Run 1897, 2 January, Fanling

The First Run of 2019

fanling
A rare and elusive figure of 8 trail, courtesy of the nullah!

Here we were, recovering from the New Year celebrations. This was to be the first Wednesday run of 2019. It was overcast, it was cold and there was the threat of rain, but 10 celebrated hashers were able to find the start of the run at a covered sitting out area next to the Pak Wo Road roundabout, Fanling. Of course, not all hashers made it by 7.30pm, but the run kicked off a few minutes later after we had been graced with the presence of our GM.

The Markings: The hare kindly described the markings and in so doing confused everyone with the suggestion that an “end of trail” (a traditional “T” accompanied by a dob of flour above the “T”) needn’t be interpreted as an “end of trail”! Eh? Beware of the check back(s), and look out for a potentially wet crossing of a stream, said the hare pointing to his muddy trainers. As far as the Old Fart’s Knitting Circle was concerned (namely yours truly), it was encouraging to learn that there would be no massive hills to climb (as per the run in Fo Tan on 19 December) and there was to be very little shiggy to clamber over. Phew! Thank you, Mister Hare.

There was even a hidden wimps run. For those of us hanging back, we were advised to climb down into a nullah upon crossing the footbridge. Just look for the on on and we’ll be ahead of the rambo runners. Sounds like a plan!

Shortly after 7.30, the GM declared on on, and we left the sitting out area, picking up the first of the markings just before entering a public park beside Pak Wo Road. The trail followed mainly paths threading their way past no end of single storey NT traditional wooden village houses. As I wasn’t carrying my phone, I was quickly lost as to my whereabouts. Fortunately, I was accompanied by the GM who seemed to be able to predict where trial was destined. Also, it was comforting to note a line of high multi-storey flats dominating the skyline. Surely, even if I go off trail, there’s a better than evens’ chance that I could find my way back to Fanling? Famous last words?

Actually, the trail marking was pretty good, and we stuck to the main paths for most of the way. No end of the village houses had dogs, but every dog was either caged or kept behind secure fencing. Nice Fido, nice doggy!

Eventually, the GM and yours truly stumbled across the nullah footbridge. Everyone else, be they rambos or wimps, were way ahead of us. This was to be the SCB’s chance to short cut! A fence had to be climbed before descending down the wing wall to the footbridge onto a grass verge beside the nullah. Wow and behold, an on on was marked on the pillar supporting the footbridge. Yes, this was the way home. After a few hundred metres, we encountered a check back. We had passed under another footbridge, so it was very likely the trail was on the footbridge. Indeed, it was. The only problem was negotiating the fence securing the course of the nullah. At the risk of castrating myself, the fence was slowly and carefully negotiated. Onto a check. Which way? Yours truly checked out the false trail, the GM instinctly followed the correct trail.

After saying hello to a charming lady outside her village house who seemed to question our right to follow public paths and who encouraged her eight or nine dogs to wake up the dead, we followed the trail alongside a stream in front of the aforementioned blocks of flats. Surely, we were on our way home. After being overtaken by the first of the runners, the path eventually, intercepted the outward trail. Clearly, after the start of the run, the hare had returned to the trail to cross out the outward markings and mark the on home. And so it was back to the bucket in only one hour. We learnt later, that the first batch of short cutters had encountered the outward trail before the hare had marked the on home.

The first runners back to the bucket were the short cutters followed by the runners. QT was the first runner back the bucket. Talking of runners, where was Liberace? There was no sign of him. It transpired that he had chosen to continue along a false trail towards Sheung Shui or possibly Lo Wu. After goodness knows how many kilometres finding neither chalk nor flour, he decided to retrace his steps. He was the last runner home. A first for Liberace? Surely, a prime candidate for a down-down?

And so as the ice cold Carlsberg and Tsing Tao began to flow at the bucket, along with red wine, the GM called the circle to order to announce the first of many down-downs. From my recollection, the hare Golden Balls, Penile Dementia and Liberace were top of the down-down league. The RA called more down-downs, too many for yours truly to recall. And then a free for all seemed to prevail, with everyone receiving many down-downs. Suffice to add that the men’s loo was behind a retained wall supporting the cover to the sitting out area. Not sure where the ladies loo might be found!

The circle could not enjoy the warmth of a Liberace inspired BBQ fire this time, but at least the rain held off bar a few drops of rain from time to time. A security guard looked in on us, but fortunately he didn’t seem particularly interested why a group men and women in running gear were intent of drinking as much alcohol as possible. Perhaps he had encountered such groups before?

The evening’s proceedings came to a close around 10pm. An interesting run, a jovial and jolly bucket. Great company. Grand bonhomie. What more could one ask for in the depth of Hong Kong’s Northern New Territories? Until the next time. — Bunter

Hare:Golden balls

Runners: One Eyed Jack, Liberace, Penile Dementia, Catch of the Day, Bunter, Radio One, Geriatric, Qutie, Golden Jelly, No Rough Stuff,

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