Run No. 1447 29th April 2012
Venue: The Crown
Beer: Black Sheep
Hare(s): Paxo & Backpack
Membership: Feeling sorry for the Hare!
There were a few of the Herts regulars away at the Boats & Bikes weekend, & the dismal weather put off the rest! Imagine how the Poor old Joint Master felt after the indignity of having to go around setting the Trail in the pouring rain the day before, he must have disappointed to find just three others made the effort to get over to Hunsdon in the lighter precipitation on Sunday morning?
Not only had the Hare, & his Co-Hares got absolutely soaked through in setting the Trail, he had been in to se the Landlord to check if it was ok for us to run form the venue, all was fine, except the fact Paxo was hoping for around a dozen or more to arrive & keep breathing life in to this rural Pub that has been under threat of closure.
Back to Sunday, & at one point the Hare & the RA were looking at doing a very short Trail, but then Sloppy Seconds arrived, a short Trail was still at temptation. The three walked around to shelter beneath the front veranda of the Pub, then the GM pulled up out front & there fore the short Trail went out of the window! He then parked around the back before walking back around to call a Square together in stead of the usual Circle. Were the three members of the Pack back at the Battle of Waterloo in forming a Square?
Anyhow, the GM got the Run number spot on, then, it was over to the Hare! Paxo said that the Pack, a Trio of brave souls, would have to really look hard for the Trail as it was laid the day before, they would have to be like Tonto & rely on their tracking skills!
Even though the rain had eased from the morning’s earlier deluge, Sloppy Seconds decided that he would “Risk a Down-Down from the RA for wearing this!” as he got hold of a bin liner [hopefully not a used one? –Ed] & proceeded to make two arm holes & then ripping another hole for his head before putting it over his Hash top! Sloppy Seconds also added he was now prepared for a River Crossing! Paxo just said that Sloppy was tight!
The Trail began by leading away down Drury Lane, which is nothing like the one in London, unless you count the odd black building that just doesn’t fit in with the rest of homes lining the picturesque the dead end lane! Is it a Scandinavian sports hall or something?
Anyhow, the Pack braved the light rain on the way down to the kissing gate at the end, there the first wet obstacle was found as the route was flooded with a decent sized puddle, but far worse was yet to come! As the Pack entered the farmland the sound of shooting could be heard, the crack, crack, cracking ringing out in the distance.
Why is it that if there is shooting on a Sunday, the Trail always seems to be drawn to it like a moth to the flame, or Junior to a Bar!
The First CHK was found in the first corner of the field, Sloppy Seconds headed further eastward toward a farm house, the Hare & the RA both had to holler at him to get him to turn back from the Falsie he was on, perhaps he couldn’t hear for the rustling of black plastic? He eventually heard the calls & he was soon back on track to join the RA, Hare & Sludge on the other option of a diagonal path heading over to a wide farm track.
Paxo began to point out the sometimes hidden architecture that belied this area’s Second World War heritage, an adjacent garden had a pill-box hidden away in the bushes & trees in the corner.
Now in the open, the Pack would get a bit of an idea of what lay in store for the rest of the Hash! Firstly the cutting wind would blow directly into their faces as they reached the farm track, they were soon stopped as the route was a mixture of slippery muddy islands of land poking up through the large expansive puddles covering the way. The RA said to Sloppy Seconds that he had reached his ‘River crossing’!
Sludge was soon around these & off down the path as it continued its south-easterly direction, but now it would be down through the first of the rape-seed fields. The Hare said that he set the Trail with Ewok & Backpack, these two would be totally soaked as it would be tight squeeze for even them as the Dust led through the narrow channels the path took through the tall, yellow topped rape-seed plants that were taller than they are.
At the end of the tall, wet crop that felt like running through a car wash, the GM found that his way over the track was blocked by what looked like a proper river, this route from east to west was covered in larger flooded areas. Sludge tip-toed around through the edge of the crop to find a bit of higher ground, he proceeded to make his way over to follow the footpath down beside small outcrop of Tuck’s Spring wood in a direction toward Eastwick Hall Farm, which was hidden behind the next hedgerow.
All of the Pack were called back by the Hare & they soon had to make their way around Tuck’s Spring wood & on to the waterlogged track once again, of course the going was slow, mainly due to the length of one puddle where a bit of balancing was needed as the Pack made their way along the grassy verge just above the water by the wood. Sloppy somehow managed to get stung as he passed by the few clump of nettles on the grassy verge, the RA was surprised as “Everyone knows that nettles don’t sting in the wet!”
The Keenies, both of them, stopped at the Held CHK where Cockrobin lane [Whoa there Pebbledash! - Ed] crosses the track. Sludge had stopped behind the hedgerow of Cockrobin to scare the squirrels, he didn’t need the shelter prevent any embarrassment, but to stop any blow back in the wind!
In a northerly direction the FRBs set off to pick up the Trail once more, they weren’t tempted by the choices out on the open track, not since Cockrobin lane’s width narrowed as it made its way through another huge section of the wet Rape seed crop.
This path seemed to have more plants that had been bent over across the route, others that encroached on it & a lot of slippery clay slip like shiggy that clung to Hash boots! The RA said that it as lucky that T-B-T OBE had cried off attending this morning, he had a bad knee, otherwise he could have seen T-B-T OBE having a bit of a Tumble long this stretch!
By now all the Pack were soaked as they emerged from the pungent yellow topped green crop, of course it had to be that the Trail couldn’t turn back toward the On Inn just yet, since the first path in that direction led up to the Clay-pigeon shooting! So, another wash in amongst the crops was in order as the Trail, which had stood up to the elements fairly well, led further northward.
A CHK in among this section of rape seed saw Sludge finding the Trail straight away as he turned westward toward Black Hut Wood. The noise of the guns became noisier as the Pack made their way up through the trees, the Hare pointed out more bunkers associated with this area when it was an RAF base.
The Trail came out on to a hard, concrete part of one of the former war time runways that criss-cross this whole area, Paxo pointed out the memorial with an RAF flag flying, this is to remember the British, Canadian, Kiwi & Australian airmen who served from here.
Sloppy Seconds enquired about what type of operations flew from RAF Hunsdon, Paxo obliged with the answer that there were many planes but the de Havilland Mosquitoes flew a lot of sorties from here, their most famous target hit by a squadron taking off from Hunsdon was the attack on the Gestapo Prison in Operation Jericho.
In 1943 many members of the French resistance movement in the Amiens area had been caught by the Germans & imprisoned in Amiens prison. Some had been betrayed by collaborators, & the entire movement in the area was at risk. By December 1943, 12 members of the Resistance had been executed at the prison, it was learned that more than 100 other members were to be shot on 19 February 1944.
When two Allied intelligence officers were also captured & sent to Amiens prison, a precision air attack on the prison was requested, the mission was allocated to the 2nd Tactical Air Force. There were around 700 inmates in the prison & loss of life was inevitable during an air raid, but it
was thought that many had already been condemned to death & it would give a chance for some at least to escape
In total 255 prisoners escaped, though 182 were recaptured.
The Pack turned to follow the Trail northward, this change in direction brought a blast of chilly cutting wind as they followed Dust only for a short way, Sludge tried to knock off some of the very heavy, cling shiggy along the way to the shelter of a path leading back in to the next section of Black Hut Wood.
In this part of the wood Paxo pointed out more military out-buildings, also in among the trees were brick lined trenches for added protection for linking up the Pill-boxes that defended this site. The Trail came out of the wood & headed over toward Hunsdon Lodge Farm, more Pill-boxes could be seen hidden away in the small wooded areas that are dotted around the farm land.
The Trail would now pass beside the north edge of the farm & out to the path that Sloppy Seconds found to be False on the way out. Even the On Inn had managed to survive the deluge, the Pack had their Hash shoes washed in the large puddles en route as they made their way back down Drury lane to arrive back at the Pub.
The Rain had almost stopped by the time they returned, but the warmth of the Pub was more of a draw & they were soon ensconced within. Down-Downs were put of until the next Trail. The Pack agreed that another run should be planned form this Pub, as well as trying a visit to their Beerfestival in June.