Run No. 683 26th September 2004

Red Lion, Biggleswade

Runners:  21
Mutts:  0
Ankle Biters:  3
Knitting Circle:  4
Apres:  1.5
Newies/Returnees:  0

This longer approach to hashing follows in the footsteps of early expeditions but with a slight variation. To avoid the long bus drive, we meet at a public house near the centre of the hamlet, mainly to acclimatise in preparation for our ascent of the steep inclines of the Bedfordshire mountain ranges. Two of our expedition team had decamped the previous day to recce the low lying area of calcareous soils and alluvial gravels. These two fine sherpas, known in local dialect as 'hares', soon mapped for us the subtle riverine landscape with its attractive arrangement of old pasture and riverside trees.

The trail they had planned began with a gentle ambulation along the slight ridge formed by chalky glacial deposits to the south east of the town. This had previously marked out a dry route for the Romans whilst building their great north road and later formed a good place for a Saxon settlement.

As we wend our way further south through the glacial moraines, the Jordan peaks come into view. We pause to gather our troops at the Azlan Check, deciding now to split our company for a speedier climb to the Dunton summits. Our less experienced members take the low road to gather necessary sustenance. We hope beyond hope that all of us will survive the extreme climb as we head for the Pylon plethora with gathering storm clouds and winds gusting up to 2 knots.

As we drag our drained souls through the fertile soils that have been used intensively for cereal, field vegetables and market gardening in recent decades, the vista opens up into a cold featureless landscape, distorted only by the soul sucking stench of oats, honey and chocolate roasting in a buiscuity bungle. The screams and moans of the squirrels toiling in the Jordan mines come echoing across the blanched landscapes. We draw sharp breaths and hurry on through.

Further along, the steep rocky inclines flatten out to the mid mountain plains. Here we find unkempt ranging herds of black faced sheep. To aid our navigation, the 'hares' of the region have marked, in their traditional style, a baaaaa check.
Our course onwards now becomes clear and we soon come across a well trodden path that has existed since Saxon times for transporting barrels of Ale from the ancient brewing pit of doom ruled over by the King of Green in Biggleswade.
(Biggleswade is an anagram of 'was wiggle bed').

We cross the great divide and have an emotional reunion with our other members who have safely traversed the lower pass. With foraging sacks in hand we delightfully skip through the temperate climes picking the fruit of the Black Berry.
Soon, with aching bellies and refreshed, the expedition team string out along the wooded agricultural landscape through which the river Ivel cuts. No longer a navigated super aqueous highway, since trade was ousted in 1850 by the puffing monsters of Robert Louis Stevenson the Ivel now is a source of nutrients and water for the much saluted trade from nearby Potton Brewery. With this beery thought in mind, our pack beasts are urged onward to our final end point. We pass by the 14,500 inhabitants and the many other travellers rest houses until we find the Red Lion, purveyor of fine ales, wines and thai Cuisine (from 7th October...bring your friends).

As we recount our 7,200 (never much good with decimals) mile megathon, the expedition leaders duly rebate the trail organisers for the usual level of ineptitude and weary muscles are steeped in an alcoholic rub.
It turns out that during the many weeks of our expedition, some of our members celebrated birthdays, anniversaries and such. We applaud them for this. Others were criticised by one among us who found religion and offered us guidance.

Much merriment and chilli was enjoyed by all. ONON