Run Report 1950: The Barley Mow, East Horsley

From A to Z via TC and V………

Scribed by Hawkeye

IN THE PUB: Our landlord seemed to be chopping wood, managing the bar, the fire and clearing tables – all by himself. The only downside to this superhuman effort was that the chip fryers were off ☹ But instead the hare decided to buy a shed load of crisps instead. We sat by the fire reflecting on this, munching on that as well as observing the hare’s A-Z route map and his own commentary of “great beer, average run”. At this point in proceedings the bumper turnout of runners and walkers looked to be in rude health and good humour, enjoying what we enjoy best – a cracking pint and a natter after a run. You can say what you like about the run (and there was no shortage of material!), but TIFM had pulled it off; prioritise pleasure………….

But my morning had started with some considerable pain as I watched Ben Stokes waft at balls outside the off stump before succumbing to the inevitable batting collapse and England’s trip to Australia ending in anything but Ashes. At this point a call from the hare brought me to my senses and with TIFMs usual brusque ‘bedside manner’ I was informed that he had set the run yesterday and was now out rechecking it, it was in sawdust with no falsies, exited the pub to the left and after my enquiry/suggestion was now to have a regroup.

Forty minutes later I faithfully relayed this information to the pack and stared blankly in response to all of their subsequent questions – their guess was as good if not better than mine. The pack in question consisted of ITB, Call Girl, Secret Squirrel, Easily Overlooked, Venus, Virgil, Sparkly, Wally, Trip Advisor, Hawkeye, Cynthia and Robin Hood – the latter of whom was clearly winning a bet, to have worn such advent garde leggings. Which abstract artist was featured was tricky to tell – it was either Bacon or Pollocks depending on whether he was running away of towards you! Tea Cosy was running towards us (from the familial home a mile or two away) and was clearly warmed up for the ensuing event – because as we set off, he led us along the road, along some more road and eventually off Long Reach and into Horsley Meadows.

Horsley Meadows are something of a revelation as revealed by Cynthia and ITB in their last run. And on this occasion, we slithered hither and yon with TC and Virgil taking the lead. A rather cunning section took us back on ourselves by Green Lane before dropping down to the Ripley Road and the Bridleway through the large farm where SS and I led the pack until the fast running TC caught up. This section of concrete slab road is a useful cut through on a bike but a bit monotonous on foot. Thankfully the promised regroup allowed for a brief pause and reflection on what had happened and what was yet to pass. The latter proved rather uninviting as having pounded the tarmac we now had to sink in the mud – we’re a difficult bunch to please.

TC gave us the slip once more and Virgil and I kept him in our sights until we reached Ripley Road again. Here the route became straighter than Joe Roots cover drives and we toiled on tarmac until a meeting with the hare just under the railway line. At circa 5 miles I’d assumed this was to ensure we did not miss the left turn onto a footpath and home, but instead the FRBs were invited to a right turn and to complete a loop into and back out of Hatchlands Park where Robic, Moondance, Silver and Bronze(?) aka John welcomed us. Uncertain of who had taken a shortcut and who hadn’t, we ploughed on through the massed ranks of dogs to exit Hatchlands and cross the lane up to The Street. The pub was ¼ mile to the left but some earlier confusing comments from the hare led us to try right first before joining a bemused looking TC as we homed in on our prize. In the end TC wisely opted to run home (another couple of miles!) as Virgil and I paddled through the mud on the official on in, when in hindsight sticking to the road would have been preferable to sticking in the mud. But we made it home with about 6.5 under our belts. A to Z courtesy of TC and a bit of V.

this is a nice area to run and Horsley Meadows a nice bit of variety but elsewhere the choice of paths is somewhat limited leading to some lengthy straight and/or tarmac sections. Armed with only an A-Z. The Incredible Floating Man made full use of these, and as he said himself “great beer, average run”. Nonetheless, the après is all the better for the run, many thanks TIFM.

….so BACK IN THE PUB: The ales on offer were a nice Shere Drop and a rather lovely Ranmore, which garnered most customers and was a rather nice counterpoint to Jalapeño flavoured crisps, only in Surrey eh? Some inevitable ‘dry January’ and Veganuary discussions ensued and I offered the suggestion I’d had from a friend to do a ‘damp’ January whereby you are only allowed to drink if you leave the house – which seemed to meet with approval. Not really surprising from a drinking club with a running problem that seems to have found its mojo again in 2022. Let’s hope it continues. Well at least until my run next week – on on!

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