An adventure with CRC - Tim Irish

First run session back with the club last Tuesday after a couple of years absenteeism due to prolonged injury; enjoyed myself so much & realised what I had been missing for so long, the banter and the comradery that is synonymous with CRC.

So I arrive this Tuesday full of expectation of the enjoyment & fun that will be encountered with my fellow CRC’ers (is there such a word?) Had spoken to Kirsten prior to say that if I felt tired and could not keep up then no problem as I have lived in the area all my life so wherever we are I will easily be able to find my way back home – no problem ………………….

It was wonderful to see so many smiling faces loitering outside of the GRC, the ‘Dorchester marathon finishers’ resplendent in their finishers T shirts (well done to all), all the usual suspect one would expect to find at a CRC gathering plus my goodness is that really Chris Rawlings who I used to play rugby with over 25 years ago? (fine player by the way – Chris not me) looking fitter than I have ever seen, must be something to do with the running I expect? Talking of running what is Andy Dickinson doing here didn’t he run 20 miles yesterday on the coastal path? – wow, he is back for more. Hmmm these chaps are keen – what happened to running with the likes of Rich Gardiner and Nick Sale (where were you two when I needed you!), Simon Land, ------ aha there is young Simon my goodness what is happening he looks a stone lighter than the last time I saw him. Tony Strugnel another one looking very lean and fit, my gods they all look fit (hmmm maybe I should wait for Rich G and Nick S to turn up?)

So off we set merrily trotting up East St then off down Eastham’s lane, started to chat with the lovely Sarah Warren, & dashing Roger Still (two very intelligent people with a much higher intelligence level than me, ……….. yep really missing Gardiner and Sale already).

Arriving at the top of the ‘wall’ leading up to North Perrot school I finally catch my breath and have a chat with Hilary Askew, all these lovely people to talk with and we have only just started – marvellous, this is going to be such a ‘fun run’ so much better than ‘trudging’ along talking to myself!

Right says the two chaps who seem to in charge; Clive is taking folks off around somewhere the other side of the orchards, Derek is heading around via Misterton.

Derek then issues a profound warning and to be honest I thought he was Bull xxxxing as he proclaimed ‘’Clive do not to get lost especially in the orchards & in certain areas of Haselbury where you might never be found again?’

HA I thought I will not get lost, not me, and plus Clive knows where he is going – I will follow him 

So off we set machine runner Andy D, young Simon L, cool & calm Roger S with Zara the hound & our leader Clive H – with Irish trudging along at the back through the orchards onto the road (all going rather well), right turn over a stile then through a field and low & behold we are now amongst the stinging nettles, past a few shacks, chickens running amok more stinging nettles then finally into a field & onto a lane. Quick discussion yep we know where we are on the back lane from Haselbury to Hardington.

‘’Think there is a turning here somewhere’’ says Clive       - Yep there is the signpost; which is covered in brambles and more nettles – so we climb over an adjacent gate into a field and off we trot. Through more nettles -bloomin heck (or words very similar) we are getting stung all over – Not to worry says our ‘tour guide’ and he proceeds to wield a stick at the nettles to clear a path for the rest of us – well clear if you are stick thin!

All the while I am chatting (unusual for me I know as I am such a quiet and retiring chap), so the time seems to be flying by. On we progress through more fields and onto a really nice track; this is great for running along

’Yes this is part of the Ham to Lyme run route’’ explains Clive; ‘’Are you sure says Andy I think the H2L route is over there’’ (pointing to the distance hills)      

Chatting continues & we progress deeper into the Somerset countryside. Now I must profess contrary to what I told my wife I have no idea where I am but never mind Clive knows the way. 

On we trudge I am feeling a bit tired now, ‘’WHACK’ ouch – Clive has really got the hang of swinging his stick but no nettles to clear he has now taken to whacking backsides instead of nettles and I guess as mine is the largest target so he hits me! I progress forward through the pack and aim not to run at the back anymore!

We then come to a sudden stop, it seems that it is not only me that is lost! – we ponder which way to go, whereupon we hear a voice coming from the clouds, is this divine help to guide us? Nope it is a very vocal farmer’s wife shouting at us! We finally decipher what she is saying ….. ‘Don’t go through that way there are 10 bulls in the field’    - ‘Can you advise which way should go then please?’ asks Roger  ‘’You are miles from the footpath’’ shouts back the voice from on high

Don’t worry says Clive I will run this way and see what ‘trouble lies ahead’ – so off he trots like Tonto from the lone ranger into the distance while the rest of us have a chat. ……………‘’I really should be home for tea soon’’ explains Andy; …………‘I am too young to die in the middle of nowhere I am only 30’’ says Simon ……… hold on 30!, a full score and 10 HA not so young as I thought, will have to start calling you middle aged Simon rather than young from now on fella!

The lure of food is too much ‘Come on’ says Andy let’s see where Tonto is – so of we trudge down the forbidden track – on our way to see the bulls.     

We meet our ‘guide’ & by chance the middle aged eyes of Simon spots a footpath sign – ‘saved’.

Miles from the footpath indeed!

We progress along the path  through a lovely tracked wood & onto a hard path by a farm – Dogs start barking – barking gets louder yep that is a dog ‘whooosh’ Roger takes off like an Olympic sprinter leaving the rest of us behind, with left Irish at the back for ‘dog fodder’ ! Fortunately the dog realises the error of his ways and does not chase any further – Phew!

Then a miracle – ‘We now know where we are’ we have landed at the back end of North Perrot – marvellous – off we run / walk / stagger up through the village passing the church we have made it.

Not quite – we are now cajouled by Tonto not to follow the footpath as …. ‘Me know better way Kemosabe’ – so once again we follow (how dumb are we!)

Through a field with thigh high grass, over / under a barbed wire fence

‘To the left of that oak tree is where we are headed’ says Tonto  – off we go – ‘where is the path’ asks Roger …… ‘I am going to make us one through those few stinging nettles and into the field yonder, it will be fine’ explains Tonto – so we watch whilst our intrepid explorer & guide battles manfully with his faithful companion ‘Stick’ to defeat the gathered army of nettles …………………………………………………. ‘why don’t we just jog along the side of the nettle army and go through the gate that we went through 3 weeks ago when we last came along this route’ asks Simon?  So leaving Clive and ‘stick’ in the midst of their battle we go into the next field via the gate (marvellous things gates so easy to access from field to another – amazing things).

Eventually Clive re-joins us (with stick), their battle with the nettles adjourned until next time.

We trot along familiar turf now & are headed for the sanctuary and safety of Crewkerne; 15 minutes later, exhausted I finally arrive back at the GRC.

What an adventure, awesome fun. Thank you one & all for such a great time.

Hope to see you next week