Date = 30th December 2018
Run Number = 1830
Venue = The Garden City Brewery
Location = Letchworth
Hare/s = Mr X
Beer = 1903; Seasonal Git; Saison;
Runners = 23
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Newies = 2
Après = 0
Hounds = 0
Total = 25
Membership = Increasing in size on the Trail!
What should have been a simple early Train journey to Letchworth was soon kyboshed by Great Northern Railways, as the ongoing saga of ‘lack of drivers’ rounds off yet another poor performance year & looks likely head in to another year! So, with no chance of setting the Trail & then going for a ‘Spoons breakfast, Mr X had just enough time to set the Trail & get back for the opening Circle. His progress in setting the Trail was waylaid for a short while as he bumped into a ‘dog walking’ couple who met on the Oakhampton Hash some 10 years ago in Devon, a Herts card was handed out to them!
This week saw Doris Made Me Come visit Herts by coming down all the way from the TNT Hash way up in Edinburgh, he was joined by Julie, his cousin who lives in Potters Bar on what would be her first Hash. Hopefully she was impressed by the smooth running of the circle that was forming in the car parking, as well as the arrival of a tired looking Hare who came back cursing the name of Great Northern Trains
Having vented his spleen, & now thinking about setting up a petition for the word Great to be removed from the rail company name as there is absolutely nothing Great about it. The Hare’s topic changed to happy things, mainly the Thursday Night’s Adult panto, what a laugh it was & the Hare confessed that he hasn’t laughed that hard for that long, even Whatever She Says was more than tickled! [Steady there Pebbledash! – Ed]
Mr X was then asked by Milf of there was a regroup on the Trail, as she pondered on whether to take her scarf to wear. This Hare then realised that there wasn’t one, after a change to the end of the planned Trail where the planned regroup was going to be was no longer there.
TBT OBE tried to call the Circle around him & after Paxo, 3D & Slug had finished messing about trying to get a large telescope in to one of the cars. Finally, with Paxo’s ‘Peeping Tom device’ stowed away, TBT OBE went on to welcome the pack to the 1830th Herts Hash, visitors were introduced & then it was over to Mr X as the Hare to explain what the Hash could expect out there.
For the benefit of our Visitor, Virgin & Sludge, Mr X went through what the Herts Markings are, the he ushered the Pack away to the south-eastern corner of the car park. Sparky kept insisting that the Hare mark the Trail, which had already been put down back near the Brewery & Sparky had not seen this, but to appease Sparky’s demands more flour arrows were laid down across the car park by the Hare.
While the Pack made their way out over on to where Openshaw Way makes way to turn to the east & joins Norton Way South, the Hare disappeared back along the end of the Trail to set a Held CHK on the corner of Norton Common, before cutting back to re-join the ‘Out trail’.
The Pack made their way down Norton Way South to a point where a zebra crossing is, arrows pointed the way over this to a CHK on the corner where Mrs Howards Memorial Hall sits, named after Ebenezer Howard’s first wife this was the first public building in Letchworth, quickly established as the literary, music & social hub of the fledgling Garden City. This building has had many uses, including at one time as a Synagogue, as well as playing host to a travelling dentist’s surgery! As part of the 1908 May Day celebrations, the first ‘Garden City Pantomime’ took place at the hall, where residents performed a satire on Garden City life. Doubt it was a patch on the Adult Panto the Hash watched a couple of days earlier & did not star the Widow Wanky? [Oh no it wasn’t! – Ed]
Anyhow, the Trail would be picked up heading northward on the east side of Norton Way South, with dust hidden from sight from the western side on the way out by being placed on the back of the avenue of trees. A change of direction had the Hash cutting through the elongated park, passing the cast metal plaque & the Oak Tree which presented as a thank you to the people of Letchworth in 1916 from the Belgian Refugee community who were in exile there during World War One, by 1916 there were 2,000 refugees who made up one quarter of the town’s population.
Out of Howard park & the Pack made their way northward up by the early established homes of Rusby Mead, on the east of the green space to come around to the east on Birds Hill to come to a CHK on the bend where Ridge Road leads away from a T-junction. The Trail was found along Ridge Road as it curves around from the southeast to an eastward run through the original area of the ‘Garden City’ & as it progressed the house became of a more modern design.
A CHK was found where Ridge Road joins at a T-junction with Pixmore Avenue, the Pack were now on the edge of the industrial area, though some of this has now been converted into new Housing & accommodation. The obvious option of crossing the road to the footpath cutting through the centre of a couple of the small business parks of industrial units was correct, this path wasn’t the best part of Letchworth Garden City as the pack would discovered as they had to run the littered route between the backs of factory units with only fire exits to look at.
Three Quarters of the way long this more than boring route a CHK was discovered, the option of going off in to the corner of the new hosing estate squeezed in to the corner of the old industrial area did catch a few out, but the Pack would soon found that the Dust would be found sticking with the footpath until its termination where it comes out down a couple of steps on to Dunhams Lane.
Port & Starboard were up with Jamie, Wanktlers, Milf & Doris Made Me Come as they picked up the Trail heading down by the BOC car park as it headed northward to Works Road, not much to see in the way of scenery, just works, factory units & car parks until they crossed over Works Road. It was here the Hare re-joined the Pack after taking a short cut along Works Road.
The Trail would now take to a footpath that led down an alleyway to a set of steep metal steps leading up to a cadged-in footbridge spanning the tracks of the railway. Down the opposite flight of metal steps to run the Hash out of the alleyway on to the Icknield Way, a part of the ancient route. Celto-British in derivation, it may be named after the Iceni tribe, who could have established this route to permit trade with other parts of the country from their base in East East Anlgia.
The Icknield Way was one of four Medieval highways that appear from the 1130s. Henry of Huntingdon wrote that the Ermine Street, Fosse Way, Watling Street & Icknield Way had been constructed by royal authority. The Leges Edwardi Confessoris gave royal protection to travellers on these roads.
From the CHK on the Icknield Way My Lil’ was one who went wrong at the CHK, as was Where’s Wally? who went either way on the main suburban street, until someone found the Trail straight over on the unlikely choice of Pascal Way, a series of small back roads on a more modern estate where the Trail turned in to one cul-de-sac to come out on to the edge of a Green Space surrounded by homes.
A CHK was found on a small tarmac area by a small kids play area on the west side of the Park, the Keenies were kept occupied for a short while as they searched the two options on the tarmac footpath, eventually someone discovered the Trail leading directly across the green to the east, once over the grassland the Pack left by way of a small gap on the low ridge to come out on to the uncapped drives for access to the garages behind the homes on Green lane.
From the CHK on Green Lanes it was Wanktlers & Sludge’s turn to be caught out with Where’s Wally? They would soon be called back as echoes of “On!” could be heard over the road & down a short south-eastern trot down to the roundabout with Blackhorse Road. There an arrow pointed the way north-eastward another old Industrial area, some of which remains to the south side, but on the northern side it is now all new housing, which as Mr X said to Sludge “Wasn’t there last time the Hash came down this way a few years ago!”
The Hare was happy to see TBT OBE being lured off by Wanktlers, My Lil’, Tent Packer & Where’s Wally? in checking out a Falsie off from a CHK across from the dead-end Knapp Close, all being lured in by a path which crosses the railway & leads through a strange patch of greenery on to the edge of the Jubilee Industrial Estate next to the A1(M), a Falsie here also meant that the Trail would not head in to Baldock on the opposite side of the motorway.
Back on Blackhorse Lane & the Trail was picked up as it runs to the end of the road & out to a CHK on the footpath running through the wooded south-eastern corner of large open field. Of the two options available, it was the north-western one the Trail would take to, running up between the wooded edge & the fenced off field to head up toward the village of Norton hidden behind the tree-line up on the top of the hillside.
After a long steady gentle climb, No Eye Deer & Zoya arrived at a CHK before Sludge & the Hare, again there were two options at the T junction with a footpath runs behind the tree-line to the southeast of the village. The CHK had already been kick through by the Keenies to head away to the northeast, then as the path begins to drop down to the Norton Road a CHK was found by the wooden posts, that act to stop cycles from turning straight on to the path that leads through beside & then around a cottage. This unlike looking public right of way came out on to the dead-end of Church Lane where this last cottage sits.
The Trail was picked up on Church lane, making its way through a quintessentially English village that pre-dates Letchworth that it is now joined to in the west. Passing by the Lych Gate set in the walled grounds of St Nicholas Church, the lane turned slightly before joining the Norton Road where arrows showed the way to the south. More arrows & these pointed the way to the opposite side of the road, taking the Keenies around the bend the Three Horseshoes Pub sits on.
The FRBs now embarked on a Loop as the Dust took to a footpath that runs northward along the edge of an enclosed field that was empty of any livestock that normally resides there, judging by the cow-pats that were littering the place. In the opposite corner was a kissing gate which allowed the FRBs out in to the rough arable farm land behind, it was here that the Hare met a couple who used to Hash in Devon! [Who knows we may see them in the future? – Ed]
From the CHK on the opposite side of the Kissing gate the Trail headed south-westward along the backside of the Tree-line surrounding the paddock the Hash had just left, this route came down to another CHK point on the outside of the enclosure, there were three options. The track that leads away to the south would be the correct one as the Pack finished off running all three edges of the paddock to bring them back out to easterly arm of Croft Lane joins Norton Road.
As Jamie, Port, Starboard, Sparky, Doris Made Me Come, TBT OBE, Tent Packer & My Lil’ all came out to the CHK, then from just over the road Mr X appeared as from nowhere like the Shop-Keeper in Mr Benn! The Hare was with Sludge, after setting a Short Cut that led along the westerly footpath behind Norton that emerges out via its alley end almost in front of the white washed & black timbered old village Post Office.
Having seen Mr X, in his bright orange Hare’s Shirt, come around the corner to the CHK, My Lil’ had sussed that the Trail would head off down Croft Lane, Jamie stopped & asked the Hare if he knew where “The Little One was?”, Mr X explained that he had set a Short Cut, so Rose, Gemma, Pebbledash, 3D & Paxo shouldn’t be too far behind.
Croft Lane is another of the older parts of Letchworth, existing before the Garden City concept came to be. A nice sedate & quiet lane for the Keenies to trot along a sit led them on by the larger homes on the left & the enclosed fields to the right. After weeks of having horses around the Trail, the Pack finally got to appreciate Sparky’s Horn [Calm down Pebbledash! – Ed] as he broke the tranquillity of the surroundings! The narrow start to the lane would eventually become wide enough for a footpath to run along the side.
Now, with the Short Cut in place the Hare was hoping that the CHK on the bend of Croft Lane would catch a couple of the FRBs out & buy some more time. Mr X couldn’t have been more pleased to find that everyone had been off around the dog-leg bend, this meant that by the time My Lil’, Tent Packer & Where’s Wally? had ventured down & around the curving cut-through to Eastern Way, the SCBs had made up some more ground.
Where’s Wally? just said “Where’s this Trail then?” as he stumbled upon an arrow that was found pointing the way down Eastern Way as it heads away to turn southward? [It gets its name for running along the eastern edge of the Grange Estate, while on the opposite side is Western Way! – Ed]
As the Keenies made their way down to the junction with Norton Road, Norton Way North & Wilbury Way, a girl came jogging toward the Hare, so Mr X jokingly announced to her “The Pub’s this way!” as he pointed toward the FRBs up ahead. So, Jenny stopped & asked what was going on? Mr X handed her a card & gave a brief explanation about the Hash & that we were all going to be ending up at the Garden City Brewery. Then off Jenny went, while the rest carried Hash carried on in the opposite direction.
A turn to the west at the roundabout took the Hash off along the Willbury Road for a few yards before crossing over to take to a footpath through the eastern edge of Norton Common, a nice off road trot through the recreational park almost in the centre of town. A nice bit of Shiggy could be enjoyed before coming out to where the outbuildings are by the car park, this was where the Held CHK was found.
A choice of American Hard Gums or Jelly Beans, or even both in most cases, as the Keenies awaited the rest to catch up. Wanktlers, who was now wearing his Tallinn Hat like a Glengarry, ended up getting a few Jelly Beans thrown at him for an off remark he said to Julie & they bounced off of him & dropped on to the floor, then several of the Pack said “Not to worry, Sparky will pick them eat them!”
The Hare allowed the FRBs to continue with the last section of the Trail, he didn’t want them to get bored or start to stiffen up [Steady Pebbledash! - Ed] Mr X was then surprised to see that as the Tail End of the Hash came in, Jenny had joined the middle order, having decided to give up on her run & follow the Pack back around to the Garden City Brewery! Sweets were offered out again, as the Hare waited for the very last ones to come to the Held CHK.
From this point on the edge of the common it was simple job of following the arrows up over the junction to head off southward down Nortonway North, opposite the car dealerships, in doing so everyone managed to dodge the Salvation Army Church & Centre on the same side of the road as the Trail.
On the way back the Pack also successfully avoided going down Nevells road, home to the ‘Settlement’, Letchworth Garden City's famous temperance 'pub with no beer'! Opened in 1907 as the Skittles Inn, it offered 'fellowship, rest & recreation' for workers, but all drink served at the bar was non-alcoholic, in response to the wishes of the majority of Letchworth Garden City residents. In 1925, it became a centre for adult education and local activities. Yes, Letchworth was built as a Quaker town, & only had the pre-existing village Pubs on the outskirts as watering-holes & the Hotel until the late 1960’s. It has improved since then!
Having been taken beneath the Railway bridge, beyond which ‘On inn’ was marked behind a bus shelter, it was a turn to the right on to Station Road, then across over the pedestrian crossing to enter the car park for the On Inn, with the FRBs getting home around the hour mark.
The Pack settled in to the Brewery, Jenny was joined by her family & they all got to hear about the Hash, how it’s origins were: To clear heads of hangovers, build up a thirst for opening time, to prove that however fit or unfit or old you are - you can still get around the Trail!
It seems that as well as the Ales & Ciders being popular so were the samosas & the sausage rolls. For those who feared of missing out, the Brewery supplied some other hot snacks a bit later on, & very much appreciated they were too. Rose offered Mr X the last Hard Gum of the sweets he had left in her charge earlier on. [Bang goes the Diet! – Ed]
When it came to the Circle the Joint Master had to be reminded that the Hare couldn’t award himself an Ale! So, TBT OBE asked the Pack on what they thought of the Trail; other Down-Downs went to our long-distance visitor all the way for TNT (The New Town) Hash Edinburgh, who was joined by our Newbies of Julie & Jenny. Where’s Wally? received his for doing all of the Falsies possible, & probably more that weren’t marked!