|17 Mar 2013||Val and Liz||John|
On Sunday morning we awoke to a heavy snowstorm, but the old hashing maxim that “it never rains on a hash” prevailed, so despite the inauspicious start, we set out in an optimistic mood for Devizes.
After an easy drive we found The Hourglass, which is situated immediately on the side of the Kennet Canal. On arrival we were greeted by the cheerful Val and Liz, possibly relieved that people were going to turn up after all their hard work laying the trail. They had apparently set out during a blizzard, and wondered whether their trail of flour would ever be found! Fortunately a small but hardy group of runners, and a larger group of walkers arrived, bolstered by several new visitors.
The route took us out of The Hourglass car park and immediately along the Canal, through the backstreets of Devizes. Shortly we were out into the country lanes heading for the high ground with the potential for superb views.
The highlight of the runners’ route was a lengthy trudge up to the top of Roundway Hill and Oliver’s Castle. This is a high plateau of around 130 metres set amongst the Wessex Downs, and designated an area of outstanding natural beauty. On the side of the hill is a large chalk white horse constructed in 1999 to commemorate the Millennium.
Nearby is Roundway Down which was the site, in 1643, of a major cavalry victory for the Royalist over the Parliamentarians in the English Civil War. This enabled them to capture Bristol and also secure the South-West, with the potential for mounting an attack on London, which of course was never realised. The extent of the victory was so great, with 660 Parliamentary soldiers killed and 1,000 captured, that it was christened by the Royalist as “Runaway Down”.
From the White Horse Hill we entered a superb avenue of beech trees, before finding our way down the hill back across the fields, and returning to the canal side we had originally started on.
Amazingly it remained dry, and the sun even started to appear, but unfortunately not quite warm enough to make use of the extensive outdoor seating at the Hourglass.
Brian and the rest of us , congratulated Val and Liz for providing a super Hash with lots of variety, in the most difficult of conditions
James awarded the horn to one of the lady visitors, in the optimistic hope that she will return for future hashes.
Margaret presented a new pair of pink shorts to Collum as he was the only runner brave enough to wear shorts on such a cold morning.
Many thanks again to our Hares for a well organised event.