|9 Jun 2019||Kevin & Julie||Keith|
Morning broke fine and warm, with sunshine and billowy white clouds. Perfect for a Hash! There were 18 of us altogether, 6 of us runners. Once again the Hash gods had kept open a window of a few hours of good weather for our hash, sandwiched between showery and windy weather – not much sign of ‘flaming June’ at the moment.
Kevin briefed us about the trail, which he’d laid with Julie. He began by asking if anyone had the hash horn? David Birley had awarded it to him at the previous hash at Sherston, and Kevin couldn’t find it and thought he may have left it behind in the pub. Had anyone picked it up? Silence. Oh dear, we seem to lose these hash ‘accoutrements’ on a regular basis (rubber chickens anyone?). But the bright blue hash bags with the dangly things never seem to go missing.
According to Kevin, the long trail was somewhat over 5 miles and the short around 3. En route we should see a famous White Horse hill figure, and even a single remaining stone from a c.2,000 yr old stone circle (with other stone stumps nearby) – or was it c. 4,000 yrs old?
The White Horse was cut into the hillside, possibly in the early 1800’s as it is mentioned in 1864 as being “at least 50 years old”, and is now one of 8 in Wiltshire still visible, whilst another 5 have become overgrown. A Restoration Society was formed in 1991 to look after the Broad Town Horse.
Back to the hash …..
A few photos were taken by our official hash photographer, Helen, and then a group photo, before we set off.
The route was mostly flat, often through fields of corn crops swaying rhythmically in the breeze. Recent heavy downpours had dried quickly, and surprisingly, the ground was dry and firm with no mud to be seen.
Inevitably, our quicker runners (Jeremy, John and Viv) surged ahead, as Caroline, Brian and I made our way unhurriedly around a well marked trail. Brian dutifully wore the hash bags, vivid blue with red and white tassles.
Quite soon we arrived at Winterbourne Bassett church before circling round it and heading off in another direction. A few of us had a quick look inside. We seemed to be a bit confused at this point, probably as we were heading back along the path we came to the church on, but all was well as we spied new flour signs.
The trail eventually took us along the escarpment between Clyffe Pypard and Broad Town and there were great views to be had looking down towards Royal Wootten Bassett. We continued on this track as the White Horse came into sight and it seemed certain we would continue on to it. So sure were we, that our attention wandered from checking for flour and we almost missed a “T”. That put us into reverse looking for the real trail, which we found at a circle (one we had all three run straight over without seeing) sending us away from the escarpment and towards the Village.
As we advanced along a field edge I announced the stone circle was ahead. Caroline and Brian both looked and agreed, but as we got there, it turned out to be hay bales! We never did see the standing stone. Here is a photo of the stone from the website geograph.org.uk. How could we miss it?
According to the 1:25k map there’s a stone circle behind the tree on the left. I’ve only just found this out otherwise I’d have taken a closer look. This stone may be linked to the circle. The cartographers have not identified this sarsen separately and I know nothing about it having failed to turn up anything on the web. Stones like this aren’t unusual in the area. The road to Winterbourne Bassett is at the left. The road leading to the right is a no-through-road to a farm. The white concrete pillar marks the entrance to a byway called Vize Lane.
I strained a leg muscle on the escarpment and kind of hobbled along hoping it would ease, which at times it did, and I then felt able to go a little faster, finally reaching the pub just before Brian and Caroline. Everyone else had already got back – nobody walked the long today – and were sat outside on one long table in warm sunshine, enjoying refreshment.
Sadly, no poltergeist activity occurred this time (no glasses shot off the tables) so maybe the spirit has moved on, or perhaps we were beyond range.
Our hares, Kevin and Julie were thanked for an interesting, enjoyable trail. Brian awarded the hash shorts …. to me, for spurious reasons, such as my complaining about my leg hurting, but then running ahead of him and Caroline and getting back before them. I just hope I don’t lose the shorts.