Sandpit#9: Little Mo’s big weekend


For a day that was supposed to herald the apocalypse, December 21 dawned pleasantly sunny and not too warm.

And if the Mayans were going to cancel the end of the world, it made for perfect conditions for Sandpit#9 even though the shortest day of the year wasn’t going to be quite as short as some had feared.

A select group (definition: everyone stuck in the sandpit over Christmas) of about 16 headed across the plains towards Hatta, meeting at the Shell gas station in the section of Oman where petrol is even cheaper than in the UAE.

Here we met with Little Mo and Sheikha, who led us to their secret camping location in the mountains.

The trouble was there’d been some heavy rain in the previous couple of weeks and floods had changed the topography, as Jaws discovered when the faint track he was following ended in a washout.


But after a bit of work to create a ramp, he managed to drive out unaided and with only a little cosmetic damage.


(This, of course, did nothing to obviate the original sin)

We didn’t realise at the time but the Mercedes 4×4 that didn’t get stuck managed to kill all four tyres and all four rims, at a cost of Dh18,000… Turns out a Dh20 hash can be an expensive proposition. This earned W@nker the B@nker the title of the day’s Honourary Mayan for the apocalypse to his wallet. But if you’ve ever seen Snow White’s Louis Vuitton bag collection, you’ll know this is nothing out of the ordinary.


But I digress. Our intended site proved to be unreachable due to washouts so we moved on to Plan B, in the next little wadi further along, where we circled out wagons.


Some relaxed. Like father, like son.


At 4pm, we set off on what Little Mo had set as a very scenic but equally false trail.


This in turn led up back into a gully, where we began the day’s pattern of scrambling up a wadi, heading over a ridge comprised of loose rock and then repeating the same pattern again and again.


This was enlivened by Little Mo, who was just ahead and encouraging the, er, more pedestrian Sandpitters that they had the chance to “see the donkey on its nest with its eggs”.


Alas each time they came close, the donkey would have just left, taking her (or his) eggs with it. All this was the price of having spotted a rare Ruppell’s sand fox while out setting the run.


So we resumed the process of heading up wadis and scrambling over crumbling ridges.


There was a checkpoint in the middle of a gorge section. Now, where could the trail possibly go????


At one point, the beer stop’s cooler could be seen tantalisingly on the ridge above.


This prompted a breakaway group who gave up on the possible sighting of donkey eggs in favour of a definite sighting of cold San Miguels.


The true believers continued, eventually topping out on a broad and rocky ridge which we followed back to find others assiduously engaged in quality control, which in this case was assessing whether the beer was adequately cold for our use.


And they did a fine job too.


Then we settled into watching the sun set over the UAE, which was only a few kilometres over to the west but obvious from the flamboyant buildings and discordant greenery on show.


Then there was just the matter of returning the cooler to the camp. The others had selflessly done their best to empty it to make this task easier. What selfless people!


At camp, Sheikha had been hard at work. It’s not easy to cook for a couple of dozen people on a campfire but she’d produced a truly amazing curry.


There was apparently a disco soundtrack playing…

There was a quick circle for the punishing of sins both real and imagined.


And it wouldn’t be Christmas without the aroma of roasting nuts…


Yas, ICU Sh@gger, Shorth@ndjob and even Little Mo got into the action, the latter earning extra points for having done so in a kandurah.

The next morning Little Mo provided his outstanding hash breakfast.


Then the flies had returned with a vengeance (there’s a price to pay for the rain…) and we headed back to the real world.

For most, that involved going back to the Hatta Road and through Madam.

But for a couple of us, it meant turning left and trying to find a crossing point in the substantial border fence.


This sign wouldn’t put you off would it?


It proved to be more of an adventure than expected and we had to go all the way to Buraimi before finding a place non GCC citizens could cross. But it also showed us there were a bunch on interesting running sites available which we’ll revisit for later sandpits.


Who knew the Sandpit Hash would ever reach double figures? Even the organisers’ collective IQ hasn’t achieved that. But on January 18, we’ll meet for run#10 and, in keeping with this auspicious moment, there’ll be this highly collectable* shirt:

black tshirt

Details of exactly where will be announced here later but Jaws and Moby Dick are the organisers. This will make them the Sandpit Two, as the only ones who’ve been to all 10 Sandpit Hashes.

(*Not really)

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