Saturday 30 May 2015
Natural Retreats, Richmond
Hares: Smiffo and The Count
HASHERS: 19 MUTTS: 1 APRES: 2
The Capt readies himself for the fray ...
Coming on to Harkerside Moor ...
Posing on the bridge over the Swale
Ready for the off at Aysgarth
Lady P passes the Thin Leg Test ...
...and then the Falls Pose Test
The pack being taken off piste
Dress code and number checks well observed, but was this a run?
51 years of wedded bliss ... and Forking!
Poor Spotted Dick had another ailment
Inspector F takes centre stage to reveal who didn't do it
THURSDAY. The journey was long and arduous, but just a few miles after turning off the A1 it was obvious that it was well worth it. The scenery was magnificent as we approached the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Our first mission was for all to meet at the Kings Arms in Reeth. Everyone's journey went well and all the expected arrivals met up at the agreed time. The bar lady single-handedly worked her socks off to look after us all, and she did a magnificent job.
After a quick bite to eat and the sinking of a pint (or in most cases two) we set off on the walk. Pretty much from the off we started to climb some fairly steep slopes. A mile or so into the walk, it starts to drizzle and the wind starts to pick-up. This was in fact the lull before the storm (see below).
After a mile or so, we go off piste and climb a rather challenging hill to find a Neolithic barrow. In fact most of this climb was in very deep heather which the shorter hashers (aka Golden Globes) found particularly challenging.
Moving on, the climb just got steeper and steeper, the rain turned to sleet and the wind turned to a full blown gale, but the intrepid hash continued unabated. Finally we reach the summit where the views of Swaledale were just magnificent. The decent was a welcome change and the rain and wind occasionally eased off.
The wildlife was magnificent with large numbers of curlew, lapwing, oystercatchers, and grouse to name just a few. These proved to be irresistible to Milly who decided that she wanted to chase anything that moved. Bangers was constantly trying to control Milly's natural impulses, but with little success.
After the walk we all drove back to Richmond to the Natural Retreats centre. The accommodation was magnificent. The chalets were all glass-fronted with splendid views of the surrounding countryside. Rabbits scampered back and forth playing in the evening twilight. It was truly a lovely place.
The day was topped off by everyone congregating at chalet 7 (the domicile allocated to CRK, Lady P, Screamer, Smiffo & Underlay). A copious amount of drink was imbibed and a fabulous meal of jacket spuds with a choice of fillings, cheese & biscuits, cakes & puddings was consumed.
All-in-all an excellent start to the weekend's activities.
FRIDAY. I woke from a nervous night's sleep, my fingers numb from gripping the duvet tightly, relieved that my new bed-buddy Depth Charge had proved to be the gentleman I had always believed him to be. And so up and to breakfast; today's itinerary left no room for slacking. Aside from the usual ablutions, there was packed lunches to be prepared, walking kit to be assembled and sundry other offices of a Hash away weekend to attend to.
We were summoned to marshal at HQ (lodge 7) at 09.30 hrs ready to drive to the day's first RV point at Aysgarth Falls Visitor Centre. Count Roadkill/Lady P being the lead vehicle we dutifully followed, ignoring all requests from our satnav to turn left/turn right/make a U-turn. The Count had determined that it was a 30-minute drive and that the full 30 minutes would be fully utilised; and so they were. After making use of the facilities at the Visitor Centre we set off on the planned 9-mile circular hike taking in Boston Castle. The way was far less vertiginous than that encountered in places the previous day but still offered spectacular views across the moorland; the weather also was far kinder.
At 11.10 hrs the Count pointed out to us a rarely-seen bird, the Roadkill Shrike, circling above us. He assured us that although not common, the heath moor of North Yorkshire was favourable territory in which to spot it. Now the Roadkill Shrike closely resembles the curlew and is often mistaken for it by inexperienced twitchers. Good spot Count!
Underlay and Smiffo were our walk leaders for the day and they kept a lookout that no hash sheep had gone astray. Underlay was apparently able to spot Ringer easily by his very distinctive pole!!
Arriving at Bolton Castle we partook of a part lunch before pressing on for another half mile or so to The Bolton Arms Inn at Redmire for an excellent pint or two and the remainder of our lunch. It was here that a lively discussion arose about whether one should start a jigsaw by getting the edge pieces done first or just dive in and get piecing; these are important matters for a Hash.
After lunch we pressed on, although Bolton Castle remained persistently in view for a considerable time. Passing a dragon which was also just finishing its lunch, ultimately we arrived back at Aysgarth Falls and viewed the Lower Falls, the Middle Falls and just to complete the set, the Upper Falls. At the Visitor Centre we were able to enjoy a typical British summer day by eating an ice-cream while sheltering under a plastic roof during a sharp hail storm with neither a coat nor an umbrella between us.
The evening was spent at La Piazza 2 restaurant in Richmond, where Blow Felt observed he had never seen anyone so obviously enjoying every mouthful of both his starter and main course as Ringer, and he was right. Delicious doesn't come close. Meal over we retreated to lodge 10 for cheese, wine, port, beer, more port, cheese and a nightcap of even more port.
A cracking day, and there was more to come...
SATURDAY. For it was a day of rest and in the absence of a Religous Advisor we turned to Psalm 97:
But burger me it was parky out there at that time of morning I can tell you and I could have done with one of those ports on offer in a certain cabin the previous night (no Rapid I'm not going to forget that). Or at least another t-shirt.
Job done and we were back before Underlay had taken Capt F, Depth Charge (dragged from the arms of his lover no doubt) and Tarzan on a mini Tour-de-Yorkshire (but up and down maxi hills), and before various happy campers had left to explore the Saturday Market delights of Richmond. Leaving me to act as stand in assistant to Lady P in THE GREAT JIGSAW ENTERPRISE – as joyous and heart uprighting experience as you can imagine (made only slightly easier by the Cup Final build-up on telly).
The sun was still shining on the righteous at 2pm as we circled up and, without a single joke about natural retreating, the HM fired the starting pistol. It was a tad warmer and both the Orange Hare and the Hare in Black were encouraged to see an almost full pack of purple Away Day Shirts (the Hasherdabber herself has a few questions to answer about the "almost"). Not only that but the pack was of a mind to take numbers as they should be taken – subject of course to traditions regarding being over 60 AND a 500 run veteran – although the HM did have to drag Screamer to the back (whimpering if not screaming) at one NC.
Sad it was that the lurgy deprived us of Spotted Dick at an early stage and that Golden Globes took the optional VSC (very short cut). They would have enjoyed the countryside and views across to Teeside that followed. Milly certainly did and scampered the whole thing with obvious glee.
I had chosen my Co-Hare not only because he is a thoroughly good bloke but also because of his love (a love matched only by his feelings for a fine beer and his good lady), his love of a lengthy and successful false trail. It was a joy to see Smiffo lead so many of the pack (including some hashers who didn't know what a false trail was) so close to the beacon at High Coatsgarth, only to march them back down.
... and remembers the 20s fondly
... and coming off again
Had Forking sent a spy to Reeth?
Blow Felt bids farewell to his Castle Bolton pad
A selection of the Low Bolton wildlife
Underlay with Rapid and rapids
The local beasts were pretty harmless ....
... well, most of them
Deca Mug for Peachers Tit
Brenda comes between the Odd Couple
Lady P and her Puzzle Team in triumphant mode
Great to see and hear Rapid on top form as secret RA and after the formalitities of down-downs for the Bangers' anniversary and Peachers Tit's deca award, he was soon laying into Spotted Dick, Custard (quite literally by the look of him), Lady P, Ringer, Depth Charge, Subby, Screamer, Underlay et al.
Off to Richmond then, for our last night out. An early meal at the beautifully converted station building, a quick wave goodbye to Pussies and Blow Felt leaving early for The South, and on to the Georgian Theatre Royal, the UK's oldest (1788), for an expertly performed Murder Mystery. Difficult to guess who dunnit, but Capt F did a passable job of treading the boards to justify the wrong choice, and I talked so much rubbish I had most of the audience in stitches (which was not altogether the intention).
Back to cabin 7 for a glass of wine to round off a really superb weekend ... oh, and to finish off that jigsaw puzzle (we know how to party in the WI Hash).
ON ON AND BACK TO DSC