Run Report 1935: The Abinger Hatch, Abinger Common.

Scribed by Sparkly

Where IS everyone…?

There’s your trainers waiting expectantly by the front door – don’t even think about ignoring them!

It’s going to be great, whatever the weather.  All that beautiful countryside, the flush of clean air ballooning your lungs, your bright oxygenated blood coursing through your veins, feeding your muscles, urging your body on – up that hill, down that dale, winding through the forest, taking in the views, catching up with friends, yet also getting time to be in your own head.

This is what is to be a Hasher, this is what Robic, Trip Advisor, Wurzel, Call Girl, TIFM, Wally, Sparkly and Sorry John knew and know, safe in the knowledge also that Virgil & Venus would have crafted a great trail for them.

We paid scant attention to Virgil’s declaration that it would not be a hilly run, (in the Surrey Hills? Yer, right!), and left promptly sans TIFM, frantically searching for his van keys.  This meant he couldn’t lock his vehicle and Venus was given the task of supervising it for the duration of the run

Sparkly snaffled the first falsie, therefore it had to be through the churchyard and out beyond – familiar territory, with Robic leading us out to The Volunteer, where we caught up with short-cutting Call Girl.  Following her we soon learned she was on a false trail, despite the fact that she’d been given a map of the route.  That left only one definite way it could be – turn right at the junction, cross over the road and up the steps to the infamous steep and narrow path that cuts through Telly Tubby Land. On out towards Sutton Place, which if you look at a map comprises of around five different roads or drives, all named the same!

Sparkly and Robic fell foul of one of the wrong ones and Trip Advisor took up lead towards nearly as many drives/roads called Franksfield!  Glad I’m not a delivery driver in that neck of the woods!

We paralleled the Radnor Road along Riding Bottom, a somewhat open area that was dry and hot and which reduced most of the pack to a walking/jogging pace for a while then veered off in the direction of Holmbury St. Mary to our Regroup.  By this time it was extremely noticeable how few people were out and about, no dog walkers at all, one other lone runner, and we’d seen only 2 cyclists near the Volunteer.  It felt like something serious had happened in the world that we didn’t know about – reminiscent of that weird all encompassing silence as the events of 9/11unfolded.

Knowing Virgil’s penchant for challenging us, Wally was convinced that the route was going to take us out towards St. Belmont’s School and reckoned we had another 2 miles still to go! Robic alone chose the falsie from the regroup, then got caught out again at the next two circles.  It fell to Wurzel to lead that charge for a while then Trip Advisor found the route skirting round to the west of Holmbury, on out to Felday Houses, Pasture Woods, across the jungle maize field and home.

Verdict: Considering there was only 5 of us in the main group (Call Girl & Sorry John doing their own thing, and TIFM somewhat delayed), the hares did a remarkable job of keeping us all together, though I dare see there was also a degree of group consideration going on for the ‘old girl’, Sparkly, who was in danger of getting left behind at times, but the circles gave her time to catch up and stay with them, and she gratefully appreciated all Robic’s effort in checking out the vast majority of the falsies.

It was a pity that so few attended – our participation numbers are poorer than during the lockdowns, and we can’t use ‘August’ as an excuse!  It’s not clear what’s stopping people – if you run, you’re a runner.  It doesn’t matter how fast or how far.  There is no test to pass, to license to earn, no membership card to acquire, and for Pistoffen Hash House Harriers, no fee to pay.  You just run!  And some kind people lay trails for us in our beautiful countryside!  What’s not to like?  So come on – park those trainers by the front door on a Saturday night – you know they need a good outing!

At the Pub:  Virgil & Venus secured us a couple of tables out by the road where non-diners were banished to, and if you couldn’t pay by card for your drinks you didn’t get served.  Fortunately we all got to eat our Hash chips and sup our drinks but a posse of kilt-clad prospective diners, who looked like they were on a John O’ Groats to Lands End hike and were a long way off course seeking lunch, were sent off with a flea in their ear, presumably for the temerity of expecting too much without a booking!  They were last seen hiking hopefully towards the Wotton Hatch.