Laying a Trail

A Beginners Guide to Laying a trail for the Kennet Valley Hash House Harriers

All Hashes use the same basic conventions for laying a trail, but adapt them to suit local conditions.  Here is a guide to laying a hash trail for KVH3:

  1. First find your pub.  This is not as easy as it sounds.  Many nice old country pubs are turning into gourmet restaurants who don’t like runners cluttering up their car park or mere drinkers taking up space.  There are pubs that welcome us however.  Always talk to the landlords and explain what we need and make a formal booking
  1. A standard trail is about 5 miles for runners and about 3 miles for walkers, depending on the terrain – the aim is to get everybody back to the pub in about an hour and a quarter.  
  1. Plan your route well in advance –  ideally using an ordnance survey map.  Run round your trails to make sure they work and then run round them again later to make any adjustments, to ensure the distance is right and to check that no hazards have emerged – such as a field with a herd of bullocks or a “Get off my land” type farmer.
  1. The trail is usually marked using ordinary white flour. You will need at least two 1.5Kg bags of it for a standard trail.  Decant all of the flour into a suitable container to carry it round as you lay the trail.  An ordinary plastic carrier bag usually works well. Make sure you carry all the flour – there’s nothing worse than getting halfway round your trail and running out of flour. 
  1. The trail marks are as follows:
  • A single blob of flour means that you are on a trail – which could be a false one.

  • Two blobs of flour about 4 inches apart and aligned with the direction of travel means that you are on the correct trail.

  • A circle of flour with a radius of about 9 inches means that from this point the true trail can go in any direction.

  • An arrow always indicates the true direction of the trail – arrows never lie.

  • The letter ‘T’ in flour with the cross piece away from you means that the path you are on is a dead end – turn back.

There are others but the above are the basic ones you need.

  1. Two fundamental principles: 
  • Single and double trail marks are always laid on the right of the direction of travel so that it is clear you are running the right way and not going backwards . Circles and arrows can be laid anywhere they can be seen clearly.

  • Ensure that the trail markings are clearly visible and that their meaning is clear.  You can do as many false trails as you like – but the true trail must be unambiguous .