“It’s 8.5 kilometres,” declared hare Mango Groove as he briefed us on a hot, humid night following a day of chucking rain. “I hope the flour’s still there – the chalk has probably gone. There’s toilet paper. Oh yes, and when I was in the shiggy the toilet paper ran out. But don’t worry, I set a nice white fixed rope to get you to the bottom of the hill. One trail only. It’s that way, but I’ll be surprised if you get more than 800 metres.”
This dire prediction seemed set to come true, as we jogged carefully through the park and out along the cycle track towards the industrial area. Finally, in the tunnel, an arrow was detected. On past the factory buildings, with nary a mark to be seen. The an arrow, and another, and another, and suddenly there was obvious trail winding through villages until we reached Man Kam To Road. Here, as the container trucks roared past, we lost trail again, suicidally crossing and recrossing this death trap boulevard. It was Penile Dementia who finally found trail up a nondescript road that seemed to lead to a yard but was actually a road, and east we headed on rising ground.
After a while it became clear that we had entered the western end of the military ridge road above Gallipoli Lines, or whatever the PLA call it now. This is a road of very steep switchbacks made slippery by slime mould and treacherous by rain. The non-grip brigade of G-Spot and Golden Jelly were reduced to waddling the downs like petrified ducks. We’d been on hardtop for ages and it was getting boring. Where was the promised shiggy?
Then it came. Trail went off road south to the trig point, and then – nothing. The pack came together at the top of the hill as the notes of a booming PLA disco rose up like a kite. Nothing on the trails north and south. Nothing on the road heading east. Finally Eunuch, Catch Of The Day, G-Spot and Golden Balls opted for the steep path downhill to the south, reasoning that that would be the direction home and Mango did say he ran out of toilet paper. But where was the fixed rope?
Meanwhile, at the trig point, Penile Dementia, Liberace and Golden Jelly continued to look for trail, and just as the four southerners reached the bottom of the hill Penile Dementia could be heard calling trail at the top. Three of them said “Sod that, I’m not going back up that hill.” But one turned round. Amazingly it was serial short-cutter Golden Balls.
At the top of the hill was Golden Jelly. Penile Dementia was already beyond sound or vision; Liberace had also disappeared, but not on trail. The two remainders cast around unsuccessfully for trail for quite some time, pushing through high vegetation to no avail. Finally Golden Jelly found it, a good two flour blobs back along the trail leading to the trig point. It was surmised that there had been a checkback at the trig that had been washed away.
Paper led steeply downhill through what looked like freshly trampled trail, then ran out. But here was the promised fixed white rope, a blessing on the difficult terrain. Suddenly GJ was attacked by bees and both hashers slid with alacrity down the fixed rope like it was a zip line. Probably the fastest 50-metre descent in the history of hashdom. And just to rub it in, on hitting the graves at the bottom the pair were welcomed by a snake, although it’s even money who was the most startled.
Out to villages and concrete paths through fields, the Jockey Club Road leading back to the start/finish in the park.
The short circle was dominated by Penile Dementia: five crashes, and the first hasher (of only three) to do the whole trail, the four short-cutters castigated with “Shame on you youngsters short-cutting while a 70-year-old finishes first!”
Then on to Chan Luk Gay for a rare on on. – Cock Of Space