With the scintillating anticipation of yet another night on the run coursing through my veins, I arrived at the Boot of Bledlow.
Anticipation soon turned to dread as I was reminded of the huge downhill and even bigger uphill that sank and fell just to the west of the pub. However it was a good turn out and the usual hectoring of the GM and hare got underway. Hare Barney talked of a 5 mile long run and a three point something trek for the shortcutters – surprisingly these figures turned out to be true for a change.
Somewhat interesting fact No 1. In 1462 Henry VI granted the Manor of Bledlow to the College of St. Mary, Eton and the provost and fellows of college remain, to this day, the lords of the manor.
We set off with a left down the road then another which brought us around the back of the pub to the long short split. Or rather it took a few of us to the split with the remainder searching for a tooth that had just been shed by Des. Time passed whilst the hounds hunted for the missing molar – presumably as Des wasn't going to give up on the financial reward a visit from the tooth fairy brings. Eventually both the tooth and the hope of finding it were pronounced lost and the hash regained momentum.
The hill I had been dreading materialised as we descended into the stygian depths that are Lodge farm. A long check in the wrong direction and I was 200 yards behind the pack and at the bottom of a dirty great hill climb.
Back to the top of the hill we had just run down where we re-joined the shorts trail, catching up with them somewhere around Wigans Lane, before parting with them again a few hundred yards later. The Longs turned right for a long, fast and very tiring check, where I fortunately just missed getting caught by yet another on-back.
Eventually we turned left past Beechgrove farm and headed on the long downhill stretch to Town End and Radnage church. Thoughts of popping into the Three Horseshoes for a quick bevvy or two came to nothing when we realised the cashless society had, once again, struck the hash. So instead we turned left through the churchyard and on-up the hill.
Somewhat interesting fact No 2. Radnage church was not actually built by the Knights Templer as proudly claimed by the church's website (and a lot of other sites as well) - actually it was granted to them in 1215 by Bad King John, before passing into the hands of the Knights Hospitaller in the early 1300's.
As I said we turned up the hill - OMG! One section of the hill was nearly up-to-the-knee in thick, gooey, sticky, nasty, wet and very slippy mud. Oceans of it. Then more oceans. Comments ranged from "Ho, Ho, what a jolly japester our hare has been," through to "!!!!! *!$!!? What the B**!*! is that !***!*g …." and then some way beyond.
I won't say who it was that said what fun it would be if someone moosed in the mire, but sadly nobody did, or if they did they aren't owning up about it.
Then we arrived at the final long slog uphill, with the emphasis on slog, and on uphill! before we returned to the hallow sanctuary of the pub. Lashings of chips, bread dipped in oil and beer later, the mud had become just another faded memory and all was, once again, right with the world.
Then Roger got up and made yet another speech – Ahh well, the delight of a dreamy beer 'n chips haze couldn't be expected to last forever.
Paul was awarded a T shirt for staying upright (some of the time anyway) around 150 runs, Dave for a massive 300 and Mick for a truly gargantuan 700th trip to the pub with the hash. Or, to put it another way, having spent around £3,000 pounds on beer!
And, just to give you a happy ending, Des' lost tooth was found and presented back to him, saving him several hundred pounds and a trip to the dentist.