Atomic and I kept an eye on the weather forecast over the weekend and eventually decided to lay the run on the Monday morning. This meant I could spend the first two days of the bank holiday in the garden.
Unfortunately, the forecast was a bit awry and it turned out that Sunday was the better of the two days and there was a serious risk of showers on the Monday. My back was also playing up after two full days in the garden tending to my lawn and building a new pagoda. A simple enough build apart from the 60 nails and in excess of 100 screws.
Laying the run with Atomic was a real treat, with some nice scenery and some great company. We reckoned it was going to be a tad long (we were right) and the trail comprised a classic figure of eight.
The pub stayed open after lunch especially for us, so it was great to have a good turnout with some 35 runners assembled at the start.
It was off and after the usual early false trails, the pack eventually set off in the right direction past Campton Manor and on towards Top Farm. Bell End and Samantha check out the first false trail into the farm and then it's off towards Chicksands Woods and its many wood sculptures. Double seems to know which way the trail is going, but alas not as on this occasion the classic Shefford 'A trail' has been switched around and the real trail is off towards Shefford town centre, past Campton Villas.
Now Campton Villas turns out to be the home of some dubious hashing characters and upon arrival said Tarzan emerges with a basked full of chocolates, jelly babies and liquorice allsorts (yum yum).
After a quick refuelling stop, the run resumes down Ampthill Road. A short cut is laid straight on, but with the brave FRBs taking the loop via Bloomfield Drive. This at least manages to keep the group together. Whilst the short cutters hold the check at the Shefford Tandoori, the FRBs take a second longer route via Old Bridge Way and Morrisons. Once re-grouped the pack set off towards the River Flit. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed across one of the fields, so the dogs have to be carried (well done Subby for some quick thinking).
After a few false trails, the route eventually set off towards the Bedford Road via Riverside. Subby has sped off at great pace and has miraculously disappeared. At this point Rapid and Edwina are enticed to start the long hard climb towards Southill. The hares hadn't even bothered to lay any dust in that direction as it just seemed too much like hard work (what with a sore back and all that), but the expressions on their faces when they eventually got called back were just joyous to behold.
After a quick trek through the Hardwicke Farm it's across the A600 speedway and on towards Chicksands Woods for a second foray. It's getting close to the hour into the run now, so the Count deploys his age concession card. The contagion sets in and Lady P follows suit. By the time we get back into the woods the group have split into two (joggers and amblers). Capt F guides the FRB's through the woods, whilst Atomic brings up the rear with the amblers. Having guided the joggers through the woods, directions are given and Capt F turns back to try to find the amblers but they are nowhere to be seen (apparently, they took a more direct route back to the pub).
That's about it for the run. Back at the White Hart, the mood was very sociable. The beer was great and the landlord laid on some chips which were very welcome.
The closing circle was called. Down-downs were awarded to Nicey (hashy birthday to you...), Atomic & Capt F (sublime haring), Goneril (deca-mug), Frau (200 runs) and Subby (250 runs). Forking got a down-down for trespassing in one of Subby's more torrid dreams (a somewhat worrying development this).
I am pretty sure there were others. Possibly Count (something about hand holding) and possibly Edwina (lord knows what for). Apologies for the lack of detail and for the myriads I missed, but I was beer addled by this stage of the proceedings.
Atomic Titten & el Capitain
On-on to the Dog and Badger, Maulden