The advance description of the start location wasn’t as detailed as the above, consequently Old Faithful felt it his duty to check out the car park across the road and found a puzzled Dr Blood and his party wandering about and searching for hashers. The weather was bright and sunny but it was decidedly chilly standing atop the wind-swept ridge waiting for the off. But the view both ways was wonderful if a little misty in the distance.
Spiderman gave us the usual hare’s intro with the main exhortation not to cross the road unless there was an arrow authorising it, then he set us off westward and at last we could start running to warm up. We stopped for a hash photo by the cannon in front of Fort Widley, where Spiderman offered to tell us its history but the pack was still not warmed up and was keen to keep going.
The trail continued past the front of the fort and turned up the footpath beside it. Here we ran into a horse jam as the footpath is only single lane with no passing places. When it became clear the jam wasn’t going to be cleared anytime soon we backed up and Spiderman led us round a diversion until we met the trail again. Round the fort, then down through the nettles, then a little further parallel to the ridge. We all knew what was going to happen next, of course – back up the ridge!
But by which route? Jones found himself on one path (a falsie as it turned out) while Snake Charmer took another and became afraid she would lose him. She needn’t have worried, both paths met at the top, where she found him occupying his time climbing on a gate – because it’s there!
After a bit more searching towards the Portsdown Technology Park we found the arrow authorising us to cross the road to the south side of the ridge. Here was another pair of parallel routes separated by a deep valley, both with flour markings. Kinky followed the southern route finding the falsie mark at the far end at the same moment Olive Oyle found the check point at the end of the other path. Observing this hare Spiderman demanded Kinky return to the previous check rather than take the short link between the paths. However this idea doesn’t compute for Kinky who carried on regardless.
Kinky got into trouble again on the next piece of trail where he was number 6 to approach a fish hook. Of course the first 5 advised him the hook was for 6 – but they would, wouldn’t they, as Mandy Rice-Davies once observed. So Kinky decided he would check it out for himself before turning round. However Spiderman didn’t give him the chance and bullied him into turning round immediately. So back he ran with Popeye, Olive Oyle, Pancsi, Prancer and Pink Flamingo. Those 5 turned around when they reached the last hasher they could see, so in fact, it was only Kinky who completed the fish hook correctly when a trailing Dr Blood came into view.
The trail now came back close to the chariots on the edge of the open area to the south of the Portsdown Hill Road, and we could see the walkers, Old Faithful, Soap Box, Tigger and Thumper, sitting on a bench in the sunshine watching us while drinking a cup of coffee. What a diverse hobby hashing is. Pancsi, Snake Charmer and Dag thought the trail would simply finish with a loop round the edge of this open area but the hares had prepared a sting in the tail and instead took us off downhill to a cave in the chalk cliff for a regroup. After this it was a simple return trail back up the hill (naturally) to the cars.
In the circle JM Old Faithful listed the hash-it candidate: Jones for being “naughty” (I think he’s just being a normal high-spirited hasher!); co-hare Wee Ginge for taking a tumble; Tigger for instigating the walker’s coffee stop; but co-hare Spiderwoman was the (un)lucky winner for observing that the view was just like the view from Old Faithful’s bedroom (now how does she know that?)
On-on to the Churchillian, which is a bit plush for a hash pub but their beer was good and it was just warm enough to sit out front in the lee of the wind.
On On! Kinky