The sun was out and the charcoal was already smouldering with the promise of a feast to come, as our venerable masters welcomed one and all (about 36) to their summer bashing. The Nick and Sam Benson tribe had traveled all the way from "down under and right a bit" to be with us, such is the pull of this event. There were warnings about avoiding both electrocution and sheep but not necessarily in that order, however its hard to do much damage to a sheep if you have been electrocuted. Also someone in our midst was heard speculating as to whether Nick had "gone native" enough to present a danger to the sheep, unfortunately the obscenity laws prevent us from printing the exact wording of this speculation.
And then we were off, in that semi reluctant way that is the hallmark of all seasoned Hashers, to the north up the road to Newhouse Farm. An easily found back check soon had us heading east across the field to the right of the road and then north again up the west side of High Down. A series of well planned checks served to keep the pack together up the gradient and then down to the little valley just south of East Dean wood disturbing a quiet Sunday morning for a group of campers along the way. From a check at the head of the valley the front runners were suckered into a long uphill falsie to the north, with the on-on going north west into East Dean wood. It was here that the electrocution danger became evident, with a route that crossed a live electric fence. Michael B was so intent on making a shock free passage that he did not notice the second, lower, barbed wire and thus executed a perfect swallow dive into the nettles on the far side, which I guess is better than picking up four faults for a refusal. The remainder of the run was peppered by little whimpering sounds of "has anyone seen any Doc Leaves ?". A lovely bit of forest running followed with the bright red spec of Nick up front who was making all the right choices as we continued northwest to Forest Hanger and then headed south toward the barbie. About half way back a real tough check worked well to provide a regroup and allow some official shortcutters to rejoin. The trail out of this spot was one that required someone up front with a machete. From here, being so close to the barbie that we could almost smell it, we thought that it was all over, but the fat lady was not on her feet yet. Coming round the steep sided ridge just north of home the trail came to an abrupt stop, with falsie ahead, and no obvious trails out. A bit of speculative mountaineering by yours truly discovered the on-on about a thousand feet almost verticaly above on a parallel path up in the clouds. From here the descent to the grub was a formality with only a token gesture of a check on the crest above the village. The hashit was awarded to Dave Barclay for admitting to having a hangover ?, surely not a crime ?... probably a scapegoat for the desire to complete the gabbling and get on with the gobbling, which was excellent.
ON-ON Jan H.