November Social 2023The Meadows/Bruntsfield, Monday 6 November
At this social, there was a choice of a Hash run or foot Turf event, both offering interesting exploration of the surrounding area.
The November ESOC social took place on a fine Monday evening and was based around The Meadows and Bruntsfield areas and consisted of two events running side by side. There was a Hash run planned by Mary Williams and a foot Turf event planned by féarglas - many thanks to them both for their fine efforts.
Eleanor Pyrah reports on the Hash run:
“This was the first ESOC Hash for several years and those of us who set out to follow Mary's trails, through the streets and paths of South Edinburgh, mostly did so with little or no previous experience. In a brief introduction, Mary explained that she had laid 2 trails, with white flour and chalk, one for the runners and one for walkers. How would we know which was which, and might the trails have become hidden by a covering of autumn leaves? Both questions were answered in due course.
All parties set off southwards from Summerhall in Newington, about a dozen of us, some faster than others. The folk up ahead would call "on-on" whenever they spotted the small dollops of flour and the rest of us followed as best we could. When we came to a junction there was sometimes a chalk circle denoting a check point. This meant that the people in front had to start checking out the various possibilities, until they picked up the trail again and could resume the call of "on-on", whilst others could take the opportunity to catch up or even pause for breath. The flour was easy enough to spot, although close inspection by torchlight was sometimes needed to distinguish it from scraps of litter.
There was a bit of fun at one point when a wrong turn by the runners meant that the walkers actually got ahead! A lack of concentration and perhaps too much chattering could lead to some distance being covered before anyone realised that the trail had been lost. Ian's trace from his GPS watch (see below) reveals that they had run south to Grange Road before they realised and had to retrace their steps. We walkers had made a similar mistake but realised sooner.
On then to Marchmont and it was here we saw, clearly written in chalk on the pavement, "long" course to the left and "walkers" to the right. Mary had been riding her bike around us to ensure we didn't get too lost, but from here she continued to shepherd the runners and left us walkers to our own devices. I say "walkers", but I am sure Ursula broke into a run now and then. It was she and our new recruit, Kevin, from Happy Herts (HH), who did the lion's share of the checking.
Another little trick in the repertoire of the Hash layer is the False trail. This is when a new trail is found after a check point, but after a few blobs of flour it ends with a chalk cross, meaning ha-ha you've come the wrong way! Nothing for it but to return to the check point and try out other possibilities. Despite these small diversions, our route took us generally westwards towards Bruntsfield and then back across Bruntsfield Links and the Meadows. The zigzagging course on the Meadows had us foxed now and again; this was where there were a lot of leaves, a lower light level and a general dampness on the ground which made things a bit more difficult, but Ursula suggested the girl guide technique of spreading ourselves out sideways and we managed to pick up the trail again. As we neared the end, the thought of post-activity refreshment got the better of some, and a beeline was made for the bright lights of Summerhall. However, just as we thought we had lost the trail for good, the tail-enders spotted the welcome "On-on Home" chalked on the ground so we had the satisfaction of knowing we had reached the end.
The runners meanwhile had covered nearly double the distance and got back before us! Ian's watch recorded a little over 9km. He did confess that they had missed out some zigzags on the Meadows, as evidenced by the lack of blue (slow) sections on the last part of his GPS trace, but they had had a lot of fun on their clockwise tour of South Edinburgh including adventures in the intricate section in the Astley Ainslie Hospital grounds.
Huge thanks to Mary for the planning and many hours spent on her bike laying the trails. I hope it won't be so long before we have another Hash.”
Mark Rowe reports on the Turf event:
“Three juniors enjoyed the Turf event with their own special set of "away from roads" zones in and around The Meadows play park, ESOCKisaKat ran out the winner followed by CoolEsocAds and ajmtheperfect. All three were recipients of some tasty chocolate to take home (or demolish on site)! The seven adult turfers careered around like crazy and the competition was very tight amongst the front runners (in Turf, competitors can see the event positions in real time). The zones placed offered lots of choice of routes and, as is often the case, we all discovered new and interesting areas of town.
ESOCWalter was holding the lead for a long time but eventually he succumbed to KoveshEzorim who took a maiden and well deserved victory having been close on a few previous occasions. In second was ESOCWalter and third was thisisewan in his very first Turf event. He also covered the greatest distance on the night so will surely provide very stiff competition at future events. bythesea was the leading lady on this occasion and is also seeing an improved performance at each event. The adults also received some welcome liquid based prizes for their efforts.
After the strenuous part we retired to Summerhall for a natter, a bit of food and the prizegiving. Thanks to all that came, hope to see even more of you next time!”