|11 Jun 2017||Paul||Kevin|
The Old Royal Ship at Luckington was a new hash venue for us and our hares for the day Paul and Di. Luckington is found in the far north west of Wiltshire seven miles south west of Malmesbury and seven miles north of Sodbury. The parish comprises the village of Luckington and the smaller village of Alderton which is in the south west of the parish. Within the parish of Luckington are springs that are the source of the Bristol Avon. Luckington also has had some notable residents of recent years including Sir Stewart Menzies (more about Sir Stewart later) and the actors John Thaw and Sheila Hancock. The Badminton Estate (famous for it’s three day eventing horse trials) borders the parish.
And so to the hash…. Keith gathered everyone outside the Old Royal Ship ready for the off at 11 o’clock. Paul, holding a bag of flour, informed us he had used four bags of flour while laying the course earlier in the morning as some parts of the course had become overgrown and it had been difficult finding bare ground on which to lay any markers. Also, due to the rainfall earlier that morning the trail may be wet underfoot. Paul advised the long course was about 4.5 miles and the short 3 miles and that some fields contained cows and horses although the cows should not be any trouble for us as they were in the opposite corner of a field to the trail that was layed. Paul set us a couple of challenges, firstly to locate the grave of Sir Stewart Menzies in Luckington’s Parish Church of St. Mary and St. Ethelbert (Sir Stuart Menzies was the Chief of MI6 from 1939 to 1952. It is said that Ian Fleming based his character of M featured in the James Bond books on Sir Stewart), secondly to identify the number of species of duck that could be found in the duck pond in Alderton.
The weather was kind to the hashers being slightly overcast with the odd sunny spell. Almost ideal hashing weather.
The hash trail started from a lane diagonally opposite the Old Royal Ship. The runners set off followed by the walkers and their canine friends. The lane was very rutted with many a puddle to navigate. At the end of the lane we turned right into the church of St. Mary and St. Ethelburt where our first challenge of the day set by Paul was ahead. The church graveyard is a designated war memorial graveyard and there were a number of gravestones there of armed forces personnel who lost their lives during world wars one and two. The walkers took a moment to reflect on those lives lost. The search for Sir Stewart Menzies’ grave commenced by a number of the walkers, Julie made a point of looking at all the headstones however, Sir Stewart’s grave was not to be found on this day.
The trail continued through the churchyard and left onto Church Road where we picked up the trail turning right off Church Road to a public footpath along a rapeseed field belonging to Manor Farm. The trail took us past Manor Farm and into the village of Alderton where we came upon Paul relaxing on a bench in the sun by the village pond. This was a very picturesque pond maintained by the villagers. And so to the second challenge set by Paul, how many species of ducks can we identify? It was pointless trying to identify the ducks as none of the ducks wanted to line up. Those that where astute enough to look around the pond would have phoned a photo gallery of the 16 duck species, 1 goose and 1 moorhen on the side of the duck house.
We left Alderton and followed the trail along a country lane going north/northwest and took a right turn followed the trail along Hancock’s Well Spring one of the wells said to be the source of the Bristol Avon. The well was too tempting for our canine friends who decided to abandon hash protocol and dive in for a swim. Turning left off Hancock’s Well Spring across a stone bridge we followed the trail up to The Farm where we came across the field with the cows. As we followed the trail up the hill towards the style at the top of the field the cows suddenly took an interest in the walkers and our canine friends and met us at the style. They all came to have an inquisitive look. Lily had to voice her concern about the encroaching cows which were all young heifers. None of the cows were concerned about Lily and just carried on being inquisitive wondering why us hashers were making our way over the style and lifting our canine friends over the gate. The trail continued through paddocks and pastures an on to Cherry Orchard Lane where we made our way down the lane back to the Old Royal Ship.
Many thanks to Paul and Di for laying a very scenic and interesting hash with varying land contours. We look forward to our next visit to Luckington.