Following a week of weather watching, I decided to set the trail on the day rather than the Saturday afternoon. This was a good decision as we had heavy rain overnight, which at least washed away the icy patches which had formed as I staggered home from the pub the night before.
A fast run around setting the trail was completed well in advance of the pack arriving without any dramas, but I had previously checked the route, so there were to be no lost paths this time.
Twas still raining as we all gathered and the birthday hat was awarded and retrieved by ClapTrap when it floated away early on the trail. A new path was used this time, one which I had not been able to navigate before, and this caused confusion with Underlay and Edwina checking out more frequently used trails. It was however somewhat squelchy as it headed off across the back of Alma Farm but Ringer in his navy seal outfit and Forking with the American pilot look seemed to be enjoying themselves, perhaps auditioning for the YMCA Village People reboot.
The next section took us along a bridleway where the question as to whether it was a left or right handed trail needed to be answered. Count went left and Leroy led the way right. Both were wrong, Underlay was partially right and headed along the bank by the road, but was fooled by the path leading across the field, as the actual trail crossed the road again following the Monmouth trail.
Twisting again and returning to the road leading to the Red Lion, another check tempted Bell End Too and Underlay to run down the side of Toddington Manor, now owned by the Chupa Chups family, rather than the rumoured Madonna. Hashing back along the road everybody failed to notice the hidden footpath sign, which I had hoped to use, but the path which should link up to the Manor path is just not there.
Returning to paths more trodden, back into the village by the school, we crossed the road before a short cut was offered and accepted with glee by Blowfelt, Shagpile and CatchIT. The runners continued via a the back alleys of Toddington all safely out of the rain within the hour.
No Pongo, but he would have enjoyed the new paths and the length, no RA as he was on haring duty and an indoor circle with tea, cake, pizza (Count's new favourite, the veggie Balti) washed down with session ale and Hoppy Birthday from Ampthill brewhouse.
Not a special birthday in numbers (or even Wurdz), but made special with friends. [all together aaaaaahhhhh ... scribe]