After Bangers carefully planned a run from The Silver Cup in Harpenden, just a few days beforehand we learned that a half marathon 'race' was being held starting in Rothamsted Park. Dang! 500 'runners' getting in the way of proper hashing and they didn't even have the courtesy to notify us. But as though by magic, Bangers pulled another trail out of the hat, this one from The Strathers in St Paul's Walden, a very fine pub we hadn't hashed from since 2010 – we had visited on a couple of occasions but not hashed. Ideal choice for a Mothering Sunday run as the pub isn't of the food first, beer second type, so we were welcomed by the landlord.
Bangers managed to recce the route a couple of days beforehand to check the distance etc. The weather forecast for the weekend, which was initially for rain, cleared up and the hares set out on Saturday afternoon to lay the dust. As soon as we arrived at the pub, the light drizzle stopped leaving near perfect laying conditions – a good portent for the next day. Our route to the pub took us through the village of Kimpton where we noted sadly that The White Horse pub is no more – boarded up and the sign gone. Doesn't look promising; that only leaves The Boot in the village now.
On to Sunday and 11am brought out not only a mild sunny day but a good turnout. Courtesan nearly caused an incident when she almost shot past the entrance to the car park, braked sharply and starting reversing, oblivious of the Land Rover behind her. Knobber made it just in time for the circle, unlike Hash Mistress Nik-Nak who made it just in time to see the pack leaving the car park; the eagle-eyed RA's notebook was filling up already. After a lengthy absence it was good to see Zebedee bouncing back to us and PP brought young son Sebastian along for his last outing with us (as Sebastian that is – see below). Courtesan introduced newie (to us) daughter Lucy. The Hares warned the pack about there being a lot of surface water about and of course plenty of shiggy – we do love shiggy don't we? No hazards to be wary of, just to observe Hash-hush passing through a couple of fields of horses.
The first 0.75 mile or so of the trail was a loop that brought us back almost to the pub just the other side of the church, but I think only those with a first-rate knowledge of the area recognised that fact. Wherever you go in the St Paul's Walden area the terrain is undulating so there were plenty of ups and downs to challenge the pack. Neither hare being as sprightly as they once were, the FRBs – Hot Shot, Zebedee and Rapid especially – were left to find the trail by themselves, with several strategically placed number checks to rein them back in. Even The Count joined in and for once didn't produce his exemption card. However, being as keen as mustard, the FRBs missed (ignored?) an S-check placed to allow hashers to enjoy a fine display of snowdrops, one of several patches to be seen, although these were the best. The trail headed towards Stagenhoe before turning left and going through Walk Wood where the shiggy was most abundant. A final uphill pull brought us to the On-Inn in just about the hour, although PP and Seb were a tad slower.
The pub was as always serving some excellent ales, including a particularly fine Cuckoo from the Leighton Buzzard brewery, which at 3.8% ABV was very drinkable. On a less happy note, Apres Hairy Gussett arrived with the news that she had collided with a muntjac deer on the way to the pub – neither animal nor vehicle escaped the encounter unscathed.
Rapid awarded Hot Shot his 50-run hat – ideal for the coming summer months, but as Hot Shot doesn't do Mondays it'll come in handy next winter. Sebastian got his deca-run mug, the first to bear the new H5 logo, and was FINALLY named, so it's farewell Sebastian and welcome Tinky-Winky. Cyclopath got a long-delayed deca mug – one of the steel 'Camping Mug' style. There were down-downs aplenty from RA Blow Felt for the hares, for our newie, for Courtesan, for Knobber and Nik-Nak, and a mass straw-athon for all our mums on Mothers' Day.
Next week, it's a hashy birthday run for Knobber who has a x0th birthday to celebrate and welcomes H5 to his abode in Stotfold. Make sure you bring your tankard if you're beer drinking.
OnOn to Stotfold
Bangers & Ringer