|9 Jan 2022||Viv & John||Mike|
After a dank, damp and depressing start to the new year, we ran and walked on our hash today in crisp bright, almost warm sunshine under a cloudless sky. The trail had been set by Viv and John, who are really getting rather good at it, lots of hashers came and the après was in a popular and welcoming village pub. Makes you realise how lucky we are.
The Queens Arms stands on the main Newbury Road on the edge of East Garston and not in the middle of the village where you would expect it to be. Several of us, your scribe included, took a circular tour of the village before remembering that fact before joining an unusually large group of hashers in the large car park opposite the pub. Viv gave the briefing as John was still out laying the trail. We had three trails to choose from – a short of 2.8, a medium of 3.9 and a long of 5.5 and there were steep hills, mud and wonderful views to look forward to.
Seven runners ran the long – led by our two, very individual, front runners – Colin dressed in running gear more suited to East Africa than East Garston and Jeremy dressed ideally for a cold winter in Siberia. The walkers were of course, all dressed appropriately as we set off down a muddy path next to the pub into the centre of the village and then eastwards on a path that followed the lower slopes of vast green rolling Wiltshire hills. We came to a farm where we turned left on to a stony track and began to climb – and climb – until we came to where the clouds would have been had there been any – and looked around us. The view was breathtaking and inspiring – it made us glad to be alive in such a place.
We then began to descend on a narrow muddy path with tall hedges on either side. We had to concentrate on where we put our feet as the path was covered in slimy black mud as it went steeply down again to the top of the village. You could see the whole village set out below in the sunlight as we reached and walked along a more solid path leading west to a beautiful old village church. Some stopped to have a look inside the church and then we walked back through the village and home.
The above only tells you what it was like for the mediums, so I asked how the longs and the shorts got on and they had much the same experience. The shorts turned off the long hill about halfway up it and the longs did a big loop around the top of it. Jeremy did complain that he had made a large arrow with sticks in order to help those lagging behind but the laggers failed to see it. (some people won’t be helped !) The trail was very good indeed – full of interest, clearly marked and with everybody arriving back at the pub within five or ten minutes of each other. You would not, of course, expect anything other than that from Viv and John.
The après was a little unusual. The Queens Arms used to be one of those pubs that discouraged hashers as they took up space more profitably used by people eating, but time or the pandemic appeared to have changed things. Some of us were planning to eat later but most weren’t and the pub was packed. We gathered around one tall table in the middle and gossiped and Kevin thanked Viv and John for their high quality trail. His speech was necessarily brief as the pub was far too crowded to worry about bags and things but fortunately hashers are an easy going and flexible group of people so that was alright.
A lovely hash – thank you.