The warm sun shone down from a blue blue sky as the cows in the meadow stretched their necks trying to lick the wing mirror from Old Faithful's chariot which was parked in the layby just off the busy A272. Not a promising place to start a Hash, however it did not deter a reasonable turnout on this bank holiday weekend.
One newbie of the female persuasion by the name of Ana turned up, dragged along by French Virgin. After a short briefing we all seemed glad to get under way and leave the cloud of flies that attended the cows behind. Or should that be cow's behind?
The first bit was north up Slade Lane past the cottages to really start hashing at the pumping station where Pancsi fell for the long falsie straight ahead while the pack headed west in the sunken sandy lane. Olive Oyl and Popeye were noticeably slower than usual having recently completed a gruelling forty mile march in the Lake District.
North then up to Carrols with the going getting even sandier and most people missing the narrow entrance to the way west towards the Sussex Border Path, all except Sinbad, Mussolini, Wee Ginge and the Spider people that is. Soon we were passing through the spiky spears of the asparagus fields and chuckling at Dogwhistle's efforts to run and text at the same time.
Next we were on the SBP and heading north into Durford Wood to reach a check in one of the little valleys that drop down to the south east where a short regroup gave us a chance for a natter. At the restart Thom and Kermit had a race up the valley side in pursuit of Bika who appeared to have found the trail along the ridge above.... of course they were all on a falsie as the true trail continued north on the SBP.
Just 200 yds further on a major check saw most of the pack waste a lot of time labouring up hill towards Durford Heath when the trail headed west to Tipsall Bottom via a steep climb and an obscure path which Mussolini blatantly short cut out.
There were no takers for the free range eggs that were on offer at Canada Cottages as we passed, arriving eventually at the parking area from where we have started in the past. If any of the pack did remember the previous hash here then it did not show because the homeward path south east into Rogate Common was the last to be checked, leaving Sinbad way behind in the wrong direction.
The trail then kept heading south east via several easily solved checks with the pack sharing the legwork and bunching nicely enough to allow Spiderman's bionic hips to keep up. A small detour through the undergrowth just above Commonside caused some consternation with Old Faithful needing to give a nod, tip a wink, raise an elbow etc until someone caught on.
A freshly fallen healthy looking oak tree blocked the start of the final stretch west to Tipsall through some vicious nettles, a stop for a group piccy, and then south back to the pumping station after one hour and thirty two minutes of leisurely hashing.
At the circle, above the roar of traffic, we heard about Bika standing on a falsie (he is picking up bad habits from you know who?), Thom looking for flour up a tree, and Sinbad for always getting the falsies. The Hash-It was presented to Mussolini, on three counts, not going to the pub, short cutting and constantly humming that 60s no 1 by Ricky Valance ( Tell Laura I ).
We retired to The Hamilton Arms in Stedham to sit out front in the sunshine, to drink various amber nectars and for some to try and beat the all you can eat Thai buffet.