|10 Aug 2014||Paul||Brian|
Despite having lived in Wiltshire for over forty years Castle Combe is a village I’ve never actually visited. Of course I knew a little about it, well who doesn’t? I knew it was reputed to be a very pretty village, in fact it’s ranked No 2 in The Times best villages. I knew that it was popular with TV and film production companies having been used in TV’s Agatha Christie’s Poirot and that wonderful film Warhorse and I well remember when they were filming Dr Doolittle back in 1967. I don’t really know why but all my friends at school knew of the filming as it was taking place. Certainly we were all aware of the problems they were experiencing*. One of the causes of the problems was the fact that during that summer it frequently rained ….. at least in Castle Combe it frequently rained.
Now it so happens that Paul laid an excellent hash for us back in January this year. It took place from the Salutation Inn on the hill above Castle Combe and I recall that because of the rain he had to alter his trail away from the village. You well remember, if you were there, that the pub was also unexpectedly closed so we had to go to another village. Anyway it was still a fabulous hash.
So …… to maximise the chance of good weather, Paul (with my encouragement) decided to try again and do a trail there in August. Nothing wrong with that plan then.
I made sure I arrived early and parked in the car park at the top of the hill 5 minutes away from the village. It wasn’t actually raining as I walked down the hill. I knew, as I’m sure we all did, that it was going to rain that day. The weather forecast had been quite positive about it for days. Arriving in the village I met Paul and Di sheltering in the villages 14th century Market Cross.
We briefly discussed how many might turn up. Di had even wondered whether it would be just her and Paul having a walk by themselves. However, being the hardy and enthusiastic (foolish?) bunch they are they began arriving. Among the early arrivees were Val, Fiona, Jeremy and Keith. We were lucky that the Market Cross was there because it began to rain rather hard so the shelter was very welcome. Yet ….. hashers kept arriving and arriving, both runners and walkers, Mike and Annie, John and Viv, John and Margaret (who were able to park right outside the pub) and others. It was great.
By the time Paul came to give his pre-hash address it had stopped raining. Paul told us not to worry if it rained as much of the trail was sheltered. He then set us on our way. Indeed much of the trail was through woodland which for the most part was dry underfoot. Despite the rain it was actually quite warm and the running was easy. There were occasional muddy patches and Keith who was running in front of me nearly came to grief but saved himself just in time.
The countryside was lovely and the running enjoyable. There was the usual long/short divide. I mention this because Margaret, John and I, mistakenly arriving upon it for a second time by missing an arrow (but from the direct opposite direction) nearly went around a second time.
The last part of the trail was re-entering the village. It was certainly that part that I was able to see what a lovely little village Castle Combe is.
The pub had a nice cosy yard so we all sat outside afterwards. One small problem. The first thing I wanted was not beer (sorry hash purists) but a black coffee. Unfortunately, they couldn’t serve me one because there were no cups left. Annie had the same trouble getting a pot of tea due to, this time, the reason being he couldn’t get to the tea making equipment. I mention this only because Annie’s face darkened and said in that lovely Geordie accent of hers “I think he means the kettle”.
The après hash was full of happy chatter. After a while I thanked Paul and he was warmly applauded by everyone. A really enjoyable hash, thanks Paul.
*It wasn’t just the frequent rain that gave the Dr Doolittle film crew a problem. Because of their rather arbitrary modifications to the village were also frequent, this put the backs of the residents up. So annoyed were they that they made attempts to sabotage production.