Autumn Gathering Weekend 2009



Friday 9th October

Hashers had gathered from far and wide for a much looked forward to weekend, some spending a considerable amount of time driving around the very small village of Dulverton trying to find the way to the bunk barn! After picking our bunk in either girls, boys or mixed dorms it was time to meet up for a cheeky beer before our first hash. Thats Crap had been well and truly baptised by the opening of the beer barrel and therefore raring to go go go!!!
We gathered outside in the pouring rain awaiting our instructions from the hare, the legend that is Groucho. Sweetie stop, long short splits and fish hooks were promised, plus a pre-treasure hunt in the form of a missing number that had mysteriously disappeared from the hares grasp whilst laying the treasure hunt.
There were numerous forms of lighting used to show the way, including hand held torches, lanterns, small head torches, and HUGE head torches that would put Heathrow to shame. So On On we went, the usual front runners were off like _ _ _ _ off a shovel.
We went down the main road/dirt track that led to the barn, and met a few cars en-route that were headed towards the barn. It was here a confused Radiohead made the silly error of saying 'what does CP mean?' on spotting a flour mark.......that'll be Car Park then Radiohead! Aah bless him, all that intelligence and no common sense! He would later be fined for this misdemeanor, obviously. Lots of waving and greetings were exchanged between the wet hashers and dry car occupants.
After only a few hundred yards we had our first faller of the weekend, Fruity Bitz did a very decent forward roll, rumour has it she is now being considered for the 2012 Olympics, luckily she didnt sustain too much damage. After the accident Fruity was attended by Odd Bitz, who was reassured that all was well. Ring Piece and Horny Woman decided to abandon their pledge to run run run and stay with Fruity as an act of girl solidarity. Such sacrifice is indicative of true hashing ethos!!
On On along paths that were narrow and slippery, with a long drop to the right if you were daft enough to look. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. Then at the top of the hill ..... Hurrah .... sweeties!!! This year Groucho decided to remember where the sweeties were, and lots of munching ensued. Then it was long - short splits and ON ON till home.
Radiohead did do his good deed by running back and making sure all the stragglers were safely home. Then it was a quick change into dry clothes and time to eat eat eat, most of us ate at least our own body weight in fish pie and apple crumble, with 2nd and 3rd helpings being consumed at 2am, with the odd beer or three to accompany.

The evenings entertainment was a game devised by Groucho that succeeded in confusing us simple hashers. It involved fish hooks, checks a train set (?) and lots of very difficult trivial pursuit questions. It quickly turned into a bit of a debacle and the game was abandoned (I think) in favour of drinking! Best laid plans eh Groucho?

Saturday 10th October

The day started with a lot of bleary eyed hashers appearing at a very slow rate until breakfast was delivered at about 9am, then there was a surge for the cooked breakfast. Not before Paperwork chose to heat up some leftover fish pie for his breakfast! He was quickly sent to a table by himself to eat it as the smell wasn't settling well with some of his fellow hashers!
The mornings entertainment was a treasure hunt organised by Groucho with its usual quirks involving lost numbers/letters etc! He does like to keep us folk on our toes. The teams spent the next couple of hours racing around looking for said numbers, were they amused or was it just confused???
Once all parties were back lunch began and we all had a few hours to drink/ rest/ or if you are Spocky Bitz and Bell Toll, go out and lay the afternoon trail! Later on in the afternoon we all gathered outside in fancy dress for the hash.......as follows.

As the weekend was being held in Dulverton it had been decided that the theme should be 'Hunter and The Hunted'. So one by one an array of fancy dresses started to assemble outside the barn; Cavemen/Cavewomen, Soldiers, Taliban, Cats, Mice, Lions, Birds, Rabbits, Red-Indians, Mexicans, Robin Hood, Witches, Huntswomen (in full riding gear), a Prisoner and a Shark!!
After a quick photo stop - Tuned In doing her best to juggle the number of cameras she had been asked to capture this unforgetable scene on - the Hares, Spocky Bitz ably assisted by Bell Toll, gave their pre hash briefing before sending us on our way. Around the barn we hashers eagerly set off, passing cows, sheep and pigs before quickly ascending into the open fields.
The first Long - Short split saw the shorts heading straight up the hill and from inside the Shark we could hear Stat-Nav mumbling about how hot it was inside (we weren't sure if it was Stat-Nav's legs coming out the Sharks mouth??) (It didn't help that he didn't find the velcro air vent until that evening after the hash....Doh!!!!! - ED) On up to the regroup at the trig point at the top of the hill (apparently 141 meters above sea level) where another quick photo opportunity was taken, and then it was On On to another Long - Short split.
Thankfully, this part of the Hash was all down hill (a drop of 80 meters accordingly to Radiohead - but then who ever believes him!!). The Hares had got the Hashers twisting through the woods and a few of the fancy dressed Hashers were seen taking a tumble.
At the bottom of the descent we crossed the stream and arrived at the beer/sweet stop, where the pack met Groucho and Tuned-In. The beers and sweets were already laid out for the thirsty hashers and they took full advantage of the lovely weather and picturesque scenery...deciding to extend the stop for a second beer. The longer stop provided an opportunity for a naming ceremony for the only two Hashers on the weekend without Hash names. Inspiration was taken from their fancy dress costumes and so 'Top Cat' and 'Tweetie Pies' (also refering to his huge appetite) were so named.
After being fed and watered (or should that be beered!) the Hashers moved on up the hill they had earlier come down. Back through the woods and up onto a path and followed this back down to the road. The newly named 'Top Cat' set off in style, racing along the road with a very concerned Long Time Coming in pursuit. Meanwhile, our other newly named Hasher, Tweetie Pies, was not fairing so well and had stumbled and hurt his knee in the process.
The regroup was along the road and as several bemused locals drove by, looking at the mixture of fancy dresses, some waved and some did not!! Encouraging the younger members of the group to play 'sweet or sour' with them. Whilst we waited for everyone to reach the regroup a path leading straight up was spotted. Surely the Hares would not be so cruel....it was also pointed out that a 'Path Closed' sign had been pulled down lay on the side of the path...was this by the Hares? Yes, we had guessed correctly, it was On On up the virtual cliff!! Radiohead and That's Crap led the charge up the hill and the rest of the Hashers followed - not quite so keen to race to the top!!
Once at the top it was a simple stroll across a couple of fields and back to the barn. With the barn in the distance it made for a great sight looking at the array of fancy dresses running, walking and in some cases crawling across the fields at the end.

After a scramble for the showers the dinner had arrived. Tonight was another veritable feast of soup, venison stew and bread and butter pudding. It was time for the after dinner speeches, of the down down variety. We were all treated to a personalised key ring made by Spockys own fair hand. Also handed out during the down downs were some vests provided by Radiohead especially for the event, unfortunately the one awarded to Stains was a little on the snug side and he looked more like one of The Incredibles! Also awarded were Mr Hyde, Horny Woman and the children with Buzby and Fu Manchu being awarded the hoodies. Down downs were given to loads of people, Ring Piece, Radiohead, Spocky, Bell Toll, Thats Crap, She's Ready, Buzby, Screech, Horny Woman, Whiplash, Comes Regularly to name but a few.

The entertainment for this evening was to be of a far simpler nature than the previous evenings, horse racing and karaoke. Given the two choices the hashers, being the shy, retiring types we are, immediately voted for the karaoke. The adults graciously let the children have a few goes first but it was quickly noted that 'wasn't it about past their bedtime???' Stains appeared to fancy himself as a bit of a singer and was very happy to get up and do his thing! Chesty was never far away from the mike with Up Yours always close behind. A girls rendition of Come on Eileen was performed with most of the girls getting involved. This continued well into the night with 'Video Killed The Radio Star' being heard through the floorboards at LEAST 7 times in a row with Chesty and Up Yours' dulcit tones accompanying! Rumour has it when Chesty got bored of this she took to doing hand stands....just to see if she still could. There was also rumour of Odd Bitz and Thats Crap performing their party piece of the splits again!! Yikes!

Sunday 11th October



We all managed to leave the bunk house on time and made our way down to the Bridge Inn at Dulverton. Lost a few along the way who decided that they had had far too much fun over the weekend and they really couldn't manage another run, so ran off home to recover. The rest of us tried to find space to park, and a machine that would allow us to put money in it and congregated in the rain outside the pub. Blobhoblin and Isosolese had bravely made it up from Exeter to join in the fun, Blobby didn't bring a coat as it wasn't raining in Exeter - silly man, doesn't he know it always rains on Exmoor, today was no exception, a rather damp area in more ways than one, more later, it rained for the whole hash.
The pack set off from the Bridge Inn and immediately crossed over the bridge and up a steep lane to the first long/short only some 300m from the start, the tired and sleepy took the short, not 50/50 as you might expect, but nearer 70/30 I think in favour of the shorts of course. Both routes continued plod up hill, as the shorts continued on up, heads down, Horny Woman was heard to call Groucho for two puffs. At this height she was obviously suffering from lack of oxygen but no, she wanted his inhaler.
Radiohead appeared looking bemused, as the longs should have reached us by now. Better go back and look for them. Not bloody likely says the shorts, leaving Radiohead to look on his own! The only disadvantage to this of course, is that the shorts now have to do checking themselves. Now, we're not very good at this, never usually being pressed upon to do any. But hovering around a check really doesn't work when no-one goes to look. Mind you, on the checks with the question marks the most reluctant hashers were scampering in all directions trying to find the hidden cocktail stick to win themselves a hoodie! Funny what you can do with a little incentive, isn't it.
Eventually we all met up again on a very steep downward slope with plenty of scope to fall over on ones bum which several managed to do with ease, there were no marks for artistic impression for the methods used to reach the rest of the pack. There was of course the usual screams and shouts made by several members which in turn encouraged the watching pack to jeer even more. At the next hash halt we were treated to Batman coming down the hill to rescue us, oh no, sorry, it was just Dr Jekyll in fancy dress. She was determined to wear it and as she'd missed the fancy dress run on Saturday, deciding Sunday would do just as well! Mr Hyde then appeared with a length of rope wrapped around him. I know he fell down the slope on Saturday, but did he think he needed mountaineering equipment for this hash as well?
At the bottom of this hill we enjoyed yet another long/short, for the shorts the terrain was now nice and flat, once of course we found the correct trail.
Groucho some how managed to reach the sweet stop first, indeed a first, Tuned-In was waiting with sweets a plenty which were gobbled up by the pack in record time.
Soon Radiohead got us in order once more and announced another long /short split. Off again - still raining - up the hill and away we went. Horny Woman and Ringpiece needed a helping hand up the hill. Hash Camp had obviously taken it's toll on these two! Next was a river crossing which as it happened was not too bad, the water not reaching the body areas forcing hashers to take a sharp in take of breath! Once over the river it was a gentle run through the forest back towards Dulverton and the OD, however as several hashers saw the roof tops of our destination so could be heard the sound of high pitched laughter coming from familiar throats, soon we saw why. Mr Hyde, Spocky and various others were waiting in the water to help us across the river (right next to a perfectly serviceable bridge I might add!).
We didn't realise was that they were standing on stones that made the river appear to be shallow. I, Groucho, ventured in only soon to discover the true depth of the water, but another way I thought that I had become nut-less as did many others.The junior hashers showed us seniors up and waded across with little or no fuss. Ring Piece however adopted a different technique and opted to the tortoise approach, slow, very slow and very steady but techniques do have their drawbacks, in this case slipping over and falling, into the cold waters of the river and becoming completely soaked. It was a shame as she had packed her hair drier away which she was rumoured to have used on a regular basis at the bunkbarn.
We gave the locals an eye full stripping off in the road and the car park, then re-convened in the Bridge Inn for lunch. What an excellent time was had by all.
In the Bridge Inn, food and drink became the order of the day followed by the sheriff, Oddbitz, giving fines to those who had committed hash crimes as well as fines for hashers who had left items in the bunkbarn. Those who had found the magic cocktail sticks were awarded their hoodies, Mud Flap, Odd Bitz, Thats Crap and Fruity Bitz.

Hope you all enjoyed the weekend and a thank you from me, Groucho, to all those people who helped during our stay at the bunkbarn. I would welcome any constructive feed back.

On behalf of myself and others I have spoken to we would like to thank Groucho for the HUGE amount of hard work he puts into organising this event each year, predominantly on his own I might add! Hopefully everyone enjoyed themselves and we look forward to next years shenanigans. Thanks also to Horny Woman, Chesty and Stat Nav, Sorepoint and Groucho for providing the blogs for the weekends hashes, also Isosceles, Odd Bitz and Horny Woman for their hash flash contributions. On On.

On On to next weeks hash at 4 west Garth Court, Exeter, Grouchos 65th birthday hash.
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