Run 580, February 8th 2017.
WHERE: Clevedon Sailing Club, Clevedon.
HARES: Kerb Crawler.
RUN REPORT: The pre-hash started with a take over bid by Bristol Greyhounds HHH, but the just-on-time arrival of BOGS stalwarts soon redressed the balance. A well-planned route soon had the most local of the pack uncertain which direction "must" be the obvious route at the various checks, as we traversed the heights and length of Clevedon.
Strap On turned into Recruit On as she sang the praises of hashing to a local couple out for an evening run – we'll see how successfully if they actually turn up at a future hash!
Then it was back to the sailing club, where we tried very hard (honestly) to not disturb the gig rowers having a meeting at the far end of the bar whilst we tucked into KC prepared fare.
CIRCLE: The hare and returnees were celebrated, along with Walky Talky having celebrated getting another year older, but still remaining younger than most (all) of the rest of us.
Run 579, February 4th 2017.
WHERE: Youth Hostel, Litton Cheney.
HARE: Rocky Horror.
WHO: 16 hares, 1 hound and 1 chauffeuress.
RUN REPORT: One year on from THAT weekend and fate decreed that for 2017 we would have to write our own, non-python headlines about hash lunatics on the loose, rather than those surrounding the hostel with searchlights. After an evening of settling in which included Rocky charming us with his guitar just like any python would be, plus Eager Beaver doing a low budget impression of Richard Osman with some Pointless quizzes, we awoke to the revelation of it merely being breakfast time and with but not a trace of anything escaped or dangerous, or even that feasted on Rocky's ever-meticulous flour. 10:30's the customary circle up time for getting both your ASS and your Cheney in gear, and after sending Down & Dirty off on her pub and beer stop rounds it was On Out with conditions quite literally the polar opposite of last year. Back then the banks of the stream had been-a-bursting outside the YHA, but here we were greeted with dazzling sunshine as we quickly branched off from last year's trail and conquered the terraced hills leading to Chalk Pit Lane (soon to be Flour Pit Lane) in a way even the Grand Old Duke of York would have been proud of. Yonder checkpoint spliced with photo stop surprisingly kept us with the shiggy, and once over the piste the FRBs found themselves a little off-beat. First Eager and Walky Talky were reined in and frog marched back through a gate, and then Bend Over almost disappeared into the sunshine before Rocky could warn us of the Horrors of the busy-for-a-Saturday A35 up ahead. Sitting ducks at the crossing we were not, even if the flock quickly thinned out after a quarter mile of roadside daring do's and dont's. So thinned out, in fact, that an increasingly common scandal soon struck us – 4 fish hook rebels out of a possible 5! Was it something the hardly slacking back-runners Fondue, Dressing Down and Up All Night said? Or perhaps they could already sense their first pint stop a few crossroads ahead? Well, first there was a generous trade-off in store – for the slightly problematic deep shiggy encountered off road by runners, there was a road rendered off-road for vehicles specially for the walkers, owing to recent precipitous landslides. By the time the first quench stop at The Crown in Uploders came around, Down & Dirty had parked up and done a mini hash in search of walkers, returning with all of them let off the lead and promptly drinking the bar half dry, quite necessary given the mountain of sandwiches and sausage rolls that awaited demolition in the Bogs' back room. With the weather still making a sincere effort to dry out Lytton Cheney from last year, On On took us briskly along New Road, this time ignoring the shiggy footpaths on either side until most of the pack found another way to negotiate the A35 – duck beneath it, while a few wannabe rambos decided to head uphill first to wave to traffic and then to set a traffic-rivalling pace at the cost of getting lost. The latter was of course most necessary – once this select pack of 6 had convinced themselves to stick to tarmac rather than overgrown footpaths (since technically it wasn't a Rambo trail), they found themselves needing to dash across the A35 again and seek refuge off-A-road. Once Shipton Gorge had been galloped towards, the lack of companions plus beer stops had started to make its presence felt, and right on cue there appeared The New Inn, always ready to welcome those with a running problem, even when unannounced and only just into Saturday afternoon. Both parties had done well for themselves by the time resumption quickly followed, and as if the ante could not be further upped, revelations then arose that we were not the only ones following a trail! Whilst locating the track towards Bredy Farm Cider Shop (where we “steam-dried” ourselves least year) we happened upon not a cavalry charge but a cavalry stopped for a chat while engaged on a scent trail with Bassets aplenty and not far off. A couple of telephone boxes were not the place for a hare to seek cover from so many canines, and so following the walkers' distant chatter proved almost as fruitful as the cider served up in abundance once there. There was even Marble Maze entertainment and first-cider-of-a-lifetime for yours truly (not half bad, but still not half as good as Glitter Berry J20) before the reassembled pack trudged ever onwards and with Roman straightforwardness along Bredy Road oh so straight and long. So long in fact that Rocky duly remembered a runners' route back in the direction of the hunt who may even have picked us as their new quarry by now – clearly Rocky was trying to throw them off the scent. For back stragglers if not quite strugglers Fondue and Houdini now was the time to call the last pub quits and head straight for the Hostel Showers and spreads, but for the rest the lure of another Crown Inn in Puncknowle was too strong, even if another gruelling ascent was in the offing at first. Not only was the cosy interior there to reward us, there was also the chance for the hare to finally show all those hounds and horses who was boss as both trailblazers collided head on outside the pub and the hunters scarpered with no intention of roles being reversed. Memories not of the 2016 trail but that of 2014 were imminently roused as Rocky promised a slap up meal for those willing to cross the same quagmires from before, with the added challenge that Spotted Dick was not present to become Walter Raleigh on this occasion. THAT Vicar-of-Dibley-swallowing puddle was indeed still there under the rapidly fading light, and on this occasion it was Rebore who turned knight in spit-polished armour to help Inside Out, Woodbine and Dressing Down to negotiate it. 5:30 'twere when we touched down and sank a few in the White Horse alongside the YHA, just in time for the rain to start as it had NOT been threatening to all day. Time to get in and ask Rocky to name those witch doctors...
CIRCLE: Turns out it was all in Rocky's positive vibes and so we toasted those along with his generous helpings of flour before heading indoors, though fish hook rebels still clearly need to have a zero tolerance policy enforced an early finishers encouraged so if it means an extra down down. And of course all glasses were compulsorily raised to the dear departed Koko, no doubt still smiling down at how bonkers we make each away weekend.
ON ON ON: With omnivorous and carnivorous (and even Rebore) curry options to choose from followed by extra Rebore birthday cake now that he was a year wiser for real, we did indeed declare ourselves stuffed and spit roast in time for some more Rocky serenading, some Shut The Box and, of course, Pass The Pigs now that we had gamesmistress Down & Dirty back among the ranks to save our bacon, having enjoyed her day's hop down to Dorchester.
As a little postscript, Eager and Down & Dirty deflated the ranks on Monday morning rather than stopping off with the hardies in Dorchester, though cross my scribe's heart and hope to die, it had NOTHING to do with that footpath-turned-river that we had to wade through last year. Inspiration will obviously have to be drawn for KC's Sailing Club Trail next week. On On and here's to never knowing what normality is...
Run 578, February 1st 2017.
WHERE: The Pelican, Chew Magna.
HARES: Never Enough and Mr Mannering.
WHO: Approx 21 hashers and 1 shiggy hound.
RUN REPORT: I do not recall darkness greeting us in Chew Magna, though Father Abraham has certainly been just as happy to do so in the past as he was tonight, courtesy of Deep Throat. Never Enough was definitely out to show Mr Mannering the ropes as a hare, including a forewarning to all about both a very steep hill to come and the trail needing a little resetting after overnight rain reduced it to dough that wouldn't rise. Well, a big W and R at On Out were certainly clear enough, and for those setting a fast pace it was a still respectful canter through Church of St Andrew's graveyard to find The Queen's Arms still open (our previous visit had been made out as that pub's supposed last stand - clearly they have found many more drinking clubs with a running problem). A lot of pondering about which whether the "big" hill now stood before us runners followed, and was swiftly refuted - the hidden footpath did turn from tarmac to gravel, to shiggy and almost to marsh before we emerged on Chew Hill. Not even the absent Brigadoon would have assumed that this was time for On In - instead we headed right and through a few fields to find the walkers and the solution to the next checkpoint long gone. With catch-up already being played, this of course was the best time of all for Mr Mannering to separate the Rambos from the Runners, with 6 of the latter opting for "the" hill up Nutgrove Lane, on which more shiggy mines than vehicles were encountered. The Chew Hill traffic was then braved for all of 5 metres before heading back into the shiggy with the twinkling views of distant Winford (too dark to spot where Farmer Giles ranted last year). Previously this footpath had sent some of heels over head, but this time we added into that mix a touch of extra uphill and some very slippery steps, all crowned with a dim light at the end of a non-tunnel (actually a lonely front room). We had been led into Battle Lane and promptly feared the wrath of another goliath uphill with very insistent arrows, however this uphill quickly evened out and even offered the idyllic views and sounds of Chew Magna Reservoir into the bargain. By this stage the rambos' minds had already falsely convinced them that they had seen distant walkers' headtorches several times, so it was most welcoming to behold them finally flickering in the distance after negotiating both the B3130 and an electric fence (they may well have been yelling "hurry up!" in Morse code). The ulterior motive for stopping to let lactic acid take a foothold was, of course, a very generous smorgasbord of sweets - wine gums, tangy and orthodox haribo, Opal Fruits-come-Starburst and no Cinderella-proof Liquorice Allsorts were present, as was Rebore who I assumed was a latecomer but whom had probably already been round the trail twice. After all that time apart, we thought that time and grub would be waiting for no hasher, but quickly found our bearings once we were on a shiggy strewn back alley which we have probably Bogged down more than Joe Public - familiarly over the road and into crops that were as tall as one would expect in February, we found the time and expanse to encounter a surviving fish hook for 4, let alone actually obey it! With a little undergrowth and another quick split of speeds duly accounted for, we once again thanked our built-in compasses, stopwatches and probably GPS trackers as we snuck back into the Pelican car park around the back just as St Andrews' bells were tolling for 9.
CIRCLE: Mostly a crime-free night apart from those who were late for the circle (including Rocky Horror who of course has to prepare aliases and python-proof footwear for Lytton Cheney), and only "Grand Old Duke of York" would suffice for these quickly evolving hares. Chew on that!
ON ON ON: After sitting briefly in front of a log effect fire we were duly promoted to the spacious and equally cosy barn out back, complete with more than enough ham, cheese and egg sarnies plus chips to go around, not to mention slabs of non-birthday chocolate cake and birthday chocolate cake for Rebore, though he will actually be blowing out the candles at Lytton Cheney - I assume nobody was complaining about getting an extra cake helping...
Run 577, January 25th 2017.
WHERE: The Bristol House, Milton Road, Weston Super Mare.
HARES: Brigadoon and Ballsport.
RUN REPORT: A short (ish) hash roving the streets and Ashcombe Park in Weston Super Mare. The mix of walkers’ shortcuts and runners routes kept us all meeting up at regular intervals, with a welcome whisky beer stop 3/4 of the way round to celebrate something Scottish.
CIRCLE: took place in the pub after we had all partaken of a dead haggis, plus a vegetarian version, tatties and neeps. Just Jim was recognised for leading the pack straight along the road, missing a very obvious bend around a corner, earning himself the new name of Missed It, or was it Miss Tit? what difference does a bit of spelling make?
Run 576, January 18th 2017.
WHERE: Byron Road, Locking.
HARES: Bend Over and Amber.
WHO: Approximately 21 hashers and 2 hounds.
RUN REPORT: We'd got the number in Byron road correct after all – 21 was also about the number of yards that runners and walkers managed to stay together for, all well wrapped up against Locking's elements of cold but dry. Upon splitting the pack which made for a very encouraging co-haring debut from junior Amber (feet on the ground), the runners manoeuvred a checkpoint or 5 before happening across the less frequented Old Banwell Road. Here we already called to mind Bend Over's words of wisdom at warmup (“crossing the main road twice in quick succession, once on a blind bend!”) and assumed it was left towards the footbridge spanned by Bogs many moons ago. Wrong! In the correct direction, we also had to rein in Mr Mainwaring who threatened to collide with what turned out to be the On In. Duly corrected (again!) and with a little horse whispering along the way, the off the floor contingent quickly happened upon the first road crossing, figuring that the next one probably would be a long time coming due to the looming ascent into the woods neighbouring Canada Coombe. Tension-breaking highlights here included a trio diving into a makeshift alcove to avoid petrol, Eager Beaver gracelessly hurdling a gate that could have just been skirted, and specially for the scandal section – Strap On expressing fear at the many cowpats and their sources that emerged from the darkness while eventually succeeding in finding the flour that led back to tarmac. Luckily cows it seems do not smell fear as much as sharks do, though huddling together appeared just as effective a deterrent and there was even enough time and space for a few near-cow-slips to occur en route to Windmill Hill. Here the presence of R and W seemed to confirm that walkers had done checkpoint checking if not the most efficient of back-to-front marking – just as well then that the uphill R quickly produced an F and back downhill it was to disturb more locals with our symbols. If the walkers had done this earlier, then they certainly hadn't provoked a Locking rebellion and the shiggy-encrusted route onwards beckoned back up towards Mr Mainwaring's On Out. An arrow had naturally appeared over the course of the run and led us through the allotments – no, it wasn't a dieters' beer stop, it was simply On In to the tune of the walkers' cheers (not so long having touched down themselves) and out of those shiggy shoes if you wanted true sustenance:
CIRCLE: Nice and tightly packed in for extra warmth, we toasted the hares who had excelled in getting us back here safely and with flour to spare, even with some fish hook rebels thrown into the mix – most appropriate on newbie hare night though that we had a re-christening: for her (always friendly and well-meaning) ramblings about running from the cows, Strap-On shall henceforth be known as Strap On, and On, and On...! Add any number of Ons depending on how much she/we go on, and on.
ON ON ON: Flavoursome soups of the chicken and butternut squash variety, plus plenty of tiger bread and baguettes for mopping up, had pulled in the crowds every bit as much as the up and down trail. Rocky continued his hash cash practice for Lytton Cheney, and the absence of pythons or helping police with their investigations tonight at the very least bodes well. Note to the Bristol House next week – keep those fresh Weston trails a-coming!
Run 575, January 11th 2017.
WHERE: Market Inn, Yatton.
HARE: Deep Throat.
WHO: 18 hashers, 2 hounds and 2 visitors.
RUN REPORT: Not the scariest thing to befall a Bog to On Out and nearly collide with a tardy scribe, but most certainly out of the ordinary for a trail close to home. “Punishment” ensued by going all of 20 yards to the start of the trail and then commencing it properly, opting for the immediate walkers' trail as the internal compass suspected that runners were out on a very quick limb. That suspicion was correct; however once quickly back together it was time for a longer speed split to ensue once back over the road – first the off-ground contingent saw a checkpoint by a blind alley (and a grassy one, to boot), but found tarmac the right way – flour markings by properties were kept to a minimum, as is our unwritten 2017 policy. Bamboozlement was next on the agenda – upon seeing “another” checkpoint by a blind alley, it was theorised that the original blind alley led there, but actually the runners had merely gone in a big loop and now had a bit of catching up to do. They didn't make enough light work of it – there was a fish hook for 5 which only Rewind ended up obeying. Well, as that method at keeping the pack together didn't work, it seemeda better try was to stop for sweets aplenty – liquorice allsorts and tangy haribo did indeed make us huddle (did I forget to mention it was trying to be sub-zero?). Many would have feared rather than hoped for a pre-8:30 return when we emerged next to the Station; quashed were they very quickly as it was up and over the bridge and waving to the distant Strawberry Line (more of a Bog popularity in daylight). Keeping with last week's theme, an early beer stop beckoned under tree cover, complete with plenty of fresh fruit and teetotal.non-teetotal quench thirsters:
CIRCLE: A strictly enforced down down to the fish hook rebels and a couple of corner cutters, plus a silent song for Houdini who, in a rare capacity as FRB, chose not to shout “On On” at the station. Welcome back too for Red Light, though this was far from where the trail stoppe. The GM announced a further mile or so for those still with running in them, and at least half opted for this, trusting in the Market Inn grub to arrive on time rather than early. There was even time to set our sights on the again distant station before branching off to Stowey Road and back again. By now the Market Inn seemed rather cosy then small...
ON ON ON: The chips were just in on our early arrival (the clue was the ketchup on tables), but tuna, ham and cheese sarnies soon appeared and disappeared in abundance, with Rocky Horror already well accustomed to his hash cashing. I left just late enough to see Briggy and Ballsport arriving to help finish things off; let's raise our goblets to something soup-er at Bendover's abode next week.
Run 574, January 4th 2017.
WHERE: New Inn, Kewstoke.
HARES: Brigadoon and Ballsport.
WHO: 20 hashers, 2 hounds and 1 visitor.
RUN REPORT: A tale of two terrains as we welcomed in 2017 with a Sand Bay hash that miraculously featured neither heading out to sea nor an ascent of Monk's Steps (naturally with a turnback at the top). Some assumed that was the itinerary at first as we ambled along Kewstoke Road finding many a marking either washed away or rubbed out by those who have not read the website's new disclaimer. Back to the terrain topic, we remained firmly planted on tarmac until long after a surviving checkpoint was spotted by Norton Lane, then its Lower namesake, but then we got our wish both for an overdue overdose of shiggy coupled with a mostly un-bogged route which only flour knew the way out of. The splits needed to be done a few times before the backmarkers emerged onto farm country (including an under-the-weather scribe plus pint-sized Woodbine who seemed to have no problem swimming through it all). In spite of the erased markings from earlier, excellent back marking came to the fore with many an arrow that was indeed parallel to a long distant stile (each of which was sufficiently popular with walkers to be free of brambles and triffids), though by the time the final third of the trail dawned on us we did have something of a distant beacon to follow – to modify a phrase from Basil: “you can see Kewstoke – it's over there between the sea and the sky!”. No fawlts could be found though once tarmac was rediscovered in Sand Farm Lane form, particularly as an early beer stop beckoned:
CIRCLE: In the absence of FRBs who feared the wrath of lactic acid, we did indeed down down them in their absence plus the hares for adding another most welcome quagmire to our repertoire. Early refreshment had come at a tiny price – a long walk oh so good along Beach Road (with the homing beacon taking a long time to appear to be getting nearer), and then a branch off for On In, hoping there was still at the very least crumbs to be had...
ON ON ON: And then some! With the welcome addition of Deep Throat and mention too of the returning Missapp, the sandwiches, mini pizzas, pork pies and co disappeared pretty quickly, with a course promptly plotted by the visitor for the Market Inn at Yatton next week. Oh, where have the first 4 days of this year gone?!
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