After welcoming Virgin Hashers John and Vicky to the Hash we set ourselves to the serious matter of ignoring the hare’s instructions for the evening.
I heard him say that the short run was 3.2 miles with a steep hill and the long was 5.6 miles with two, gentler, hills. Surprisingly, as the hare was Ken, this turned out to be reasonably accurate. Although some of us clocked up seven plus miles on the GPS, measuring it on Magic.gov.uk gave a long run of just 6.3 miles with three hills – which was nearly within half a mile of the declared distance. This is probably the most accurate Hash measurement Ken has ever given, and, as for the number of hills? Well, two out of three isn’t bad, and they weren’t.
Though, judging by the amount to tired-sounding whinges during the last two miles most of the long cutters seemed to think it was both longer and faster than normal. Surprisingly, the average speed on the way around was 5.3mph which is pretty much the average for the long-cutters.
A double right out of the car park found us heading south towards Brightwell Hill and a mere half mile (complete with two wrong checks for me) later we turned right onto a track which saw the first of several on backs. Still, I was encouraged to see Aud also doing an on-back before I had caught up again (and those of you who voiced the opinion that she was just doing a mega-short-cut back to the pub should be ashamed of yourselves!).
Sometime around here Helen and Aaron caught up and we heard about their cunning plan to arrive close to on time (as Hell’s Bells had been eventing late in the afternoon). The plan was a good one. First Helen would change in the horsebox on the way back, while Aaron would drive. Then she would sort her horse whilst Aaron changed. Then, being amongst the brighter hashers in that they know how to type a name into a satnav, they would tear Hells-for-leather to the wrong place, with the wrong name and find the wrong pub. Then, having done their bit to maintain the high standards of the Hash, they would eventually find the correct pub and have to run Hell’s-for-leather again to catch up.
A left and a right and we entered the confusing Icknieldbank plantation – confusing as there were several parallel and intertwining paths, one with lots of horse-jumps (which presumably were for Hell’s with the mistaken idea that she might still be on a horse).
Near a road which would have taken us to Sliding Hill had we gone down it the wrong way (and yes, I did check the wrong way) we arrived at the long short split and the shorts had to run up the steep slope of Sliding Hill anyway. The longs headed for Warren Bottom, the Chiltern way, some lovely views and a whole lot of less than lovely-smelling footpath. Sadly we missed out on running through the deliciously named "The Nuttery" just a few hundred metres to the south.
As Ewelme hove into site we took a sharp left turn up a hill across Cow Common, (which had no cows on it) and took an extra loop east and then back west onto Rabbits Hill, (which had lots and lots of rabbits on it). The Hash drew to a halt to admire and discuss the beautiful 13th Century Ewelme church with its herringbone patterned Alms houses. The church was built by Geoffry Chaucer’s grandaughter, Alice de la Pole, Duchess of Suffolk, who had her remains examined by Queen Victoria’s commissioners as nobody remembered how a lady should wear the Order of the Garter. I am sure there are a few ladies on the hash who could have told them how a garter should be worn.
Whipping Boy took a detour into the graveyard, presumably to find the grave of Jerome K Jerome (author of Three Men in a Boat). Again presumably because he is buried there. On-on up the hill and a long and narrow check took us to a regroup. Andy and Anthony, with Hells Bells as ringleader, refused to do an on-back on the puny grounds that the path was too narrow to pass anyone. To be fair they did wait for everyone to pass them before returning to the run.
It was widely felt that we would have to go left as it crossed a puddle half the size of Dorset, and indeed John did check that way with the soon-to-be-dissipated enthusiasm of a virgin hasher. As soon as he arrived on the far shore (amid comments of “Who owns the fishing rights to that”, and “Where do we find the boatyard”) Ken called it straight on along an even longer check. A left at the bottom of the hill and we eventually found a confusing arrow pointing in the wrong direction. Ade was about to start a second loop around the hash (we had been through there earlier) when he heard the on-on called in the other direction and returned.
A mile or so later on and we were safely ensconced in the crowded pub, drinking beer and ignoring the GM. John McM was awarded a T shirt for 50 runs and Ken for a massive 450. There were to be four other presentations but the hashers concerned had understandably not turned up. Tired and weary after an excellent hash, we eventually headed homeward towards the real world and the promise of hashes yet to come.