Runners from The New Town Hash House Harriers in Edinburgh were involved in a major emergency services operation last week after a member of the public reported mysterious piles of white powder at the junction of Caledonian Crescent and Orwell Place.
It appears that the 'mysterious white powder' was in fact the flour used by the Hash House Harriers on their weekly run. For the uninitiated, hashing is popular throughout the world and involves 'the hares' heading off and leaving a trail which is followed by 'the hounds'. At the completion of the run, the participants adjourn to a nearby pub to relive the highlights of their athletic endeavours.
The Edinburgh hash which has been taking place on Wednesday nights since the 1980s uses a flour trail. Last Wednesday, March 2, the group set off as normal from the Athletic Arms pub in Angle Park Terrace; their route took in Caledonian Crescent and Orwell Place.
However on Friday several streets around Dalry were closed for four hours and dozens of firefighters, police officers and paramedics rushed to the scene, as a scientific adviser removed a sample of the powder for testing.
Members who heard of the incident later were baffled by the scale of the response but most were keeping their heads down. One confessed: "We've got form. During the anthrax scare a hasher was questioned about spreading white powder at a local railway station after which we temporarily used sawdust.