There was a bright shiny frost on the meadow, and a red rising sun in the sky as the two bleary eyed hares laid the trail to be found bye and bye.
There was no new face although Mussolini came out of temporary retirement to join us. This venue is similar to Fairmile Bottom in that there is no way to start off without going up, so it came as no surprise to the pack to find themselves making the climb up Bonney's Hanger. The falsie at the top did come as a surprise as they heard the staccato voice of Sinbad calling from the other side of the road as he got a good heads start up Oxen Down.
Slow progress up the climb, aged joints aching, bones creaking and grim determination gear engaged to carry even the most feeble of us (no names) to the top. Turning west the run down into Malecomb gave tired legs a break to find most of the front runners still exploring the area in search of the good white stuff.
We left the paths here, heading north west up a short sharp climb and then minor gradient through open forest and deep deep soft leafy carpet with Mussolini out front. As we jogged along, Popeye aired his philosophy toward an upcoming forty mile charity mile walk. His theory is that if one runs the first twenty miles then it's only a twenty mile walk and that will be easy. He also has a perpetual motion machine at home.
Meanwhile at the next check the FRBs had already found the way out to the main footpath from East Dean which gave Sinbad who somehow had become detached a bit of a struggle to catch up. Luckily for him the pack went straight across and down a long falsie towards Ripshook lead by Panda, Pink Flamingo and Splasher.
It was Dr Blood that chose the boring but rewarding choice of the main path north east to where it joins that long straight gravel road just east of Shepherd's Croft, to find a check of many options. This occupied those with the energy for quite some time while the rest indulged in the customary natter and direction pointing while enjoying the view of all the falsie runners' return. Olive Oyl, having taken the longest wrong trail returned to find us heading back and south east down the trail that leads back to Malecomb with Flash in the lead.
But not for long because at the next check we went off piste again and then on the roller coaster overgrown path eventually north east till reaching the bridleway coming up from Droke, accompanied by Spiderman's moaning as his gout started to play up. Even Buddy, having been off the lead for most of the run seemed to be fading as I noticed that an hour had already passed.
The final phase took us down the steep drop into Deep Coombe with Panda almost chickening out and requiring a shove, followed by the lower westerly path past the empty pheasant cage back to main path to Droke. Snake Charmer and Sinbad had the honour of falling for the last and long falsie before reaching the On-In after nearly one and a half hours of reasonably un-muddy hashing.
There were nominations a plenty, Panda failed to carry the Hash-It, Buddy for sniffing in personal places, Mussolini for a bout of acrobatics, but it was awarded to Dr Blood for disrespect towards our JM.
It was decided to head south east to the George rather than west to Singleton where they are still pumping raw sewage into the Lavant, there are some things even Hashers can't stand.