The Winter Hash Training (Un-)Camp 24 November 2018

So what is an un-camp? Well, it’s like a hash training camp but without the camping. Jim the Prof came up with the idea when it became clear that no one was actually going to organise a winter training camp this year.

In response, seven of Sheffield finest athletes (surely some mistake – ed.,) assembled at Hunters Bar bus stop on Saturday the 24th to await the 272 to Castleton. Prof was last to arrive but came just in the nick of time to avoid the chaos of a hash without a hare. Disappointingly, the 11.59 was not a double decker so no singing on the top deck ensued; but we managed to commandeer the back seats and so set off on our big adventure in fine spirits.

How come Michael Portillo hasn’t featured the Sheffield to Castleton bus ride as one of his epic journeys? (Because it’s a bus, not a train – get on with it). Anyway, it’s a pretty stunning journey which includes detours to Bamford and Bradwell (of which, more later). Search and Rescue and Caroline joined us at Hope, having driven the baggage train consisting of everyone’s changes of clothes to a strategic point near the finish. Thanks, Sally.

Eventually, we de-bussed in Castleton and made straight for the George where we raised a commemorative glass to our friend Billy the Bee. Then it was time to receive Prof’s detailed briefing and team talk. Actually, I blinked and missed the briefing but Spiv bought me a very nice pint of Bombadier, so it wasn’t all a complete waste of time. Once fortified, we left the pub into the teeth of an icy wind that made leaving the pub seem a silly idea. Prof had pre-set the route two days earlier with gluten free flour. Given the intervening rain, this seemed a bold move. But at least it meant he could run with us and point out where the flour used to be.

Up the hill out of Castleton we went in dribs and drabs. Soon Mincer remembered he'd left his hat drying by the fire in the George and had to go back. Remarkably, he did re-join us quite soon afterwards; my money had been on him staying by the fire watching his hat dry. But perhaps you shouldn't judge everyone by your own low standards. We skirted round the cement works in Hope and headed up country again in the general direction of Bradwell. I heard Madge tell Caroline a very interesting story about farting in cars on long journeys but I won't detain you by repeating it here. Somewhere en route Spiv took a very good picture which made it look like we were on a run rather than a pub crawl.
An athletic looking pub crawl!

First stop was The Bowling Green Inn, a very pleasant hostelry (or refugio) indeed. Of course, exhausted by our two mile run to get there, we had to take a rest and more liquid on-board. Trunks was on the G and T as a warm up for the Bloody Mary he had later. Smittie was warming to the task of out-drinking us all very nicely and was beginning to smile benignly as befits the Hash Meister. 

Refreshed, we set off once more but only round the corner to the Shoulder of Mutton where we found we were exhausted again and had to take more drink. Desperado had talked earlier of being too exhausted to run at all. But there he was, third pub in and still standing. The adrenalin had kicked in. There was some discussion of finding another pub in Bradwell to be exhausted in but without really deciding anything we wandered off across some muddy fields to Brough and The Traveller's Rest on the Hope Road. 

Here Caroline was lured away by a convenient bus stop; a superb team effort succeeded in stopping a 271 to Crosspool and off she went. The Traveller's was busy with young people who, it emerged, had been caving under the watchful tutelage of Hannah and Chris (or so Search and Rescue tells me). Small world; and small range of beers too at that pub so I brought the smallest glass of whiskey which I'd ever been served. Trunks didn't mind: a Bloody Mary is the same the world over. 

It was now quite gloomy outside. Nonetheless, the intrepid hashers pushed on into the wind and incipient rain, minus Madge who had decided her pass out had now expired. She said she would wait in the pub until the next bus came. But who knows? She may have joined the young cavers on their weekend course.

True to their art the Sheffield H3 declined to follow the easy road route to Hope preferring instead the cross country trail allegedly set by Prof. I certainly saw lots of cow pats but not much flour. But at last the lights of Hope came into view and there was the baggage train waiting by the Church with lovely dry clothes inside. A quick change in the historic graveyard and into the Spar for, you guessed it, more drink. The Curry Cabin was small but perfectly formed and the food was excellent. Some people ordered the hanky of the day which was a puzzling choice. Hannah and Chris joined us there, having left the young cavers behind. We all agreed that this had been a reet good day out. So thanks, Prof for organising it all and here's to the next one.

Capt Morgan.

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