Run No. 1918
Monday 12th April 2021
Venue: Half Moon
Beers: Oakham & a Stout
Hare/s: Mr X
Hash Hounds: 0
Membership: Supporting our Pubs!
It was a nice warm afternoon when the Hare arrived back at the Half Moon after setting the Trail, thankfully for Mr X he spotted My Lil’ near to the front of the queue for the 16:00Hrs opening, they were there for 16:40Hrs & had to wait an hour before they could get in.
They had to wait for the tables with kids & dogs to finished up & vacate the place. Unfortunately tables that can seat six become wasted when only two, or one person is sat there! Not that this is any criticism, it’s actually good to see so many people coming out to support our beleaguered Pubs. The two took solace in the fact that Junior’s shift pattern prevented him from getting out to a Pub until Wednesday 14th. [Titter ye not! – Ed]
Earlier, while on his way to the venue the Hare spotted that the Albert was packed as well, he was so tempted to call Standin Shit & Porky Pie (Just for old times’ sake), but a Trail had to be laid! While in the queue it was overheard that the local ‘spoons was packed as well.
After a couple of Pints, the first of which went down really quickly, the Hare could peer down the Pub garden to spot TBT OBE & Tent Packer lingering near to the old Coaching Inn entrance. So, supping up the two vacated their highly prized seats!
The Hare decided that he would Tick a Covid Box by getting out the IR Thermometer to test the gathering Pack [At least it wasn’t a rectal one! – Ed] Needless to say everyone was around the 37°, though Sludge was the hottest [In body temperature & not much else! – Ed] which concerned Milf was until it was revealed that he had his woolly hat over his forehead, the second reading was fine. More alarming was the fact that when it came to Ketchup having his head scanned, the IR Thermometer came up with ‘Err’!
The Pack were told that the Trail was set in arrows & dust, but there was one point where there was no Dust as the Trail would go through a sheep paddock, that the exit was almost directly across from the gate in to the paddock. Then without further ado the Pods were ushered away over to Bridge Street, passing by the frontage of the old Book Shop, crossing the river Hiz via a small hump-back bridge to find the arrows leading up the gentle rise of the olde worlde Tilehouse Street in a north-westerly direction.
Beyond the entrance to the old Hitchin Priory the first CHK was found on the junction where Old Charlton Road leads away to the southwest. Flying Solo, Sludge & Tent Packer were making up part of the Keenies Pod, while No Eye Deer & Milf had dropped down to the middle order with My Lil’, who was feeling the effects of two pints! The Hare, Philippa & Paxo at this point were the back Pod of the Pack.
“On!” was found down the Old Charlton Road, here the Pack could admire the high old red-brick wall right next to their left, passing by what was once the Priory Kitchens. A nice trot for 200 Yards to find the next CHK, there were two choices here, to continue down to the A602 Park Way or take to the side path by a car park & beyond to an underpass beneath the A602 Park Way.
The Trail was found under the A602 Park Way & off into the estate to the northwest, arrows lead the way around the small parking area for the two blocks of adjacent Flats to turn the Keenies away in a sou-sou-westerly trot along Meadow Way. With this route heading toward the hamlet of Charlton it was like a magnet to Flying Solo, Milf, No Eye Deer, Ketchup, My Lil’ & TBT OBE who all headed that way.
Philippa followed the Hare’s Short Cut markings at the top of Meadow Way & she was going to call back to TBT OBE to come back, but Paxo warned her not to, as due to Covid restrictions we aren’t allowed to call out! So, TBT OBE was going to run the 250 Yards to the T-Junction with Hawthorn Close, in truth TBT OBE was happy to be out & about, no matter that he was now on a loop.
There were only two obvious options from the CHK on Hawthorn Close, due east or due west? To the west, those with keen eyes spotted the green signal arm of a footpath signpost, just some 50 yards to the signpost & arrows were found heading northward up along the east edge of a small green playing area. The Keenies now embarked running on Russell’s Slip, an old wide tarmac right of way of some 300 Yards that along one side has a line of older homes that face toward this old route.
Back with the SCB Pod & Philippa was surprised when Paxo said that she was now at the front of the Hash, then the Hare pointed out the Dust on the back of the London Plane tree, the Dust was craftily positioned on the back of the trunks so it could not be seen by Keenies on the loop out but visible when they came back up Russell’s Slip.
The SCBs now reached the next CHK where Wratten Road bisects Russell’s Slip, Sludge was with them as they walked along over to the roundabout to the northwest, there they picked up the Trail & they turned the corner to be out of sight on the A505 Moormead Hill just before Flying Solo came up from the loop on the Slip.
With the CHK marked the rest weren’t hanging around as they followed on down the hill for over 600 yards. At least it was a nice steady descent to the level, where the Trail crossed the end of Willow lane verges, On by a load of fly-tipped rubbish & by the time the majority reached this point Flying Solo was just a small figure up on the ridge to the south.
Tent Packer now out on an effort to try & catch up with Flying Solo as the footpath led away from the main road on a gentle uphill climb through farm land, it was also noticeable hat Milf, No Eye Deer, Ketchup & My Lil were now dropping behind as they were just at ‘Steady Walk’ pace. This made it easier for Des Res, Sparerib & Amanda catch up with the last Pod of the Hash & over take on wide farm track.
A slight kink in the treeline before the Hash reached the end of the crop field, turning westward for a few yards along the outside of a sheep paddock, here Paxo wilfully flouted Hash protocol of “No tech on the Hash!” as he gibbered away on his mobile phone, right in front of the RA no less! [Don’t get a false sense of security of not getting a Down-Down for such breaches of Hash etiquette, some RA’s have elephantine memories! – Ed]
Once through the gate, which was secured by the old Bungee Cord, this was the section of Trail were there were no markings until the Hash reached the opposite gate in the hedgerow for an old byway of Windmill Lane, on this a CHK was found. Only two options again, it was an east or west search?
The Hare thought that My Lil’ had fallen foul at the CHK, which he did wonder about as My Lil’ knows this area, but it seems that My Lil’ took to the wrong option deliberately as the two pints had worked their way through his system.
A lighter My Lil’ joined the rest of the Pods as they made their way down between the two large hedgerow running along the by-way, plenty of birdlife flitting in& out of the brambles & hawthorns as the Trail began to drop, the decent now encouraged Milf, No Eye Deer to join Amanda & Sparerib in following on after Flying Solo & Tent Packer.
The Pack passed by a solitary farm house, here the uncapped route became a tarmac drive down in to Charlton. Where the narrow drive joins the Charlton Road a CHK by a set of steps in the green embankment up in to the southern corner of the top paddock to the left.
A Falsie was found around into Charlton, while the Trail proper was picked up by Flying Solo in the paddock on a footpath overlooking the back of the black tar weather-boarded chalets of Mill House Barns on the west side of the hamlet. The newly inspired No Eye Deer & Milf followed on, with the exception of those who didn’t want to get wet feet didn’t & they stuck with the Hare!
Having traversed the paddock, it passed through a kissing gate, now the Dust would lead down through a crop field on a diagonal path cutting over to the corner where the drive from Dog Kennel Farm meets the Charlton Road, no CHK here, just arrows pointing the way back into Charlton along the tarmac roadside path. Dog Kennel Farm is named so as Henry VIII kept hunting dogs there.
As Flying Solo led the way 300 yards back into the hamlet, others spotted her as they emerged from the Paddock, so they ‘Sludged’ it down the edge of the crop field on an unofficial Short Cut route worn in by local dog-walkers.
The Hare was found waiting by the corner of the (Closed) Windmill Pub’s Car park, it’s a sad sight, seeing the Pub shut up, we had a few good Hashes from there over the years! It was bought to be turned in to a House but thankfully the Authorities at NHDC wouldn’t allow a change of Business Use, hence its sorry looking state.
However, all is not lost! There is a local campaign to save the Windmill as a Community Pub, there is a banner in the Hamlet with details, or you can look at this site www.savethewindmillpub.com – If you’ve ever wanted to own a Pub, this could be your chance of a little slice, Shares would be £100 each & with a maximum of 500. [Perhaps the Hash should invest £100? – Ed]
Charlton’s name is derived from the Saxon ‘Cerleton’, or ‘settlement of the free peasants’! Held by William the Conqueror in the Doomsday book, the only thing mentioned there was a Water Mill. Before this it was home to the Hicca People, who paid Danegeld to the Vikings settled nearby on the confluence of the local rivers. The most famous son of Charlton was Sir Henry Bessemer, the Victorian Engineer & inventor of a cheap way of making steel.
Back to the Trail & those who wanted to keep their feet dry were sent on a Diversion through the Hamlet to the Short Cut through Mill Farm & the few cottages behind. While back by the Windmill Pub the ford there had a steady flow of water running over it, yes, for the first time in years the normally dry concrete floor of the ford in the Hiz was flooded.
The locals had places a couple of wooden boards down to make stepping stones & those who were game to cross had use a bit of dexterity on clearing the water course as it flowed over the wooden panels. Flying Solo, Spare Rib, No Eye Deer, Mr X & TBT all used the make-do stepping stones, there was a sigh of relief as TBT OBE managed to clear this without slipping into the weir, as for Amanda, she wasn’t going to pussyfoot around & just ploughed through the water! Good stuff!
Those with Dry Shoes followed the short lane around on to Brick Kiln Lane, there they could see the Rare Breed Pigs, including the friendly Duroc & Mangalica breeds in their sties’, the Trail was marked in Blue Chalk & wet Hash footprints to take the Hash up the steep old narrow tree-lined lane, which starts off lying cut in between the higher fields on either side.
Only a few yards to where the next CHK was found by a set of steps cut into the embankment, but this was a Falsie up in to top field to the Southeast, the Hare was going to put in another loop for the Keenies, but there were too many Sheep in this field, so the route was changed to stay on Brick Kiln lane.
On either side the steep banks it was riddled with earthworks created by rabbits & some large mammals as it rose up to the level of the plateau [No Beavers! – Ed] a few stopped to catch a breath at the top of the plateau where a CHK sat at the crossroads with a footpath running from the southern sheep field to the northern Priory Park.
Flying Solo was caught out here before the Trail was picked up further along Brick Kiln lane, here up on this higher ground the Hash could appreciate the glorious colours of the glow of the sunset & the vista looking out from Hitchin Hill over Priory Park, & it all came with the added bonus of no noise from aircraft heading over toward Luton Airport [Sorry Porky Pie! – Ed]
The Lane turns gently turns from east to southeast, however it is a long stretch of 400 Yards before the Keenies reached the next CHK situated behind the back gardens of the homes on Western side of Priory Way. The Hare thought that the Pod ahead of him would breeze through this CHK point, but he needn’t have worried about Philippa & Paxo at the back being left behind for he was surprised to see that the First Pod had fallen foul of carrying on along Brick kiln lane.
There’s always an exception & My Lil’ wasn’t going to be fooled here, he was one who had taken to the alleyway through to Priory Way, fortunately it was a wide snicket as some walkers & a small group of Guides came toward the Hash, so there was enough room to socially distance & pass by each other.
Out on to the small estate & arrows were found pointing the way to the north, crossing the green the Hare marked the large dog’s eggs with flour for TBT OBE’s sake. Then the Trail headed northward out through a slightly narrower alleyway to come on to a CHK on the edge of Priory Park. This was the last CHK of the day, by most of the seasoned Herts Hashers had an inkling they were on the last leg of the Trail.
However, the Hare was surprised to see TBT OBE leading Spare Rib & a couple of others off toward Gosmore Road before entering the long strip of Pine Trees running the eastern edge of Priory Park, TBT OBE would lead the way northward & to his left he could glance over & see the Hare leading the last Pod heading on the correct diagonal path of a shorter option over the corner of the park to the wood.
Everyone managed to trot into the wood & avoid tripping over ‘Sparky’s Stump, as an old tree root the Hare had highlighted with flour is now known. For those who haven’t heard this, a few years ago Sparky took a tumble here after he tripped over this prominent old root, he ended up with cuts, bruises & broke his glasses! When he was helped up he complained about the hazardous root, to which My Lil’ replied “Well what do you expect to find in a wood?”
The Trail would run to the end of this section of the park, then it came out to cross over the arched footbridge over the A602, this tarmac path runs on beside the seemingly closed Three Moorhens to run down to Priory End. The senior members of the Hash, Sludge & TBT OBE managed to get by the Maximum Security Twilight Home without being rounded up & locked in for the night. The very last section of Trail ducked into the short section of pine wood to be a little more scenic than a tarmac path before coming back down a set of three steps to the hard-capped path once again.
With the red-brick wall of the Hitchin Priory grounds to the west, the path came down to Park Street & the On Inn before reaching where most had parked up. Not all stayed for a pint, it’s not compulsory if you don’t feel safe in stopping off for a drink after the Trail, or you are shielding.
There was now a very short queue to get in to the Half Moon, since there are no under 18’s after 20:00Hrs & with Flying Solo at the front, the Hash Pod didn’t have to wait too long & the Pod of Six were taken up to their bench seat, this left Mr X & Des Res as the last two get in to sit out on their own at the very top of the garden.
Everything was well organised by the Pub Staff, Mr X did comment that when he advised the Hash that they ha d to wear masks in the Pub garden until seated he meant face masks & not Halloween ones!
The temperature did drop rapidly once the sun went down, this meant there were more options to sit but the one Pod stayed put. The usual nonsense was talked about, while the cheese boards were enjoyed (Mr X liking the Mexicana, & the ‘Mouldy Cheese’ Stilton, thankfully the Hash is honest, as it was so busy Freddy had forgotten to charge for them!