It just started to rain as we gathered outside The Royal Oak. To cheer us up, Kevin and Kerry delighted in pointing out that it had been a lovely afternoon earlier when they laid the hash. The hash had been listed as being Kev's run but the joint hares insisted in sharing the glory. There was some debate during the run as to why Kerry wanted to be associated with such a muddy and hilly jaunt, but who understands the mind of a woman eh?
We greeted Kat and failed to greet Mike, both of whom were HW3 virgins. It was also great to see Gerry back after an enforced rest, together with Rose. Roger announced that Benchbreaker and The Blonde (last week's hares) couldn't be arsed to come all the way to Stokenchurch so a volunteer scribe was required. This seems to be the only way to get silence from the rabble, but unfortunately for yours truly I was deep in conversation and this was taken as me volunteering. I will have words with David and Lesley who owe me at least a beer at the hash bash.
The runs were advertised at 5.5m and 3.5m, both of which turned out to be complete b*ll***s, Sooper Cooper had 7.2 miles on his magic machine for the long run and Kev admitted later that the short run was nearer 4.5m.
Eventually we set off, ominously heading downhill to the north. Soon we turned off the nice concrete track and began the first of many uphill slogs through (according to the map) Hawking Wood. Then we went down a bit and then we went up quite a lot, through another wood before reaching the long short split. Kevin insisted on sending out groups to find the long and short routes which were duly located and the pack divided.
The long route dropped down (a bit) to Spriggs Alley before climbing (a lot) through yet another wood (Venus Wood). This part of the route gets top marks for the very best grade shaggy, which was almost ankle deep and impossible to avoid. The moaning started about now and Kev grinned, knowing that it would be a good run based on the number of complaints from the hounds. It was around here somewhere that Matt and Ros managed to catch us up, having set off from the pub a full 15 minutes after us!
I think the next bit was flatish or even downhill, but it's all a bit of a blur. It was around here I managed to moose, narrowly avoiding an almost spectacular save and, while recovering, met up with Roger and Sandra to see that Sandra had also managed to fall, narrowly avoiding landing on Roger. I'm told that Des was more successful in managing to save himself from moosing but had "a bit of a close shave"
I'm sure there must have been more downhill, but the rest of the run seemed to be almost all uphill with plenty of shiggy which, although not quite up to the standard of Venus Wood, was pretty much unrelenting. Eventually we reached a part of the Chiltern Way just below Stokenchurch, which I recognised. So did Ken, who seemed determined to take the shorter route back to the pub. But no, our hares had other plans and managed to find us a final extension up an even steeper hill back.
Safely back in the pub (at 9.35!!) we were treated to nan bread and chips and some excellent Squirrels Nuts beer from the Marlow brewery. It was also great to see Ian in the pub, continuing his slow but determined recovery from achilles injury and trying to pretend that he really didn't mind not skiing this year.
I'd like to thank Kerry and Kevin for an enjoyable run, but my Mum told me not to lie!