HASHING is a combination of Hare & Hounds with cross-country running. It's also a very roundabout way of getting to the pub. It's a lot of fun and strictly NOT competitive! The aims of the original hashers back in the 1930s were "to work up a thirst and satisfy it through beer", and we're still getting thirsty!
The hash follows a trail around the local countryside, at a leisurely pace. Trails are usually about 4-6 miles long, and end up at the ON IN where they began. The hashers don't know how far they're going, or where they're going! The HARE sets the trail in advance, dropping blobs of flour to show the way. Every so often there is a CHECK (marked as a ring of flour), and the trail stops. The hashers have to spread out in all directions trying to find where it picks up again. As well as spreading general confusion, this keeps the pack together as the FRBs (Front Running B*stards) try to find the trail and the rest of the pack ambles up to the check. Hares can add to the fun by adding FALSE TRAILS (trails which end in an 'X', meaning go back and try again), LOST TRAILS (the trail just runs out - go back and try again) and BACK CHECKS (checks where the correct way is back towards where you came from).
The hash is a jovial and noisy affair. Cries of "ON ON!" are heard as the FRBs confirm they are on trail. Other calls are used, such as "CHECKING", "LOOKING", "ON CALLED", and "ON BACK".
When everyone has returned to the ON IN, the hash forms a circle and a ceremony is held to congratulate or deride the hare, and to punish offences committed by hashers on the trail. The RA (Religious Adviser) presides, and calls in the offenders to have a DOWN-DOWN (downing a mug of beer to the accompaniment of the hash down-down song). It is then ON ON to the pub!
OCH3 cares about the countryside and we always follow the English Countryside Code.
History of OCH3
By Captain Solo
OCH3 was founded by Robin Masefield (ex Hong Kong) with the inaugural run held on Sunday 18 November 1984 from Stoneyfield Road, Old Coulsdon, where Robin and his wife Rosemary then lived - hence the name of our hash. Records show that there were 13 runners who all paid the princely sum of fifty pence each and our tradition of a beer and bag of crisps was started.
Runs then followed on alternate Sundays, starting at 10 a.m. Numbers hashing were very modest for the first 18 months or so but Summer of 1986 saw an influx of new members, including now long-standing members Sally Justice and husband Jimmy, and the later starting time of 11 a.m. so that the pubs would be open for the ON ON.
A draft "set of rules" was produced (whoever heard of a Hash with RULES!) however even today we still follow these initial procedures. To remind you of some of them :
- Each run will last approximately one hour and is not competitive
- Two hares for every trail: one hare near the front and one on the rear to ensure nobody gets lost
- From a check the trail will recommence not more than 100 yards (well we could say 100 metres today) away in clear terrain
- A good trail will have a variety, some road, some grass, uphill and flat
Fortnightly Monday evening runs were introduced in Summer 1989 in alternate weeks to Sunday runs. The 250th run was held at Lloyd Park Croydon on 6 December 1992.
The 500th and 555th runs were celebrated in the summers of 1997 & 1998 with whole weekends of hashing etc. at Oxted Rugby Football Club at Holland (near Hurst Green), a venue sadly no longer available. Run 700 was on a cold damp day at Keston on 18 March 2001, in the midst of the national foot and mouth outbreak, which limited the number of footpaths we were able to use.
Our 888th was held on Sunday 10 October 2004.
Our 1000th run weekend was held 25th–26th November 2006 at Sayer's Croft, Surrey, and we celebrated our 30th anniversary with a weekend at at the Devil's Punchbowl Hotel, Hindhead, on 15th–16th November 2014.