A chilly, wind-swept night in the Chilterns, and there was no doubt that autumn was upon us. The heavens had opened earlier that afternoon, the downpour had at moments been almost biblical, and there seemed little hope of finding flour en route. Undaunted, a good-sized group of hashers assembled opposite the Horse & Jockey, ready to receive instruction from our hare for the evening, Jane aka Legover. Jane optimistically informed us that her hard work in marking the route had not all been undone by the inclement weather, and promised us a standard set of hash features - shiggy, hills, a short clocking in at 3.7 miles and a long at 5.4 miles (or thereabouts, like all good scribes I wasn't paying that much attention to any of this).
Off we set, up the road then across damp fields to skirt around Puttenham Place Farm, where they have trained young horses in the discipline of show jumping since 2008. A quick jink to the south for variety's sake next, before we resumed our journey northeast, then north from Penn Bottom through Brook Wood - classified as ancient semi-natural woodland - before turning northwest into Common Wood. There we were on - on - on - on down a long straight trail, with plenty of on-backs to catch the FRBs, before finally turning left towards civilization and the long-awaited Long/Short split.
Once we'd ditched the slowcoaches - sorry, I mean bade a fond farewell to our marginally less athleticlly-inclined compadres - we proceeded to work our way through the houses, no doubt rousing local residents who perhaps feared that this was a newly emboldened Corbynite mob come to raze their tax haven-registered property to the ground and take back what was rightfully theirs. A beautifully-asphalted and speed-bumped private road took us in a grand loop down into the depths of the valley and straight back up again, a good tester for anyone thinking of entering the Frieth Hilly on Sunday 18 October (www.friethhilly.co.uk for details).
Then it was back through the badlands of South Hazlemere/West Tylers Green, until the glow of the lights through the stained glass of St Margaret's told us we were nearly home; and sure enough, there was the On-Inn, a quick trot and we were back in the pub with a plethora of chips, some decent real ales, and the GM meandering his way through another Oi. A rousing chorus of Happy Birthday was sung to both Alan, who was celebrating on the day itself, and to Dashwood Dick, who had turned 51 a couple of days earlier.
An excellent hash, despite the best efforts of Mother Nature to put paid to Legover's good work in setting it - Thanks Jane!