Chalk Talk - The Safe Haven for Bergen Hash House Harriers

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Chalk Talk

Shortcuts to the True Trail


Some of the signs used to mark BH3 trails are shown below. We very seldom have live hares; usually the hare lays the trail beforehand and runs with the pack. The trails are usually marked with flour, but on some occasions other ways of marking the trail have been used:

  • During winters some hares have used ketchup, chocolate powder, red fruit juice or different types of wholemeal flour
  • After an anthrax scare in 2001, the police banned the use of flour and gave us spray cans with red paint!
  • When the trail was set some days in advance, multi-coloured wool has been used to mark the trail

Each hare has his or her own "style" and length of trail usually depending on the season. Between spring and autumn hares usually lay trails outside built up areas, i.e. in the forests and mountains surrounding Bergen whilst during the winter the trails tend to be in more urban areas of Bergen.

Drink stops
Runs are anything between one to two (or sometimes more) hours long. Drink stops are very important on runs, although over the years there have been a few infamous trails WITHOUT any drink stops at all! Drink stops can either be a mobile affair, i.e. the hare(s) make sure the supplies are either carried by the pack or hidden somewhere along the trail beforehand, or the drink stop can be in a pub somewhere along the trail. Pubs are usually used on runs in urban areas because Norwegian law prohibits hashers from drinking alcohol in public places.

Run types
The hare(s) decide whether the run is an A-to-A run (starts and finishes at the same place) or an A-to-B run (starts and finishes at different places). A great majority of runs are for practical reasons A-to-A runs. A-to-B runs are usually used on events, e.g. the Killer Hill run where hashers are transported to the start and picked up again at the end of the run. On A-to-A runs, the start and end of the run are usually not in exactly the same place and there is usually no marked trail from the end (the 'ON INN') back to the start.

Some hares mark the start of the trail with 'HHH' as shown above, although this is not very usual. The end of the trail is marked by an 'ON INN' (ON to the INN) although some hares cannot spell and write 'ON IN'.

As of late, with the average age of the pack slowly increasing, there are usually runner and a walker trails, where the walker trail is often shortcuts along the runner trail. The splits between the two trails are sometimes marked with W (walker) and R (runner).

Crossing the trail
One practice that is frowned upon by all hashers, is the so-called "crossing the trail". That is to say: a trail cannot cross itself. Therefore, a trail cannot e.g. be a figure of eight, as the trail will inevitably at some point cross itself again.

Mark the trail using flour
Trails are usually marked with flour (the walkers trail is highlighted in red above but not in real life). A few times, as described and shown above, other ways of marking the trail have been used.

Some hashers have a very sophisticated way of marking the trail: they punch holes in the bottom of the tin that a whisky bottle came in, fastens it to a pole, fills it with flour and marks the trail by striking the ground with the tin (image right). Others dip a tennis ball in flour and "bounce" their way through the trail. Yet others fill empty water bottles with flour and mark the trail by "squirting" flour through a hole in the cork. This is by far the "cleanest" way to mark a trail on wet and rainy days. However, most hashers just carry a bag of flour and drop blobs of flour thereby marking the trail.

Hare vs. Live hare
Trails are as a general rule marked before the run starts and the hare(s) run with the pack. Now and then, a hare might decide to do a bit of "live haring", i.e. to set off a few minutes ahead of the pack and mark the trail whilst running. This offers a few opportunities to the pack:

  • If anyone in the pack catches up with the hare, he or she is obliged to take over the haring duties
  • The pack has the option of hiding the bag of flour at the drink stop thereby upsetting the hare

Variations on a theme
On run ##1172 the hare duties were set up as a relay effort. The designated hares marked the trail to the first drink-stop where the name of the next hare was drawn from a hat. The winner marked the trail to the next drink-stop. This continued until there were no more drink-stops. However, for some reason this way of marking trails never caught on.

In conclusion
As long as there is at least one DRINK-STOP on the run, the hares can get away with almost anything with regards to the trail and markings.

Last but not least - the markings
Most of the markings used on BH3 runs are shown below.

Blobs of flour are used to mark the trail. We do not adhear to the practice of three blobs and you are on.

If the hare(s) think the pack will consist of BB's, arrows can be used to guide the pack in the right direction.

The pack check and wait until everyone has arrived and must wait until the hare(s) have given the signal ('Check it out') before continuing.

After run #1222 the hare's neighbour posted an interpretation of the sign on Facebook: 'Nothing of value in the house i.e. not worth to burgle'.

The pack will check in different directions for the continuing trail but without waiting for the whole pack to gather. Variations of the sign includes blobs of flour in the circle where the corresponding number of Hashers must wait at the 'check and go' until the last Hasher in the pack has passed by.

Need I say more?

'DS' (Drink Stop) or 'BS' (Beer Stop) are sometimes used instead of a D. A few hashers advertise the drink stop by placing the sign 'BN' (Beer Near) a short distance from the drink stop.

The pack gathers and under the guidance of either the GM or RA, will endeavour to sing a rousing Hash song (usually 'Father Abraham' or 'Lion Hunt').

A dead end and the pack must circle back to find the true trail again.

Used after a check and wait or check and go, and the pack must go back to the last check and start searching for the true trail from there.

Hashers must run back to the last Hasher in the pack before continuing. Variations of the sign includes blobs of flour in the sign and the corresponding number of Hashers must run back to the the last hasher in the pack.

Some hashers insist on calling this sign 'FISH HOOK'.

Marks the end of the trail. Some Hashers insist on writing 'On-In'. According to informed sources the BH3 way of spelling the sign means "ON to the INN" (i.e. pub).

After run #1222 the hare's neighbour posted an interpretation of the sign on Facebook: 'Only one occupant in the house'

Some hashers introduce their own markings ...

... and the pack has to guess the meaning before continuing.

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