|03 April 2016||Keith||Mike|
Hooray Hooray – the first hash of Spring today ! And what a beautiful spring day it was. The Victoria stands on a bank in the village of Eastleach famous for its glorious display of daffodils which fill the bank and the whole village at this time of year. All this natural beauty lit by bright sunshine warming the fresh cool spring air. You could not ask for a lovelier day for running in the countryside and KVH3 hashers turned up in their thousands (well, perhaps not thousands – but a good 25) including Maurice and Ollie who were treated like long lost family as we were all so genuinely pleased to see them. It was Maurice’s 67th birthday and so, of course, we all wished him a very happy day and were hugely impressed when he ran off at the start of the hash, keeping up with Ollie and going like a train at his venerable age. ‘It’s hashing wot keeps people young’ is what I always say.
So, to the start. Keith, our hare called everyone for briefing at 11 am precisely and solemnly opened his laptop and began reading out a detailed breakdown of the hazards and the unusual elements of his trail. This was interrupted however by the arrival of Margaret and John who, although 10 minutes late, were earlier than usual. There was a further delay when Margaret announced that she had forgotten her running shoes and did anyone have a spare size 6. I mean – forgetting one’s running shoes when going to the hash or forgetting the flour if you are laying the trail could happen to anyone. Fortunately Alison had a spare pair and Keith carried on with the briefing. The short was quite long and had some major hazards at the end (cows in one field and a bog down by the river) so one should take the medium trail which is almost as long as the long.
I looked at Kathy’s face at this point and felt a moment of compassion.
And finally – we were off. “Turn left out of the pub” Keith called and we dutifully turned left and charged off down the hill – I kept up with Ollie for a good 25 yards – only to be called back to the start. Keith had meant turn 180 degrees left into the path that ran alongside the car park not just left. “Some hashers need to go to Specsavers” he said as we came puffing back “Did you not see that huge arrow ?”. My eyesight is not quite as hawk-like as it was in my seagoing days yet I had a sneaking suspicion that he’d put that arrow down after we’d been through – but I’m saying nothing.
The trail led through the village and then out into the most glorious countryside. We ran along a beautiful green valley with a river winding along it – all bathed in bright sunshine. and it felt good to be alive. I was in my usual position at the back with GOM Brian who kindly kept me company and we revelled in it. We came to the first field of cows and newly born calves where we met Keith who told us they were quiet and it was actually pleasant to be in amongst them. The trail was clearly and very efficiently marked in what must have been almost a cupful of flour with every arrow and circle sharply defined in about three microns of flour so we ran on confidently to the end of the valley where the trail took us right, up a hill, and back along the other side. Brian and I were overtaken at this point by a young runner who slowed down with us and chatted about running and how pleased he was to get back to running after knee surgery. There’s nothing like the running fraternity for having a chat with a complete stranger as if you’d known them for years.
We came to the long/short/medium divide where the short trail led over stepping stones over a fast-flowing river into a bog and had a short planning meeting to decide which trail to take. We decided finally that we would take the hazardous route as we were a long way behind the others and we like a bit of a challenge. Neither of us fell in the river and although we got wet feet the cows were no trouble again and we trotted back to the village feeling rather pleased with ourselves. Ollie and Maurice and the other runners had been back at the pub for some time – but we got back before the walkers,
The après was hugely enjoyable as always. The Victoria is an excellent pub where they cater for both drinkers and those who want to eat and the pub is run by helpful and cheerful staff. We all sat outside on the benches at the front of the pub and chatted and said Happy Birthday to Maurice (no singing) and admired the daffodils. It was lovely.
I thought that was a really excellent trail – thank you very much Keith.