Run 1780, 21 December, Yuen Long

The Un-Canny Scotchman


The shrivelled ranks of six diehards that couldn’t afford to go on holiday gathered at the usual park near Yoho on a dreary winter solstice made more miserable by unseasonal rain, but hare Dram was upbeat. “It shouldna tae ye moor than 45 minutes,” he scotched at us, “so we can finish early and go to the daipaidong. Trail’s marked in chalk, flour and a wee bit of paper. Awa wi ye!”

At this point Alen arrived with two virgins – no, not Hendrik and Regina but Paco and Nina, who looked on doubtfully as Dram repeated his briefing. Probably wondering what they’d got themselves into.

Trail dutifully headed north along the nullah before a bit of a steep mud traverse got us into the tunnel under the highway. So far so good. The pack was together, the virgins were getting the hang of it and the markings were plentiful. Then they disappeared, and we remembered the hare’s parting comment, a mumbled “There was a downpour just as I finished setting the run but if you buggers think I’m going out to set it again…”

Thus it was for the next hour we stumbled around the villages and tracks north of Yuen Long, for the main part lost in the dark but illuminated by the occasional siting of an arrow, something that might once have been flour, or a sodden bit of tissue wedged in chicken wire. Numerous false leads were counterbalanced by the uncanny trail-finding prowess of Golden Jelly and Alen, and we eventually emerged opposite Pok Oi Hospital for the long run in. The upside of the confusion was that it became a proper hash, with everybody getting back within five minutes of each other.

Eunuch conducted a brief hilarious circle, during which we learned that Nina is from Switzerland and is also Alen’s sister, and Paco studies philosophy but has never heard of Monty Python. The circle ended when the cans of beer ran out, as the canny scotchman had deliberately undersupplied in order to get us to the daipaidong in time. At least that’s his story.


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