Saturday, 3 September 2011

Run 52 3rd September 2011 Blackmoor Gate

Words for A2B Hash on Saturday 3rd September 2011 Link to PDF with Photos
Venue: Blackmoor Gate car park (a few miles south of Lynton)
Hares: Cathusalem, Flying Fokker, Painted Pussy
Hashers: Endosperm, Horse Trough Mark Two, Cow-Pat, Man-Pig, Plastic-Pig, Hairy Mollusc, Big-Bird, Lark’s Vomit, That’s Crap, She’s Ready, Big Foot, Shortie, Shortie’s Friend, One-Night-Stand, Steve, Mavis, Shat-Nav, Zombie and others whose names I did not get, sorry 
Visitors and Virgins: A Harriette from Plympton Hash – first time on A2B; a Virgin on her first Hash
The Hash Welcome
It was cool to be seen here, in Blackmoor Gate car park, especially if you were in shorts and tee-shirts, unlike the occupants of other cars, those “normal” people togged up for a brisk country walk. Not so for us hardy hashers, we jiggled up and down, ran round and round the car park to keep warm and finally circled-up for our Hares to describe what lay ahead. Just when it had all been explained, up drove Big Bird and One-Night-Stand, late because they had seen the word “Lynton” on the directions and driven there instead.
Leg 1 – Blackmoor Gate to Parracombe
We crossed the A39 and squeezed through a gap in the hedge into a farmer’s concrete yard full of pig-pens for Man-Pig and Plastic-Pig, cow pens for Cow-Pat, horse pens for Horse Trough Mark Two, but no sea beds for Hairy Mollusc, nor birds’ nests for Big-Big and Lark’s Vomit. “That’s Crap!” said That’s Crap as he tried to race through the maze of metal barriers but She’s Ready was ready for him and had successfully negotiated the hurdles and got through to the next field. Big-Foot had no such problems, he hurdled the hurdles as they were only knee-high to him, and as for Big-Bird, she simply flew over them.
After that initial excitement it was on along green fields to the village of Parracombe where Painted Pussy was in her element among the village cats as she directed the longs up and the shorts down.
Shortie went down, along with most of the more sedate Harriettes, leaving the speedier ladies to chase the men on the long.
This included CowPat who went for the promised spectacular view but all she saw were the receding bums of the rest of the longs as they raced away, up and up to the top of the ridge and then down and down to the Magic Beer Stop, where the shorts had been for a good ten minutes.
Leg 2 Parracombe to Headless Valley
Leaving the grassy green lane where the beer stop had been, we turned right and came to a Mill and
the next long-short split. I followed a dot that led me through high-walled gates and into another
world. It was a strange, eerie place. A narrow tarmac-surfaced lane wound gently downhill but a
beguiling pile of flour on a tiny footpath to the right enticed me along the other way, and uphill a
few yards to a five-bar gate with the familiar yellow paint marking it as public footpath. “Aha,” I
thought, “I’m on-on and in front.” I was in a pine forest with tall straight trees spearing up towards
the invisible sky, the ground was silent, covered in a brown carpet of pine needles. I went on, up and
up as in a dream, not even the birds were to be heard. The spell broke when I tripped over a root
and thought how quiet it was, then suddenly realised it shouldn’t be that silent. I should be hearing
calling, seeing other hashers. Where were they? There were no dots, but I was no longer alone. Eerie
spirits were all around me and they took on strange forms, did that mushroom I ate at the magicbeer
stop affect me?
I started running back, downhill, past all the foreboding pines, turned hard right onto the narrow tarmac-surfaced lane and ran faster and faster downhill but still the eerie spirits pursued
me. The trail led a detour to the left, over a bridge where I could hear the troll grumbling,
back to the track then a swing uphill left onto a green grassy track.
My heart was cantering, I wanted to slow down but horror of horrors, there was a headless
hasher running next to me.Fear fuelled the adrenalin, I raced away and
down a sloping track desperate to flee this spectre.
At last, Beer Stop 2. I’ll be safe here, I thought, slowing to a jog as I arrived. Alas, not so for at the
Hunter’s Lodge it seemed that Endo, Steve and two other hashers had suffered the same eerie
experience in the woods but far worse than mine, for they had been turned into peacocks!
Sanity was eventually restored at beer stop 2, in the reassuring company of proper hashers, all with their heads on and in their proper forms once more.
The valley was pretty, green with lush foliage, and we enjoyed the serenity.
She’s Ready and I had a meditative moment looking over the stream.
Big Foot, Shortie and Cathusalem rested on a bench and chatted inconsequentially whilst awaiting the remaining hashers from the long route.
Then it was time to hash on, up behind the Hunter’s lodge and onto the spectacular coastal path.
Leg 3 – Heddon Valley to Martinhoe Common along the coastal path
A tall Harriette named Zombie led the way for the shorts, and That’s Crap led the longs. Whichever route you took was stunning. Flying Fokker zoomed around, warning and advising about the options for taking the wider high route versus the lower, more narrow and boulder-strewn route.
Most longs took the lower route and were rewarded with the sight of mountain goats. We had the best of the weather at this point, sunny, clear skies, slight breeze – the reasons why we had come to this area for the A2B.
Where the trail led away from the coast, above Woody Bay, a super-fit Harriette took the lead running lithely upwards into leafy woods, leaving a trail of gasping, breathless hashers in her wake.
Of course, all good things come to end and so did this moment for as we climbed higher and higher, the clouds descended, turning the fine day into drizzle and then rain.

Leg 4 – Martinhoe Common to Blackmoor Gate
We emerged from the woods onto a level grassy area to Beer Stop 3 but it was a hasty affair, a quick slurp an’ burp and off into a headwind and driving rain. Somehow, no doubt through clever route planning, we were pretty much all together - well, within fifty to a hundred yards of each other - as we followed this last leg across the windswept common.
She’s Ready and others checked an obvious-looking way across fields, towards Kennacott, even though That’s Crap had already done so and told us there was nothing there, because we could not believe the route would not go that way, but it didn’t. Served us right, should have listened to the old codger in the first place!
So it was back to the road, heads down to keep the rain out of our eyes, which was why we missed a blob which would have taken us off road behind the hotel. Therefore we stayed on road to Martinhoe Cross and the station – where they kept the train waiting for us but did not serve tea.
Instead, we had a hash huddle in a rickety wooden bus stop until the welcome bus came round the corner, sucked us all in and spat us out again at Blackmoor Gate.
Down Downs and On-Down at The Old Station Inn
In the car park, Down-Downs comprised another hash huddle in a woodshed, this time in the Information Shelter where all twenty-something of us squeezed soggily in. Big Foot did a fine job as Religious Advisor, promising all and sundry he’d give them one. The lucky recipients of Big Foot’s favours included most of the Harriettes! Next we sang Happy Birthday to Mavis and wished him well for his forthcoming trip down under. It was also Cathusalem’s last A2B hash this year as he was returning to Thailand for the winter. Fare ye well Cathusalem!
Last, most importantly, a big thank you to the Hares, Flying Fokker and Painted Pussy, for an excellently researched and well-laid trail, assisted at the numerous Beer Stops by Cathusalem, and thanks also to Lark’s Vomit for photographic evidence that Heddon Valley is haunted.
ON! ON! Horse Trough Mark Two aka HTT aka HT2 aka HT Two aka HT Too!