With the darker evenings it’s hazards on the trail that I’ll try to focus on and attempt to identify some and suggest ways of avoiding risk and injury.
Situated along the Amersham/Beaconsfield Road the Harte and Magpies has a refreshingly ample car park to assemble in and Roger and Sarah were in good voice to get us off to a smooth start up Magpie Lane to an instant check that sent us along a gravel driveway. As innocent as gravel drives may appear with the pace of some FRBs like Helles Belles loose gravel can present a slip hazard and maybe some might need protective elbow and knee pads to offer good injury protection.
This farm track led to a check and a footway looping us back to cross Magpie Lane and into the open fields of Bowers Farm. At a crossroads on the trail we paused for direction and Steady related her hazardous encounter with French bedspread sales; they had clearly lured her into purchasing several bedspreads at reasonable expense until the price tag revealed a cunning use of punctuation indicating hundreds of Euros rather than tens of Euros. Clearly not a hashing risk but could have resulted in financial injury.
Soon we encountered the hazard of traffic as we crossed the A355 Amersham/Beaconsfield Road where advantage is gained from hi-vis apparel and announcements of approaching traffic.
Continuing around the edge of open hedge-lined fields we carefully avoided rabbit holes and badger setts. Hazards only left to the imagination should one fall into a world of Wonderland, probably somewhere near Oxford.
Climbing over a steep stile we all arrived at a narrow country lane announced as the long/short split. Fit FRBs to the left and struggling Tail-enders to the right.
While the FRBs had a hill or two to explore, together with parts of Chalfont St Giles, the rest of us wandered down the lane and into Hodgemoor Wood.
A vast wood with many footways making a good bright torch essential equipment to seek out the ample flour Ant had laid for us and avoid tripping over the many tree roots.
We made excellent progress hesitating just once where at the edge of the wood the trail turned sharply back on itself where the leaf-covered mud made for easy soft and steady progress.
Soon the sound of traffic could be heard and a gentle downward track led us back to the pub. 20 minutes on and the more athletic of us arrived back at the pub just in time for chips.
Thanks to Ant and Sarah for a challenging hash and providing us with the Harte and Magpies' finest crispy chips and excellent selection of Chiltern or Rebellion ales.