With still a little chill in the air it was nevertheless bright and sunny and was beginning to feel like Spring might be sprung on us any time now, and 22 hashers were here to enjoy a classic Old Faithful/Bambi trail. The pack included a brave but sad Sinbad, and JM Bambi very properly began the circle with a short, heart-felt obituary followed by a minute’s reflective silence in memory of the recently departed Jan (The Gnu) Vogt. For those who would like to pay longer, more formal respects, Jim announced there would be a memorial service for Jan in May.
Hare Old Faithful then explained that the last time they set a trail here they had to shorten it because of heavy rain, so this time they made it a bit longer to compensate – there’s logic there somewhere. We set off north west up (and I mean up) the path away from the cars. This path was to become very familiar through the run as, although we departed from it many times we were inevitably drawn back to it like flies to the cow-pat.
Some of the diversions from the path were very imaginative – not even deer had ventured on them as we plodded our way through fields of wild garlic and bluebells still, like us, waiting for Spring proper. Climbing over a fallen tree on one of these excursions Splasher took a spectacular tumble, blaming his dodgy trainers. Or was he pushed? Observers spotted some terpsichore going on with Two Ferrets Fighting. I think it’s what is called in ballet circles a faux pas de deux.
Bambi told us about a husky training event they came across that had forced him and Old Faithful to redesign the trail at one point. This might suggest the presence of Eskimos, but I suspect it was more likely Indians judging by the large number of arrows we came across. These were used to give the pack some help when the only onward routes all seemed equally unlikely.
Eventually we came to the highest point of West Harting Down, more than 100 metres higher than the start. This was also the furthest point of the trail and (inevitably) located on our favourite footpath. At least the return trail was mostly downhill, and it still followed the pattern of returning a couple of times to the main footpath, and in doing so revisiting some cunningly re-designed check points first met on the out trail.
In the circle JM Bambi made an ineffectual start failing to get immediate attention and silence from the throng. He said he felt rather like Sergeant Wilson from Dad’s Army, but he soon gained control. He called out Belle (and Snake Charmer) for putting muddy paws on hasher’s trousers, Aragorn (and Bika) for too much barking, FRBs Brylcreem and Pancsi for finding all the false trails, Snake Charmer again for using language so blue Bambi wasn’t familiar with it, but the hash-it went to Splasher for his dodgy trainers and flamboyant fall.
On-on to The Victoria Inn in West Marden, another good real ale pub, where it had warmed up enough to enjoy our drinks in the garden.
On On ! Kinky