Date = Sunday 22nd September 2013
Run Number = 1522
Location= The Half Moon
Beer = Winston Churchill; JHB, Citra & Bishops Farewell, Growler, Dark Mild
Hares = ARP (With Porky Pie’s Help)
Runners = 14
Virgin = 0
Visitors = 0
Après Hashers = 0
Newies = 0
Hounds = 1
Total = 15
Membership = On the clipboard!
The weather was slightly on the muggy side this morn, which wasn’t too bad as it had been raining overnight but it had managed to cease by the time the Pack began to gather outside the venue. Those who had turned out, got to see the RA not looking at his best after surviving the F.U.K. Full Moon’s Sangria-sur-le-Mer Run at Leigh on Sea!
The GM had been busy all week trying to recover data after the Sacred Book has yet to materialize, & he showed off the temporary replacement of a clipboard & a few sheets of paper! Then he turned to the Trail, although it had been set by Porky Pie, who had to go & fly off somewhere from out of Sarfend, which just happens to be next to Leigh on Sea!
With the honours out of the way the stand-in Hare, ARP, was called forward to explain what the Pack could expect out there. The mention of a short cut was most welcome by some, especially by the RA who looked as if he was flagging before the Trail had started! The Hare informed the Pack that the Trail would begin by crossing the road & heading up the hill of Park Street.
Some wondered whether they had been sold a pup at the very start, Spotted Dick was amongst them as it was along way up the hill to the south before My Lil’ found the first blobs of flour. As the majority of the Pack slowly began to make their way up the hill, a civilian in a car asked if anyone knew where the local Library was? The RA didn’t know, though he ought to! ARP was left to help these lost souls, but did she put them on the right track?
Sparky was soon on his way up behind My Lil’ & it was obvious that he was running around with a back-pack on, apparently he had a stone & one once of weight packed in it! He was under the impression that if he carried the extra weight on his back, that he would be slowed up enough not to get too far ahead on any False Trails he may have found himself on & would hear any calls of “On back!”
Anyhow, back to reality! The GM said that he would only be going as far as the first CHK, as he had family commitments to attend & was partly in the dog-house already for bringing the temporary book out! Little did Sludge know that it would be a lot further to the first CHK than anyone expected.
The first time a CHK could have been put down was at the end of the brick wall that Hitchin Priory sits behind to the west, right by a short set of steps up in to an isolated part of the wooded area that comes down from Hitchin Hill, but is now cut off by the swath that the A602 cuts through the hillside.
The RA remarked about the horse-chestnuts littering this area, & how the GM would soon be scuttling around picking up the conkers for his annual Conker contest after a Trail! The RA hastened to add that he was the reigning champ as his opponent, My Lil’, got fed up a gave up in the final!
My Lil’ was straight on to this footpath that runs down by the back of the Priory land & the edge of the feral land that starts above the A602, it was a gentle descent down by the field that had an old battered & torn abandoned tent still erect behind the chain-link fence, being camouflaged it matched Paxo’s combat trousers & some wondered if it was his. It didn’t impress Backpack or Ewok as they ran down behind the thicket like tree-line shielding the noise of the busy A602 Parkway road.
The path led the Pack northward over the river Hiz, between the bridge & the roadside, then taking to a path that drops down to meet a shorter footpath that leads north-eastward to the edge of the dead-end of the Old Charlton road. The first CHK was found here, My Lil’ had already whizzed through this bit as he cut back at an acute angle to head south-eastward take to the path leading through the underpass to emerge on the opposite side of Parkway road.
My Lil’s calls of “On!” from across the road caught the attention of Mr X & Spotted Dick, but as they were about to take a chance in dodging between the traffic, a ‘Scout-leader’ like health & safety call of “Don’t cross the road, use the subway!” came from the Hare.
Having taken onboard the Hare’s request, these two followed the rest of the Pack under the road, this would be the point where the GM would part company with the rest of the Pack as he set off back to his car, to drive back & see if he could rescue a few ‘Brownie Points’?
Safely under the busy main road, the Pack made their way down Willow road that the Charlton road comes off of, but there would be no trot down in to the picturesque Hamlet as the Trail would turn right to weave its way up Hawthorn close & then northward up Meadow way on to the Pirton road.
My Lil’ was straight up to the west, Sparky was hot on his heels & No Eye Deer was keeping up with them around this point. A CHK up by an alleyway off the left-hand side that led away to the south, the Falsie down there caught these three out, then when they came back out on to the main road a glance back saw the Hare had crossed over the road, ARP now led the Pack northward up High View to join Greys lane.
On the way up the RA was surprised to see that Spotted Dick wasn’t running, then was more surprised to hear that he was suffering from a ripped muscle in his upper arm, which sounded just like that the RA has been having trouble with!
It was at the junction with Greys lane that Sparky thought that the white flowers on the left hand corner of the road was Dust of the Trail! My Lil, Mr X & Spotted Dick pointed out where the real flour was!
The RA would now have to listen to talk of bumper crops of fruit as Spotted Dick enquired if My Lil’ had any Apple trees in his garden, after the positive answer they all learnt that there has indeed been a bumper for apples! Thankfully Pebbledash wasn’t there as Spotted Dick came out with a shocking admittance that his plums haven’t been too good this year! [Too much information! – Ed] The RA has had no such troubles with his plums!
The Next CHK was located at the end of Greys lane, TBT OBE told those within earshot about how his Mother-in-law lived used to live in these parts. Meanwhile Sparky was off away to the north, taking to the uncapped Lucas lane. Now, his backpack may have been laden down with a stone & one once in weight but it hadn’t slowed him up enough to not be out of earshot when he was being called back from the Falsie he was on! Which was fine if he had listened to those who were now on the correct route?
The Trail now took to the short drive way to a solitary house before becoming bridleway number 4 as it heads out on to the farm fields to the east, it is a splendid vista of the Herts countryside. ARP told the RA that the last single, solitary house is the one she wants to live in for the unspoilt views! [Not sure the present owners would concur? – Ed]
The Trail made its way down the gentle slope in the harvested crop fields to arrive at the Held CHK. Here the Pack were treated to no less than three bags of sweets by a generous Hare! Paxo made sure that there were sweets left for Hyena & Ruth as they walked along at the back with Louis.
When the Trail resumed, the consensus was to take the north bound track that leads up toward Oughtonhead. The Hash were on the right track & headed off on a long stretch between the fields, passing by a farm house before eventually reaching the next CHK situated at the end of the T junction with the Oughtonhead lane. On the way Paxo had decided that he & Ewok would put a bit of an effort in to this leg, Backpack too was having a trot along but suddenly stopped before a passing the RA.
By the time the RA had arrived at the CHK, My Lil’ had already made his way back from Oughtonhead lane as it leads eastward back in to Hitchin. Sparky too had been caught out as well, then the RA fell for looking on the footpath along the edge of the field beside the tree-line of the track that My Lil’ had already been up.
The Hare arrived & offered up a short cut for those who were feeling the humidity, or were still recovering from the Full Moon! However, there were some made of sterner stuff as My Lil’, Sparky, No Eye Deer, Ewok & even TBT OBE tagged along as they all opted for the long route.
Hyena & Ruth weren’t alone in choosing to follow the Hare back in to Hitchin on Ougtonhead lane, Mr X, Spotted Dick & Custard all stuck with ARP on the shady lane back up to the west edge of Hitchin. Hyena & Ruth followed on, after he had stated that most of the PACK were a bunch of ‘Lightweights’ though the RA disagreed at Hyena being a lightweight!
Meanwhile those on the long loop would be taken away to the west before turning back right near the very head of the Oughton. It would be a long trot along the edge of the Oughton river for them before they would come down to the Bedford road at the very northwest tip of Hitchin.
The SCBs made their way out through the suburban Redhill road to reach the main Bedford road, the Trails would merge on this ‘main drag’ back down in to Hitchin, coming down from the north the Trail turned around on to Fishponds road, crossed the zebra crossing & over to the edge of Butts close park.
The RA was called back from wandering over the open green space by Spotted Dick & Custard, to follow them further along Fishponds road to then to take to the Elmside Walk (Path) that runs down by the local outdoor pool & sports complex.
The Trail now turned left & was heading back toward the centre of town, but the Hare hadn’t finished with the Pack just yet & it wasn’t going to go straight back! The Trail crossed over the road to go around part of the one way system, as they went around this part of the Trail the Pack would run opposite the local Library, seems that the lost souls who stopped the Hash at the start of the Trail may not have been sent to the correct place!
For the last part of the Trail, the Pack would pass by the smart arty figures outside of the new build of what was the old Cooperage, the Dust kept to the footpath that runs behind this & come out on to the dead end of Tilehouse street. A trot through a slice of the olde worlde part of Hitchin would be the end of the Trail, passing by the old stone buildings as well as the black & white wattle & daub business.
At the end of Tilehouse Street the trail crossed the Hiz by the old Book shops & out to the roundabout opposite the Half Moon, but where was the On Inn? The first ones back had a good wait before any of the Long Trail runners get back, they would be at least another 20 minutes behind. They would enjoy the bar snacks & tortillas, before some braved the Chilli Cheesy Chips!
By the time it had come around to the Down-Downs, Spotted Dick & Custard had gone, no doubt to tend to his poorly plums? So, the RA had to change his options for the Hits!
The Hare was rewarded for a good Trail, but words will have to be had with Porky Pie as there was no “On Inn” to denote the end of the Trail! Sparky was out for his running around with a backpack weighed down to slow him up, but it failed to stop him going astray! Sparky was very vocal about his watered down Dark Mild Down-Down with a “What was that Crap?”
Then the RA turned to the wimps of Paxo & My Lil’ who found the Chilli Cheesy Chips a bit too much, leaving the RA to polish them off! But, the Pack were soon silenced & left agog as Paxo stood in the Circle & declared “I can’t down this!” Just like the Chillies it was too much for him & somehow the RA ended up showing him how it was done. My Lil’ had no problem with his Down-Down!