Run No. 1445 15th April 2012
Venue: The Cross Keys
Beer: GK IPA, Hooky
Location: Gustard Wood
Hare(s): Mr X
Membership: Appreciated more than last week!
The first proper Monday Trail of the new season, as this time it started at 19:00Hrs, & when the Hare arrived there were a few gathered out outside of the Cross Keys. By the time the Joint Master made his entrance, the Hare was asking for the last few cars to park up on the green, at the Landlord’s request as there would be a Quiz Night on later in the evening.
As Sludge called the Circle together to introduce the Pack, ARP & Porky Pie pulled up in their car to disrupt his start of his welcoming speech! Finally the GM had his moment & introduced the Pack to the correct Run Number, then the Hare was called forward & he had little to say, he did mention short cuts & being careful on a bit of rustic lane running.
Without further ado the Hare pointed the Pack over toward the CHK that was placed up on a small green grassy mound in the green. No Eye Deer, Lofty & Custard were stopped in the green as calls of “On!” came from two of the three obvious options, they didn’t seem to know which way to head off!
T-B-T set off with Spotted Dick to search the footpath through the wooded edge of Gustard Wood Common to the west, they were well on their way around toward the homes in the small estate before they found a T! Meanwhile My Lil’ had headed back beside the Pub to look at the footpath that runs out behind the walled grounds of the local Nursery, he too would be back as the calls “On!” that could be heard for the longest time were those that Paxo was shouting & he was On!
The Pack set off after Paxo & soon found them selves running down through the desire line of footpath running down through the wooded strip down parallel to the lane back to Wheathampstead, this marks the edge of the Gustard Wood common to the east. The path crossed over the gravel drive into the Astridge Farm that sits hidden behind the large gates & a tall hedgerow, the Trail continued southward between the silver birches & the larger broad leafs veering over until it came out to the road’s edge & on to a CHK beside the Bus Shelter.
There was no Dust over the road on the footpath running up along the top edge of the Gustardwood Golf Course, instead the Trail was found on the private road that drops down in to the dell by the single row of cottages nestling in there.
On his way there, the Hare was stopped by a very attractive girl, out walking her black Labrador, she was curious as to what the Hare was doing as he marked the CHK through & laid an arrow down by the cottages, just in time to direct ARP & No Eye Deer on the Trail.
Having explained what a Hash Trail was, the Hare moved on just as Mark E Mark caught up with the Tail of the Pack, he had come along with Ketchup & Jaron, who of course was late arriving at the venue! Mark E Mark was sent in the right direction as the Hare followed on where the road narrowed to a single track lane to rise up between the sheep field on the left & the open rolling grounds of the Lamer golf course that covers the park land of Lamer house.
The Hare & Mark E Mark arrived at the CHK between the footpath running from North to South, starting at Bibbs Hall farm & heading down to Wheathampstead via the Lamer golf course. The Hare was pleased to see that Sludge, Friar Tuck, My Lil’, Spotted Dick, Custard, No Eye Deer, ARP, Porky Pie, T-B-T OBE, Paxo, Lofty & Henry all came back from the False Trail up in the wood, it was all very pretty as the bluebells were blooming amongst the trees.
Mark E Mark was soon on to Dust as he headed up another rise in the lane, Friar Tuck protested that there was no Trail up the lane when he had been up there earlier, but he obviously hadn’t gone far enough or looked hard enough before he turned back to the Falsie in the wood when it was called!
The Hare pointed out the Dust, which had been placed under the hedgerow on the left handside. The Hare had deliberately placed the Dust in the hollows, made by wild animals as they pass through the dense hedgerow, he did this in case it rained over night, just as it was placed on trees & posts to protect it from the elements. Not that it did rain overnight.
The Trail led up to the last bend in the single track lane, where it turns in to the drive for Lamer House, hidden away behind the large hazel hedge. A CHK was found at this point & from Here there were four options for the Pack to check out!
Paxo claimed that it as a Ladies CHK & so No Eye Deer & ARP search off down the farm track heading southward by the end of the former Golf course. The GM reckons that there is no Golf played there at the moment & he should know being the Herts Hash Hackers GM!
No Eye Deer called “On!” from the south, meanwhile Sludge & Mark E Mark (who need a gender test) also called the same but from the footpath between the wire fenced off sheep fields, both were on Falsies, but at least for ARP & No Eye Deer they were on the shorter of these two options. In contrast Mark E Mark & Sludge had to run all the way in to Lamar wood in the distance!
The Trail was finally picked up a short way around the lane where it goes through the gates for Lamar House grounds, & the farm beyond, just past this point the Trail was found by Porky Pie as it took to a footpath on a tree lined avenue of a track branching off of the tarmac drive, this headed away in a north-easterly direction between more animal enclosures on its way over to Bibbs Hall lane. One paddock contained cattle, another sheep & another Shetland ponies!
The Footpath was fenced in on both sides, halfway along the long route there was a wooden five bar gate dividing the way. A clamber over a stile to continue the Hash saw Ketchup helping Jaron over this obstacle, these two had made up good ground after their late start!
A Held CHK was found at the junction with a Footpath crossing from east to west, the Pack were pretty much together by the time they reached this point, with only Hyena lagging a bit behind, but the Hare had plans prepared so Hyena could cut out the loop the rest would take.
The Hare allowed the FRBs to check it out, Mark E Mark & Paxo were keen on heading up away on the short continuation of the track out to Bibbs Hall lane, but a T would prevent them going too far. Porky Pie, Sludge & Friar Tuck chose the right option as they searched the footpath away to the east where it runs through the very top, north edge of Harepark Spring wood. On his way back to the Trail Mark E Mark had a slight mishap as he fell over & disappeared into the bushes, all in front of the RA!
Just before leaving the wood, there was a CHK point found around a post in the middle of the footpath, Porky Pie was first to follow a Falsie up through the green field beside Ayot Farm, Friar Tuck, Sludge & the rest in tow were soon turning tail & heading back to the footpath just inside the wood. The Keenies were now setting off on the loop as it led on by the bottom of the farm & out in to the southern most end of Ayot St Lawrence.
Arrows directed the Pack northward for a short time & then again to lead off around three quarters of the beautiful grounds of Shaw’s Corner, this is the former home of George Bernard Shaw that now is owned by the National Trust, where he wrote such classics as Pygmalion (for which he won an Oscar, later it was made into My Fair Lady) in his special revolving writing house in the garden.
‘ No dwelling place can rival Ayot: So there I labour at my job, and boil my kettle on the hob. Deeming I have the best of reasons, for staying here through all the seasons.’ GBS: The Rhyming Guide to Ayot St Lawrence
The Trail now headed off to the west as it led down Bibbs Hall lane, passing by the green gates of the main entrance of Shaw’s Corner. The Pack had a scenic trot down the idyllic rustic lane as it leads out of Ayot St Lawrence, passing by Ayot Farm & then heading on by the footpath that Porky Pie had been on before at the last CHK! The Trail led down to the start of the S bend in Bibbs Hall lane & there two arrows directed the Pack down the Track back toward the Held CHK!
The Hare had changed the markings at the Held CHK so that now there was an arrow pointing down the enclosed footpath heading westward. It was still a nice clear sunny evening as the Pack made their way out along the northern edge of the paddocks that they had run between from Lamer House to the Held CHK.
On the way down the rock hard footpath between the barbed-wire fence to the paddocks & the scrubby tree-line, the Hare asked the Keenies of Friar Tuck, Sludge & Mark E Mark if they enjoyed the historic & scenic loop around in to Ayot St Lawrence, & the home of GBS, Mark E Mark was heard to ask who was George Bernard Shaw? Friar Tuck filled him on one of the worlds greatest playwrights, Nobel Prize winner for literature & Oscar winner!
Some of the wire fencing had been used by the sheep as a scratching post, removing some of the wool from their coats the tufts of fleece hung in the air. The path came out in to the end of the long paddock running up from the farm entrance to the tree-line. A short way over the end of the paddock, the Pack had to take care t avoid avoiding large sheets of cattle slurry, before disappearing through the kissing gate in the hedge & then on along the bottom of the horse paddocks below Bibbsworth Hall Farm.
This penultimate stretch had allsorts of obstacles to avoid along the way & not just the lumpy hard ground to contend with! There was an electric fence on one side & from the northern edge of Lamer wood there were a few low branches, one had a very low elbow & the Hare had placed flour on this in an attempt to highlight a potential head cracking spot!
My Lil’ made up ground on the Keenies as he followed the Dust up to the final CHK of the Trail, he like the Hare was surprised to see that Sludge & Mark E Mark went off back in to Lamer wood, on the very path that another Falsie ran up from the opposite end! Friar Tuck could be forgiven for taking this route, since he only runs a couple of times a year with Herts, when he & Smartarse are over from Cyprus & would not have local knowledge!
My Lil’ wasn’t lured away on the Falsie, for he knew that once through the metal kissing gate, he only had to cross the empty paddock to the walled nursery, the water tower looming up in the grounds should have given the game away since it is clearly seen from the On Inn. The others came around & back to followed this route Inn, the On Inn was still visible in the grassy & nettle bed along the edge of the red brick wall.
Once back at the Cross Keys some of the Keenies were straight into the Bar, since they could not get changed until Hyena arrived back! Some showed interest in partaking of the quiz night, which would mean that the RA would have to hurry the Down-Downs when they took place.
Jaron, & a few others who are a lot older, had a kick about with a football on the green, T-B-T OBE having the skills to get the ball by Paxo, who spent his few minutes of fame getting the ball out of the back of the net! The Down-Downs saw this week’s Hare & last week’s of Paxo, Porky Pie & Friar Tuck were out for talking about the four letter work & who could be flying who out to Cyprus! [Fancy talking about Cyprus in front of Mark E Mark! –Ed] Mark E Mark was out for his falling over on Trail & not knowing who George Bernard Shaw was!
The Pack hurried back in for the Quiz night, which was held up just for us by the Landlord! But it seems that none of the team took it seriously [Including Mr X] & they ended up in joint third (why wasn’t it joint second?) Anyhow it was a hoot as it started off well & then disintegrated in to chaotic disorder, as there was no discipline like there should have been. Next time we’ll take it seriously!