Phnom Penh Hash House Harriers: In the Spotlight – Scotland

In the Spotlight – Scotland

In the Spotlight – Scotland
By Ed "Hazukashii" Howell
13 Sep 2021

The abridged version of Scottish history, according to Scotland.Org, estimates that the highlands were first settled around 10,000 BC.  Some of the oldest tools ever discovered were in Scotland, around 3000 BC.  In 124 AD, the Romans arrived and scribble the first recorded history of the region, while building Hadrian's Wall and battling the Caledonians.  The Romans also built the 60 Kms of Antonine Wall, but are never really able to defeat the Caledonians, and subsequently withdraw from Britain completely.  Around 800 AD, the Vikings started migrating to the region to trade with the Picts, who were in the process of establishing the Kingdom of Alba.  Macbeth (the real one, not the fictional one written by Shakespeare) rules Alba for 17 years. 

In 1297, William Wallace leads a hearty band of Scots, defeating the English army in the Battle of Stirling Bridge, thus establishing Scotland's independence. In 1306, Robert the Bruce becomes King of Scotland.  Then in 1320, The Declaration of Arbroath is sent to the Pope, proclaiming Scotland's sovereignty, a document potentially used as a framework for the Declaration of Independence that the colonist in the New Country drafted over 450 years later.  Several hundred years pass by until around 1750, when Scottish philosophers usher in the Age of Enlightenment that would shape the rest of the world.  A couple hundred more years pass, there are a couple world wars, and fishing was a major component of the economy.  Then in the late 1960s, they discover oil, and petroleum products becomes the center of the economy for the next 50 years.  It was during the oil boom, that hashing makes its way to the shores of Scotland, and this is where Scottish history gets really interesting.

The HHH genealogy shows the first hash club established in Scotland was when a few Dutchmen formed the Aberdeen Haggis H3 on 8 Aug 1977 (another equally official document reports this date as sometime in 1980).  Nonetheless, this is the first hash club in Scotland, but it met its bitter doom after only 4 runs.   

It would not be until 8 Feb 1981, when a much more resilient, and still active Edinburgh H3 was founded by Lt. Col. Willie Coupar who came in from the Surrey H3, and was assisted by Alan Thompson, Susan Thompson, Sara Vye, and Ken McGukin.  The first trail had a modest pack of 2 hashers, but by the second run, the pack had swelled to an amazing 7.  Over the years, the Edinburgh H3 has in fact significantly grown, and has successfully hosted the 2nd Commonwealth Hash in 1986, and the UK Nash Hashes in 1989 and 2009.  The Edinburgh H3 still runs weekly, on Sunday mornings.

The Aberdeen H3 was founded on 23 Jan 1983, by former Cairo H3 hasher Mark 'Tortoise' Thompson, assisted by Phil 'Tonto' Townsend, Ronnie Robb, Dave Robb, Russel 'The Mith' Smith, and Colin 'Ol Red Eyes' Maclean.  The 1st hash Trash lists Tortoise and 'Ol Red Eyes as the hares, for a pack of 27 hashers.  According to their website [] "Aberdeen was labelled the shiggy capital of hashing in the UK for some time, with many AH3 Hashers being nicknamed MSA (mudslinging arseholes) by older, much wizened hashers.  An Aberdeen hasher (Shit F'brains) organized the first ever inter Scottish Hash on 13 March 1994. Over the years the name has been twisted and changed, through Inter Jock, or Inter Joke due to a print mix up and is now fondly known as Jock Hash."  The Aberdeen H3 can be found running every week, on Sunday mornings.

The Cairneyhill H3 was founded on 20 Nov 1983 by Donald MacKay, and was assisted by Steve Maclaren.  According to their first hash trash, the story goes like this. 

          "How Did It Come to Cairneyhill – There is a rumour that Hash Running was brought to Cairneyhill by three shepherds following a star, who when told it would be impossible to find three wise men and a virgin in Cairneyhill, moved on to pastures new.  The reality of the matter is much less interesting - a lunatic from the oil state of Grampian (Stephen MacLaren) came a visiting his poor relation in the wild west of Fife.  In conversation this lunatic extolled the virtues of hash running to his brother-in-law Donald MacKay (who wishes to remain anonymous).  He, being equally soft in the head thought that the deprived, nay even depraved masses in Cairneyhill and area may wish to join in the masochistic ritual.  Thus was born the Cairneyhill Hash.  And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were SORE.  And the angel said unto them "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tiding of great joy, which shall be unto all hashers." 

          "The first Hash Run was really an experiment, the guinea pigs and the smoking beagles enjoyed it too and the people enjoyed it and sayeth – Give us more – for we shall go out amongst the sinners and heathens and tell them of this wonderous happening that they too may join us in celebration.  Forsooth it must be so, for if the Hash is to flourish those early disciples must go forth and multiply, spreading before them the true message so that more may join us in the great crusade."   

By 1984, the Edinburgh H3 had grown to over 100 hashers, and began restricting new members, so The New Town H3 was established by Charlie 'Bad News' Hall assisted by Tony 'Nut Case' Cas as a break away on 4 Jul 1984.  Actually, this date was run number 13 for the TNTH3, as the first 12 hash trails were considered "unofficial" due to the nature of its founding as a break away club.  The first hash trash printed for trail number 14 began with . . .

          "Welcome to the New Town Hash House Harriers (TNTH3). This illustrious Hash has been established to provide a run/excuse for a bevvy for:

a.      Those not able to join the Edinburgh Hash (shouldn't it be called the Lothians, Fife, Borders and Central Region Hash – Ed?);
b.      Those not willing or able to "waste" an entire Sunday running and/or getting pissed.;
c.      Those fit w'anchors who actually enjoy running and;
d.      To provide an ego trip for the traditionally democratically elected committee."

The New Town H3 runs every Wednesday evening, in Edinburgh.

The next hash club formed was the Elgin H3 on 13 Aug 1984, by Eve Braidwood after running with the Edinburgh H3, and was assisted by Phil 'Slimey Limey' Dacre.  According to their website [], the "EH3, is the most Northerly Hash in the UK, regularly meeting weekly. It's motto, 'Hashus Elginatum non marbilensii' is entirely in keeping with the generally accepted belief that if you have half a mind (less marbles) to go hashing, then that's all it takes!  We only take images and only leave foot prints."  The Elgin H3 has been mainly supported by the RAF stations at Lossiemouth and Kinloss, as well as the Macallan Distillery. Their 100th hash was celebrated on the 21st - 22nd of Jun 1986, and was attended by 135 hashers.  The Elgin H3 runs on Monday evenings in the summer, Sunday mornings in the winter, and also hosts occasional bike trails.

The Hamilton H3, running trails in a suburb of Glasgow, was founded on 11 Nov 1984 by Ken Buchanan, who had been hashing in Kuala Lumpur with Mother Hash beginning in 1973.  Returning to Scotland, he longed to hash again, and after going back to Malaysia for the Mother Hash 2000th run celebration, he started to scheme a plan to start another hash in Scotland.  The local paper announced his plans, and in the article, Ken stated that the 2000th celebration was "a great mingling with Hash House Harriers from all over the world.  That is the beauty of hash.  Members can visit clubs when they are on holiday, join the run and take part in social events."  The Edinburgh H3 was contacted, and promised to show up in force to support the new hash club.  The Hamilton H3 runs weekly on Monday evenings.

Ironically, Glasgow would also get the next hash club, when Roger 'Big Mac' McIlroy arrived from the Hague H3 in the Netherlands.  Assisted by Mark Simpson, they teamed up to start the Glasgow H3 on 26 Aug 1985.  According to their website [], The Glasgow Hash started with the setting up of Britoil in Glasgow and the associated arrival of Oilfield Trash from around the world. Along with the trash came a number of associated rituals, probably the most famous of which is of drinking too much and then trying to get off with the local talent.  So the first run was planned and a case of beer bought just in case anyone got thirsty . . . as momentum built the "Inaugural Run" actually Run 5 was set up, complete with Founder Member T Shirts, Hash Sheets, Down Downs, by which time Maw and Paw Broon, Carolyn Grant were well on the scene and the Glasgow Hash had come out of the Britoil closet and was well on the way to becoming the Glasgow Institution it is now.
The Glasgow H3 successfully hosted the UK Nash Hash in 1999, and can be found hashing weekly, on Monday evenings.

While reviewing the program for the 2nd Commonwealth Hash, that took place in Aug 1986, and hosted by the Edinburgh H3, I discovered a listing for the Dundee H3 that ran monthly just north of Edinburgh.  It listed contacts of Graham Hill at 48 Sutherland Crescent, and James Culloch, but no other details on dates have been found.  It was likely founded sometime in the early to mid-1980s, but was not listed in the genealogy (until now, that is).  The Dundee H3 is no longer active.

The Trossachs H3 was founded on 10 Jul 1988 by Ainslie 'Zimmer' Kyd, who came to Scotland from the Creek H3 in United Arab Emirates, but no other details are known.  The Trossachs H3 is no longer active.

Rounding out the 80s, the Edinburgh Friday H3 was founded on 30 Nov 1989 by Blair Forbes, to add to his weekly hashing with the Edinburgh H3.  This hash club is no longer active.

The 1990s saw the addition of the Aberdeen Seriously Social (ASS) H3 on 11 Dec 1992; the Mull of Kintyre H3 in 1993; the Mid Argyll Swamp Skiers H3 in Feb 1994; along with the Dunfermline & Fife Tuesday (DAFT) H3 on 8 Nov 1994.  The Strathgyle H3 was founded on 21 Jun 1995, and the Mearns H4 on 10 Apr 1996.

The new century ushered in the Forth and Clyde Around Falkirk (FaC-AF) H3 on 5 Oct 2000; the Shetland H3 on 26 Aug 2002; the Single Malts Around Scotland H3 (SMASH3) on 20 Apr 2003; the Brewery Runs Around Scotland (BRAs) and Pants H3 on 26 Jun 2004; the Borders Area H3 on 1 Apr 2006; and the Braemar H3 on 23 Jun 2006.

More recently, the Beerspoke H3 was founded on 30 Nov 2017 for the bikers, and in the age of COVID, the Follow Oodles Of Flour At Any Hour H3 (FOOFAAH4) was founded on 30 May 2020 to give solo hashers the opportunity to get out for some trail activity in a socially distanced format.

Additional details, including links to the websites of active hash clubs, can be found in the HHH Genealogy []

I had wanted to visit Scotland for a long time, and I actually first planned to attend EUROHASH that was hosted in Scotland in 2019.  After that visit ended in a BT, I had plans to visit Scotland in April 2020 on my way to INTERHASH in Trinidad, and we all know what happened to travel plans in the spring of 2020.  So finally, in Aug 2021, I made a third attempt.  Coordinating off and on for several months, with my friend The Penguin, he regularly updated me on Covid and quarantine requirements for entry. After at least three delays, the UK flashed the big green light (no quarantine required), and I purchased airline tickets for my arrival.  But wading through the process had me slightly bewildered as my flight date approached.  Having to fill out a Passenger Locator Form (PLF), which was only allowed be done within 48 hours of arrival, the requirements were still ambiguous.  Those included a negative PCR for arrival, but also another PCR 2 days after arrival.  Unsure if that meant I had to self-isolate for 2 days upon arrival, I had already booked a hotel that clearly stated they could not allow patrons to self-isolate.  The following 24 plus hours had me reading and rereading all the Scotland travel websites attempting to figure it all out, and fearing the worst (another string of lost travel plans and fighting with vendors for refunds).  I finally focused on one sentence on the government hotel quarantine website, that simply stated "You won't need to self-isolate unless your test result is positive."  I had my negative PCR in hand, I had ordered my 2nd day PCR test from the government to be delivered to my hotel, so I rolled the dice and headed to the airport.  Having been checked for all the appropriate documentation (vaccine card, negative covid test, PLF, and smashingly great singing voice) by the airline, once I actually arrived, it was "grab your stuff and get out of here."  I made it from the plane, through immigration, and to the rental car desk in less than 15 minutes, and was soon on my way into town.  Too easy. 

In my research of Scotland, I had contacted the TNT H3 via the FB page, and 'The Brewer' provided me with terminal guidance to make my way to the hash . . . which would start less than 90 minutes after my plane landed.  So, the rapid departure from the airport was most beneficial, and gave me enough time to check into my hotel and change into my running kit on the way to the hash.  I arrived with only a couple moments to spare, and we were off on a mad 6-mile dash through Leith.  The pack of about 25 hashers were very welcoming and we enjoyed a short circle, along with a couple beers on the street seating. 

The next day, my 2nd day covid test arrived in the mail, and I intently followed all the mandated steps to complete the test, package the specimen, and get it to the Royal Post Office for shipment to the testing facility.  The test came back the next day, negative as expected, and off I went on a sightseeing tour of Edinburgh.  My drive around the city included a visit to Forth, and spectacular views of the Forth Rail Bridge and its two companions, the Forth Road Bridge, and the Queensferry Crossing bridge.  I then attempted to find parking along the Royal Mile, but only managed a pleasant driving tour of the area.  I then prepared for an early morning departure to make the 2-hour drive from Edinburgh to the greater Aberdeen area for the Mearns H3 on Saturday morning.  Trail was set in a remote location about 30 minutes area south of the city, where I met up with some old friends . . . The Penguin, Olymprick, Bruce Almighty, and Haggissimo.  After a quick catch-up, we were off and running on an 8-mile shiggy trail up and down the hills near Drumtochty Castle.  After a 2-mile circle jerk, the trail headed up the hill on the opposite side of the road, and zig zagged along many shiggy trails until reaching the peak.  At this point, we turned along a narrow path, jumped a fence, and were treated to a most amazing view of the entire valley (one of my favorite reasons to travel, and hash).  We then proceeded straight down through the middle of a huge open pasture for a good 500 yards, before reaching the finish.  Another short circle followed, where all down downs were beer can shotguns, and all 12 of us were fully acquainted.  The Penguin showed me around Aberdeen for the rest of the day, and we polished off a bottle of fine whisky before getting some rest in preparation for the Aberdeen H3 AGPU the next day.

It was overcast and sprinkling on Sunday morning, as we boarded the bus to the run site, but an excellent pack of over 50 hashers gathered in the dirt parking lot for chalk talk.  After all the marks were explained, including the difference between a thin flour arrow and a fat flour arrow, we were off on another amazing 6-mile trail over a couple hilltops on our way to the end of this A to B trail. At the end, it was cold and misty, pretty much like it always is in Aberdeen as I was informed, and I was not prepared for it.  After a nice meal indoors, we headed outside for circle where I shivering my way through the rest of the day's events.  After the new mismanagement had been identified, we finally boarded the bus back into town, just in the nick of time.  Returning to Aberdeen, a few of us met up at a local pub for dinner and drinks, and more merriment, and then we called it a day about 11 PM. 

The next day, I packed my bags once again, for the 3-hour drive from Aberdeen to Glasgow, with some sightseeing along the way.  Arriving just in time to check in to the hotel, I then found my way to the start of the Glasgow H3.  Glasgow is Scotland's largest city, and we had a pack of about 10, but we had an excellent 4-mile trail through a local park, followed by a circle and dinner at the hare's house.  I met Pirelli there, and we exchanged a few good hashing stories.  I spent the next day driving back to Edinburgh, and raced around town getting my departure covid test so I could fly out early Wednesday morning.  What an amazing week of hashing and sightseeing in Scotland, and always great to catch up with old hash friends and meet new ones. If you have not been, give it due consideration for a future destination in your hash travel plans . . . you will not be disappointed.   

For many more articles like this on the history of hashing, check out . . .

On on!