The heat-defying final Sandpit hash of the season

It’s that time of year again: sauna season.

But there’s still time for one last Sandpit Hash before we take a summer break.

While it’s too hot to do almost anything outside now, Hatta Pools are an exception. The photos you see on this page were taken in July when it’s 50 degrees outside and at one point as it went through a cave, it was almost chilly.

It’s not really a run: more of a canyoning trip through the upper and lower parts of the canyon.

You need to be comfortable clambering down rocks. For the upper canyon, there’s a 150m swim. The lower canyon is nicer and cleaner but involves a 3m jump into a pool, which you can avoid if you choose to just do the upper canyon. (The photos that follow show the kind of terrain you’ll encounter).

But it’s definitely too hot to camp so we’ll have the onback at the Hatta Fort Hotel. If you choose to stay (probably wise unless you have a designated driver) a chalet style room costs Dh763 (including the various taxes), a one-bedroom suite is Dh1525 and a 120sq m two-bedroom deluxe villa is Dh2551. We’ll have one of the latter as the venue for the on-back. (These are advance purchase rates and are available until two weeks before — IE you have to book by Thurs May 24 — after which  they go up by about 20%)

The run itself will still just cost the standard Sandpit fee of Dh20.

The run is in Oman so you need a passport or Emirates ID card to get through the border crossings.


Meeting place: Hatta Fort Hotel. (Some of us will be having lunch beforehand if you want to join us)

When: We’ll leave the hotel at 3pm, Friday June 8, and drive to Hatta Pools. It’s 2WD accessible until the final couple of hundred metres. There are sometimes thefts from cars at Hatta Pools, so leave your valuables back at the hotel.

This shows the terrain. The first three photos are from the upper canyon and the rest are from the lower canyon.

Embrace the adventure!


Beating the heat on Sandpit #5

The weather in the sandpit had finally warmed up but Batman and his cronies had a cunning plan for Sandpit Hash run number five: go up!

So we did, into the Hajar mountains of the Musandam Peninsula, at an altitude of about 1000m above sea level at Dibba.

And it worked too. As we drove across the UAE to the east coast, the car was showing the ground temperatures were an ovenlike 43degC/110degF but here it was warmish but OK.

In the spirit of people not being OK, Johann  brought out his supply of barbed wire spirit.
And this was before the run began… What could go wrong????

Batman showed how the trail was marked. Or else he was marking the ground with some kind of fertility symbol.

We headed away along a literal goat track.

Then up onto a rocky knoll…

…and of course back down again because it was a false trail.

It was not a place for running.

The Wadi Bih runners began experiencing some deja vu…

But after yet another false trail, we returned to the wilderness.

It was stunning country to run in. And this was sometime around 6.30pm so the heat had moderated.

There was talk of a beer stop on the peak behind.

These places were all inhabited until about one generation ago…

The ONLY rule of Sandpit Hash is there has to be a beer stop!

And, as usual, it was somewhere scenic.

As the sun set in the west…

The supermoon was rising in the east. This was the night before the moon was the biggest and brightest it’d be this year.

We ran out of beer! Which prompted us to return to the campsite.

The circle formed.

A no-hash-shirt = no-shirt rule was invoked.

“So you’re saying I can put it on ice cream or put it in my coffee?”

W@nker, Pisto, Snot Gobbler and co got musical.

Lessons were given.

Shenanigans followed.

It went on into the night.

This is not what it looks like!

Codpiece became convinced (thanks to a bit of barbed wire spirit) that Peter’s belly was actually a balloon she could pop if she imitated a bull…

Full moon nights in the mountains are always nice.

Yas recreated The Men Who Stare At Goats.

Codpiece’s tent was sabotaged by having a dozen bowling ball sized rocks put under her mattress. But she got the last laugh because she never went to bed…

Let’s just say it was a good idea for her not to drive!

Then it was time for the boring drive home.

Are you ready for Sandpit Hash #6?

Defy the heat with a live hare run through the gorge at Hatta pools.

(Really, it’s feasible!)

But it’s too hot to camp so we’ll have the onback at Hatta Fort Hotel.

Details to follow.