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What's Hashing?

If you've not had any contact with Hashing before, "What's all this hashing business about then?" I hear you ask. And if you are familiar with Hashing, you might still find the Hash Signs and Symbols page of some use (I did, and I compiled it!) anyway, back to the beginning. What is hashing? Hashing is a great combination of exercise, socialising, escapism and enjoyment - and you also learn a heck of a lot about your surrounding countryside. A brief history can be found here
In essence it can be likened to Hunting - without the horses, without the hounds or indeed the fox! (and the clothing's a little more casual as well). The idea is very simple, a couple of people (the Hares) lay out a course using sawdust or flour, and the Hashers try and find their way around it. Running is meant to be an ingredient, though some hashers frown on this idea, and go for the "Nice walk in the countryside" approach. There are one or two rituals involved as well, but more on them later.

The process goes like this: The Hares, set out the day before the hash, usually from a pub (it's important to make sure the landlord is informed of your plans), armed with copious amounts of sawdust or flour, a map, and some idea of the course they're going to use. Using the signs you can find here, they mark out a course, anything from 3 to 5 miles long, incorporating false trails, mud, rivers , fields and footpaths, and any other available obstacles that happen to cross their field of view. The Hares should incorporate a Hash Halt at around half to two thirds of the way around the course (deploying the refreshments on the day of the hash, either hidden somewhere in the undergrowth, or in a conveniently parked car.) Hashers usually stop at the Hash Halt for ten to fifteen minutes, and taking this in to account, you should be able to cover the whole course in about one-and-a-half hours at a brisk walk.

On the day of the Hash, the Hashers gather in the pub car park, they should be told to arrive at least 15 minutes before the start of the hash. With Truro Hashers on arrival we pay 2 subscription per hash, this goes towards various expenses (DOWN DOWNS and the like). The reason for turning up a little early is nothing to do with politeness, or any of that nonsense. It's so that Hash Mismanagement (the head honchos) can see who to stitch up! Remember that phrase I used earlier, Down Downs? This is one of the rituals I was talking about that's part of the world of Hashing. Hashing is full of unwritten rules (many made up on the spur of the moment), and the breaking of any of these rules can incur a Down Down. This consists of downing a pint of beer, a half-pint or a soft drink, or even a pint of water - all depends on the recipient - in one go, and all the while the hashers are serenading you with a traditional ditty, see below.

What to wear If the Hares have done their job properly you will encounter a lot of variety on the course. Fields, footpaths, muddy lanes, rivers and streams could all be part of the hash. With this in mind, lightweight clothing that you don't mind getting (very) dirty, and a pair of running shoes that are passed their best, but still have reasonable grip on the bottom. A lightweight waterproof top is always a good thing to have to hand as well. Also you should take a towel and a change of clothes for after the hash. I usually take a bottle of water with me, some for drinking, and some for rinsing mud and muck off of various parts of my anatomy (makes me a touch more socially acceptable in the pub).
All this out the way, and it's on with the Hash proper culminating back at the pub for a well deserved pint, and a few more down downs!

Now, about that song

          He's a hasher he's true blue
          He's a hasher through and through
          He's an arsehole so they say
          And he'll never get to heaven in a long long day
          Singing Down down down down
          Down down down down
          Down down down down
          Down down down down
          Down down do..................and so on,
          Until the down downs are downed!