Seven hardy hashers made it to Catch Of The Day’s place Free Zone for this festive run, and all agreed it was an excellent trail: Dram, Eunuch, Gaele Says No, Golden Balls, Liberace, One Eyed Jack, Penile Dementia. T-Bird and Golden Jelly were also there at the start, with the latter in her wellies announcing her intention of doing some gardening. By the time we’d finished, an entire lettuce patch had been planted.
The start was unconventional to say the least, with COTD saying there was only one trail and the “wimps” should get in her Land Rover. Dram, GB, OEJ and Penile Dementia crammed in and were driven a few kilometres along Kong Nga Po road and told to get out and start running. COTD then went back to pick up the “rambos”. The wimps, or more correctly the headstarters, ran down a side road past the Police Dog Handling Unit until they reached a checkback. There was no obvious route, but after a while GB spied an arrow on a concrete drain pointing to a fence with forest behind it. A bit of a clamber, and the wimps were in forest on steeply sloping ground, following paper through the trees and down into a ravine. Out the other side and some runnable terrain until another apparently unsolvable check was reached by a dry river bed. The only way out appeared to be across a dilapidated, unstable looking bridge that sloped upwards towards a gate. And indeed this was the way out. As Dram managed to fall off the bridge twice the residents from behind the gate came out telling us it was “very dangerous”. We kung hei fat choid them and boldly stepped into their property, a little farm, and started looking for trail, much to their consternation. Amid cries of “No way!” and “What you doing!” GB once again found the route along the side of the river and up an embankment to the road we’d started on. A clever check here was solved by Dram, taking the line up a steep stepped culvert on the opposite hillside. Trail roved over a flat top and round the side of a hill until reaching another checkback, which is where the rambos caught up with the wimps, having been unable to solve the first section of trail and helped along by the hare.
Trail was found leading through long grass riddled with hidden culverts and then out onto a concrete path, where the markings vanished. Gaele Says No picked up trail about 600 metres further on as it went round the fence of a service reservoir on top of a hill with parts of the route hanging above very steep drops. Then there was a long rough descent followed by another climb to a copse followed by this weird hidden valley and then a dirt road to a metalled road. By this time the pack had fractured into two groups – the wimps and the rambos.
We followed the road for a while until a sign told us we were back on Kong Nga Po Road, where trail led off to a dirt road. GB kindly told Dram that he suspected another shitload of shiggy was waiting for them and that if he stayed on the road it would lead him back to COTD’s place. Dram happily accepted this advice and strode off into the night, never to be seen again – or at least never to be seen until his mayday telephone call to COTD after he’d got hopelessly lost and Gaele Says No drove out to pick him up. His subsequent gratitude to GB was something to behold.
Back on trail the three remaining wimps stayed together for a romp over grassy hillsides, through a tumbledown cottage, up and down lovely trails, in and out, double-backs, dirt road, concrete path, pylons…nobody knew where we were apart from the orientating sight of Shenzhen’s tower blocks not very far away. After a while trail emerged onto a road…could it be Kong Nga Po Road again?…yes…how far to the finish?…right there! A superb trail.
Back at Free Zone Desperate Dan and All The Way had swelled the ranks. COTD was on her second bottle of wine and cooking up meat on skewers and a kind of cabbage pancake, among other delicacies. Sake made its appearance and then a sort of wagering activity that saw Gaele Says No clean up, until – oh no! – the beer ran out, and it was only 11.30. Golden Jelly produced a slab from her car, saving the hash for the second time in three weeks.
At 30 seconds to midnight we stole a march on the neighbourhood by letting off a crate of whizzbangs that arced and fizzed in the night sky, before all hell broke loose as everybody around followed suit to celebrate the new year.