The hash started, as few hashes do, without the usual lies, misinformation and downright deceit of most hares – but with a brutally honest "The short run is long, and the long run is longer". The rumours were that the long was "Over six". Sadly the rumours were correct - it was over six. And over seven too for that matter, which is actually quite a long way over six (it was 7.3 miles). The promised lack of hills turned into an actual lack of hills and the 96 feet of elevation gain recorded by my GPS came mainly from climbing over the dozens of stiles.
The biggest consolation for this was that the hares, Nicky, Zac and Izzy had to do it all twice!
We started off with a long grind to the left along the Thame Road – at the time it seemed that we would actually get all the way to Thame before we turned off. Fortunately, after three quarters of a mile the Hash turned into a field (which is no mean magical achievement) and we turned west towards the setting sun and the first of the evening's on-backs. It's odd, but whenever other people get caught on a long on-back it seems a jolly and useful device, but when I get caught it seems to turn into the evil machinations of a malevolent tyrant and the prospect of capital punishment for hares seems a reasonable, even mild retribution for so heinous a sin.
On across several fields and a railway line and before we arrived at Ilmer. If you had been foolish enough to live in Ilmer in the 12th century, your lords and masters would have been the Rumenel family and you may have seen quite a few hawks about as they were "marshal and keeper of the king's hawks and other birds." Somewhat more unusual for the age, in 1203 the master (to bad King John) was actually a lady - Aubrey Rumenel.
Carrying on west one rumour had it that we were heading for Towersley, though rumour also had it that we might not make it there in time for their annual music festival as it was only four weeks away. Another rumour was that we seemed to be heading for Wales, though, fortunately, this turned out to be untrue.
Turns to the south and west took us backon a roughly parallel course towards the pub. The ground was of the knarly "ankle breaker" variety as we pushed our way first though a very overgrown plantation of young willow trees. In a field of corn the path became so rough that most hashers circled around the entire field rather than go straight on through it. I think it was around here that I overheard "Why don't you ever see hippopotamus hiding in trees? Because they're really good at it," followed by "I never make mistakes…I thought I did once; but I was wrong."
On back past North Mill farm the light began fading rapidly and those of us who hadn't brought a torch started cursing and falling over holes that were difficult to see. Fortunately the bruising has now faded. The pack became very strung out with the hares each following up a different group, the last part of the run through the trees was in almost complete darkness – though this made the pub seem even more welcoming than usual.
Roger made a speech which he said was not about the monthly Tosca and much amiability and munching took place to re-gain the calories that had been lost on our very pleasant jaunt around (most of) Buckinghamshire.
But the Burning question of the day is: are Nicky and Zac attempting to topple long-run-master-and-champion Ken? Be sure to catch next week's hash to find out!