Run No. 1910
Sunday 4th October
Pub: The Half Moon
Beers: Tring Colly’s Dog; Oakham Citra; St Austell Proper Job
Hare/s: Mr X
Hash Hounds: 0
Membership: Damp but soulful
This morning was far from being as bad as the end of the week’s wet & windy weather, things had calmed to a light mizzle as the Hare set off to lay the Trail, by the time he had finished the day was now set with waves of very light rain or just cool overcast weather.
The Hare was not expecting too many to turn but he did have to change the Trail twice, once at the beginning & then at the end when he noticed time was getting on & wanted to get back for anyone who was undertaking the first start at 10:45Hrs! However, he needn’t have worried as by 20 minutes to the hour only My Lil’ was present. Perhaps the elite athletes of the Hash were going around the course that local athletic Hitchinites were running 26.2 Miles in lieu of the London Marathon going around & around St James Park with the ‘Elite Runners’?
Those who were early enough would have seen a Rhino running around the Marathon Course, no it wasn’t the Rhino that used to Hash with us. So, the time ticked away toward 11:00Hrs & only Mother & Lemming had arrived, then just before getting the others underway on the hour Milf arrived, with Kylie still faffing around back at the car. Including him this gave the Hash a Pod of 5, a nice number to start with & keep within the Covid-19 guidelines!
As the first Pod got under way, the Hare marked the Trail, just as Sparerib drove by. The Ribster wasn’t the only one having issues with parking up, Sludge & Flying Solo were also in search of a gap since all the usual spots were taken up by the mock London Marathon Runners’ cars, another reason to alter the Trail’s route to avoid potential contact with civilians trotting 26 miles around & around town!
Being a Trail in Hitchin there are always going to be hills, even being kept away from the marathon & the closed road at the bottom of Windmill Hill, the Hash were still going to have to gain some altitude. So, from an arrow outside of the Lord Lister Hotel, were the celebrated Surgeon & pioneer of antiseptic Surgery Joseph Lister went to School, the Trail would lead only a short way down Park Street to find the first CHK by a bin at the bottom of the footpath coming down Standhill.
No one searched along Park Street, as the steep climb up the old tarmac footpath was the favoured choice, & so it proved to be correct as a strung out line of the first pod had plenty of gaps as the first five ascended the hill. A CHK was found three quarters of the way up, only Milf chose to search the old uncapped Storehouse lane, this old back-alley path between the rows of homes perched along the hillside was a Falsie.
Milf returned to find that the Lemming, Mother, My Lil’ & Kylie were all headed to the end of the south-eastern path, emerging on to Standhill Road where the Trail crossed straight over the small green triangle to take to Cemetery Road. Running by the red-brick wall to the southwestern entrance to the Hitchin Cemetery, there an arrow pointed the way northeast through the open double gates & on toward the small stone Chapel in the centre.
Lemming, Mother & My Lil’ were now caught out, just as the Hare was when setting the Trail, as they too found that the north-western gates were locked , so the Hare had put a Bar CHK down, but obviously the others failed to see it on the grassy edge of the graveyard.
Some, like Milf thought that the weather was cool enough to have extra layers, as well as a scarf & for extra protection, not just warmth but for Covid-19, they also wore London Hash snoods. Not a bad idea for Herts Hash haberdashery if we can’t get masks? Either that or we all go for the ‘Canary Boy Mankini’ that Mr X was wearing! [That’s a thought you can’t clear from your mind! – Ed] Hopefully the Rutland masks wasn’t pre-worn by Canary Boy?
The Hare now laid an arrow to direct the Hash beside the Chapel & then out of the St John’s Road section of the Cemetery by way of the double gates on to St Johns Road, there the Trail turned north-eastward & at the end of the low redbrick Cemetery wall with its railings, a CHK was found.
With the CHK being placed beneath the shelter of an overhanging tree, the Hare arrived to find that Mother & Kylie were taking shelter from the slightly heavier drizzle, all while leaving Lemming, Milf & My Lil’ out in the precipitation still searching for Trail! Milf was soon coming back from almost the end of St John Road, no doubt lured on by passing the local Fire Station & the off chance of spotting some uniformed hunks?
The Trail now headed out over the road to take to Pulter’s Way, a small estate on the outskirts of the ironically named(on this damp morning) ‘Sunnyside’ area of Hitchin, the Trail turned south-westward as route turns again at an elbow in the estate, it was here that Flying Solo had caught up after the her delayed start, even with her bruised foot she could still put the others to shame as she cut the corner to avoid the Hare & others by quiet a wide berth, but in her haste she almost ran on by the footpath-alleyway that cuts between two of the homes to come out on to Eynsford Court, no stopping here as the Trail was marked on either concrete post for an entrance into St John’s Park.
Strangely enough neither Elizabeth nor Isabelle wanted to come to the Hash with Mum today! Nor was there anyone was out playing any games on the green space as the Hash followed the markings set on the trunks on the row of trees to head over to another footpath that leads away in the middle of the south-eastern end of the green space, safely keeping the Hash away from the ‘Outdoor Gym’ equipment to the west of the park. Thus avoiding anyone touching any equipment, which in normal times the Pack would have been encouraged to have a go on!
Sparerib now caught up with the hobbling Hare, he passed by him with ease as the path runs along by the front of the homes, which although they are fairly modern homes, they are a throwback to the other Victorian terraced abodes in Hitchin where there was no road outside the frontage, but at least these ones have cars parking around the rear, after 100 Yards the path splits in two, with a CHK being found at this point. Those who chose the right-hand fork by the point in the wall were rewarded by finding after about 50 feet the Trail ran across the A602 Stevenage Road at the crossing near to the Orange Tree Pub.
The Hash were kept away from the McMullens Pub as the Trail turned to run the opposite way up the gently rising hill, Sludge finally made up his lost ground & kept his distance along the busy urban road. After 300 Yards, reaching the Hitchin Hill Path, an arrow pointed the way down this passageway. The old way between the backs of more established large Victorian homes, or maybe older, have some nice ornate wrought-iron gates, with huge locks, set in the old high redbrick wall.
After turning the kink in the footpath, the Hash would emerge out on to London Road, where the Trail was indicated down sou-sou-east, after some 60 yards trot a CHK was found by the entrance of Oaks Close, no luck for anyone who searched in the dead-end court, but over the old coaching road, those with local knowledge would notice the old footpath obscured by the roadside trees behind an area of old railings.
Sludge was straight on to this when he arrived here, the old Hasher’s instinct kicked in & he was soon On to the Trail as Sparerib followed behind, a right-angle turn of 90 degrees took the Hash along by some old & seriously pointed railings for a short way to come out on to the end of Dale Close with its small oval green at the dead-end. No way off of the side street to 100Yards to come out on to the junction with Gosmore Road, the next CHK was found on the almost quarter of a circle green space to the north of the entrance.
The Trail was spotted across the road up to the north, just on the northern side of the entrance to Priory Way to the west, the Trail continued up to the north on Gosmore Road for 50 Yards, until it reached the southern tip of the wooded edge of Priory Park on the top of Hitchin Hill, separated from the northern Priory grounds by the A602 Park Way that sits in a cutting out of view.
From the CHK by the short set of railings by the end house, once over the large puddle flooding the open iron gate entrance, Sludge now went wrong as he looked within the tree-line that a few years ago was the scene of Sparky tripping over a tree root on the path within.
By the time the Hare arrived he was happy to see Sludge cutting back over the top of the hill back toward the short alleyway back in to the north-end of Priory Park. The over-joyed Hare now followed on, having marked an earlier short cut into Priory Park, the Trail crossed the small green in priory Park to a CHK point under the slight protruding hedge at the end of a wall where an alleyway runs between two of the properties.
At the end of the short alley Dust was found heading away to the northwest on the tarmac of the old Brick Kiln Lane, now closed to normal traffic so it is enjoyed by cyclists & walkers alike. The old lane has old rustic hedgerows along either side, lots of brambles, haws & the likes along the way, though in parts there are open sections in the hedgerow, allowing dog walkers access back on to farm land of Hitchin Hill to the north.
The Next CHK was found some 350 Yards along the old lane as it heads westward toward Charlton, way down in the valley. Now after Sludge had gone wrong earlier, the Hare would be happy to see Kylie was lost at this CHK, he was found faffing around at a crossroads with a farm track leading & the uncapped by-way of Tattmorehills Lane from north to south, he was in two minds to cut through the south-westerly path after seeing Mother in the field’s opposite north-western corner?
The Hare now directed Kylie straight down the lane as it drops away from the ridge, this was the correct route, & Kylie had seen Mother going off Trail from a CHK further down the lane by a set of steps up in to the corner of the aforementioned field. The serpentine like drop down the wet tarmac was strewn with pebbles, sticks & stones washed down by the heavier rain a few days earlier.
As the lane comes down in to the small village of Charlton the Hash would pass by the rare breeds pig sties & a few small porkers could be seen enjoying the wet mud! On by Charlton farm & then the Trail crosses the river Hiz on a long raised platform for the ford leading into the Charlton Mill Pond, then on by the boarded up Windmill Pub, it’s been like this for a few years now after a builder bought it & tried to change its use without permission, planning applications that was rejected.
A CHK by the corner of the former car park to the Pub, from here the Trail turned nor-nor-west to pass the row of quaint cottages to head nor-nor-east on the Charlton Road as it leads up through the farm land for 200 Yards until reaching the next CHK, there the options were to take a footpath back by the cattle field, with long-horn bovines within, back up to Hitchin Hill, or head westward on the footpath up by Kennel Farm, or carry on along the road?
Those who chose to search straight on would be rewarded by finding the Trail leading out on to Willow Lane, a long pocket of wooded area at the south-western corner of Hitchin, but after turning northeast then crossing the road, the Trail would head away from the On Inn [Do not panic dear reader! – Ed] & around on the main & seemingly always busy A602, where it would descend to an underpass beneath the traffic, where a CHK was found in the dip before the short subway.
On the north side of the road the Trail was found as it led around to a footpath on the dead end of the Old Charlton Road, from here Mother would be led astray by an old man, [Didn’t Mother’s Mother warn her? – Ed] as she would follow Sludge, who was now in “I know where I am & I am not for turning!” Mode as he headed northward up this road, by the walled old buildings related to the former Hitchin Priory & then back in, however there was no Trail marked that way!
Heading a few yards back south toward the A602, then the Dust would lead over the river Hiz, before following the drop down in to the footpath that runs parallel to the main road, the leaf strewn path would rise up above the level of the road as the wooded area to the east. Ironically there were plenty of rather large Horse Chestnuts scattered all around, unlike last year’s struggle to find suitable Conkers for the annual contest.
The rise starts off fairly easily as it passes by the bottom end of the Hitchin priory Gardens, where it was noticed that the fence was removed in places & looks like people have been walking around the grounds, which would have been a nice addition to the Trail if the grounds could be visited? On the way the rain from the broadleaf trees would be blown & fall on the unsuspecting Hashers below.
After 400Yards the footpath leaves the southern edge of the Priory woods to come out at the top of Hitchin Hill once again, the Hare noticed the amount of Horse Chestnuts laying around the wooded strip that is the same one that Sludge went awry earlier.
Once down the three stone steps to the north south path above the Three Moorhens & safely by the local Maximum Security Twilight Home, so the number of the pack would not decrease as the last leg was to run down the tarmac path beside the red-brick Priory wall & descend down by the On Inn to Park Street again.
With the Hash over, those who wanted to go for a drink found that there was an excellent system of entry set up, where once by the food-wagon, then you had to wait for the staff to seat the pack, nice table services as the Pack managed to keep in their Pods. To accompany the Ale & food was a Soul Disco, it started off a bit loud, but once he got to playing the all-time ‘old school’ classics it was rather good fun.
No Eye Deer & Whatevershesays arrived, but weren’t stopping after the Trail, all of which confused the landlord who was trying to seat them after they walked by the ‘Wait to be seated’ sign & rope! Anyhow, they left & missed out on the fun of the music, it was so much fun that it had Milf swinging her tassels like some kind of mad stripper! This seem to entertain the crowd of girl’s on the table behind. Which was far better than the thought of Mr X’s Rutland Mask was in fact a cast-off Canary Boy’s old ‘Mankini’?
Just to keep the Pack warm, Kylie was on Smoker’s Heater duties, which meant he had to push the button next to him to turn on the heating lamp on the wall, the odd just below a bit of precipitation on to the back tables, but all in all it was a great day. Making up for the lack of our annual Conker contest we stage at the Half Moon!