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2020 Visions

And what visions they will be!

But not like last year, though. We missed the 2019 Knacker Cracker, but we had an excuse.

India's a bit far away...

There is, to the best of my knowledge, absolutely no risk of being eaten by a tiger on Box Hill, but that is not to say it is wholly without its dangers. It's not just your knackers that risk cracking, your bones and skull are definitely up for the crack too. As is your sanity on a day like today...

Unfortunately, the National Trust have decided that they don't like us parking at the top for the start, after deciding they didn't like us starting at the bottom, so this year it's a bit of an experiment. Parking is now at Denbies, a good ten minutes' jog from the new starting point alongside the River Mole in Burford Meadow, and a fair old trek back from the finish, which remains at the old fort near the visitor centre.

The procession begins.

Oops! Gaz has spotted me discreetly snapping him. As always, I have carefully dressed to blend seamlessly into the background, and for once, I thought I might have found the right background.

Our band of merry adventurers hit the highway. Amanda and an elf are actually sharing the lead at this point. Passing drivers and cyclists shout encouragement and it seems that everyone rather enjoys this new way of starting.

"Fancy dressing?"

"No, I don't think I do."

Steve Winder has come as the unholy love child of Vladimir Putin and a Bunny Girl.

I realise I'm on the wrong side for Amanda at the start (entirely my own fault), but I manage to catch her through the mob.

This year, I'm not taking my bike or the car, but plan to visit some areas that are really only accessible on foot. This will be the first time I've done this, so I'm not sure exactly how it will work out, but the next stop is the bottom of the Burford slope. They've got to run four or five times the distance, mostly vertically upwards, so I shouldn't have any trouble getting there first, but afterwards, we shall see.

Steve is over the hill. Literally speaking, of course, not metaphorically, and I'm of the generation that doesn't use the word 'literally' to mean 'metaphorically'.

Another thing that's changed: when I was at school, a maths teacher only pranced around half-naked in front of his ...special... pupils. Nowadays I guess we have to be more inclusive.

First lady is wearing a DIY cape. Remember this for a moment.

Her other half is wearing the exact same cape, but it seems the finer details of such a complex garment are beyond him.

Ah, looks like Plato and Socrates discussing Zeno's Paradoxes of Motion. As is well known, before you can finish the Knacker Cracker, you have to get to the halfway point. But before you can get to the halfway point, you have to get halfway to that  - ie, the quarter-way point. But before  you can get a quarter of the way, you have to get an eighth of the way, and so forth, forever! Logically, therefore, you can never finish the race, or even get started, because however little distance you travel, you have to have travelled a shorter distance first.

Tom Stoppard famously concluded that because of this, an arrow could not reach its target and Saint Sebastian died of fright, but that's another story.

And amongst the throng of fools on the hill, we spy Amanda.

Momentarily eclipsed by Elf'n'Safety, all we can see of her is her hair and her stick.

Sometimes you take the dog for a run, and sometimes you take the dog for a run. This chap is doing both. The effort will be rewarded by a fancy dress prize later, as will the chickens and eggs, of whom we here see two in hot pursuit.

Why are this woman's breasts staring at me?

"We are the Fancy Dress Champions my friends!" One of the Freddies will later break free, but not the one who wants to.

And a special Bah Humbug to Christina, now the only person who has run every single Knacker Cracker ever. Before the start, she told me that this was definitely the last time she was doing it, so see you next year XXX :-)

Looks like the combination of waiting for everyone and then having to jog instead of ride or drive means that my timing is way out. I've not even reached Juniper Bottom and the front runners have already long gone. But I'll carry on with my plan, which is to walk the route in reverse and hope to catch some of the runners against Broadwood's Folly, a ruined tower in the woods.

Nobody more visually entertaining is on the Eiger steps as I pass, and I want to keep moving, so Ian Peachey, number 127, this is your moment in the spotlight!

"Show us your plum puddings, love!"

"Yeah, I didn't make it to the tower in time to see you there!"

In fact, I'm not even at the bottom of the very steep and dangerous but photogenic slope yet.

Last time, this is as far as I went by bike, and it's as far as is sensible to try to go. I'm now going to climb the slope and carry on.

It's slippery and a long way down, but nobody comes a cropper that I see.

A bemused member of the public stands aside.

The field is thinning out as I get near to the top of the steps, so I have time to look around a bit. What do I see?

Belted Galloways! I assume Amanda won't have seen them as she'll have been too busy concentrating on her feet to look anywhere else, but perhaps they were less concealed when she came past, because she will later tell me she has indeed seen them.

These two will turn out to be the back markers. Supergirl is obvious enough, but I'm completely at a loss to identify Mr Green Thing On Head.

Gosh, Nigel has come as the Knacker Cracker itself.

Oh, and I'm still not at Broadwood's Folly. So much for that theory, I shall have to work on a new one for next time.

Ok, to the trig point...

The beard gives it away: she's not a natural blonde.

I missed the piper at the top of Burford because I was at the bottom, so a quick shot to make up for that. He's standing in a slightly poor place to photograph in context properly unless I were to move far enough back to compress the perspective with a telephoto lens, at which point I would be halfway down the hill and completely unable to see him. So this will have to do.

Amanda and friends near the top of the final ascent as we admire the view we would have if it wasn't so misty.

And there it is! Knacker Cracker 2020 well and truly cracked.

Recognise this man with his clothes on? Steve takes the winner's prize.

And it's goodbye from us.

I trust you will all agree that 2020 has started with some interesting visions indeed!

Love to all,


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