2012-03-15 54 -2

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Thu 15 Mar 2012 in 54,-2:
54.6657194, -2.9183841

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  • Clarissa


It has been a while since an M&R™ Expedition was hatched. With a hash falling only a few mile outside of Penrith, this seems to be too good an opportunity to waste. With children and a dragged-along Clarissa also attending, the time seems ripe for a picnic at a hash. We should be there at between 1700 and 1730 with cake and biscuits.

Failing that we will be there with damp sandwiches and cold tea, for a truly British March Picnic Experience.


After meeting up at Penrith, and packing the picnic we set off to find the hash, with children in tow, thoroughly confused as to exactly why this was happening. "Is there a park there?" and "Are there tables for our picnic?" were two, very sensible, questions asked to which the answer "no, we're just going to go to a field" seemed to be an inadequate response, and was greeted with mildly confused looks, and, presumably, an inner monologue adding this to the long list of things that adults do that just make no sense.

The confusion was added to when, when shown the Android app, Fraser asked what the chequered flag was called. Thus, for the rest of the expedition, we were going in search of George.

George lay in a field near Coal Woods, and although the juggernaut approach of climbing the walls and ploughing through the woods appealed, the fact that we had little time before sunset, and had two small children in tow, urged a more sensible (if slightly circuitous) route to be picked, using forestry roads and gates, followed by a tramp across heathland.

Although the start required some gate climbing, something that became something of a theme during this hash, and a squelchy crossing of what was dubbed by the children as officially "the biggest puddle ever", things moved at a pretty reasonable clip, and progress was made.

After some discussion based around "what is that red thing" (a feeding trailer) and the oft repeated "where's George, are we nearly there yet?" we climbed another stile, and, after we manhandled the children (and RunawayBomber) over, moved into the woods.

Fortunately, the forest roads were nice and solid, and not too muddy at all. This lasted until we had to cut through an avenue of trees that had clearly once been a road, but was no longer. There was quite a lot of mud, and hands had to be held to avoid children disappearing into muddy holes. We reached the gate that should have been there; or rather we found a fence and climbed over, again manhandling children into a field that looked promisingly to be the one that George made his home in.

Using old sheep trails, and answering the "are we nearly there?" questions in terms of thousands of feet, which presumably meant little to the kids, as the questions soon became "what is the number now?" followed by silence and then "so we need to get the number to zero right?"

We soon realised that this was going to be the more arduous part of the expedition. Particularly for the children.

The ground was lumpy, and the terrain composed of those remarkably annoying false summits that convince you that you are at the top of the hill, "It's only a few more feet... Okay, now it's only a few more feet..." and so on. Picking the best route became a compromise over what the children could manage, how "squidgy" the ground was becoming, and heading roughly in the direction of George.

This continued for a while, with the children becoming rapidly more and more exasperated and demanding the promised picnic. Finding that there was another field to get through nearly proved a breaking point, until promises of peanut butter and chocolate spread sandwiches were made...

After some somewhat confused and damp traipsing about George was found, and the picnic was set up, not quite at George, as it was too boggy for the blanket, but within 10 feet or so. Photos were taken, cold tea was drunk, and a cold, slightly damp and rapidly darkening picnic was had. Properly British!

We now faced a new problem. We had to retrace our steps in the dark with two children who were not fond of the dark, and, brief sugar buzz notwithstanding, were getting quite tired and wanted to get back. George had not been as fun as they hoped...

We set off, with torches to guide us, and the children did very well indeed. Despite a stated fear of the dark, tired little legs and not much light from torches there were only a few tears and quiet declarations of "I'm scared, no I'm not, yes I am, well, a little bit. Maybe." Things cheered up considerably when Clarissa nearly lost her wellies in a particularly squishy bit of the field. This proved my long held theory that you can stop a child crying considerably faster with things that make fart noises than any amount of hugs. The prospect of seeing an adult fall on their bottom in a muddy creek can only help in this situation. Fortunately Clarissa escaped this fate, and we plodded on through the rapidly darkening night until we found our way back to the car; alternately cajoling, offering chocolate bribes or pretending to be soldiers in order to motivate tired children to keep going.

It would seem a good time was had by all


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RunawayBomber and Matingslinkys earned the Picnic achievement
by eating crisps and sandwiches at the (54, -2) geohash on 2012-03-15.
2012-03-15 54 -2 21-24-12-027.jpg
RunawayBomber earned the Drag-along achievement
by dragging Clarissa to the (54, -2) geohash on 2012-03-15.
Clarissa giggling.jpg