Hash 428 – Salutation Inn, Castle Combe

Date Hare Scribe
12 Jan 2014 Paul Kathy

Noel Coward famously said “I adore criticism just so long as it’s unqualified praise”, and unqualified praise is what today’s hashers – unanimously – heaped on Paul today for his first, superbly executed trail. Brian and Kathy arrived first to be greeted (Salutation Inn, get it?) by Paul who calmly delivered the news that the pub was, er, firmly closed…. and that we’d actually be doing the après 3 miles further on. Well, that’s a hash first. Brian, naturally, received this information with equilibrium, Kathy with slightly less composure, being concerned with access to a Ladies’ Room (well, what do you expect?!). But, dear reader, all worked out brilliantly in the end, and there was no need for concern at all.

428-1To the actual hash… Paul gathered a surprisingly large and enthusiastic group of hashers, and delivered an understated pep talk that was engaging, clear and concise. He’d even taken the trouble to include two short cuts en route – couldn’t miss ‘em, with the floury letters ‘SC’ confidently laid out in giant script (oh, the cakes that could have been baked!) I say understated ‘cos the trail very nearly didn’t get laid… when Paul reconnoitred (I love that word) the countryside in the days before, he encountered enough standing water to confound even the Dam Busters! The trails were perfectly laid – and, thankfully, hardly a stile in sight – with generous amounts of flour consistently laid from start to finish, including plenty of dots (always on the right, hear, hear), large arrows and circles.

428-2The routes chosen were terrific, with all the favourite markers of a first-class hash – incredibly varied scenery with gentle inclines and declines, gorgeous old buildings and exquisite thatched cottages, plenty of twists and turns, a fast-running river, slushy (and sometimes icily crunchy) golden leaves, and the wonderful sound of a robust rill finding its way down the valley. There was something new to feast the eye in every direction, the paths chosen were not too narrow, and we all agreed we’d love to do this trail again in summer when it can only appear even more attractive, with gardens in flower.

All the hashers felt well cared for by Paul, who ensured that we had no moments of angst wondering whether we’d taken the right route. His cheery white van was also a welcome sight as he drove down a very narrow hill towards the end to check the walkers were all OK, and to reassure us that we didn’t have far to go… but we’d been chatting so much we didn’t notice we’d been walking for nearly two hours. In fact even if the waters had started to rise again, we’d have probably been blissfully unaware!

Incredibly, too, runners and walkers all returned at virtually the same time (a rare feat), so we lazily made ourselves a bit more presentable and proceeded in convoy to The Star at Hullavington for a boisterous, relaxed and convivial après. Thank you very much again Paul for a most charming and memorable trail. Well done indeed. Now remember – you must do it again please later this year!


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