The ancient Hash Scrolls, discovered in a clay pot that was purchased in a chariot boot sale in 1066, describe a mystical hash-land "north of Midhurst, yea! even north of Haselmere", where the sun always shines, the paths are "sweet under foot" and there are many fine "wínhús" stocked with "béor" and "æppelwín". Over the years many people have sought this place, this Atlantis of Hashing, to no avail....
A crisp morning with a blue blue vapour trailed sky after two or three days or more of grey wet misery is guaranteed to lift the spirits, and it added to the poignancy of the annual two minutes of silence amongst the whispering pines. Then the spell was broken as we launched into the usual hare commentary and in the background there were some late arrivals, trying not to be noticed, which added to the fair sized pack that soon eagerly rushed out on the virgin soil.
Witley Common is not a large area, it is a segment between the A3 and the A286 which converge at Milford, so one might have thought that it would be difficult to get lost here.
To start with we headed north west, with the first check after only a hundred yards. No one fancied going straight on towards the roar of the A3 so we split left and right, with Flash and Panda at the head of the lefties choosing the right way.
Clearly the hares had been busy because we soon came to the next check in a bog at the centre of the common with falsies in abundance. The likes of Olive Oyl, Old Faithful, Keith.... and even Spiderman found a trail to try while the rest loitered, nattering and trying to keep their paws dry amongst the Witley Everglades.
I think it was Dr Blood that put paid to the paddling by finding the way out south west and up the only hill on the common towards the ancient tumuli and into magnificent tall pine with an underlay of soft brown bracken.
We had time here to appreciate the flora and for Buddy to try and dislocate Snake Charmer's shoulder due to a confused Keith reporting a false trail. Yes, three blobs means false, but when they are in a line and six feet apart ?
We now reached the southernmost extent of the trail as we reached the Milford Lodge cross roads where Bambi and Old Faithful wasted time looking for flour on the tarmac while the hares shepherded the pack north east parallel to the A286 and then north where we literally almost bumped into our Hon President who was hogging the trail.
Then just as we were in danger of returning to the Everglades we reached the On-In after a mere fifty six minutes of rampant hashing.
Although we had been on a fairly tight anti clockwise loop of the common, the number of checks and false trails that had been packed into the space had given everyone a chance to take as little or as much exercise as they desired.
At the circle there was criticism for Bambi regarding an opinion that Snake Charmer's new hair style makes her look like a boy, (you make up your own mind), Keith for the non falsie débâcle, and Pru for a bit of shortcutting.
We did not have our Hash-It, Steve the last recipient lives nearby but did not show up, further chastisement will be necessary, so Dr Blood who had complained about yellow not being the preferred colour for his tee shirt was made to kneel and hold a funny dangley thing.
There was a big round of applause for the hares before we motored over to The Star to enjoy the log fire, low beams ouch!, beer and scrumpy.
Could this be the mystical land?