We set off in fair weather and that is as far as our luck held out! A raggle taggle bunch of the usual suspects gathered in the car park of the Chequers Inn as 7.45 approached. Considering the amount of cars strewn across the common, I had assumed it was a particularly busy night in the pub but it was deserted. We concluded that there must be something particularly exciting, and perhaps more enticing than the prospect of a 5 mile run, happening at the village hall. Perhaps Daisy was finally pulling it off?
Having lashed it down all afternoon we lucked out and must have timed our departure for the eye of Storm Diana that had been promising to whip up gusts of between 60mph and 70mph as she travelled north from Portugal. Our Hare for the night, Cocker, talked us though his entertainments for the evening and invited us to check said route out.
The hash set off at a keen pace across Wheeler End Common. Back in the day it was renowned for its geese and was even known locally as Goose Common. You need to watch out for geese as they can be quite aggressive. They are like sharks you know, they can detect the slightest trace of blood from miles away and have been known to pick off weak or injured hashers from the back of the pack. Luckily for us there was not a goose in sight but there may well have been an occasional moose as we slithered down the hill finally feeling the reassurance of tarmac under our feet as we hit Piddington Lane. Evidence of the earlier inundation was evident as we trundled down the road through the debris to meet and cross the A40.
Here beganith the first steady but persistent climb of the evening up to and through Great Cockshoots Wood. The footpath was littered with the corpses of despatched pheasants, possibly placed there to warn off hashers by the angry gamekeeper who had accosted our irreproachable hare earlier that day. Evidently the two had different outlooks on whether fat bikes or for that matter, quad bikes, should be permitted on footpaths. Luckily they agreed to disagree and there was no need to use the 12 bore the country gent had resting over his arm. Otherwise the area would have evermore been known as CockerShoot Wood.
FYI - " A public footpath is a highway and hence a public place. So the public have a right of access – presumably on the basis that if there is a public right of passage the owner clearly cannot enjoy the exclusive enjoyment of the land. There is no logical basis for believing that the right of access to a footpath should be limited to access on foot. Rather the issue is whether use is reasonable.
Cycling along footpaths has not been held to be a public nuisance. If cycling was a private nuisance to the owner it would be a trespass even with a right of way. So if cycling along, say, a bridleway is not a private nuisance then cycling along a footpath cannot be. The clear implication is that a cyclist on a public footpath has lawful authority to be there and is not a trespasser."
It was a lovely skip back down the hill with the lights of West Wycombe twinkling ahead of us and the mausoleum lit up on our left. Sadly there was no time to stop in for tea at the pavilion of West Wycombe cricket ground and no hot dogs on the go at Big Ben's car boot sale. It was On On up Towerridge Lane for the second steady persistent hill of the evening. As the FRB's neared the top and entered the woods they must have put up nigh on a hundred roosting pheasants and the sound was quite something. Ironically the signposts warned of stray clay pigeons from the E J Churchill shooting ground.
The hash seemed to get a second wind with the realisation that the pub was drawing near and soon enough we saw the welcoming sight of ON INN inscribed on our path. We all nestled into the warm bosom of the Chequers Inn for a much needed pint, some cracking chips, crispy onion rings and Roger's usual witty repartee. Many thanks to our esteemed hare for a very enjoyable, undulating and well measured hash.