Date = 29th October 2017
Run Number = 1761
Venues = The Plume of Feathers
Location: Pye Corner
Beer = Adnams Broadside;
Hares = Max Factor & Alfa Male
Runners = 15
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Newies = 0
Après = 0
Hounds = 0
Total = 15
Membership = A bit short on the 30 Mile R*n
The weather may have looked ominous but it wasn’t as cold as it could have been when the sun came out, & probably not as it would drop during the week. With a slight chill to start with, the early arrivals stayed in their cars until it was almost time to start the Trail, though for some it wasn’t to appear rude at laughing at the sight of Sparky who was sporting knee, elbow protectors, helmet & no doubt a cricket box to protect his & George’s extremities.
The GM questioned My Lil’ as to what time it was? He replied that there was a minute to go before the hour, so the Circle was called together, the correct Run Number announced by the GM, who’s words were sometimes masked by a rough barking noise, which turned out not to be from the dog training centre, but emanating from Lemming & Mother who were suffering with Hooping Cough!
Without further ado it was over to the Hares. Max Factor & Alfa Male came in to the Circle, explaining that it was usual markings, there were two Held CHKs with sweetie stops & of course there were Short Cuts, more importantly there was a closed footpath but these signs could be safely be ignored.
Things started with a huffy My Lil’ stood in the centre of the car park with his arms crossed, no encouragement from others would get him to move after the Hare announced to “Check it out from the here!” (Meaning from the Circle) Lemming tried to encourage him to search but My Lil’ dug his heels in like a stubborn mule. Lemming headed away toward the Dog-Training venue at the far end of the car park, while others like Milf & Ewok headed out to the Eastwick Road to the north.
The Trail was found by Paxo & Mr X as they searched the very same road, but down & around the bend toward the Village Hall to the south. At first they saw Hash Arrows on the opposite side of the railings keeping them safe on this blind bend, they thought of going back but persevered beyond the safety barrier, which was noted by the RA to have a few dents & buckled railed panels of along its length, then they saw arrows opposite pointing over to their side of the road.
Mr X was down to the first CHK just before Fiddler’s Bridge, which spans the Fiddler’s Brook, by the building working going on at the end house There a pair of footpath signs were found, Mr X chose the southeasterly option through the gate in the hedgerow to enter the enclosed area of fallow marsh land, over to the north the buzzing of scrabbling Trial’s Bike could be heard racing around their course. At least the Pack were now moving away from the sound of the shotguns popping away in the distance behind the Pub to the west.
As the RA headed out toward the River Stort Navigation on the soft wet Shiggy path, the Dust appeared to have disappeared! Encouraged by Lemming, My Lil’, Milf & the others following on behind him, he ran to the gate at the end of the enclosure, still there was no sign of any Dust, so he turned around to run back, a maneuver which encouraged them to do the same. But, no sooner than they had set off back toward Pye Corner they all stopped & turned again as Alfa Male directed them again toward the Stort.
On his second attempt Mr X would finally find the Trail when went through the wooden gate & he reached the CHK that was marked by the start of the bridge that crosses the Stort Navigation, the boundary between Herts & Essex. Where’s Wally agreed with Mr X that the option to head northward up the western towpath would be too far, as it leads up to Burnt Mill with only one crossing point before then.
Meanwhile My Lil’ had crossed the Stort on the footbridge & in to Essex, while Mr X & Where’s Wally? asked if there was an event on, for a group of girls came running along & they were all wearing the same tops advertising a 30 something Run [Imagine having everyone wearing Hash T-Shirts to show off who we are? – Ed] The Girls said it was the Harlow 30! Which didn’t really give much away, so Mr X & Where’s Wally? moved on over the bridge as My Lil’ had indicated that he had picked up the Trail as it headed to the southeastern edge of the of the Harlow Marsh Nature Reserve, this path looped around to the southwest.
On the left-hand side of the path through the grassy plain where a series of ponds a various watery dips that sit beside the railway line until reaching that largest of the ponds, the path ran through end of the hedgerow & on to a faded remains of a CHK on the gravel path that leads from the Railway bridge to the River Stort Navigation. Where’s Wally? announced that he knew this area pretty well as used to live near to Harlow. [Brave words indeed to mention in front of the RA! – Ed]
My Lil’ was again on form as he picked up the Dust leading up the footbridge that is of a strange angular design leaning out over the large pond to a huge concrete pillar, where it changes direction at an acute angle to lead up to the next section that completed the triangle as it headed back over the pond to cross over the railway line.
On the descent from the footbridge, Mr X came off of the ramp & asked where the Hash’s very own Tony Hawkes was? Ewok didn’t know who Tony Hawkes is, so Milf explained that he’s one of the world’s best skateboarders & celebrity, which led to Mr X’s reference being about Sparky’s knee & elbow protectors. Sparky finally came down the ramp, it was noticed that he had now put his helmet away [Stop it Pebbledash! – Ed]
The Trail came down on to a footpath that runs sou-sou-eastward near an old factory looking unit that has been redeveloped in to apartments, Mr X pointed out that the top floors had their own garden balconies. Here a CHK was found & My Lil’ headed off to search in the Marshgate Spring Wood, by the Training Centre, but his luck had now run out as “On!” echoed from the Subway that leads under the A414 (Edinburgh Way) & on the southern side of the main arterial road another CHK was found.
Sparky went off to look out one of the footpath options, but he didn’t progress very far as he saw it only ran back out to the A414. It was down to Lemming, Milf, Mother & Ewok to find the Trail leading out in to the dead-end of Arbour Mews, new builds that are pretty sympathetic to the old style of housing, the Dust led straight over School Lane & on to the footpath in to Harlow Town Park, for some reason Where’s Wally [Who knows the area! – Ed] & Ewok turned off by the pavilion to head over toward a large concrete ladybird, but where called back by the rest who were On! Trail.
The FRBs made their way southward through a small section of the Park from Sperriers that sits to the eastern side beside the Pets Corner area, then it turned direction to move up to the end of the Pets Corner where the first Held CHK was found, conveniently located by the public toilets – which had quite a few of the Hash using these. Mr X pointed out the wording on the sign, up by the Ladies Sing, could have been written in a slightly bit better way about the facilities be open during certain periods!
Now relieved, the Keenies gathered by the pens for the Lammas, Alfa Male arrived & started to dish out the sweets as the Pack looked on at the Reindeer, Ponies & other animals of the menagerie up on the top of the park. Proving that not all of Harlow is a concrete jungle.
Sarah made it to the CHK, while the rest wondered where Paxo & Kylie had got to? Alfa Male now decided that the Keenies could move on & so the search resumed. Mr X chose the wrong route over to the South, while the rest followed Where’s Wally?’s local knowledge in heading out over the grasslands in a northwesterly direction back up toward the A414.
Arrows were found as the Trail left the Park to come out next to the Burnt Mil roundabout, across from Harlow Station. While Mr X wondered about crossing to the Station, but was deterred as the rest continued up Edinburgh Way where they picked up arrows leading around the roundabout.
Getting over the traffic islands with their designated footpaths was not an easy task, hindered by idiots that don’t know what the stalks on the side of their steering column are for & cannot indicate, plus cars that came flying around the junction like Lewis Hamilton, it was a slightly precarious crossing. Mother & Mr X made several attempts to get over to these little refuges of safety before finally doing so.
On the westerly Elizabeth Way the likes of My Lil’, Sparky, Milf & Lemming had come to a halt as they appeared to have lost the Trail, Lemming broke with the ranks on the southern side of Elizabeth Way to cross over to look on the northbound 5th/Allande Avenue that crosses over the Stort Navigation, but he missed the double arrows showing the way down the North side of Elizabeth Way! While Mr X & Mother called “On!” My Lil’, Milf & Sparky all crossed over the road ahead of them, all while Lemming was no longer in sight.
The Trail passed by the small industrial estate, then on by the closed off footpath, where a water pipe was being installed in the roadside, Lemming came back in to sight behind the other Keenies as the rest passed by this slight obstacle on their way to Mill Lane. Lemming held back to make sure Sparky got by the roadworks & didn’t end up in the deep trench!
An old fashioned white signpost, which doesn’t fit in with the modern street furniture, pointed the way with its white wooden arm to Little Parndon, a former village that has been swallowed up by the greater Harlow area, here the Trail led by distinctive round flint walled end of St Mary’s Church, before coming around in to the grounds of Parndon Mill.
The Trail led underneath the overhanging eaves & the two mill hoists on either end of the yellow brick frontage, the RA noticed a poster saying that this large old mill now has an art fraternity using it as Studios. Through a wooden picket gate & the Trail now led over a metal footbridge & on to a CHK by Parndon Mill Lock on the Stort Navigation.
Back on the Herts side of the border formed by the Navigation, an ornately carved stone was found, it has the words about how the Stort flows in to the Lea, which flows in to the Thames, which flows in to the Sea & connects to all Ports around the World! [So, now you know! – Ed]
Sparky, My Lil’, Milf & Lemming all seemed to go wrong on the tow path along the side of the Navigation as it heads back toward the 5th/Allande Way Bridge, they turned back, so Mr X decided that the footpath option that leads away toward Roydon was too far, he took to the other choice of the hard capped track out toward the A414, where he found Dust, calling out “On! On!” he managed to get the rest to turn back & join him – shame it terminated with a T!
Back to the towpath & by now more of the 30 Mile Runners were coming through the Mill Lock & on to the towpath, letting them go first the FRBs set off along this route & picked up the Dust to follow the Stort on its course eastward to pass under the 5th/Allende Way Bridge. Just before this Max Factor was found sitting at a set of steps near to a footpath sign for the second Held CHK of the Trail, being on the west side of the bridge.
As more of the 30 Mile Runners came by the Pack clapped & cheered them on, all while chewing on the second round of sweets, well, not all were enjoying their sweets as Sparky had dropped his chew in the gritty dirt & was now seen licking off the small stones, which now became attached to his tongue & he was trying to spit them off before resorting to using the wrapper. Milf just said “Why don’t you throw it away, there are plenty more in the bags!” But Sparky was determined not to waste the sweet, grit, dog-poop, bugs or not! This seemed to scare off the photographer who had been capturing the Real Runners on their way under the road bridge to the end, or another loop around.
Where’s Wally? commented on how many of the real runners had water packs & even more noticeable grimaces on the faces as they passed by, in complete contrast to the happy grins on the Hashers chewing on their sweets &knowing that they were not long away from being sat in the Pub!
While waiting at the Held CHK, it seemed a long time for the SCBs to come through, so Where’s Wally? & Alfa Male went back to see how Sarah was doing on her second Herts Hash. She wasn’t too far away, which was more than could be said for Paxo & Kylie – they were not to be seen so Max Factor said “You know the way back!” & allowed the Keenies to resume the search & not seize up.
The obvious, correct option was to continue under the bridge continuing along the towpath, running opposite the Outdoor Pursuit Centre then coming up on to the lock. Strangely being caught up in amongst a group of the 30 Milers spurred on the Keenies to run & out in an effort form the road bridge to the lock, where a crowd of supporters were gathered & taking photos of the event.
Imagining that they may make the local running group magazines or local press, Mr X came up the ramp with some gusto on the towpath to find a CHK, where he stopped. Not being one to con the civilians, when he was encouraged to keep running, he explained that he was not a part of this event & was actually with the Hash & was running to a Pub, which cheered up a few of the on-lookers!
Now, the FRBs went a bit awry, firstly going down to the refreshment stall by the lock, then when getting back on the lane that leads out to the Dusty Miller on Burnt Mill Lane, previous Trails had taken the Hash out behind the Moor Hen Pub, which Where’s Wally? explained used to be a sports centre before being turned in to a large Family Pub. Where’s Wally agreed, as did others that they would take to the bridge leading behind the marina & run along the western side of the Stort Navigation.
There was no Dust to be found on this route, not even over the narrow footbridge with planks missing from it, miraculously Sparky didn’t fall in through any of these & in to the weir! But with no Dust on this side, it was wrongly presumed that the Dust was on the opposite bank, where the 30 Mile Runners where. This seemed reasonable assumption as the Out Trail was over the far side of this meadow.
Wrong, wrong, wrong! But it was a scenic trot through the wood & then back to the Out Trail by the first bridge over the Stort that was encountered by the Hash. All the way back Lemming was on to Mr X’s case for leading the Hash out on this extra loop, but the RA wasn’t going to bite as it was rather scenic.
Alfa Male had run to catch this wayward band, having caught them he explained that the Trail was out on Burnt Mill Lane, by the Dusty Miller & then on around to Pye Corner, this extra loop did have one unexpected result, it allowed Sarah & Max Factor to arrive back at the On Inn at the same time as the Keenies.
Back at the Pub Pebbledash & Pepé le Pew were found waiting after
her short wander around, Pepé informed the Hash that there was but one table not
reserved for food, so the Hash were banished to the
naughty corner rear
garden, which was fine to start with as the sun was out & it was fairly warm,
but this would change later-on once the sun had moved around behind the trees.
Paxo & Kylie finally made it around to the rear garden, where many things were discussed – mainly revolving around ‘bubble-wrap suits’, Mother’s Home-made Soup - out of a tin, Lemming not getting any Soup when he gets home, or anything else! Lemming kept commenting to Mr X (who was driving) about how nice it was to appreciate a couple of pints after the Trail, again Mr X wasn’t going to bite. After a brief chat on Christmas Weekend, it was time for the Circle.
The Hares were rewarded for a great Trail, which involved partaking in a part of a 30 Mile R*n, that with all sorts of animals as well as a couple of sweet stops. Mother & Lemming were both out for their ‘Whooping Coughs’ that plagued the Trail [Apparently ‘home-made’ soup is good for a cure, especially chicken, but Lemming wouldn’t be getting any of that! – Ed]
Sparky was out for his licking the grit, dog mess & dead bugs off of his dropped sweet, then finally Pepé le pew awarded Mr X with the last Down-Down after his comment on 30 mile r*n being an odd number, when 30m is an even number, when he really meant why was it nearly four miles longer than a marathon?