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Happy Valley Hash House Harriers

Step 1......Getting started

Like anyone else wishing to lose their virgin status, you need to agree a date with the Hare Raiser, and then decide on a suitable location where this once-in-a-lifetime event is to happen. The Hare Raiser can mate you with an experienced hare – let’s say his name is Jim - and help to deconflict venues so they are not always in the same ballpark area.

The hares have to agree between them who will pick up the pink and blue plastic bottles of trash and who will put out the signs to mark the RV from the nearest road. HVH follow a 2 weeks ahead cycle, ie the hares in 2 weeks time, get the trash and signs from the last run. If that is too difficult to understand, ask Jim

Step 2......Selecting the RVs


This is common sense really, but we are dealing with hashers here so sticking to basics, the RV must be accessible by 4x4 vehicles (anyone who doesn’t have one deserves to walk to the RV as they are patently not committed hashers). Ideally some shady trees in summer and not up slippery hills in the muddy winter, otherwise keep clear of livestock, farms, and roads with heavy traffic. There is plenty of scope for you to choose from. Try a UK hash if you want to know about restricted access – we are so lucky here!

Step 3......The Recce

Meet up with Jim, your fictitious but experienced hare partner, at the chosen RV and look at the lie of the land together – is the RV accessible by vehicles? What natural hazards are there such as steep hills and gullies, goat farms with flocks roaming around, thickly tangled gorse bushes, old hash trash, frequent rubbish dumps, barbed wire, and the remains of bush fires perhaps? 

When you are satisfied that Mother Nature has done her best to provide you with suitably rugged terrain that will test your ingenuity and the hashers patience, have a run around it and get to know the area for yourself. Look at it on Google earth if that helps, why not? Decide how far and for how long you want the run to be. In HVH a winter run should be at least an hour and even a bit more. The summer runs are shorter and should be maximum 45 minutes, and less when it is really hot.

Choose the trail and mark it using the HVH symbols illustrated on the website. If you dare to add any other symbols, make sure you brief the hash about this before the On Out. Remember, you are aiming to create controlled confusion, not to cause a cock-up! 

Step 4......Laying the trails

Jim will lead on this, and you will too one day with your very own virgin hare. In outline, you are marking a large circle that will get the hash back the RV within the agreed time-frame, and on the trail they will encounter checks, check backs, falsies and get spread out across the terrain like beaters at a shoot, looking for the next On. 

The hash will always be moving roughly in a straight line ahead unless the trash leads them in another direction. Trash is normally laid on the same side of the trail; not noticeable from too far away; not spaced regularly so hashers get panicky when the next blob is further away than the previous ones were; lay more blobs in close country and fewer when it is open stretches or follows obvious tracks. 

Lay your tricky trail using the information in HVH Signs and Symbols, tell the pack what you have done at the briefing and let them sort it out. Good luck!!

Step 5......On the day

Having checked with your fellow Hares that they have booked the taverna for the meal, got its phone number, menu and price list, cost of a large Keo, etc, and finished the inevitable argument that takes place every first Thursday of the month, you can lie back and snatch some extra shut-eye. 

You will need it as today you are a Hare for HVH! Unless you lose the argument, in which case you ring the taverna and agree the price (usually €12 or less per meal) and say the approximate time HVH will be there. Occasionally, with agreement from OnPress, the frst Thursdays in the summer (May to September) is a BYO picnic in a shady glade with a view. HVH are a very picky bunch! Load the HVH signs and any unused pink or blue into the truck, take some water and a folding chair and get to the RV at least an hour before the run. Better with two of you; one drives and the other dives out the rolling vehicle like Starsky & Hutch (if you can remember them, maybe you are too old to be doing this!) and plants the signs to get hashers easily into the RV. If the drive-in from the road is a long one, put in a few ‘confidence signs’ to the RV. It keeps them from phoning and moaning.

At the RV, pick a shady spot for the beer-wagon to park, and as each vehicle arrives point out where they can park, always leaving the worst area for the On Pres (or so it seems). Before the On Out, get numbers for the meal and ring the taverna. Prepare a short brief for the Hash intro which On Pres will tell you to give, mentioning any goats, traffic, barbed wire, Achtung Minen zones, etc by then you are high on adrenaline, and it’s On On Out!

After the run and the On Pres has lambasted the hares, wipe the tears from your eyes and stop sniffling; get the diners moving and you go round and pick up the signs. Once the RV is clear, hightail it to the taverna and standby for the inevitable flak – you will soon get used to who the whingers are – just tell them to go away in the Anglo-Saxon vernacular. They will love you all the more for it! 

NB Creep round the Hare Raiser and get your next Hare booked early – but not a first Thursday....?

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