Saturday, 5 May 2012

Run 60 5th May 2012 Shaldon Lark Paraprick and VW


POINT A:              The Ness Car Park, Shaldon

POINT B:              The Ness Car Park, Shaldon

HARES:                 Larksvomit, Paraprick & VW Passat

BEERMEISTER:   Zombie (who couldn’t run as she was limping badly after twisting her ankle at Tuesday’s Ashburton Run)

ATTENDEES:       15+ comprising: Shatnav, Zombie, Man-Pig, Mike (what’s his hash name?), Comes Tonight, Twice Nightly, That’s Crap, She’s Ready, Come Back, Hairy Mollusc, E-J, Cousteau, Rise ‘n’ Shine, P-Nut, Menage-a-Trois (& at least one other but I’m blessed if I can remember who!).


The wettest April on record had obviously put a downer on attendees at May’s A2B which, historically, had been run in pretty good weather. Circa 16 hashers gathered at the Ness car park for the run with a particularly good turnout from Plympton Hash & VAG (Volkswagon Audi Group). Many of which were camping at Cofton Farm near Cockwood & had arrived at Point A by train (& without paying & thereby defrauding First Great Western of wajid falous!). Good effort lads & lassies!

A sign of things to come commenced in the circle when the GM forgot to nominate anyone to do the Words & so ended up having to do them himself. There was one A2B virgin who, I think was Come Tonight from Haldon Hash. Menage-a-Trois was nominated RA for the day & Larksvomit commenced by offering a plethora of excuses as why there was no trail & why he had to send Paraprick out to relay it earlier that morning. Original marks, if they existed, would be in white chalk. Re-laid marks would be in flour or pink chalk. Larks explained that he would be haring by that’s a first for the A2B. This left some wondering if the entire trail would be on-road. He then stated that there was an immediate Long-Short split from the car park & babbled something about £3. Now some of those gathered thought that everyone would need £3 en-route. Others interpreted it as only the Shorts requiring £3. The Longs were then pointed in the direction of Shaldon and some went running towards the Ness pub whilst others ran back to their cars to get £3. The Shorts remained motionless. Naturally this had the effect of splitting up the pack from the outset.

The initial Long-Short split was pretty much defined by gender. The Longs comprised an all male affair whilst I think the only male representatives on the shorts was Ménage-a-Trois (watch him girls – he’s a real fanny magnet!) & Mike.

That’s Crap lead the Longs up the Ness and past the viewpoint. This was the last we saw of That’s Crap for another 21/2 hours! That’s Crap maintained that the trail ran north along the eastern edge of the golf course & off he went. The slower Longs followed the trail only upto the edge of the golf course and then looped back towards  the entrance to the Ness car park. Here the tail went cold. Did we join the Shorts who must have taken the passenger ferry across to Shaldon’s Back Beach or did the trail lead elsewhere? That’s Crap was nowhere to be seen. E-J, Hairy Mollusc & Shat-Nav (amazingly still on-trail at this stage) were checking the periphery of the car park for the trail that would eventually take them onto Shaldon Bridge, Cousteau wondered whether we may be required to spend the afternoon doing a continuous loop round the Ness & Man-Pig was convinced that the trail would have been laid through Smuggler’s  Tunnel & onto the beach. It seemed that everyone was wrong...including the hare who had laid the trail up the (private?!) steps to the right of the flats overlooking the car park. Front runners were barred from pursuing the trail as laid by angry residents. The FRB’s then had to skirt around the flats in the hope of picking up the trail somewhere on the main Torquay – Teignmouth road. Man-Pig failed to find any sign of a trail in the tunnel. On returning to the car park he failed to find any sign of the hash either! He’d only been in the tunnel 60 seconds. He then did his own thing & decided to follow the Shorts via the ferry.

Whilst the Longs were wasting a lot of time going in ever decreasing circles around the Ness, the Shorts were enjoying a life on the ocean wave. Their trail, confusingly, did not require £3. Rather it only required £1.50 for the ferryman & his dog, Cereberus, to take them to the other side. So they wondered, what was the other £1.50 for? P-Nut commented that the change would come in handy as contraceptives form the ladies toilet on the seafront were exactly £1.50 for a packet of one (unflavoured). On arrival at Back Beach the harriets put their spare £1.50 to good use and did some shopping & indulged in an ice cream, safe in the knowledge that crafty Larks had cunningly engineered a good gap between the Longs & the Shorts. This respite from the frenetic pace that typifies the A2B was put to good use. The harriets settled down to a picnic on the beach whilst Ménage-a-Trois seized the opportunity to stow away on a ship bound for the antipodes. There he started a successful sheep farming business, got married, raised three children and still returned to Teignmouth in good time to beat the Longs to the first regroup.

From Back Beach the trail was somewhat feint. Any marks that had been lain in flour had blown away and white chalk marks were sometimes on the top or sides of walls.  However, aided by Paraprick, the Shorts soon found themselves on the seafront running northeast with a brisk, but nevertheless tanning, onshore breeze with jus a hint of rain. Paraprick laid some new marks on the promenade and kept the Shorts  together as the trail ran for a mile along the top of the sea wall that protects the railway line [Boring fact of the day: the track between Dawlish & Teignmouth is the most expensive to maintain across the whole of the UK’s rail network]. The trail went as far along the sea wall as it was possible to go before the track entered the first of three tunnels between Teignmouth & Dawlish. Here there was  only one way to go....unless we were swimming for part of the trail..... and sure enough the marks lead through the underpass below the track. This took us to an impromptu regroup (but no beer) at the bottom of Smugglers’ Lane. After a 15 minute wait, & no sign of the Longs, She’s Ready lead the Shorts to a check at the top of Smuggler’s Lane.

Meanwhile Larks used his vantage point at the entrance to the rail tunnel to look back at an uninterrupted ¾ mile view of the footpath that sat on top of the sea sign of the Longs.....oops! Eventually Man-Pig came into sight. “Am I last?” he queried. “No. You are a pillock” replied Larks. “You’re way behind the Shorts & you’ve lost the Longs”. “Ah well” said man-Pig, “That’s probably because I’m on the Medium trail”. “Double pillock. There is no Medium trail”. Then we spied Cousteau sprinting along. Quite a way behind him came EJ & Hairy Mollusc; all reaching us some 5 or 6 minutes after we first sighted them. We looked back expecting to see the others but absolutely no sign of That’s Crap, Come Back or Shatnav. We waited another 5 minutes but still no-one in sight so Larks instructed us to attempt to catch up with the Shorts who, by this time, were at least half-an-hour ahead of us.

Sensibly, the Shorts had not kicked out any of the checks. This allowed the “found” Longs to “check it out” at each check.  From the check at the junction of Smuggler’s Lane & the Teignmouth-Dawlish main road the trail headed north, bypassing a return to the South West Coast path. After a short while, another check took us left into Holcombe towards the Castle Inn. The “found” Longs now comprised Cousteau, Man-Pig, Hairy-Mollusc & EJ & we’d been running for 1 hr & 10 minutes without a beerstop. Then The Castle Inn came into view. “Beestop” we all thought, but no, just another check.  We followed marks first right & then left through a housing estate & past one house with 3 Series 2 Landrovers parked outside (or was that 2 Series 3’s?). At this point Larks & VAG cruised past but offered no guidance as to how long to the beerstop. The trail then went down a short fenced alleyway exiting into fields and a public footpath at the western edge of Holcombe. This was an area Man-Pig recognised from previous Teign Valley runs from the Smugglers. After a couple of fields we came to a crossroads. EJ checked ahead towards Holcombe Down, Cousteau & Man-Pig went left towards Higher Holcombe Farm and Hairy-Mollusc checked right towards Westbrook. Man-Pig & Cousteau checked left because they thought that Point B might be in Newton Abbot and the remaining £1.50 required for the train journey back to Teignmouth. EJ called “On-On” on seeing one dot. This was a correct call as Larksvomit’s guidance in the Circle was “One & On”. However, we all found ourselves back at the Crossroads at the same time as EJ had subsequently found a cross just past the first mark. We rechecked and eventually found ourselves on a nice winding track leading down to Westbrook before joining a lane leading to Holcombe Farm. At the junction of the track and lane there was a huge arrow in flour pointing us up the hill...this had clearly just been laid and, just as clearly, laid from a car!

Cousteau led the way, up one side of Aller Hill and down the other, past a check at the crest. We then ran through a ford and under a very nice, ornate stone arch to arrive at the first beer stop. This was the first time we’d seen the Shorts since the start of the run some 11/2 hours earlier! And the pack was still split with the ”lost” Longs still unaccounted for. As the Shorts had been at the beerstop for sometime, we didn’t pause for long before checking out the trail. Comes Tonight checked the very inviting, & highly probable, public footpath that lay opposite the beermeister’s car. Twice Nightly and P-Nut were doing checking of another sort, having accosted a passer-by and checked out his Labrador puppy. Menage eventually got us underway by finding the first mark at the bottom of Luscombe Hill, and what a hill this was. Three quarters of a mile of steep, uphill tarmac & no checks. The views were good though. To the left was the site of Luscombe Castle, Luscombe Park & Luscombe Wood further up the hill. I imagine that the stone arch was once the entrance to the castle. On the right was Summercombe Wood which should contain a stately home judging by Oak Lodge but none is shown on the map. Perhaps it was a back entrance to the stately pile near the beerstop that was being rebuilt?

As usual, the very athletic Cousteau FRB’d almost to the crest of Luscombe Hill only to be greeted by a fishhook with an ‘X’ below it.....and a pink penis! The idea of running back to the last runner which still comprised the “lost” Longs wasn’t entertaining. We’d been separated for over 2 hours now &, as far as we knew, they were still crawling around the pubs in Shaldon. Accordingly the 3 FRB’s, Cousteau, Man-Pig & EJ, elected to remain at the fishhook until the main body of the pack caught up. Eventually all the Shorts arrived but still no sign of the “lost” Longs. P-Nut was highly unimpressed by the rather poorly drawn picture of a willy, in pink chalk, on the tarmac. Cousteau had been first to the fishhook &, being a straight-laced sort of chap, he hadn’t drawn it. Man-Pig was second to the fishhook & P-Nut was clearly suspicious but Cousteau was adamant that it was already there by the time he’d arrived. Man-Pig in the clear......for a change. Larks then pulled up with a passenger – Come-Back. Larks had found him struggling at the bottom of Luscombe Hill & given him a lift. The other two “Lost ones”, Shat-Nav & That’s Crap, denied that they’d ever been off trail & declined a lift. Larks said that he’d only just done the fishhook & that he was most certainly not the graffiti artist.  Then Rise’n’Shine noticed a piece of broken chalk in the verge. Conclusion – a phantom penis drawer had come across the piece of broken chalk in the past 15 minutes & effected his trade before disappearing into the woods. Crikey! We were miles from anywhere. Who was going to lie in wait for the opportunity to grab a piece of broken chalk?

Without waiting for the “Lost Two” to catch us up, the trail took us off-road & into the Tower Plantation near Merry Pool. Here we got a little lost before Comes Tonight and Twice Nightly got us back on trail leading towards Little Haldon. This was the highest point on the trail and gave us some superb views looking south across the Teign Estuary. However, one superb view gave way to another as we heard the unmistakeable drone of a Spitfire above us. Sure enough a Spitfire and a Hurricane arced, gracefully across the sky. They had almost certainly come from the old airfield at Bolberry Down where there’s a gathering of historic aircraft every May bank holiday. Our view stop was cut short by the arrival of the rain. Fortunately, it didn’t last long. We next ran though a disused quarry pit & emerged into a car park at the edge of Teignmouth Golf Club. Hairly-Mollusc took the mantle of FRB, closely followed by She’s ready, and took us to our second Long-Short split for a brief loop in Humber Down wood before arriving at the second beerstop at the White Well picnic area. This kies just below the Club House to the Golf club. Here, we were treated to a number of firsts: first white chocolate on the hash, first strawberries of the year, first sight of Shat-Nav & first sight of That’s Crap since Point A! Whilst the harriets oooo’d & ahhhh’d regarding the wide selection of choccies, Larksvomit came clean & admitted that Point B was, in fact, Point A. Additionally, if we were to get the passenger ferry from Teignmouth to Shaldon, we’d better get our skates on as the last ferry was at 4.15 due to tide conditions & it was now 3.30pm. Arguments ensued as the sign outside the Ferry Boat Inn clearly stated that the last ferry was 4.30.

P-Nut wanted to get back quickly as she had a party to go to in Shagford. Larks explained the route back & said that, if we didn’t want to risk missing the ferry, we should follow the trail down to the main road at a junction with a Chinese laundry & takeaway on the corner which was near the rugby club. P-Nut set off followed by, for the first time today, the entire pack! The route back to the Ness car park was almost entirely road but pretty well marked. In fact, apart from the cock-up in the Ness car park, the trail had been pretty well laid so well done to Larks & Paraprick – That’s Crap, Shat-nav & Come-back should have gone to Specsavers before the run!

Once out of the woods, we were treated to an even better view of Teignmouth, Shaldon & the Teign estuary. Quite spectacular really. The sun had come out and was reflecting off the water. All very tranquil and, even better, we now knew that it was downhill all the way back to the cars. We ran down towards the ruins of the Bishop’s Palace before bearing left down Coombe Lane. At the junction with Shepherds’ Lane the trail went straight on. Ménage-a-Trois and most of the pack followed the trail. P-Nut’s local knowledge  enabled her to SCB and turn right down Shepherds’ Lane, emerging onto the main road almost opposite Shaldon Bridge. By this time everyone knew where they were. Marks were ignored. Heads down. Everyone forged their own trail back to the Ness car park where Zombie was already waiting with the bags.

In the Ness pub, the Plympton contingent ordered beers whilst Rise’n’Shine, Twice Nightly and Comes Tonight looked very prim & proper, enjoying a pot of tea. Mike was confused. First he wanted a tea & then settled for a lager. Menage-a-Trois cobbled together some notes regarding faux pas en trail whilst Shat-Nav prepared the down-downs in the beer garden.

Down-downs were awarded to the Hares & especially Larksvomit for a series on Firsts:-

1st hare to lay an A2B by car.

1st hare to loose half the pack from the very outset.

1st hare to exceed one hour to the first beer stop etc etc.

Man-Pig got a down-down as he was overheard muttering something about “That’s Crap taking up the rear” during the first beerstop. Clearly a flashback to his public school education.

Come-Back for getting a lift.

That’s Crap for getting lost.

P-Nut would have got a down-down for her prudishness reading the pink willy but she’d already departed for Shagford. Zombie & Shat-Nav were off to Cornwall for the rest of the weekend so they departed early together with Menage & a couple of others. This left the Plympton crowd checking smart phones for train times back to Starcross. With only ten left we decided on a last beer nearer Teignmouth railway station and so drove the happy campers to the Blue Anchor. We’d just finished our first beer when Doris arrived (sans Rambo who was spending the bank holiday weekend running three marathons).  We were also treated to the company of a pretty drunk, but harmless, convict who was enjoying day release from a local penitentiary. Another beer and then Larks volunteered to take the campers back to Cofton Farm rather than faff around with trains....even if they were free! Doris made the most of a weekend without Rambo and joined the campers for a few drinks at the Ship Inn at Cockwood before catching the last bus back to Teignmouth. Well done Doris. True hashing spirit.

That concluded an eventful day. What had initially started as an unmitigated disaster actually matured into a good day out, despite the unsettled weather. The trail turned out to be pretty good after the initial teething troubles in the Ness car park; a mixture of sea, road, shaggy, track & footpath with some great views thrown in. Well done Larks & Paraprick.

Next month is the AGPU. Point A is still to be confirmed but will be in the Brixham/Paignton area. I think the hares are Shat-Nav & Zombie.