Mud, mud, glorious mud …. Well, by the time we had finished the run we were not so sure it was glorious. It had rained heavily all night. The flour was a little hard to see on occasions, but the mud was something else. Slippery and cloying.
We set off from the pub heading south, straight onto the footpaths, then turned east across our first field. The footpath was hard to find but we made it to the point where the trail met the road – only to turn again and continue on through another field. We came onto the road just a few hundred yards along the road from the pub but turned east and then north east and north west until we reached a track at the north of Cuddesdon. Again not that far from the pub! A short track brought us out onto the road into the village. Still feeling relatively fresh, we decided to take Gatecrasher’s suggested diversion to visit Ripon College. The chapel was a finalist for an architectural award. It was very modern. We could not look inside, although it is said to be beautiful. The problem was that there were different routes around the buildings. The hounds got split up and some got left behind as the rest of us set off to re-join the trail. Zorro went back to find them while the rest of us waited by the roadside.
When they caught up we set off south west towards Denton. Once we made it to the village there was another detour to see some beautiful houses. But back on the trail, we were about to add on a rather large loop, and cross a very muddy field, so the hare pointed the walkers back to the pub. The rest of us set off towards Garsington. It seemed to take for ever as it was slow going. It was somewhere on this stretch that we came to a bog with a stream running through it. Despite attacking it in a number of different places, most of us ended up very wet. Wimpey had stayed reasonably dry until Lemony tried to jump the stream and didn’t quite make it – the spray soaked him. Comet was told to aim in the middle of the stream … and did. The only real success was Hutch whose long legs managed to stretch across the worse of it. We made it and started making our way through the village. We went up to the church and sat in the sunshine. Going back down, via the small gate and stone steps, Wimpey slipped. Luckily he was holding on so didn’t bump himself much. Uranus offered him a hand up. We had now been going for over 1.5 hours and were getting rather tired. So we asked the hare to point us in the right direction. A shame, as he had laid the trail by himself and laid all the false paths too. We got to the south of the village, having passed the old venue for the Garsington Opera. A lovely house but rather over-shadowed by the very high hedges on either side. The trail was supposed to go off to the left but the hare suggested that this path was even worse than the previous paths and pointed us on further along the road to the next turning left. We skirted the edge of the field and finally came into the farm owned by one of Gatecrasher’s friends. We hit the road and turned left and then right back into the village. It was a long slog up the hill, even after getting to the On Inn. But we made it.
We were running for well over 2 hours but the hare was telling the truth when he said it wasn't much over 5 miles. The detours added on some distance and quite some time. But it was well worth it. There were tables reserved for us indoors too. A huge plus to be able to sit down in the warm. Wimpey provided cake, which went down very well.
We had the latest Didcot Hash Forfeit Garment – a large white T-shirt presented by Pressganger at her last hash as a full time member. Gnome Alone had worn it so it was for him to pass it on. There were a lot of possible recipients but it went to Wimpey for wearing new shoes which obviously had no grip.
Hounds: Uranus, Comet, Wimpey, Lemony Snickett, Zorro, Gnome Alone, Cheap Date and Piscine Down
Date: 2 December 2017
Distance: 5.6 miles