Having set the trail the day before, hares Underlay and Rapid knew that this was going to be a tough one. A generous 4 mile trail, with only the one opportunity to shortcut and plenty of mud: not just any mud, but the thick clogging stuff that sticks to your shoes and refuses to budge. Therefore the decision was taken to split into "Eagles" – The Runners and "Chickens" or "Turkeys" as Smiffo christened them. We even offered the opportunity to be a "Sparrow" and to turn back if time was ticking away.
With the circle called and the birthday hat awarded to yours truly, the Eagles soared away following the footpath opposite, apart from Capt F who just headed off down the road and needed to be called back.
The turkeys started off in the wake of the eagless, slipping through the mud. The front turkeys (DE and Nik Nak) hadn't taken note of where the eagles were seen disappearing across one field and found themselves following a false trail, to be called back by the hare. The mud soon took its toll where Blow Felt escorted the Newbie back to the pub.[i think we can forget the newbie on this occassion ... ed]
At a prearranged point on the route, a short cut was offered to the group; only Good Head and Princess Theakston chose to take this. And then there were ten plus the hare...
Meanwhile the eagles (I never thought I would say this on a H5 hash) were setting a good pace. No exemption cards played as there were no numbers, and all including Count keeping in sight of each other, with the small number of false trails all checked. WWW may be fast, but he is easily fooled – like father like son? Why you have a fenced off bridge is beyond me, but we managed to cross the ditch without any wet feet and headed towards Millbrook.
The turkeys followed around the edge of the old clay pit (soon to become a power station) and the rafter had to cross the same ditch. Exclamations of "I didn't know I was going to do a Tough Mudder" were heard. At this point the hare helped to get everyone across the ditch only to nearly get stuck in the mud as well.
Originally when checking the trail a loop was included into Ampthill park and it seemed polite to offer this as an option. I have never heard the pack in full agreement with a resounding NO. Screamer even asked if could join the walkers, but by this stage she was past the point of no return and more mud beckoned.
Now on the home straight (all be it a long one), the turkeys continued across more muddy fields where Clap Trap was found heading in the wrong direction. He had fallen off the runners group and decided to follow his GPS towards Houghton Conquest. Unfortunately, although the pub address mentions Houghton Conquest, it is about a mile away from it; never trust a sat nav!
Amazingly the eagles that dared returned just on the hour, the distance just over the 4 miles but the mud making it feel much longer. Bell End Too, Capt F, WWW and Rapid had all been abandoned by support teams, who were either still on trail, picking up others or just disappeared. Blow Felt set out to see if he could find any returning Sparrows, but none had flown home.
All the turkeys made it back to the pub in time for the lunch having completed the walk and extra leg weight lifting workout; well the hares did need to make sure everyone worked up an appetite for the Christmas meal to come.
And what a meal it was.
Hats off to the organisers Blow Felt and Golden Globes. All the food arrived as expected, there was plenty of it and a multiple choice quiz kept us all entertained; Smiffo, Screamer, Count and Lady P demonstrating their superior knowledge of trivia.
With the food digested, names were placed in the hat and the eagerly awaited Prize Drawer(s) was made. The winners had the opportunity to stick with their box, to swap or to nominate. Cyclopath must be physic as she choose to pass her gift to DE, which those in the know had already planned to do if they were drawn. The delight of H5 bloomers was immense for those not on the receiving end and we look forward to seeing these worn by the winners on future trails.
Finally a mini circle was called, drinks for the hares and organisers awarded followed by Capt F's sex education lesson.
Follow that? We will with Hash 1405 from the Greyhound, Haynes. You could even join Capt F for lunch after. Bloomers optional.
On On Rapid and Underlay