First I would like to relate in detail the pre-hash briefing. I would like to but I can’t because I was still on my way having failed to take notice of road closed warnings near Upwaltham where the water was about 2m deep. Steve missed the start being about 15 minutes further behind trying out most of the wet roads such as at East Dean, Graffham as well as Upwaltham.
It was nice to see brothers Tim and Matt Bell back to join a dozen regulars who were spared family luncheons.
We were led west along the road with a nice back check up to a path which went through the Church at Tillington and then across fields and into Upperton. Jim having checked what he thought was a blind alley led everyone up the road but there was a wooden gate like the one in ‘Secret Garden’ which led us into the Park. Here Robin told us that a square of land there was owned by no one at all – a rare occurrence. A little further along, Robin, well into his role as historian and naturalist, told us of conduits of lead piping taking water from springs that never run dry to supply watering holes for the beasts in the park to be slowly poisoned, of squirrels and other furry creatures large and small.
We then crested a ridge and there below was a scene like one might see on the Serengeti Plain in Africa with its vast open grasslands teeming with deer.
Some folk, rightly, waxed lyrical about the joy to be out in the open on such a fine day.
The trail led to the foot of a sizeable hillock and a trail led steeply up. It was the correct way of course. Steve and Csilla had managed to join the pack by this stage. We then had a look at the nice lake before the path let us back to the Double Lodges past the imposing Frontage of Petworth House.
Ceremonies were conducted at the chariots where the hashit was awarded to Tim for removing a road sign.
We then retired to the Halfway Inn and discussed the true meaning of Christmas.
Many thanks to the Hares for a splendid hash in such majestic surroundings.