Run 1290 - The Village Club, Nettlebed

“There are no wrong turnings. Only paths we had not known we were meant to walk.” This could sum up any hash.  And what a wonderful hash it was this morning.  We joined many of our Berkshire friends in Nettlebed to follow a great trail laid by Spot and Pyro (and Spot again when Whisper ate the flour).  Heavy rain was forecast for 1100 but it was only drizzling as Didcot started arriving in the car park BEFORE 1100!  In fact Big Stiffy and Hotlips had camped over night to ensure they were not late.  It was lovely to see Call Girl, Bat Girl and Hell Boy again and they brought 2 new people with them – Vanessa and Miranda. 

We filled the car park and moved over to the village hall where Lemony and Hotlips helped Zorro insert his car key into his back passage.  They were so gentle he didn’t even notice.  After the briefing we set off to the right before turning off north along the first footpath.  Up hill at the start of the trail.  How cruel can you get!! A sharp left took us on to Bushes Lane and a right led us into Copse Wood.  The running was very muddy in places but mostly reasonable and soft under foot due to the leaves still covering the track!  The scenery was great but cutting across some less marked tracks left most us with bramble scars on our legs.  How sensible of Dipstick to wear tights under his cycling shorts to protect his legs.  (He says they are leggings but we were not convinced.)  We crossed the road and headed left parallel to the road before following the perimeter of the woods towards Magpies.  The flour led us to the foot of a rather steep, slippery, slope.  Lots of the group struggled to get up.  Bat Girl used hands, knees and even her chin but made it to the top.  The skiers amongst us used their edges, but many still needed a helping hand.  The way down was just as steep so Wimpey kindly gave Hotlips a helping hand – or was it a push in the back?  The sensible ones amongst us followed the easier route to the right hand side, avoided the summit, and skirted round to re-join the trail.  Lemony was just pausing to let Swallow cross in front of her when Wimpey (obviously upset by his inability to topple Hotlips) gave her a shove from behind.  He says he thought she was stuck!  But she ended up on her hands in the mud.  (More of this later.)

We went across Nettlebed Common and out onto the path East.  Somewhere along here was a wonderful Hash View, or would have been if the mist hadn’t rolled in and hidden it.  Onwards - “You need to get to Crockers End, Insp Barnaby, there’s been a murrrrder”.  Sorry, couldn’t resist that.  Crocker’s End just sounds like the scene of the crime – or is that just me? We turned South again and back into the woods before crossing the road again and heading into Lower Common Wood.  Bat Girl used hands, knees and even her chin but made it to the top.  It was about here that Lemony passed Ringer for the umpteenth time.  “You must be magic, you are walking but always seem to be in front of me!”  Or was it the wine gums?  We continued on towards Highmore Trench.  The short cut went over the hill, the long cut went round the edge.  So everyone met up at Merrimoles.  Very posh house but no time to take a dip in their swimming pool.  We went South to Lower Highmore and then back North across Highmore Common Wood before crossing the road and continueing straight along Deadman’s Lane.  This is where the hares could have been kind.  5 miles in and a choice of a lane and tarmac path or a VERY muddy field.  You can guess which one they chose.  Yes, the muddy field.  Our shoes got higher and higher as we transported mud from one side of the field to the other.  Turning right onto join the lane we could have come up (not that I’m feeling bitter at this point) we headed back to the village, along a short footpath past the church and a final right turn back to the car park.

At a point on the trail – not to be divulged – a hasher – whose identity is being kept secret to protect him – wantonly destroyed a child’s snowman while the little one’s mum watched out of the window.  Will she track him down?  I think I would!!

Back at the car park Hutch, A Cruel Joke and Big Stiffy awaited Pyro with Whisper on a lead.  They had taken a wrong turn and the dog had followed them so they had taken control.  How did they have the dog’s lead?  Oh … they were using Hutch’s belt.  Thank goodness he had good elastic.  Just at this moment Ringer hove into view still carrying the Hash Sponge Bag.  “You’re not mincing” called Hutch as Ringer started to sprint to avoid being overtaken by Hell Boy at the finish line.  Silly, no-one races on a Hash, do they?

Heading towards the village hall the sight of Slapper and his 2 comrades stripping off right by the entry door brought to mind the 3 wise monkeys, or maybe The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.  Slapper insisted there was a screen to protect us from the sight.  How Rood (get it?)

Once inside, the Down Downs started.  Wimpey and Lemony went first for Didcot.  Wimpey for pushing his wife over and Lemony for insulting Ringer during the trail.  She thought she had said he was magical for always being in front of her!  Then Vanessa and Miranda were called up as Hash Virgins.  Gatecrasher had insulted Motorcross by suggesting that he had short-cutted – or was that planned so that he got a free beer?  Eric was called up, but we can't remember why, but chose lemonade as she was driving. Would you be allowed do a Down Down with coffee? Luke-warm, of course.

The sponge bag went to Sheila, sorry, Accrual, as it was Australia Day last Monday.

Brilliant trail and lovely to run with Berkshire again.

On On

Hares: Pyro and Spot

Hounds:  Rubber Sole, Hutch, Zorro, Big Stiffy, Hotlips, Gatecrasher, A Cruel Joke, Swallow, Lemony, Wimpey, Rubber Sole’s Buddy, Pressganger, Eric, Twitcher, Bat Girl, Call Girl, Hell Boy, Ringer, Vanessa and Miranda

Date: 29 January 2017

Distance:  5.5-6 miles