A Guide for Hares
Choose a pub - preferably one with decent beer and a large car park.
Then check with the landlord that he is willing to have all his beer drunk
for him on the date you have in mind. Strangely some landlords do object,
presumably preferring to serve fragrant cocktails with umbrellas to
Barbour-jacketed yuppies rather than real ale to sweaty hashers. Others
are more intent on gaining entry into the Good Food Guide than serving
beer. Leave them to it. There are plenty of pubs where we really are
Obtain a 1:25 000 map of the area. Ordnance Survey Pathfinder Series
are best as these show most field hedgerows as well as the footpaths,
bridleways and definitive Public Rights of Way. The next series,1:50 000
Landranger will do at a push but is not adequate to define the exact
course of footpaths. If you are really keen you can go to the County
Library and obtain a photocopy of their 1:10 000 map of the area - a
bargain at 10p. Then roughly plan a route approximately 25 - 30 cm long
on the 1 : 25 000 map (approx 4 - 5 miles). (Tease a length of cotton
around the route if you haven't a map measure. )
We try to set a long (about 5 miles) and a short (3-4 miles run)
Unless you know the land well, walk your proposed trail first, noting
suitable points for checks and making best use of features which may not be
apparent from the map alone. Seek out the muddy bits, known as SHIGGY -
Hashers love it. Use the geography to confuse the pack's sense of direction
and always ensure the pack can't see the pub from any point on the trail
otherwise they'll just head straight for it and the greater part of your
hard work will be lost. Try to avoid a long straight run in - it encourages
the FRBs to show off. Then mark the route on the map.
Next approach the landowners to clear the land. This is not as
difficult as it might seem at first sight. Select a farm on the route and
pay it a visit. Tell him ( or her) what your intended route is. The
farmer will advise you if there are any problems on his land with animals
or crops, etc. He will also be able to tell you who owns the other land
on your route and who you should approach. If they are out when you call
try the Yellowpages under Farmers and try to clear the route by 'phone.
Remember no landowner can object if you intend using Public Rights of Way
across his land but it is only courteous to inform him that up to 30
runners may be descending on his fields containing animals or crops. Most
farmers are very helpful but a few like to be cajoled into the right frame
of mind. Most will say you can go where you like but will warn you about
not damaging gates, fences or hedges. Be prepared to reveal your 'phone No
in case of subsequent problems. Good relations with farmers should be
preserved; afterall we will probably wish to make use of their land again
in the future.
Next obtain some chalk, flour or what ever else takes your fancy
to mark the trail - please make sure that it is easily bio-degradeable!!
DO NOT be tempted to use lime - an Oxford undergraduette Hare was once severely
burned by this necessitating hospital treatment. One Tesco carrier bagful
is generally sufficient for a complete trail if you are using flour/chalk but
two bags if using sawdust. For fairly obvious reasons it is not good idea to
use flour or chalk in snow or frosty conditions. A reserve bag should also be
filled and cached at a suitable point about halfway round the trail before
you start out.
Now lay the trail, preferably no earlier than the day's before the run, (the day of the run is best) and also try to
bully someone into giving you some help. Plan on taking 2 - 2½ hours
over it, more if you are going to use lots of falsies and you have no
help. Regard the hounds as fools who wear bifocals. Lay chalk every 20
metres or so on easy clear ground but reduce this interval to 10 metres or
less on rough or overgrown terrain. Lay copious chalk when making a turn
on open land. Ask yourself whether you could follow it if you were as
blind as Mr McGoo.
Checks should occur every 300 - 500 metres or so but at varied
intervals and, if possible, at natural check points. The trail should
start up again within about 30 - 50 metres and anywhere in a 360°
i e "BACK CHECKS" are allowed. as are on-backs and anything else your creative mind can come up with..
When making a FALSE TRAIL the same rule as in para 6 applies but a
falsie should be no longer than about 80 - 100 metres before ending in a
distinct mark. (Some hashes use a "T".) Any number of false trails can
emanate from each check.
If your trail changes direction in open country, use an arrow. Use of
cowpats to increase colour contrast is useful as are fence posts or
trees in long grass.
A REGROUP is another good way to keep te hash toghethen, a big Rat a check will ensure that everyone will wait
until the back markers have caught up before recommencing. Another useful
device is a LADIES' CHECK, a circle with a cross attached, which rather
ungallantly assumes the front runners will usually be male.
Don't be tempted to make your trail TOO long. A long run makes for a
spaced out pack and you won't be thanked for making everyone completely
knackered. If you are still laying it after 2½ hours consider
cutting it short!
Don't set your Hash by car - it rapidly becomes obvious when you don't know
all the trails because you're too lazy to get out. We have ways of knowing!
On the Big Day itself brief the pack on any unusual hazards and whether
dogs should be kept on a lead. Remember to mark an arrow on the ground so
that latecomers will know which direction you have taken and not go out on
the `in' trail. Make sure all gates are closed after the pack has run
through. Be prepared after the run to organise a search party for any lost
harriettes. Male members can generally be relied upon to look after
Finally , if appropriate, thank the Landlord for his hospitality - you never know, you
might get a free pint out of him. A good trail might qualify you for the
annual BEST RUN award or a monthy Tosca.