Autumn Gathering - Pinkery Outdoor Education Centre, Exmoor - 27, 28 and 29th October 2017

Another year, another Gathering - and we were back at Pinkery 4 years after the original visit.  The Naughty Hashing Fairies (car number plate is NHF) - aka the Bullbait and Child Catcher family - overtook us on the M5, and we followed them all the way up the north Devon link road and up the lane to Simonsbath.  We admired their pumpkin on the parcel shelf (see photo later!). They were in turn following Spocky and his trailer, so when he took a left turn off the lane, we were torn about whether to follow him, or stay with the Sat Nav.  We decided that he must know the best road to take, but it turns out that he was going to the Saturday pub, the Poltimore Arms. So we backed out and continued!
About 20 minutes later, we arrived.  The centre hasn't changed much since we last visited. A few more Damp Patches, and two new ovens with The-Great-British-Bake-Off sliding doors, but only one kettle... there were going to be queues at breakfast time! More surprising than anything else was the sunshine and lack of drizzle!
Buzby already had his home-brew out, and I had mine to add to it.  The food and drink was unloaded from Spocky's car, and, our chefs for the weekend - Strapo and Swampy - soon made themselves 'captains of the kitchen'.  Lots of home-brought-food to tuck into, ranging from nachos, lasagna, salads and meat plats - it was quite a healthy spread - I think only one lot of sausage rolls!
With Boots not invited this year ;-), Spocky-time followed a bit later, featuring horse racing, dingbats and skittles.  Somehow we (Black Nails) won, thanks to the Dark Lord betting all of our earnings on an outside in the final round.  Music and smoke (!) continued until the early hours.
The next morning, it had all got a bit foggy, and not just because half the beer had been drunk.  There were many aching heads and a need for a hearty breakfast. Strapo and Swampy outperformed themselves with exactly what the doctor ordered.  Then it was off for the orienteering, thanks to Coffin.  It as only a 25 minute course for most, and it was not overly warm, so a return to the kitchen for coffee - and the kettle queues - was most welcome.
The afternoon hash started at 2pm, which seemed to surprise many, but we had a strict timetable to adhere to.  A hard loop for the longs at the begining across some very boggy moorland, and then a gradual climb to an amazing viewpoint where we had the sweetie stop. Shame the fog ruined the view!  But just as we left, the mist began to clear, and kept away until dusk.  By about 4.30 we reached the Poltimore Arms - thankfully so had all our bags and clothing. Strapo and Swampy had been busy prepping dinner at the pub (which has no mains electricity!). The beer and food were both good, and a at 6pm the minibus looped around a few times delivering us all back to Pinkery for the Harry-Potter themed party.
The disco was pumping, and at least the kids were enjoying it, as the pack started to drift back into the Common Room.  More food, and then the circle.  Spocky thanked everyone that had helped over the weekend, and there was a host of other beers awarded by TC.  Son-of-the-bitz's 'roar' became our new battle cry!  More dancing and karaoke followed.
Then Sunday morning, and after an extra hour in bed, most hashers woke and were eating breakfast by 9.  The big tidy up followed.  The trail was at 11, and the sun looked like it was going to make an appearance.  Within 1/2 hour it did indeed begin to shine. Shame we were mostly too knackered to enjoy it as the trail took us up, though bogs, and up a bit more, and through some more bogs.  Buzby (having lost his sole the day before) was hashing in wellies, and saw them over-topped when he misjudged the depth of one particular puddle!  A very windy sweetie stop, and a much faster second half of the trail, as we headed back down hill to where we started.
A quick change, then into the Exmoor Forest Inn for Sunday lunch - and very nice it was too.

Thanks as always to Spocky for pulling it all together, and Strapo and Swampy for putting so much effort into the catering.

Please don't forget to Rate the Hash

Coming up...
5th November: Wonford Sports Centre - Happy Snapper (50.713354, -3.499597; map)
12th November: Joney's Cross, Woodbury Common - Strapo (50.6995677,-3.3389623; map)

Photos - in no particular order!



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