet there too….Perhaps when the hare returned he claimed that when he checked on the internet the ranges were not due to be closed, or more likely that the red flag wasn’t shown on his 1980 copy of the Surrey A-Z. On on.

TIFM escaping the firing squad!

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