Tuesday night and the run is from Cookham........ Hmm think I’ll run down there, it’s less than a mile. Rucksack ready, deep breathing commenced, OK here we go.
Depressingly, but probably unsurprisingly, on the run to The Crown I got passed by a spotty youth cruising along with a pair of very large headphones coming from which I could just make out some dirge or other. The fit youth with bad taste proceeded to zoom back and forth past the pub still emitting some type of rap.
Phil announced that the run was “confusing” and introduced a friend, a hash virgin who had, like me, run from his house which was even nearer than mine being a whole 100 yards away!
After inducting a couple more hash virgins, part of Niffer’s growing pack, we set off down the lane to the up market retirement home which only the well heeled can possibly afford, and then emerged onto the adjacent river bank.
We headed left along the Thames Path crossing the wonderfully named Merlin’s Mead, checked at the gate, then took a left up to the railway bridge. Here, a shimmy through the next gate and a right up some steps took us on the trail running alongside the railway line.
At the bridge over the said railway we hooked a right onto the golf course. A pity Benchbreaker elected not to run as he does love a golf course but, having declared “I’ve done 72 holes today and am sh*gged out”, he decided that a comfy seat in the pub was the more appealing option.
A solid pull up through the course, “a nasty little climb” according to Moose, with an impromptu regroup to let some stragglers, including a man of mystery who I think was another Niffer Team Member, and we reached the Holy Grail – the long/short split.
Waving goodbye to the longs, us shorties headed right towards the top of Winter Hill, at which point we ran right along the narrow top trail which, although treacherous by virtue of being narrow with a precipitous drop, does afford beautiful views of the sewage works et al.
Along here Steve Woody Woodland, being only on his second hash and therefore possibly both keen and foolish, checked down the very steep side path and eventually re emerged at our altitude to lead us on and eventually down to a more comfortable ground level where we swung right, back to the railway bridge and, with another shimmy through the aforementioned gate by the railway bridge, back to Cookham along a lovely flat trail.
We arrived at the car park next to the pond and ran left across the common and On Inn to The Crown.
All that can be told of the long run is that Phil had planned a route passing such beautifully named house as “Harvest Moon”, “Halloween” and “Chimneys”, and that , as verified by a knackered Keyboard Ken and somewhat purple Kev, he had taken the longs up Winter Hill no less than three times, a fact which he had gleefully imparted in confidence in the pub car park before we set off – see section entitled “Why I don’t go Long”!!!
Back at The Crown, us shorts were bemused to find Matt and Roz, their seemingly miraculously swift circumnavigation of the trail being explained by the fact that, arriving late, they had set off at their usual high speed but managed to pick up the short route instead of their usual long.
In the very fancily refurbished Crown, Phil had arranged a plentiful supply of some extremely yummy, if very hot, chips which were well enjoyed by one and all.
Thanks to Phil for a good run and so nice to have Jane C. and Kerry back running with us again.