Hash 609 – Crown @ Aldbourne

31 Oct 2021JeremyMike

The day started with the most appalling weather – curtains of cold torrential rain blown sideways by a Force 8 gale in the darkness – and as I stared glumly out of the bedroom window  I felt so sorry for our hare Jeremy laying a trail in this lot. 

However, as we all know “it never rains on a hash“ and by the time 12 hardy hashers gathered by the duck pond in Aldbourne,  the clouds had cleared away and everywhere was bathed in warm sunshine. 

There was a bit of shuffling about as we tried various backgrounds for the group photograph and then Jeremy gave us the most thorough briefing we’ve had for some time.  Reverting to his former GOM mode we had a reminder of hash principles – e.g. the aim is to get everybody back to the pub together in a little over the hour – and a new sign he’d invented. 

The trail was a figure of eight and the sign in the middle of this consisted of one arrow marked ‘W’ and a squirl marked ‘R’ about two feet apart.  The long was 5.7 and the short 3.4 and a final reminder – we were all to get back at the same time.

We set off across the green and up past the church and thought we were going to follow a familiar, reasonably flat route – but oh dear no. We turned right down an alley and on to the main road towards Baydon which went steeply up to the highest point in Wiltshire.  There we turned right and down an almost non-existent grass path into the valley, across the gallops  and then up to the top of the world again – this time on a narrow muddy and extremely slippery path. 

Having got to the top of said path we realised we had lost the trail and came slipping and sliding down to the bottom again where we found the right trail  –  up an even muddier path the other side of the same fence. Then we were at the top of the world looking out over the most beautiful Wiltshire countryside where you could see for 50 miles in the brilliant sunshine. 

The trail then led gently down to the road where we turned right with about 200 yards to go to the pub.  ‘Oh good’ we thought ‘we’re nearly there’. However the trail took us left into suburban Aldbourne and round in a loop through an area of woodland instead – presumably to ensure we had our full hour and a quarter’s worth. Runners and walkers did all arrive back within a couple minutes of each other as planned although it did take a little longer than perfect at an hour and 30 minutes.  A classic hash trail laid by an expert with imagination.

The après was as enjoyable as any I can remember.  The Crown is a lovely pub with a benign landlord and a staff of attractive young ladies.  We had a corner of the pub with sunlight streaming through the windows all to ourselves and all 12 of us were able to sit together and laugh and chat together.  We all had lunch brought to us by a very efficient and lively girl dressed as a pixie (or was it an ant?).  Kevin thanked Jeremy for his splendid trail  and we all applauded enthusiastically.

I enjoy every hash – but today seemed, for all sorts of reasons, one of the best I can remember

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