Honeysuckle Bottom – my a***!
Scribed by Hawkeye
Tea Cosy has a reputation for possessing a somewhat fair weather constitution, something I am happy to perpetuate. After all, a man’s got to have a hobby. Therefore, the incessant rain on Saturday, when no doubt TC’s just-in-time reccying was in full swing, left several runners wondering what kind of a trail to expect, indeed what mood of hare to expect as we arrived at the appointed hour.
Applying an equally adept just-in-time method, Scooby Doo was last to arrive swinging into the car park just as the only free space emerged in his eye line. He joined a pack consisting of Uphill Gill, Trip Advisor, Venus, Donkey Walloper, Moondance (still walking), Robic, Hawkeye, Robin Hood, A List, Too Bright, Wally and Secret Squirrel. And whilst it may have been wet wet wet it appeared that love was all around as the hare beamed somewhat breathlessly after his morning exertions.
We set off into Sheepleas hoping that we could return looking as contented and with dry feet too. We skirted to the East of the main woodland area and with SD for company soon established a small lead, such that I had to inform a dog walker that I was checking, marking and calling circles for a group of runners….honestly. Of course such an opening lead was relatively short-lived and confusion grew as our new FRBs returned from seemingly non-trails as the pack massed along the box hedged path. I can only assume that having spent a week queuing up for petrol the majority of the pack were applying a similar ‘wait and see’ approach to what happened in front of them….
We crossed out of Sheepleas as Robic took us up Honeysuckle Bottom. As a street name, it is somewhat incongruous as despite being in the bottom of a valley, it leads inexorably to the top of the Downs. En route we encountered some ‘virtual London marathoners’ who advised Robic on the direction of the next section of trail. Five minutes later having followed that advice, found no trail and rejoined the pack at the regroup perched above Gomshall, Robic was not feeling so charitable towards the no doubt charitable runner. Thankfully that was the end of the romantically named, but leg-sapping struggle up Honeysuckle Bottom. Although it later transpired that the hare glimpsed more than a honeysuckle bottom when he was out setting, a full moon no less!
Regrouped and on the North Downs Way we hoped for a downward trajectory. This is what led me to head back down into the woods rather than along the NDW…unlike the rest of the pack. Robic soon took on front running duties again as my internal compass kept deviating to the right when in fact a straight on trajectory led to Combe Lane and the LR manoeuvre that would see us back over towards Sheepleas. Unfortunately Robic opted for a RL manoeuvre! After some delightful running we arrived at Fullers Farm and a ‘non-circle’ presumably erased by the locals. Hunching my back and backing a hunch I next popped out at the farm above Sheepleas where in full sunshine I paused for a voluntary regroup with a stunning view of London straight ahead. In the distance pounding the streets of London, Factor30 was on her last marathon of the year.
Fully regrouped once more we barrelled down towards Sheepleas once more and met more falsies once more, but in the end gravity won out and we returned whence we came an hour plus earlier. Made Marion and Jasper along with ITB and Cynthia were there to welcome us, some or other having tackled some or other of the trail, possibly in the wrong direction.
VERDICT: A corker of a trail that took us all round Sheepleas without hardly taking us through it. Enquiring whether the hare did in fact get wet on Saturday reccying, I learned that multiple reccys e.g. 10miles per day for the preceding 4 days – had ensured such a well-executed trail! Huge thanks TC, just make sure you tell F30 that you ran further than her last weekend 🙂
IN THE PUB: The King William IVth had a welcoming garden and bar staff but a lack of beer. In fact by the time we’d managed to extract something drinkable from the cellar the weather had turned decidedly iffy. But the novelty of a post-run drink is a powerful force, so we persevered and were rewarded by the hare’s supply of chips! The next days’ memorial hash was one topic of conversation, F30 progress in the ongoing London marathon another and a proposed Xmas Hash Bash courtesy of the ever tolerant RH/Made Marion household on Sunday 5th December another. Quite some agenda…On on.