Run Report 1936: The Wotton Hatch, Wotton

Hatchback to back.….…..

Scribed by Hawkeye

Post-lockdown has been as challenging for PH3 as the pre-version. First of all we couldn’t run, then when fully jabbed and untethered; 18 months of pent up enthusiasm took us off and out and about, but unfortunately not always hashing in Surrey! Therefore, it was with some hope of a returning flock that perennial hares Venus and Virgil set a trail from the Wotton Hatch….

Post-summer enthusiasm or a sense of guilt delivered, when twelve runners and two walkers chose to reacquaint themselves with the concept we love so much. They are listed as follows Uphill Gill, Trip Advisor, Tea Cosy, Robic, Sparkly, Wally, Hawkeye, Robin Hood, Too Bright, Scooby Doo, Secret Squirrel and Dusty. Sorry John was already out and Moondance plodded off in pursuit.

The pre-run briefing revealed some minor marital strife about who had/hadn’t set a falsie here and there and Virgil waxed lyrical about the hills ahead and the lack of conflict with the Surrey Hill marathon & Ultra trail that was passing nearby en route from Leith Hill to Denbies. I believed the first part, but not the second. Secret Squirrel is famous for ‘enjoying’ a circle to kick off a run and perhaps with good cause as he and I took 2 of the falsies on offer before settling into the back of the pack as we barrelled down dale past the church.

TC had effected a Le Mans style start that did not hinder him quickly taking the lead as we looped back to cross the A25 by Balchins Lane and ascend to Wescott Church, being closely followed by Robic, Robin Hood and Dusty. He held the lead all the way up to ‘Surrey Yurts’ along narrow and overgrown paths, the very same paths on which I’ve seen him previously perilously tip-toe along the margins to avoid the all-consuming mud. A twisted ankle was a more likely outcome today.

With the option of a clock or anti-clockwise route still open, TC came a cropper at Logmore Lane and I assumed FRB duties stopping for a brief ‘how do you do’ with SJ. SJ and my greetings over the years have often rotated around the previous days’ performance of our beloved Norwich City But this weekend having played 6 games and accumulated zero points – it was the briefest of exchanges 🙁  The promised hill loomed and I used my marathon toned legs to summit and stagger to the regroup (without a view?) and await all comers.

With Scooby (or was that Rogier de Merédithe the French alpinist inexplicably running without his walking poles?) within earshot, we were itching to get going. Heading homeward too soon, we were duty bound to drop down a valley and cross paths with the marathon/ultra route, but as several of our pack returned oblivious to the existence of that event, it clearly wasn’t troublesome. Having completed said marathon before, I tried to think how the hares could avoid too much confusion so with TC correctly guessed the need to cross the Tillingbourne and Sheephouse Lane before heading north. Well almost.

As ever TC had the advantage over me, so having crossed the Tillingbourne once more, I ascended a short hill alone to join the marathon trail and start a conversation with a runner who looked decidedly confused by a random runner appearing out of the hedgerow and despite claiming not to be on the same route; knowing so much about what lay ahead! If only hashing was that predictable. We parted company and via a cul-de-sac regained the trail home and a welcome from the hares. Hatchback.

VERDICT: Whilst the briefing was disingenuous (it alluded to the North Downs) the outcome was as predicted with some leg sapping hills. But overall an excellent trail and as SJ later commented it touched on some small sections of paths rarely used. Many thanks once more to Venus & Virgil.     

IN THE PUB: My chariot awaited so I was not able to luxuriate in the post run beer and banter, so please fill in your own commentary here. I merely reflect that in the last two and consecutive runs, these hares have chosen back to back hatches. Is there a third hatch lurking somewhere soon………On On.

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