Mind the cap……
Scribed by Hawkeye
The last time we ran from this venue, we were in pods. This week we managed just one pod….of seven plus Sorry John beating a path ahead. The pod in question consisted of TIFM, Dusty, Blonde Party Girl, Hawkeye, Secret Squirrel, Call Girl and Robin Hood. As I arrived, Dusty was lost in misty-eyed recollections of his secret assignations with a particular young lady that took place in this very layby during 1978. Layby name, layby nature……
Despite recent torrential rain the briefing promised dry feet and in contrast to recent events a sawdust marked PH3 trail. The fact that we followed a flour arrow marking our exit from the layby and then paddled along the first footpath of the day – was an obvious irony overlooked by Wally and Sparkly, but not me. What other half-truths lay ahead? With BPG making the early running, we crossed the fields and headed past the cemetery before my radar; honed on setting trails in the area, took me to the front and what I felt was a trail destined for the Wey Navigations near the New Inn.
Ultimately the navigations came into play but not this early and thus I faced the ignominy of having to turn around and re-join the pack, this was compounded by the (visual) injury of running towards Woking as it blotted the horizon. Here and there we were met by hare and hare as the GMs delighted in our tortuous progress as cunning switchbacks kept us guessing before we escaped the village and a rendezvous with those navigations and that ‘high footbridge’. The atmosphere at the top is so rarefied that it disorientated the hares enough to forget setting a circle on the far side!
Progressing along the towpath and considering a promised regroup, it occurred to me that we could use the recently created ‘rest area’ opposite the factories on Tannery Lane, and so we did. There the collective memory of six hashers (CG was MIA) remembered celebrating someone’s birthday and whisky……? I claimed the birthday as mine. [From a look back in time, it was indeed a very kind offering of cake, hot chocolate and I assume whisky to liven it up, on the occasion of my 50th – and a run provided by these very hares!] See https://ph3.org.uk/run-report-1777-the-saddlers-arms-send-marsh/
Back across the navigation, past the hares and our first encounter with Prews Farm. At the point TIFM chose to stop me in my tracks, call my attention to a mushroom which he then picked and waved under my nose. When he claimed it was the deadly Death Cap (Amanita phalloides) – I was less enthused! But five yards further on I offered my own education about the numerous landfill caps sprouting up along the margin of Prews Farm – which as a former landfill is frequently monitored to ensure it not polluting the local watercourse. This explains why the whole area is a bit scruffy.
A less scruffy use of an old gravel pit was next on our agenda as we arrived at Papercourt Lake and viewed the lasers dazzling on the water in the sun by the Sailing club. Somehow Dusty and BPG allowed me to retake the lead as we sailed past Sorry John and hove to a halt on the road by Send Marsh green before returning to Prews Farm once more. The ensuing five minutes was a case of ‘tease and turn’ as the hares teased us into the (obvious?) direct route towards Broughton Hall and home, leading to the inevitable turn as time and again it was a falsie. We eventually emerged near the traffic lights in Send and some misdirection on my part by merely indicating the direction of our starting point sent Dusty off in the wrong direction.
But the last laugh was on me as having correctly found the trail to Broughton Hall Avenue and thence to the Pathway, the on in was trickily on the far side of the main road and Dusty and BPG went ahead. As in 1978, Dusty came first.
VERDICT: A cunning run that clocked up 6 miles, but was probably closer to 5 without the falsies. One circle aside, it was expertly marked and kept us together until the on in. Many thanks to Sparkly and Wally.
IN THE PUB: We occupied the big top outside the Jovial Sailor and were expecting to see monkeys riding bicycles wearing top hats, but instead were pleased enough with some TEA and a bucket (definition: greater than a single serving) of chips. Under cross examination from Call Girl it became clear that the circle exiting Papercourt Lake was mis-kicked and/or destroyed, the fault for which the pack laid firmly at the feed of the cyclist standing by it and engrossed in a lengthy conversation. Not us guv! As the temperature dropped, so did the pack and we hope TIFM had thoroughly washed his hands as we headed for home. On on