Date =                           20th September 2015

Run Number =           1639                                                                                                                                     

Venue =                       The Nightingale

Location=                    Hitchin

Beer =                          Tr*ng Colley’s Dog; Marie Antoinette

Hares =                         My Lil’ & Lola

Runners =                    9

Virgins =                       0

Visitors =                      0                                        

Après Hashers =         0

Newies =                       0

Hounds =                      1

Total =                          10

Membership =             Saying goodbye to the Nightingale!


            Back on Sunday Running & there was a poor turnout for almost the first of the Season, perhaps some where keeping a low profile after the Hash through Panshanger Park drew the attention of the people who run the place, all after walkers panicked at the sight of Dust on part of the old estate.  Since then, the Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust have posted notices to explain it is harmless & belay any fears the general public may have over this issue.

            Anyhow, with the engineering works on the railways this day, coupled with the replacement bus service missing the timings for one train from Stevenage to Hitchin, all due to the bus driver following a SatNav which took the RA & the Hare on a convoluted ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ journey along the narrow lanes out through Burnham Green & Datchworth before coming in to Woolmer Green & then on through to Knebworth, before eventually arriving late at Stevenage. 

The RA arrived by asking if there were any South Africans in the gathered Pack, with a negative reply, he then asked if there were any Japanese Rugby Supporters there.  Again there was a negative response.

            The start of the Trail had been delayed almost 20 minutes until the Hare arrived, mercifully the Joint Master was doing the Welcoming Speech in the GM’s absence & this was kept short, if not inaccurate when it came to the Run Number being out by one! [It was just like having Fliptop back! – Ed] 

The Hare’s ‘Chalk-Talk’ was equally brief, but there was an important bit about running a ‘New path to Herts Hash’ which was overgrown with brambles & nettles, the Hare added that the nettles don’t sting this time of year, beating the RA to using this over-used & familiar phrase.

Things began directly across the road from the Pub, where the Dust was found leading down the narrow driveway that runs northward along by the line of Midland Cottages, the style of these are of the Yellow Brick Railway houses that are dotted around the County near Railway lines.  There are some new builds just before the older homes, these are of a pretty sympathetic design with the look of their older cousins.

The Hare explained to Sludge that this northward Trot along the drive was to miss out the usual run in through the adjacent Ransome’s recreation Ground to the west, as there was a Football match taking place & the Pack didn’t want to be bombarded by lots of cursing you get at even amateur Footie games. 

Once beyond the Football match, the Trail did enter the grounds of the Park, by way of a small wooden five-bar gate that bore a sign for it to be shut behind the users.  It was over the grass to the northeast corner of the park a CHK was found, Milf, Kylie & Paxo were impressed at the small ornate garden that is enclosed with hedges, Sludge had seen all of this before & He continued out beside this on a short meandering path beside the river Hiz.

The path turned to the northeast as it passes under one of the arches for the viaduct that transports the main line from Kings Cross up toward Peterborough.  Sludge can remembers the days when you could take a Train on the branch off of this & go on to Bedford & Luton, but a relative of the RA’s cut this line off in the 1960’s!

Anyhow, the Hiz seemed to disappear just after the railway bridge, it was soon hidden out of sight behind the front gardens of the to houses on one side of Grove road, the Dust led up to a CHK outside of a row of newer terrace homes near to Redoubt Close.  There a Woman was outside her garden & it appeared that someone had attempted to sweep up the Dust, only to smear it about over the paving slab.  It was explained to her that the Hash was a ‘Drinking Club’ with a Running problem & were following the Trail of Dust.

Meanwhile, Mr X followed on behind Milf as they crossed the road to make their way in to the scrubby little section of woodland near to the back of an industrial estate, but there was no Dust up there at all!  “On!” was called from back on Grove road as the rest continued beyond Redoubt close & up to the lights at the junction with Cadwell lane & Woolgrove road.

Sludge, had led the way this far & was soon down Woolgrove road, with the rest in pursuit but not all of them going the right way.  Paxo & No Eye Deer kept to the southwest side of the road & followed the footpath up behind the safety railings before the Railway bridge, the Hare had deliberately set this to lure some off on this path as it turns by 90° in to the end house’s front garden!  The RA spotted these two come back as he crossed to the north-eastern side of the street & on to the single path under the narrow Arch of the brick railway bridge.

Once under the railway there was an arrow directing the Pack back over to the southwest side of the road!  Care was needed as this was almost a blind bend & those who had fearlessly dashed across first, waited on the opposite side where there was far better vision of oncoming traffic from both directions, in turn they warned those behind them if any cars were approaching.

Milf was the last across the dodgy section of road & get on to the footpath in the hedgerow & then over the small bridge spanning the river Purwell, as it flows eastward through Walworth Common.  The Trail cut westward across this busy open area, again there were football games taking place, as well as those a couple of Personnel Trainers who encouraged the RA & those who had been off Trail to run & catch the FRBs, all of whom who had already run over on to the back of the homes on Common rise.

A gap in the small cul-de-sac off of the main looping estate road, allowed the Pack to progress in running southward down to where it joins the A505, the Trail crossed over not that far from the Railway bridge near to Hitchin Station.  The Trail was actually only a few Hundred Yards from the Nightingale on the other side of the Tracks!

Once across the main road out toward Letchworth, the Trail led up to a footpath that lies on the northeast side of the Railway & this runs behind the homes lining one side of St Michael’s Mount, it soon became clear that this was the un-walked & not very well maintained footpath.

A machete would have been handy after getting by the discarded ironing-board [Apparently that was what that flat thing was! – Ed], a few other bits of household waste for the brambles became too much for even the local fly-tippers to venture any further along this route.  Many became entangle upon the brambles, No Eye Deer, Paxo & Kylie were among them to get hooked up at the south-eastern end of the path, just feet before it emerges out on to St Michael’s road.  Kylie bemoaned that he now had more rips in his Brussels Blue Moon shirt!

By time the tail of the Pack were out of the briar patch, that would have suited ‘Brer Rabbit’ in his story, the rest were no longer insight & the four at the back were almost about to go off in the wrong direction but No Eye Deer saved them after spotting Dust heading northward on the east side of the road as it runs back to the A505! 

Just before the roundabout not far from the same railway bridge on the busy main road out to the northeast of Hitchin, the Dust took to a small spur road beside the School ground, at the end of this there’s a footpath that runs south-easterly behind the back of the Homes on the ‘Poets Estate’ of Hitchin, these have the names of Browning, Coleridge & Gibson to name a few honoured Great British Poets, yet there is not even a cul-de-sac named after William McGonagall*.

Anyhow, it was quite a long trot along the back of the various back roads of the estate to finally reach a CHK on the T junction with a path running from northeast to southwest, the option out on to the end of Purwell meadows was false, as was the southwestern option, Sparky, Sludge & Milf checked these out!

The Hare marked the CHK backwards just as the RA reached the CHK.  So, on the way back behind the homes the Hare & the RA saw the Back Markers coming toward them, Kylie looked as confused as a rabbit caught in car headlights’ at night.  Having seen the Hare coming back, at least he managed to work out that he too had to turn around but along with Paxo & No Eye Deer they failed to see the path in a gap between two of the homes at the end of two rows of terraced houses, through this the Trail would pass.

Eventually they cottoned on as the Hare & Mr X led the way up to Gibson close, Two civilians out walking between the alleyways asked the RA what the Hash were up to, for the second time that day it was explained that the Hash are a ‘Drinking Club with a Running Problem’ & were following the Dust around to the Pub!

 The Trail now came out on to the roundabout on St Michael’s road to head north-westward for a hundred yards or so, to a point where the footpath drops down below the road level to an underpass.  Sludge, like the RA, had more than an inkling that the Trail would cross over to the dead end lane which leads up to a footbridge over the railway line.

There were shouts of “Short Cutters!” from Milf as the likes of Sludge & Mr X cut over the road above the underpass, missing out that part of the Trail to find that the Dust did indeed head out to the bridge high over the railway that at this point as it runs through the cut out in the chalk hill.

Once over the main line, the Trail came out in to the south-eastern corner of Benslow Field, the Trail was supposed to make its way along the bottom end of the open space, up over the small ridge to the higher plateau but not everyone was looking for Dust as No Eye Deer had spotted a large hawk flying about in the skies this area, & it was a perfectly clear, blue sunny day for ‘twitching’ or taking photos, Kylie stopped to catch the bird of prey on camera, when he wasn’t trying to watch Lola who was now bombing around & around the enclosed field!

The Hare began to veer away from the west bound route & the RA said that there was no way out in the corner of the field that they rest were approaching, of course it was going to be a turn to the northwest as the Trail moved over to the north-western corner of the park, there it passed out through the three line to come out on to another of the numerous tarmac footpaths that interlink many of the backstreets of Hitchin.

Most hoped that the Trail would take the fenced in path on its northbound course, they were soon relieved to see the Hare emerge from out of the park’s tree-line up ahead of them on this route!  The Pack were on the last leg of the Trail as the long path finally came out on to Benslow Lane, below the local Hospital, there it was a turn to the west for the short trot down to Benslow Gardens, there the Trail broke off to follow this rectangular road through three of its four corners.

At the third turn in the road was a footpath alleyway running down to join another alleyway that comes out down next to the back of the Tesco Store & on to the station approach road, Mr X was surprised that there wasn’t a False CHK at the end of the alleyway in a childish attempt to trick him! [Can’t you let it lie? - Ed]

Sparky seemed lost as he asked Mr X how far the Pub was after they had used the crossing outside of the Station approach road.  Luckily for Sparky it was just yards around the bend in to Nightingale road.  Upon their return, the Pack found TBT OBE was already back after his shorter Trail to protect his lag. 

The Hash were briefly split in to two factions, those who wanted to enjoy the sun in the patio garden & those who wanted to catch the Rugby on TV inside the Bar!  When the Pack was called outside for the Circle, No Eye Deer took the opportunity to show the Pack the photo that she took of the sign in Panshanger Park - that was put up to belay the fears of the civilians at the sight of white powder set by a ‘Running Group who did not ask permission to run through the Park!”

When it came to the Down-Down’s, the Hare was awarded his for a good Trail, which was just a shade under the Hour.  Kylie was out for a long story the RA told about Milf searching Kylie’s home when she first moved in, to look for any stash of porn he may have but was surprised only to find only Railway magazines!  [Apparently some of the Pages were stuck together! – Ed] But Kylie has learnt that a porn film was shot on the Epping – Ongar line & this apparently doing the rounds amongst certain enthusiasts!!

Finally No Eye Deer was out for going astray, with Paxo joining her for leading No Eye Deer ‘up the garden path’ (before the railway bridge) & for this he received the Hashit! Yes, it is back after a long absence.  The Pack then went back to watch the end of the Rugby, then the next game.

Apparently the reason the Pub is closing is that it would cost too much to repair the roof, which is need of some TLC & so the place will be no doubt be sold off to become flats & another watering-hole is lost for ever.  This seems to becoming increasingly common!

If you have a favourite Pub in your local vicinity & a decent Hash Venue that you want to keep , then register it as a ‘Local Asset’ you can do this through CAMRA Don't expect that someone else has done this!