MASS H3 History


Mid Argyle Swamp Skiers Hash House Harriers (or MASSH3 for short) were founded by Brown Bottle of Glasgow H3, in conjunction with Oink (aka Dr When) of Trossach's H3.

Early Days

The first remembered r*n was from the historic Clydeside village of Bowling.

Bowling is famous for four reasons:

  • C1st Start of the C1st Antonine Wall
  • C18th End of the Forth and Cylde Canal
  • C19th Little Mill Distillery
  • C20th First MASS r*n

Brown Bottle
The first trail involved running up the town burn (east end (not the Littlemill burn), under the A82, over the Antonine Wall, towards the Kilpatrick mountain range where they traversed an interesting agricultural feature. Due to the siteing of Dykes, fences and water troughs there had been much ground damage wrought by beasts. The consequence was an extremely muddy bog at an angle of 45Degrees or so. The trail went through this Verdun recreation. The pack continued up and up until they got to Loch Humphrey. The trail then took an interesting turn by heading down the outlet sluice, and back Bowling Basin by crossing the various "Get orf my land" estates to the North of the village and then clawing along the burn underneath the Littlemill Disillery.

On On - The Bay Horse (C18th)

(The author was not at the first r*n so the above is made up from his loose recollections. Though on a personal note I would wish to add that having set a Glasgow trail under Bowling using the Littlemill Burn it is sore on the hands knees and head, unpleasant and cold.)

Some other trails

Snoopy & Oink
Snoopy, from San Deigo and LA, and Oink, aka Dr When, live hared from Braeval.

A valiant start through the undergrowth and up the hill from the cars. The pack were slow to start after a heavy night in Clatties the night before.

The hare feared that Indiana Bones and Monkey Wrench were closing in but with some difficult checks and heavy undergrowth Snoopy managed to out fox the pack.

The forest is ideal MASS territory with no tarmac in sight. Snoopy came to a metaled forestry road and rather than risk the ire of the RA by crossing it took the trail straight through an 18" bore culvert.

Indiana Bones, Oink, Culture Vulture and Monkey Wrench dived through its 26' length and were out the other side when the rest of the pack arrived.

Hughiee Blaaghrr was next in closely followed by Scoop and then Raaalfff. Hughiee pressed his body against the floor of the tunnel damming the water so that Scoop and Raaalfff became concerned about its rising level. They need not have worried, Monkey Wrench had thoughtfully dammed the burn a bit upstream using some handy timber. As Hughiees head popped out the far (downstream) end he released the dam and out shot the three water babies.

The trail went down the ravine near the golf course, under the Aberfolye main street, across country and down the path of the old railway (before its refurbishment as a cycleway) to the On On at the Trossachs Inn.

Tight Beaver (aka Claude Balls)
From the Forth Inn car park in Aberfoyle.

TB (for he was yet to get his weekend name) led a splendid trail heading south from the town. Several crossings of the Forth - despite the season - though it is the last crossing that is most memorable. The hare wrote in 2002:

I did almost cause the drowning of Peepers and Scoop when I set one about five years ago. The Forth was in spate and I hadn't really noticed because of live-hare-panic.

Fortunately the hare had finished the trail and had doubled back and was able to recover the flotsam and escort them safely to the shore with Mr Creosote, Oink and Hughiee Blaaghrr standing on the far bank (having engineered a feet dry shortcut) supervising the operation.

This trail also goes on record as having the largest MASS pack for a MASS only event (to date, c20 people).

Lanarkshire. It rained, it was wet, it was driech, it was MASS.

Brown Bottle
Bowling. The pack arrived late from Glasgow and awaited in the Bay Horse for the hare, who threw them out into the street. It was a sunny but bitterly cold winters day.

The trail soon had as on the nor side of the A82, but not for us the foothills, no the trail weaved its way cross field, through wood, scrub and ravine to the crags above Old Kilpatrick. Round and over these we went - generally heading west. Along the ridgeline the trail - sort of - went. The pack were not being fooled by the blazing sun noting that that it was now around 3 pm and the sun would be setting in an hour and fearing also the darkening clouds.

After a about a mile, the pack were high above Bowling when the snow started. Oink, Hughiee and Four Star took shelter behind a dyke for the flurries to pass before returning to the pursuit with renewed vigor.

Not before long they came to another ravine and making there way down the gully and through the gorse they followed the trailed through the woodlands and estates that surround the Little Mill burn.

Before the sun set the pack were back in the Bay Horse toasting Brown Bottles fine endeavours.

Septic Sporran and Hughiee Blaaghrr
Achnamarra. It is now a regular feature of West of Scotland hashing that Glasgow H3 and Trossach's H3 ask MASS to set their Saturday trails at celebration weekends. The general proviso being that the trail should be even more fun and hazard reduced.

With this in mind Sceptic and Hughiee took it on board them to set one of Trossach's Mid Argyll Weekend runs at Tayvallich. Another condition requested was Sub 60 (minutes).

The hares chose Achnamara, a place with which Hughiee was well acquainted with, he had never been there before but his father (when a school teacher) had organized "show city kids what a sheep looks like" trips to the outdoor centre there. So Hughiee had seen photographs and it was always sunny.

So one hot sunny Saturday morning in June Sceptic and Hughiee find themselves hungover, drunk and tired in the forestry village of Achnamara. After some refreshing Irn Bru the hares headed into the forrest where they got thoroughly lost amongst think woods, ancient sheilings, marshes and ruined crofts. The trail emerged out of the Forrest above Kirkmichael of Inverlussa and went down the Lussa gorge to the shores of Lock Sween and thence across the shallows to the Oransay there, from whence the trail led on in.

The pack coped well and followed the trail in just under the hour.

On On Tayvallich Inn

MASS offshore

Isle of Man
Manx. The three legged beast made up of Dublin, Trossach's and C&G, at Oinks suggestion organized annual sojourns to Manx in the mid 1990s. One of the first IOM trails was deemed to be MASS. It being sunny and dry the trail went to the top of Snaefell (I think by train) and then through the wet cloud it headed down and down and down.

The next year surveying the route (with no cloud) through a boulder field that they must have taken on that trail the participants considered themselves lucky to have got through it without serious injury.

The 21st Century

Oink and Hughiee Blaaghrr
Knapdale. After the extremes of the two hares the year before Oink and Hughiee took it on board them to set the 2001 Saturday run for Trossach's Mid Argyll Weekend runs (Tayvallich).

Starting at Rodgers Corner the trail appears to follow the route through the forrest of an old drovers path, alas it was just a ridiculously long back check to give the hares the time they required to set the trail.

Oink have weaved a trail through the forrest, over the hilltop and past abandoned farms down to Bennacher Basin on the Crinnan Canal. There Hughie had set a trail to the Add and up Crinnan Hill before ending at Crinnan Basin.

Despite the effort the hares had gone to in setting the trail - and arranging access to paths closed by the Foot and Mouth crisis. Many of the pack felt beat by the time they reached the mid-point, but being of half mind they soon worked out a short cut to the end.

Kipper who started late, however, got lost in the deep undergrowth and was not seen until many hours had past.

(On an historic note that is the first known MASS trail to have been recce'd (excluding map recce's in pubs etc).)

On On Tayvallich Inn

Oink and Hughiee Blaaghrr

Isle of Bute. Noting how successful of the Trossach's H3 Mid Argyle Weekend (Tayvallich) trails set by MASS are considered, Glasgow H3 decided to approach MASS to set the Saturday trail for there annual Isle of Arran weekend (never held on Arran).

Honourable mention at this point should go to Claude Balls for remaining in a fit state to drive (the unfit) hares to the south of the island so that they would get a head start on the pack.

After some gratuitous and futile hill scrambling at the start of the trail the pack were soon all over the south of the island trying to find the true trail. After a short distance from the start, but long if had been an eager trail follower the pack found themselves in a ruin of a monastery. From there the trail led south then west then north such that the pack found themselves back beside the aforementioned ruins. Before long the trail went through shaggy and up bracken covered hillsides and across into the next valley.

Through some more woods the pack thought that the trail would end in Kilchattan Bay. They were to be mistaken as the trail skirted the village before on inning to a stone circle in a clearing in the woods.

On On Kingarth Hotel

(Historical Note. First MASS with chartered coach)

Bodypump, Claude Balls (aka Tight Beaver) and Hughiee Blaaghrr
Kilmartin. By now it had become accepted practice that the Saturday trail at the Trossach's H3 Mid Argyle Weekend (Tayvallich) will be with MASS. With such heavy responsibility the hares took it upon themselves to remove the run from the traditional area of North Knapdale to the Nor side of the Canal in the Kilmartin Glen area. (Site of much of Scotland's Pictish and Scots pre history.)

The trail started innocently enough in the flatlands of the Nature Reserve and arable farmland, but soon at Slockavullan the trail entered some overgrown woods and through the flooded dank ruins of the mansion there.

Much heavy work was made bashing through the wood. Where paths were found they were trenches of shaggy and swamp. Making for the higher ground the hares set and dispiriting back check and then some complex checks.

The trail weaved its way past and through many Standing Stones, Cists, Temples and other prehistoric remains before reaching Kilmartin.

(Historic Note, first trail to have two recces.)

On Inn Kilmartin Hotel

M' Diver, Claude Balls (aka Tight Beaver) and Hughiee Blaaghrr
Isle of Cumbrae. Noting how successful the 2001 Isle of Arran trail set by MASS had been Glasgow H3 decided to approach MASS. The GH3 hairazor, Muff, asked some MASS veterans for advice and after many map based recces in the splendid (from a beer point of view) Three Judges in Partick, Muff got roped into co-haring the 2002 GlasgowH3 Isle of Arran Weekend Saturday run.

The trail was set on the base island, the Isle of Cumbrae, from the town of Millport. It immediately went into some native woodland and then after a brief respite into another wood and up hill.

Reaching the moor near the only "top" on the island the trail went across a shallow reservoir before reaching a Whisky stop at the peak. From there the pack could admire great views of the Isle of Bute and the also the power stations at Hunterston and Inverkip.

Then down over scrubby pasture (with apparently a farmer in pursuit) into the wooded east valley. Just above the town the pack emerged from the wood to find themselves at a beer stop (perhaps the first, but not the last I hope, in MASS history). After some refreshing ales, beers and lagers the pack headed On In.

On On Catherdal of the Isles.

(Historical Note. Most Recced MASS to date - all from Pub, sometimes forgot to take map to pub.)

October 2002