|12 May 2019||Brian||John|
Brian started the Hash by immediately escorting us across a very busy A436 and stopping beside an information board indicating that Seven Springs, the source of the River Churn, joins the Thames at Cricklade, and therefore is possibly one of the many sources of the Thames.
He indicated the lack of hazards on the route, which was quite disappointing; are we not having angry farm owners threatening to drive their SUV into us or men shouting, ‘you are not on the correct pathway’? The only hazard apparently was the A436, and Brian advised us to cross the busy road further up on the return to the pub, but this seemed immaterial as most of us missed the flour marks, so found our own way across the last field.
Brian said there was only one hill, and he was right. However, the long way up on The Cotswold Way was rewarded by the magnificent views over Cheltenham, and in the distance the Malvern Hills.
Maurice obviously needed to bolster the Irish contingency for moral support, as Leinster was beaten by Saracens on Saturday, so he brought along Conor who was running his first Hash. Perhaps Conor decided to do his own thing, but unfortunately Maurice mislaid him, and when we got on the medium / long divide he was missing. We backtracked to see if we could find him because Maurice seemed reluctant to return home without him. Couldn’t see him or any sign of the other runners so we carried on, the pathway winding around the hillside and eventually coming to the Devil’s Chimney.
This local landmark is a limestone rock formation that stands above a disused quarry in Leckhampton. It’s named for its peculiar shape, that of a crooked and twisted chimney rising from the ground, probably left behind by 18th century quarry workers who quarried around it as a joke. A better reason and more likely is that it’s the chimney of the Devil’s dwelling deep beneath the ground, otherwise why do people leave coins there to placate him.
The countryside was superb, especially one open valley with grazing sheep and oak copse on either side. Great care was needed to avoid stepping on the many cowslips and other wild flowers.
At this point there was the long and medium divide. It is understood that several people took the medium trail thinking it was the long one, therefore getting to the pub early whereas others did take the long trail and did the full route. Otherwise the trail was well marked although some of the flour appeared to have been partly eaten by either dogs or sheep.
Conor is obviously made of stern stuff, he wasn’t lost, and without Maurice’s help managed to arrive back at the pub before any of us.
Keith thanked Brian for a brilliant Hash, whilst we were enjoying the sunshine in the pub garden. All in all, a great Hash.
“Terrific scenery, spectacular views – what more could we ask for? Many thanks, Brian, and thank you John for getting across the relaxed, feel-good mood of the day”