|26 July 2015||Viv & John||Jeremy|
There were at least two reasons for missing today’s hash, the main one probably being the weather, as although it was supposedly summer, the temperature was a measly 12C with the rain coming down all morning. I was therefore pleasantly surprised to find a group of 10 or more gathering in the car park as I arrived, followed closely by David who had cycled from Wanborough.
John and Viv were our unfortunate hares for the day and although Viv looked damp and cold and had really icy hands, she was still cheerful, claiming that under these conditions she always looks younger.
The pre-hash talk introduced the runners to expectations of fields of cows and bullocks and slippery chalk, whereas the walkers had to contend with probably one of the shortest trails ever laid (yes – just one and a half miles), albeit with an option to visit a church on the runner’s route. Kathy suggested this was a bit too complex for the walkers to manage, so perhaps they just did the really short short – which may well explain them being already back at the pub when the runners finished..
The trail this time was marked more by sodden dough than flour, so it wasn’t always easy to spot. We started by going to Woolstone church, and quickly failed to find our way out of the churchyard – but after a few circles of the church itself we found the route and carried on across the fields to Compton Beauchamp and beyond. On the way we joined the d’Arcy Dalton trail. This 66 mile long path runs mostly through Oxfordshire from the Oxford Canal in the North, to Wayland’s Smithy on the Ridgeway. It is named after a Colonel of that name who worked for over 50 years preserving local rights of way in Oxfordshire.
It was then a left turn and the long haul up onto the Downs to join the Ridgeway. Andreas was in the lead with your scribe keeping up … just. We stopped for a quick look at the neolithic chambered long barrow of Wayland’s Smithy – Wayland being a Saxon smith-god – then continued on towards Uffington Castle before another left for the longer than expected final downhill leg.
Keith, misinterpreting an arrow, added a bit of extra distance to his run, whilst the others kindly slowed down to allow Jeremy to catch up – which he never did as he was up front with Andreas.
Back at the pub, we sat out in the garden under a large canopy that protected us from the ongoing drizzle, looking at the pizza oven with its fire burning gently, hoping that some of the heat would warm us. Brian thanked John and Viv for their excellent trail, Jeremy presented the shorts to Andreas for forcing him to run all the way up onto the Ridgeway, Kathy extolled the virtues of Brian as GOM and then we all moved on, either in-doors for the warmth of the pub or homeward for a hot shower / bath.