YH3 AGPU 2007, Raven Hall Hotel, Ravenscar, 2nd-4th February 2007
Runs 1275, 76 and 77
Scribe Jake the Peg
As the wind and rain of mid-July (and, latterly, August) attempt to prise the windows out of their frames, I’m reminded that I promised back in February to put some words together for this year’s AGPU.
OK, it’s a long time back and the memory is fading a bit, but I do remember that February’s weather was a lot better than anything we’ve had so far during this flood-and-pestilence ridden summer that we’ve all experienced to date.
Stop press an AGPU in Yorkshire for the first time in four years (and probably the last for a while as well, since we’re migrating South to Derbyshire in 2008)! We assembled from all parts of Yorkshire (and the rest of the un-civilized World) and were greeted by a presence that was simultaneously brooding and somewhat faded in its glory. This was nowt to do with the hotel’s stark gothic outline rather it was the Scarborough Hash propping up the bar. At least the buggers bothered to turn up this year, even if we did have to camp in their back yard!
The afternoon slipped by, courtesy of several (grossly overpriced) beers and everyone was well on their way by the time 8pm rolled round and we were summoned for the first of the weekend’s three outings. Matilda and Rapunzel were the night’s miscreants and they led us a suitably horrific, convoluted dance round the hotel grounds, ramparts, golf course and the surrounding railway cuttings, farms and fields. With a cold, crisp, full moon above and attired in our vampire AGPU T-shirts, all we needed was a visit from Dracula himself to complete the picture.
Although no bloody meals were on offer, we gorged ourselves on Frankenfurters instead having been lured into a disused tunnel, we found Rocky Horror in full swing, complete with stockings, suspenders, music, cocktails and mud. Pints and her team of sexy girls did us proud and we gyrated to the strains of the timewarp whilst getting totally bladdered. Great beer stop.
We groped our way back to the hotel and expected the usual free-for-all with sandwiches etc. But no! we were ushered into a medieval banqueting hall, allocated tables and served with our soup and rolls. Very nice, but boy did it delay our drinking! Thereafter, the evening descended into its customary chaos and was hijacked by Wheels and some other guitar-toting idiot who insisted on inflicting Amarillo, Ferry Cross the Mersey, Mrs Robinson et al on a bemused and befuddled audience.
And so to bed and then to breakfast and then to the AGM (for those of us with a masochistic bent). You’ll get full reports of this elsewhere, but suffice it to say that Rapunzel kept time precisely, we got rid of some fools, recruited a few more and (courtesy of Lick It Up) we saw more pictures of a sexual nature than have ever previously been on show during an occasion of such solemnity. Well done to all!
We abandoned the meeting room in good time to get on the buses and away to the main event. In accordance with AGPU due diligence, non-forgeable bus passes had been issued to everyone to ensure that we weren’t swamped by rogue SH3 incomers trying to get a free ride. In the event, were they carried? No! Were they checked? No! Did anyone care? No! Did we all fit on the buses? Of course we did!
To quote my namesake, the late Mr J Thackray: "Country bus, North Country bus - rollicking, frolicking, uproarious ... " a good description of our progress as we trundled across the moors, dived into steep ravines and lurched out of their far sides. Eventually we were disgorged at Grosmont on what was turning out to be an absolutely beautiful day.
Flossie, Ever Ready and Boghopper (latterly of SH3 but now of SH4 fame) were (allegedly) in charge today. Nonetheless, the ratio of pints consumed to miles travelled meant that most people missed their instructions, rushing instead desprately into the bushes to relieve themselves.
And it was around said bushes that the run set off, criss-crossing the car park and surrounding woodland. Soon, however, we were back in the village centre and (more to the point) outside a pub. Criminally, only five of us bothered to venture inside and to sample the fine ales on offer. What a bunch of lightweights YH3 is becoming!
Immediately thereafter, we were confronted with the mother of all river crossings as we waded through the Esk and then dispersed into the fine woodland that clings to its valley sides. Although it grieves me to admit it, the hares had done a damned good job. A fine trail through the woods led to a beer stop under the shelter of a viaduct (not that shelter was required today since the AGPU weather was being uncustomarily kind). Usual fayre good grub and a selection of fine hot and cold alcoholic drinks. Marvellous!
On up out of the woods and, by contrast, out onto open moorland. Stunning views across the Esk valley led, once more, downhill and to a second beer stop, this time at the pub in Beck Hole. Another excellent choice. It didn’t matter that it took a long time to get to the bar the craic amongst hashers, staff and locals was second to none. We soon learned to get a pint and go immediately to the back of the queue, pint in hand.
Although it was still brilliant sunshine outside, the sun itself was starting to head for the horizon and we were in a valley. After half an hour or so we were starting to get distinctly chilly. So, it was time to set off once more. Another lovely valley and woodland run. The official trail took in a long loop that visited a famous waterfall (Mallyon Spout). Some of us, however, with more sensible local knowledge took a shorter (but not insubstantial) route straight to the finish at Goathland (or Aidensfield as it is better known these days).
We didn’t see Greengrass, Alfred or Oscar "Mr Derek, Boom! Boom!" Blaketon, but all the familiar buildings had their fake signs on display, such as Scripps’ Garage and the Aidensfield Arms. Someone who will remain nameless, but who may be identified by his extra leg, assumed that the latter was bound to be the On Inn and waited patiently inside for everyone else to arrive. Wrong! The intended hostelry was across the road. I should have noticed there were two dirty great big buses parked up in front of it.
The pack arrived in dribs and drabs, grabbing platefuls of sausages, bread and chips, before being ushered outside by FD, Talking Pussy et al for (what should have been) a short and to the point circle. 45 minutes later, we were all freezing our nadgers off and losing the will to live. Eventually there was mutiny in the ranks and we all piled onto the buses as the sun sank into oblivion.
Nerd alert ignore this paragraph if you’re not scientifically minded. As we approached the hotel, those sad bastards with sufficiently keen eyesight and the knowledge of where to look were afforded a spectacular view of both Venus and Mercury hanging just above the horizon. It’s not often you get to see Mercury, even if it is in the right place, cos the weather is only very rarely clear enough, so count yourselves lucky. Science lesson over get back on your heads!
It’s AGPU night everyone is in their finery. Places are set, vino is on the table and the rabble arrive at the trough. There were over 90 of us this year a great turnout and all were keen to witness the two most hyped events of the evening the Chancellor’s speech and the Hash Cabaret. Dark Horse drew upon the news and YH3 mishaps of the year, delivering his address with his customary mix of wit and inebriation. The cabaret consisted of black light theatre, featuring white undies (apparently) dancing sexily by themselves. Well done the Polecats. Quote of the evening came from P-Rick who, having forgot his glasses and, consequently, being blind as a fart, remarked Blimey, there are women up there dancing naked!
And so to Sunday hangover run and departure for some, yet another AGPU day and party for others. Sleeping Bag, Tight Fit and Disco had sorted out the morning’s gentle extravaganza. A perambulation around the hotel grounds, ramparts and the Cleveland Way led to a clifftop and several abseil ropes onto a rocky beach. I didn’t experience the last bit at first hand as my blood sugars were in the basement and refused to rise, even after half a packet of jelly babies. I was up for it in principle, but didn’t fancy being removed from the beach in an air ambulance.
Those who survived the experience talk of dangerous traffic jams on flimsy ropes; having to swing across exposed cliff sections; massive, slippery boulders for up to a mile; arms being wrenched out of sockets as more precipitous ropes were used to climb back up the cliff; rope burns by the dozen. On reflection, I made the right decision although most who returned from Hades seem to have enjoyed it in some perverse fashion. A gentle jog down a disused railway took us all back to the hotel, albeit that some arrived home some 2.5 hours after the run started. We certainly got our monies worth for an AGPU hangover trail.
A final nithering circle was held outdoors and most folk had drifted off by about 3pm.
The end? Not for about 30 of us! As, by this stage, we were all getting increasingly pissed off with the Hotel charging us £3.30 per pint, we decided to decamp to the Falcon for the evening a pub about 3 miles up the road with good beer, good food, decent prices and a reasonable tolerance of the hash’s idiosyncrasies. Good call, Henry Root. We celebrated this AGPU finale in true hash style with drinking, carousing, music, singing and general good craic. Rowing competitions, Ever Ready’s singing, Buddy Holly, Don MacClean. You know the score.
So thanks to everyone who organised and contributed, and here’s to AGPU 2008. Chesterfield, here we come!
Jake the Peg AD 2007-08-21 21:54.
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