Notes for SH3 Hares
Two trails a year will endear you to the Hare Raiser.
Avoid urban settings and blacktop. Also areas recently hashed (total originality in Surrey is now almost impossible). If you want a good turn-out choose a central location. The car park must hold some 30 more cars on a Sunday morning than is usual there. Confirm that your chosen pub wants hashers (you can never give an accurate assessment of number: say “About 30”). Check whether they can park at the pub.
5.5 to 6 miles is about right. Less than 4 will not be popular unless in exceptional weather; 8 or more will not go down well, even with a lavish sip-stop.
Try to make your trail irregular; a circle, or square, or lozenge, will be too obvious. One brilliant hare laid a trail on Staines Moor, where the whole area is visible from any point, by setting the flour as if on the arms of a star. Zig-zags are good, and changes of direction; keep them guessing “Right-hander or left?” The next blob should be visible from the one a runner is at; but where paths join it is fair to conceal the next blob, so as to get people wondering.
Remember you want the pack to solve the checks, but not too fast. It used to be held that the solution should not be more than 200 metres from the circle (much less in pathless woodland); but these days the front runners can find flour further than that. Try to be ingenious: back checks are vital, but also the solution on a path whose start is not obvious.
Go round again?
There are hares who say a well-laid trail can always be solved without the hare. This does not allow for jokers among the public who obliterate stretches of your trail, nor for checks you have made too difficult (the energy of the FRBs is unpredictable, as is their intelligence). So yes, go round again, or at the very least explain to your Checking Chicken just where your trail goes. If you do not go round with the pack it is your job to appoint a Chicken.
Use a compass and an OS map. Think through the whole of your trail with the map before you start. It is said that a second recce should take the trail in reverse. Carry a mobile phone.
Some hares prefer a companion, others not. There is a danger of muddle with two hares each setting part of the trail, but you are less likely to get lost. Ideally, share the recces, or your partner will be reduced to a bag carrier. Back checks are easier to set with two hares.
Nibbles and sip stops
Always welcome if you are feeling generous. Remember that the hash funds provide the drinks in the circle.
Collect the mugs the Sunday before your trail and wash them. If you really cannot be there, appoint a substitute. Buy water (3 litres?) and lemonade (ditto). Ensure front runners will have access to beer, which others will provide. Usually, three 1.5 Kg bags of flour are enough (Ed. I’d recommend more).
Provide the Hare Raiser with the post code, the OS map reference, the pub and an intelligent set of directions well before your run.