An Open And Closed Wound
“Goldenball, I’m in trouble,” spake the hare on the phone. “I’ve broken my hand. Can you come to Sh***<<^^^*<>?”
“<><>take ^=+= to the run **** briefing!”
And so I found myself at Sheung Shui railway station at 6.45, where Catch Of The Day was sitting in her Land Rover with a horrendous hand / wrist injury, with what looked like a massive detached tendon sticking up under the skin. Crash Test Dummy was there and insisting on driving COTD to hospital, but she was having none of it. “The run! The run!” was the mantra. “I’ll drive myself to hospital one handed. The run is the thing!” By this time Golden Jelly had arrived, and after a lot of ranting and pouting from COTD about having to do her run, the three of us left her to her own devices. Now that’s what I call commitment.
It was actually a bit of a special run, in the newly opened Lin Ma Hang section of the border area, opened up just a few days beforehand, and this was the first hash there. Directions were to go up Ping Che Road, past the checkpoint and into the old closed area, then turn right on Lin Ma Hang Road for about 2.5km before taking a left up to one of the seven MacIntosh forts that line this section of (riverless) border.
My original plan was to link up with Dram at Lam Tsuen and get a lift with him, but the mayday from COTD put the kaibosh on that. Thus the newly 69-year-old sallied forth alone. This is what he had to say:
“I see I’m down to do the run report, and would have done so willingly, but having spent until nearly 8:45pm trying to find the run site and failing it will be somewhat difficult for me to do so. Indeed, part of my search for the run site involved a nightmare of me driving along an increasingly bumpy and narrowing track through scrubland/woods/isolated shacks. I finally decided it must be wrong and turned back. Unfortunately there were so many very similar tracks that I couldn’t find the way back and thus got lost. It took me 40 minutes to get back to the Ping Che Road! One local who was cooking his dinner and into whose backyard I drove twice was friendly but his “turn right then left” directions (dune yaw and dune jaw) turned out to be round the wrong way and led me even deeper into the unknown where I came upon two other characters repairing an excavator who were decidedly unfriendly and indicated I was mad and should ‘clear off’. At this point I was beginning to feel I’d somehow got into a horror movie scenario with a poor innocent (me) driving around in remote sparsely populated countryside on Wednesday the 13th until my petrol ran out and I’d be caught by zombies and then ………..Oh God no !!!!! I’m sleeping with the light on tonight. Hang the expense!”
Eventually about a dozen hashers assembled at the fort: Gaele Says No, Luk Dim Boon, Dingaling, G-Spot, Stingray, Liberace, Velcro Lips, One Eyed Jack, plus GB, GJ and CTD. The briefing was delivered, complete with a warning of trenches that had to be leapt, and off we went, uphill to the fort (trenches!) and down a shiggy descent to Lin Ma Hang Road. A couple of clever checks took us into a region of elephant grass with loads of trails cut through. Towards the end of this sector GM Liberace managed a superlative shortcut, but then went awry, so as we were all heading east we could hear his plaintive voice to the west: “Ah yoo? Ah yoo?” How we tittered as we ran off to the west calling “On on!”
A bit more running past fields took us to an unknown village, and then into an orchard area. At this point we’d arrived behind a ridge to the north that separated us from the border. At the check we sensed trail had to go north to regain the border, so we started rampaging through the orchards, only for an irate farm lady to come out and tell us to bugger off from her farm. Eunuch said, “Don’t worry darling, we love you,” and Mango retorted with “Blah blah blag government land blah you have no right blah.”
Eventually we found ourselves on a lovely trail winding up over the low hill and into, well, more shiggy. Hooray! The path down became steadily more treacherous. At this point, having gone terribly wrong in the orchards, I was sweeping up the rear with with Velcro abd OEJ, and we stuck together until the end of the run. But up on the top of the hill, looking back, we could see two lights down below. Who could they possibly be? Liberace, of course, and…Stingray.
Trail descended to a stream canopied with trees and fraught with stream obstacles. Here, Luk Dim Boon started to fall off a ledge and Mango grabbed him, only to feel himself teetering over the edge as well. “Effing well let go of me!” He yelled as he wrenched his hand away from the unfortunate LDB.
It was half a mile of dodging and weaving before we emerged into an agricultural area and the R/W split. The rambos could be heard on another hill to the south – the one on which the hare had come a cropper – but OEJ, VL and I decided to take the wimp route home, which turned out to be a couple of km along Lin Ma Hang Road back to the fort. Initially we ran past the sentry post for the still-closed bit of the border (having hashed our way into it undetected), but the duty copper was all smiles and really didn’t care that we were running OUT of the closed area. Top cop!
Back at the finish we had the usual rambunctious circle illuminated by close views of the Shenzhen skyscrapers just a few hundred metres away. And we were even able to offer, at 2240hrs, some beers to a group of cyclists who rode up looking for the fort. They asked which hiking group we were and we said, “We’re the hash,” to which one of them replied, “Oh, the on-on guys.” Notoriety at last.
And the hare? Well it turned out she had a stick embedded in her arm, which had somehow entered when she took a tumble setting the run and the entry wound closed up. A dozen stitches later and there she was in hospital. – Golden Balls