|29 May 2016||David||Mike|
It was a glorious sunny summer morning and the countryside around us was green and inviting as we mustered in the south west corner of the huge car park behind the Jolly Tar. There was no sign of David our hare at 1056 but we need not have worried as he strolled into the said car park at 1057 musing philosophically about how time flies when one is enjoying oneself trail laying. David’s trails have always been unusual. I know every hash trail is different but David’s have a unique ‘let’s try something new’ quality. For example – as we gathered around him for the brief he warned that the long was much shorter than usual and the short was much longer than usual and to help us cope with this there were several new trail signs. There was the arrow with a ‘K’ alongside it which was to indicate a little extra loop at the end of the trail for the really ‘Keen’ types who might feel deprived by the shortness of the long – and there was a really good sign made up of two curved arrows merging into one point which tells everybody that the long and the short trails merged at that point – brilliant!
So, on on up the road to the first circle at the junction and then along a green lane in dappled sunshine emerging every now and again into open fields which led round in a broad sweep to the road that leads to the Freke Arms. Down the road past the Freke and then there was the slightly uncomfortable run down a narrow and busy road before we could turn off into the quiet of the hamlet of Hampton. David explained that there is a way through to Hampton along the old railway line avoiding the road but the land is privately owned and the landowner is a bit grumpy so he wisely sent us round by road. On through Hampton to a junction at the top where someone had scuffed out the circle. Undeterred by this, those of us who have hashed around Highworth in the past instinctively took the right trail (Ed: i.e. turning left!) which took us through the horse paddocks where you have panoramic views and down past Bydemill Farm and the old church. I had a sudden burst of energy at this point and bounded like a mountain goat up the hill out of the valley to Hannington as if I was Joss Naylor (who ? I hear you ask – Joss Naylor is a hill farmer in the Lake District who is revered throughout the world as the greatest fell runner ever). Even though I felt I was running like he does and I was far from being last, when I came across the aforementioned ‘K’ arrow I noted that it was only about a hundred yards from the pub and it was pointing in the opposite direction –and so I made the very difficult decision not to follow it and got back to the pub in just over the hour. I thought it was a brilliant trail – a little bit different and exactly the right length.
Not only does the Jolly Tar have a big car park, it has a big open grassy space where one can sit out. We put all the benches we could find in a line there so that we could all sit together and there were about 20 of us chatting away and enjoying the sunshine and the convivial companionship of the hash – lovely. Brian thanked David for his splendid trail and he was warmly applauded. I’ll second that – thank you David for a splendid different trail.