The hash house harriers

Hashers generally agree that there are four main reasons why they like hashing:

• It keeps you fit.

• You make new friends.

• You get to see parts of the country you would probably never have the opportunity to see otherwise.

• The beer and/or other drinks after the hash, during the ceremonial ‘down downs’, are very welcome.

How do we hash?

People who are hashing for the first time are briefed just before the hash commences on the basic rules of how to follow the previously set trail. They are told that the trail has been marked with blobs of flour (indeed all the signs are marked in flour) at intervals of between 50 and 100 metres, and they should follow these until they come to, say, a checkpoint. This sign, a circle marked in flour, with a blob in its centre, is found where there is a junction of two or more possible routes and here hashers must search down all of these to discover which is the correct one.

What they will discover down each possible route is firstly, a single blob of flour followed after an interval by a pair of blobs, but it is only when three blobs together are found that they know they are on the correct trail. At this point they must shout ‘on on’ at the top of their voices so that the rest of the pack know which is the right trail. A kindly hasher should smudge the circle at the checkpoint to point in the direction of the ‘on on’ call, so that slower hashers can see which way to go immediately.

While these are the basics of the markings, there are also others. They will be explained to the first-timers before the hash commences, sometimes referred to as de-flouring (sic), and also to the rest of the pack so that everyone is aware of what to expect. The trail itself is normally between five and eight kilometres and lasts for an hour to an hour and a half.

One point must be mentioned here – the main objective the hares will have borne in mind when planning, scouting and setting the trail is that the pack should arrive back within a reasonable time of each other (15 minutes maximum) so all these different markings are for that purpose.

WHEN do we hash?

The LH3 (Lisbon Hash House Harriers) meet every other Saturday at 2pm sharp behind the Casino in Estoril. Shortly after, when all those who are going to hash are expected to have arrived, the hares announce exactly where the hash will start. There is always an element of surprise as to where this will actually be. However, it is normally within 30 minutes drive away, and off we go in convoy.

WHO hashes?

The LH3 is basically a family hash. We have had babes-in-arms hashing, people well into their 60s who regularly hash, and also dogs. There is no membership as such, but a modest charge is made to cover the cost of the beer, soft drinks, water and crisps etc. The average number of people hashing is between 20 and 30, although there may be 50 or more on a good/special day.

Contributed – Mark ‘Oval’ Hanmer, Hash House Harriers