|03 Mar 2013||Margaret and Fiona||Mike|
I have been banging on a bit over the past few weeks about the unique and peculiarly different qualities of every hash – and now I find myself struggling for the right words to describe what was a quintessentially conventional hash from the Rose and Crown in Lea. No smelly rubbish dumps or bramble strewn bogs to run through, no floods or snow drifts and a complete absence of stampeding herds of bullocks. It was instead a civilised five mile trail through a green and gentle English countryside in excellent company from an old fashioned country pub where everybody got back in an hour and nobody got lost – brilliant!
Our thanks for this paragon of a trail go to our hare Lady Margaret who scoured the whole of Wiltshire and most of Gloucestershire to find the right pub, planned, checked and re-checked her trail, asked Brian and I to run round it with her the week before to offer suggestions on how it might be improved and accepted Fiona’s offer to help lay the trail on the day. There’s thorough for you. The weather played a part – it was one of those early spring days with snowdrops and daffodils springing up all over the place and just a touch of warmth in the air when you began to feel that the winter was nearly over. And lots of runners and walkers came to enjoy it including John and Vivien who were full of stories about their adventures in the Falkland Islands and Paul and Tim who haven’t been for ages and our youthful wing of Sam and Collum and Federica and Andreas. We filled the car park but nobody from the pub complained that we were spoiling their Sunday lunch trade. I suspect that was because the landlord was Welsh and I heard him and Margaret chatting away in Welsh as if they had known each other all their lives.
Right, on with the run. I was feeling unusually strong and so I set off like a young Emil Zatopek (who ? – he was one of the greatest long distance runners ever and a hero of mine – that’s who) and I knew where the false trails were, so for a short while at least,
I exhilarated in being in leading the pack. Sam and the youthful wing soon sailed past me though as we ran out of the village and down to an old water mill in the river valley, along the river bank for a bit and then climbing over a stile into a field with nothing but a few dots of flour to guide us. Across a couple of fields to a new development of riverside apartments and out on to the main Malmesbury Road where the trail disappeared. Here, knowing the trail came in handy and I found myself in the lead again. Just a short stretch along the road before turning off across high open fields then down to the Mill again where we took a footpath across more fields to the eastern end of the village and back to the pub. The Long/Short divide was just outside the saloon bar of the pub so a bit hard on the runners who went on to another completely different loop over much more open countryside.
Everybody got back more or less together in just on the hour and we sat and gossiped in the drinkers bit of the pub (people eating had a proper restaurant bit to eat in) by a wood burning stove which smoked. Brian thanked Margaret for her well planned and enjoyable trail and then went on to express regret that the hash horn and the bags were missing yet again. Do people feel that we should give up presenting them in view of this apathy ? Please put your views on the Comments bit of the website. Thank you Margaret for another excellent hash.