Despite the rival attractions of Wimbledon, the British Grand Prix and the Cricket World Cup Final, these were all overshadowed by the return of a 25-strong party from Halesowen Athletics Club for the annual summer training weekend at Hagg Farm in the Derbyshire Peak District.
Following a full six month build-up on the infamous Hagg Farm WhatsApp group, the weekend itself once again was a tremendous success with good food, great company and beautiful scenery.
It was also great to welcome both Helen Hilliard and Kathryn Williets to experience the delights of Hagg Farm for the first time.
A lively Friday evening around the camp fire was followed on the Saturday morning with a bleary-eyed run alongside Derwent Reservoir, as the group tried to hold their own against ultra-marathon competitors setting off on a 69 kilometre run.
A somewhat more leisurely 10 mile walk around Derwent and Ladybower Reservoirs was broken up by an enjoyable lunch at the Ladybower Inn, although an unexpected Leave v Remain disagreement broke out on the way back from the pub.
The dispute saw old rivals Steve Millington and Peter Dear clash over the route back to Hagg Farm.
Chairman Millington choose to LEAVE and go his own way back whilst Lord Peter Dear decided to REMAIN on the previously planned route.
Happily unlike Brexit and without the need for any sort of backstop, both groups arrived back at Hagg Farm at the same time and order was quickly restored.
Saturday evening saw a Mexican-themed fancy dress party, with Steve Horton’s photo booth and quiz and Sam Morton’s balloon and hula hoop party games the precursor to the main entertainment of the evening provided by Mr James Hoult.
A fully choreographed and energetic dance routine to PJ and Duncan’s iconic “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble” was followed by a mini-set of Phil Collins classics.
James’ heartfelt version of “Another Day of Paradise” will live long in the memory with Mark Higgins accompanying archery skills raising the performance to an epic level.
Sombreros and moustaches were removed for the Sunday morning run before the group en masse tackled a bike ride around a full circuit of the Upper Derwent Reservoir.
The speedier cyclists raced around the reservoir twice, others took their time in completing one loop whilst some were lucky to make it round in one piece!
Other highlights of the weekend included celebrations for Emma Higgins birthday and Richard Guest’s ongoing struggles to operate a microwave oven.
We also learnt from Sam Love: “Ducks cor be birds, Duck am ducks aye they?” (!)
Thanks go to Matt Allen, Sam Morton and Dave Turvey for organising and catering a great weekend and keep your eyes out in the coming months for details of Hagg Farm 2020 which will return next summer.
Before that, the winter training weekend is set for Ty Carreg in Wales from Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th November.
Finally, don’t forget the next monthly meeting is set for Wednesday 7th August when the last act from the Hagg Farm weekend will be completed – Just who will receive the coveted flat mackerel award???!