Mountain Rescue's Hints for Hares
Before laying your first trail, it is no bad thing to lay one with a more experienced Hasher. Most trails nowadays are laid using flour and a useful dispenser for this is a plastic milk bottle with an 80mm hole drilled in the top (a four pint bottle takes a kilo of flour). You will need quite a lot of flour - probably four kilos for an average length of trail of three to five miles. Much longer and, not only may you well run out of flour, but most of the pack will be getting tetchy before reaching the On Inn.
Do try to find time to carry out a reconnaissance. Most of our Hashers prefer small fields and woods so try to avoid roads and long, apparently endless, tracks and take paths through the forested areas. If country gets very close, consider carrying a pair of secateurs to snip those nasty, snagging, prickly bits out.
Look for natural obstacles like streams and shiggy (if you don’t know what shiggy is you’ll soon find out), they add interest and a certain mirth to proceedings.
A trail is laid with small blobs of flour and signs as illustrated below. The pack is ‘On’ when they have found three blobs. When you start laying the trail, try to think the way you would if you were a Hound, then do something different.
When you want the pack to follow, make sure the trail can be easily followed; this means many blobs in close country and fewer on open roads and paths. Try to make sure they can see the next blob – unless you are really trying to be devious.
Breaks and false trails are created giving the pack a chance to get back together. A standard Check is marked with a circle, and trails (some false but one true) can go off in any direction. The trail should start again within about 100 yards of the check marker. Think of laying some ‘come-ons’ that lead to nowhere. These standard False Trails are laid with no more than two blobs and then a line of flour across the path. The real trail is marked in a line of spaced blobs and becomes ‘active’ on the third such blob. Consider hiding the blobs from normal line of sight at the start of the true trail and making the false trails just a little more easy to find. This also gives the chance for double bluff.
A Check circle with one blob in the middle indicates that the trail starts again with just one blob (ie, there are no false trails – this can be useful if you’re feeling idle and can’t be bothered with falsies, or if you are running out of flour).
To slow down the Front Running Bastards (FRBs), a Back Back is useful. This means the trail turns back on itself and is picked up again at a junction some couple of hundred yards or so back the way you’ve just come.
To humour the Short-Cutting Bastards (SCBs) lay some long loops, the ends of which offer the opportunity to shorten the route.
A Check with X in the middle indicates a Regroup when the pack has to wait for all to catch up before starting off again. Select the site with care, depending on conditions; in summer in the shade, in rain under any cover, in the cold out of the wind, in snow don’t bother – keep running. It all makes for a friendlier pack and fewer rude comments.
Keep some flour to remark the trail as the pack proceeds to make it easier for latecomers to catch up with the pack.Please try to remember these signs. Failure so to do will only encourage the Religious Advisor to bang on at exceeding great length prior to the off (or On) and that can be incredibly boring.
Above all else, please remember that all concerned are there to have fun. Fun is imperative!