This adventure started on Chichester Station with everyone gathered in good time... except for the organiser, Splasher, who sauntered up with only seconds to spare having relied on an out-of-date printed timetable. On to the ferry where Dr Blood appeared to “pick up” a new family complete with 3 young children, and in front of Pink Flamingo too. I thought we’d lost him for the day when he pushed the youngest child in a push-chair onto the ferry and off again the other side. Pink Flamingo was taking it very calmly.
Beer Pump met the 11 of us day trippers at Shanklin station and showed us the back-woods way to the scout hut where we met up with the Chi hashers who had made their way there independently – Flash and The Panda, Bika, Kermit, Olive Oyl and Brutus Minimus, and also Hornblower and Sweaty Butterfly. Not a bad turn out. It was still early so plenty of time to settle in and meet familiar faces from IWH3 as they trickled in.
Baldrick started the ceremonies with a very detailed description of the symbols in use – circles for checkpoints and crosses for falsies. He didn’t want to take a chance on the IQ of the average North Islanders. There were fish-hooks and a refreshment stop, and 2 trails – a short one at about 3 miles and the other one longer!
The (long) trail started off through the foothills of Shanklin before heading up into the countryside, and when I say up, I mean UP. We went up, then up a bit more, then we did a bit more up, until I began to think there might not be any “down” on the island, we were doomed to go ever higher. Eventually we were drawing near the trig point atop Shanklin Down at 235 meters – that’s nearly 800 feet in old money. And I just had the thought “this would be a good place for a fish-hook” when, guess what? Not one fish-hook but two catching, among many others, Snake Charmer, Bambi, Kermit and Hornblower.
After regrouping at the trig point and admiring the impressive view from there – the North Island and home could be seen clearly – we began to go down at last, but I could see before us the misty top of Bonchurch Down ahead – another 235 metre hill I thought it was “high”ly likely we would climb, but fortunately, no. We continued down, crossing the main road at a blind bend (no losses reported) and continuing down followed by more down and then a really steep bit of downhill.
This is called “the Devil’s Chimney” which is a narrow cleft in the rocks with steep steps and handrails to help us through... all except for Brutus Minimus who first sat contemplatively cross-legged on one of the rocks, perhaps fancying himself to be a Buddha, before deciding to test his heightened powers of awareness by abseiling down the bare rocks without a rope, just stopping himself going over the shear drop with a last minute grab at the handrail. Oh, to be so indestructibly young.
By this time the pack was getting a bit spread out; I was near the back, and the crucial checkpoint before the lollipop stop was not marked, so after checking falsies for a bit with Bika, Kermit and Aragorn I eventually tagged on to Cooperman, who’s familiar with these parts, and we then caught up the walkers and strolled back to the scout hut. This was a bit of a mistake as the key holder for the scout hut was at that moment still dispensing goodies at the lollipop stop!
Once the scout hut was opened up the partying started – beers, cider, wine, etc available for a song with free hot pasties, bakewell and custard tarts for afters. Wonderful hospitality from our IoW hosts.
Mr Magoo ran the circle starting with a series of rather good jokes – much better than the ones Kinky came up with last year. ChiH3 GM Bambi threw in a good joke of his own which Mr Magoo generously forgave as he was a visitor. Pancsi wasn’t so lucky, he was awarded a down-down for abuse on the trail to the IoW GM, Suction. Splasher was also rewarded for almost missing the train (and organising the Chi side of the event); Dr Blood for his philandering and Pink Flamingo for being so forgiving; Flash and The Panda for enjoying a dirty week-end on the island before the hash; and, of course, Brutus Minimus for his exploits as a flying Buddha.
Then down-downs for the 4 hares, Baldrick, Beer Pump, Slack Bladder and Propshaft, for a great pair of trails – a run local virgins Judith and Bill undoubtedly enjoyed. More local down-downs for Iggy Pop, Captain Flint, and others I wasn’t quick enough to note down.
Time to make our way back to the North Island, and Snake Charmer was certain she remembered the way back to the station – which she did – but her memory let her down in another way when she remembered she had left behind her running shoes. Then I got a desperate phone call from Bika, who was driving back, hoping we hadn’t already left the scout hut as he had left behind Aragorn’s lead. So there are 2 more good reasons why we have to return soon for more enjoyable hashing with this friendly IWH3 group.
On On! Kinky