It was warm, dry, and sunny outside Meppershall's Sugar Loaf, as the hares waited for the Hashers to arrive - very much in contrast to the previous evening, when unscheduled rain had seriously degraded the trail markings they had so laboriously put in place (especially the many fish-hooks that seemingly became invisible). This was the third time that the hares had laid a trail from the Sugar Loaf, the only pub local to their gaff, so they had been expecting some luck. After circling up (no birthdays or anniversaries were disclosed), and a group photograph, the pack were off, following the High Street all the way to the church, then round the back to pick up the Bunyan Trail down to the Gravenhurst road, then on it downhill to the bridge over the river Hit.
It was at this point that the runners were faced with a terrifying choice; whether to carry on or shortcut (i.e. go left or right alongside the river)? As this was about ½ hour into the run, most took the short-cut, even though there was rumoured to be a bull in one of the fields it crossed. The runners on the other hand executed a loop through the fields south of Gravenhurst before penetrating the village via one of those footpaths that run behind peoples' gardens but opened out right in the centre of the village. They carried on up the high street, past the church before plunging back onto a footpath that descended through the fields (filled with calves and cows - but not bulls) down to the river again affording beautiful (if disconcertingly distant) views of Meppershall. The stalwart, (sweaty) runners rendezvoused(?) with those few short-cutters that had held at the "Cow Bridge", and exchanged jelly babies. Then it was just the matter of climbing back to the village - it only 40 meters! - but they're all upwards. I think I prefer Barton, where at least you're on a downhill run, back to the pub!
In the circle Pongo took charge, awarding the hares a (well-deserved) drink before handing over to the week's secret RA; Knobber, to administer "justice" to various miscreants. Down-downs were awarded to Blow Felt (for the unlikely offence not having his clipboard ready, when hashers wanted to pay?), Bangers (pat-sitting), Skippy (competitive-ness-ism) Bell End Too and Princess Theakstons (tardiness) Frau (complete lack of dog control) Pongo (not using proper hash names) and Page 3 (for being a returnee). Children in Need were to benefit from the vast sums raised from the cakes and fudge, which was all completely consumed.
On On to The Rising Sun (…it's towards the East, we hear!)