A select band of hashers who don't mind being fried to a crisp gathered under the blazing sun for the challenge of following Malibog's trail of a mixture of flour, chalk and toilet tissue around the mouth of the river Arun. We were kept waiting by Dr Blood who arrived hot foot from a do up in The Smoke and then disappeared into the convenient convenience to don his hash apparel. Malibog filled in the time with a futile attempt to explain his markings which was doomed from the moment that he introduced counting back into the process.
As soon as Dr B was ready we set out west down Gloucester Road heading for the big blue gasometer although it must be mentioned that Splasher and Sheree headed straight for The George.
Flash, Old Faithful and a bunch of other FRBs were reeled in as they were taken on a fruitless excursion into Linden Park while the rest found the way on the bridge over the railway to continue north west on Bridge Road. There was a scramble through laurel bushes in order to get into the rear of the Wickes store car park and then over to Tesco and west onto the path on the eastern bank of the Arun which reflected the sky in a pleasant shade of blue rather than the usual muddy brown.
The run south along the bank to the road bridge let the pack spread out, so we had an impromptu regroup in the shade of the arches while the traffic thundered overhead. Even so Thom and Sinbad only just managed to see us cross the bridge and head west into a wheat field via a narrow path lined with nettles and burdock.
Getting to the other end of this field felt like running to infinity and beyond, above us the searing heat of the sun, beneath us the ankle twisting cracks in the soil that probably led to the centre of the earth. Again we were spread out, not helped by some stopping to pick, pod and eat some peas from the crop in the next field before crossing Bridge Road and another regroup on Brookpit Lane by the Dairy Cottages.
Old Faithful and Pancsi raced off at the restart but OF was lured down a long falsie south west while Pancsi was wrongly attracted by a path heading towards the blue gasometer on the horizon, remembering it's proximity to the on-out. Bambi unexpectedly found himself on the true trail which led south east through a long thin spinney to the 12th green of the lynx.
We then negotiated the seemingly endless narrow path around the northern boundary of the course, the hares had made an attempt to raise morale by laying a "BN" mark towards the end however many in the pack had never seen one of these before, really!.
Eventually we crossed the Ferry Road pedestrian bridge and headed down River Road with small groups of the pack making their way back to the chariots via different routes over the next fifteen minutes or so. In all most enjoyed one hour and twenty minutes of blistering hashing over five miles of parched earth.
Eager to get out of the sun and into a pub as soon as possible our JMs quickly thanked the hares and plonked the Hash-It on Dr Blood for keeping us waiting at the start. We then staggered over to The George where Malibog had reserved some tables and Splasher already looked rather well hydrated.