Sunday 30 September 2012

In Pursuit of the Hooley Male

We set off for Furadouro in torrential rain, a proper Porto monsoon, which continued until we had parked and remained in the cars for a minute or so, decidedly reluctant to venture out.  Once it stopped, though, it remained clear until we were in the restaurant, most conveniently.
This was, of course, a pursuit hash, hared by Master Baker and Mark Hooley.  They set off five minnutes before us and headed through the town.  It was easy to follow them at first, but we contrived to miss the fourth or fifth checkpoint and delayed ourselves for a good five minutes, thereby pretty well ensuring that they would not be caught. 

There was a good deal of running to be done as we wound round the town and its sandy wooded margins and we were quite a stretched line of hashers in the second half.  As we headed into the woods, Snorter was the surprising back marker.  He loped along, occasionally coming into view if you were hanging back to look for him (which, to be fair, nobody was, except me; Big Stick's claim that he was at the back simply in order to wait for Snorter should be taken with a healthy dose of salt).  Once in sight, he would raise an arm and give a limp wave in the manner of a legionairre in the desert saying go on without me, I'll just slow you down.  So we did. 

Somehow, though, he caught us up, probably helped by the inevitable slowness of some of the checking - a pursuit hash can be like that unless someone gets on a lucky roll or really snifs out the direction.  That did eventually happen, with Pimp My Dongle finding the route so successfully that most of the hashers did not experience another checkpoint for the final half hour or so.  Perhaps that explains why two thirds chose to shortcut the ending.  No, I think that it was more in line with Snorter's sentiment beside a sign taking us away from home near the end:  F*** that, I'm going this way.

At down downs, Miguel Mendes was named Cock Plucker, in reference to a hobby he is known to have, then it was off to the bash at a seafront cafe.  It was a good hash, quite demanding, especially on the sand of the forest, but we have yet to catch a hare on a pusuit hash.

On, on.

Saturday 15 September 2012

Up hill and down dale. And up hill again.

What a picturesque hash, full of magnificent views.  That is, of course, euphamistic for 'we've just climbed another bloody hill, so we might as well have a look around before we descend again.'

No, really, this one did afford some fine vistas from either side of the river, beginning with one of the best, from Gaia's monastery high above Ponte Dom Luis.  Heading up the slope towards it there were two distinct groups:  those, like Spanker and I, running with resignation to a spot from which we knew there was only one way down, and those, surprisingly in the majority, blissfully unaware that all their effort was just for a steep on-back, particularly as the hares ruthlessly chased everyone back down quickly, allowing a mere glimpse of the view for those who were quick enough up.

After a couple of twists and turns we crossed the top of the bridge, passing a group who happened to be hashers elsewhere, at least one of them known to Extremely Grimm, visiting us for the second time from Madrid H3.  The tourists were out in force, especially around the cathedral when we arrived at a checkpoint there to provide some local colour probably not mentioned in their guide books.  We made our way down through the tumbling alleys below the bridge.  Master Baker at the front thought he had seen a very large checkpoint sign on the ground at the end of one stretch, but no.  It was one of a pair of swastikas painted on the flagstones.  Hmm, nice.  I'd like to think they were there for local buddhists, but ... never mind, move on.

Having come over the top of the bridge it was obvious that we would return via the lower level, so when we got to the junction at its end there was really only one way to check if you were first there.  And of course the route was along the river.  By the time I managed to catch everyone up they were ascending the slope of doom, up which we gone a few times before, bringing us to the car park beneath the new road bridge.  When I have set hashes up there, I have always put a checkpoint half way, but then I'm just too nice, I suppose, unlike Deep Throat and Miguel who heartlessly made us take it in one go.

When we got back over to Gaia we were swiftly taken down to the river front again, just to make sure we could have another climb, but we were compensated by a beer at a cafe on the cais.  It was brief relief (now there's a hash name for the future!), as the next stage was up the hill past Taylor's and The Yeatman, underneath the railway line to the top.  To be fair, there was remarkably little moaning, even with Snorter and Big Stick there, although that might have been because they just couldn't speak.

We reached home in about an hour and eight minutes (running time), the shortness of the time surprising several, including Big Stick, who felt he had been out for twice that time.  So, short but strenuous enough to push people was the verdict, a good run.  An equally good bash followed back down at the Cais de Gaia.

We have since had a note from Extremely Grimm complementing the hares (incidently, this was Miguel's fourth hash, three of which he has hared - something for possible consideration when he comes to be named, hopefully soon) and expressing his enjoyment of PH3 once again.  Most importantly, he has also sampled Lisbon H3 and is in no doubt about which of us is the better hash!

On, on to two in a row on the 22nd and 29th, the second of which will see a visit from Chalky and Hooker.