Run No. 1458               14th July 2012

Venue:                          Prince of Wales,

Beer:                              Dirty Rat, 6 others!

Location:                      Nene Valley

Hare(s):                         Fliptop

Runners:                       23

Virgins:                          0

Visitors:                         4 Quorn

Après                              0

Newies:                         0                        

Hounds:                        2

Total:                            29

Membership:              Even More Chuffed!


            Most of the Pack were camped out at Ferry Meadows for the annual Horror’s Weekend, in fact only Mr X & My Lil’ came up that morning by Train.  They walked from Peterborough Station to Peterborough Nene Valley Station on a rather convoluted route that involved footpaths through subways, over a blue bridge spanning the Nene & ducking under a series of rail bridges.

They arrived just as a huge plume of dark smoke spewed from The City of Peterborough to rise up in to the grey morning sky, the billowing smoke indicted that the Engine was about to pull away.  The RA & Hare Raiser only just made it, that was mainly due to the Station Master holding the Train long enough for them to sprint up the ramp to the platform & board through the Guards’ van. 

With a lot of lack of communication about the planned Trail, these two wrongly thought that this Trail would be like the time the Hash had rode the RAT Train down on the Watercress line, it was not & so they paid out for a ‘rover ticket’ that they didn’t need! [Enough bitching! – Ed]

The City of Peterborough pulled away with a jolt, slowly she headed westward, away from Peterborough on the Nene Valley Railway’s route.  The natural geographic features somewhat dictate the path of the line in the valley, especially the water courses of the Nene, as well as various tributaries & lakes that feed the canal section of this river.

It wasn’t long before the homes were out of sight firstly hidden by trees & then gone completely as the Train ran through the green, verdant valley, the scenic way had various ponds, lakes that belong to the sanctuaries, camp sites & parkland that are scattered on either side of the line for a fair way. 

Looking out of the carriage window it was plain to see that there is plenty of good Hashing territory around here, with the Hereward way being one of the major paths running through the vale. This route is named after Hereward the Wake, an Anglo-Saxon who wreaked havoc on the invading Romans.

The Train pulled in to Ferry Meadows Station, where the main body of the Hash boarded the Train.  Blow had to leave the rest as he was left in charge of the pushchair, he had to board the guard’s carriage like the other two who were now making their way up from their carriage & so they met him on the way through to meet the rest of the Pack.

Oddly enough Mr X & My Lil’ both managed to get through the on-board Bar without stopping, before they found Pebbledash & Pepé le Pew in one of the compartments in a carriage near to the front. 

This being the first train of the day, meant that the Hare was also with the group, & since Fliptop hadn’t been out to set the Trail the day before, he was now going to have to set the Trail as soon as the City Of Peterborough pulled in to Wansford Station! 

On the way out of Wansford, once it had the token for the single line track, was a diesel that was pulling a line of Royal Mail sorting office wagons away to Peterborough NV.  Incidentally, this line has the last of the rolling stock that was used in the 1963 ‘Great Train Robbery’.

Wansford had a lot going on, it is one of the places where the rolling stock & engines are kept & worked upon, including a full sized Thomas the Tank & Engine, it was recognised as Thomas’s home by the Rev Audrey!  The sight of all of the large engines, especially Thomas, excited Port & Starboard, not to mention the other Horrors so Slug & 3D would have their hands full keeping an eye on those two.

There was a museum that most went to see, also there were Traction engines & Sentinel Steam Waggons in the far car park, Fuller, Smith & Turner were represented but the McMullens one was not there to be seen.  Having taken a few snaps of said engines, Mr X & My Lil’ tried to find a Bar, but their quest would be fruitless as the barrels outside the café were from an Ale Train.  Enquiring about the Sibson Arms, they were told by Fliptop that it was miles away, where in fact it was around 600 Yards down the road!

In the end the two thirsty ones re-boarded the Train & enjoyed a Beer in the Bar as it went up to the line’s terminus at Yarwell Junction before coming back through the tunnel, they had just supped up as the engine pulled back in to Wansford.  Pepé le Pew laughed when he saw them on the train as it pulled out!

The RA & Hare Raiser alighted & soon joined the rest of the Pack out front of the Station, Paxo called the Circle together.  He came up with some number for the Run but was it correct?  It didn’t matter as the Pack were eager to get on with things as it was drizzling, but the level crossing gates were down & Pack moved over to watch the City of Peterborough head back to Peterborough NV.

Once the gates to the level crossing were opened, the Pack cheered on two traction engines as they came through, there was a marked contrast in sizes as one was the proper scale & the other a miniature one, some of the Pack remarked on the larger one coming up behind its little sister & if there was a mistake from the driver there would be only one winner in that tussle!

The Trail started on a permissive footpath on the southern side of the track back toward Peterborough, straight away it crossed the bridge over the river Nene, the Horrors were watched & warned about making their way down the metal steps to drop down to a lower level by the river.  It was clear to see that the Nene was almost bursting its banks here, Ketchup pointed out that he newly renovated yellow stone house next to the station has a jetty on the Nene at the bottom of the garden, it was just a shame that it was under water so it couldn’t be seen!

At the bottom of the metal steps, by the red brick arches of the railway bridge, where a series of duckboards for the start of two footpaths run, here a CHK was found.  The RA went under one arch of the brick railway bridge, he eventually stepped off of the duckboards to make his way over a very water logged meadow, only My Lil’ was daft enough to follow on behind the RA toward the Grange at Sutton.  There would be no Trail that way & so it was a long squelch back for these two, of course this brackish water of the churned up meadow was a little on the stinky side!

            ‘On!’ was called by Pebbledash & Puddles as they found the Dust leading up the slippery path that leads back up to the level of the railway’s permissive path as it heads eastward.  The way wasn’t really conducive to running at this point as the route was littered with bits of track ballast, but as it is a permissive route you can’t complain.

            Sis enquired on how the RA was getting on with running since his op, getting there slowly is the answer & he wasn’t going to be overdoing things on this terrain.  The narrow path had a wire fence on the left-hand, track side, & on the other there were bushes & shrubs that were adeptly hiding the drop down the steep embankment, care was taken here.

            By now the Pack had been stretched out a bit, especially when many slowed down to try & avoid the inevitable shiggy.  Unusually TBT OBE was still upright & he managed not to succumb to the deadly combination of Shiggy & Gravity, he was also unimpressed by the RA’s comments about the encroaching nettles not being able to sting in the wet.  “You always have an answer for nettles not stinging!” he rebuked as he felt a prick [Watch it Pebbledash! - Ed] as he was stung by an errant nettle, which isn’t supposed to happen!

            Mr X know realised that the Trail was going to be nothing like a RAT Train Hash, where the Trail runs closer to the line & there are several Pub stop options, & with a Rover ticket you can run which bits in between that you like, or catch a ride on the Train to the next stop & Pub or combine the both.

After a log starting stretch Pebbledash, Puddles, Pepé le Pew & Blow were out at the front as the Trail turned direction to the south, Jaron was finding making his way along through the tall nettles a little hard work, it’s probably daunting when the things are above your head?  Ketchup kept an eye on him as the pace slowed even more, he then let the RA know that the Pub stop was nowhere near the railway line & it would be around 3 & a half Kilometres from the Pub back to a Station, he also reckoned that the Pub was 4 K’s away from the start.

            The Dust came up to the edge of the Nene, by a weir near to the hidden remains of a Roman Villa.  A CHK was found there but no one was keen to check it out over the flooded ford on the Nene Way down to the aptly named village of Water Newton. 

The Horrors looked on in amazement at the swirling course of the flooded ford & weir, they weren’t going to cross this, even though they were encouraged to look by Paxo & Pepé le Pew.  The flow of the flood water looked strong enough to have caught a few of the adults out so Corporal Jones Paxo, Slug, 3D & Pepé le Pew kept an eye on any errant wading into the flood.

            The Trail continued eastward as Pebbledash & Puddles picked up the Dust, Blow was right behind them & with the majority of the Horrors still fascinated back at the weir, a few of the back markers like the RA managed to get ahead of them.

The Next CHK was found beyond the remains of another Roman Villa, this was on another footpath over to Water Newton, which nestles on the other side of the island separated by two arms of the Nene.  The Church spire could just be seen above the trees which hide the majority of the village from view from the passing trains, the prominent old mill buildings could also be seen at one end of the tree line

With the Trail still away from the railway line, the path eventually became wider & some more ground was made up by Mr X & My Lil’.  These two managed to get further ahead when the way was covered by a series of large puddles, What Mother Says was with Two Timer & so some of the other Horrors slowed up but there was no other option but to wade straight through the centre as the nettles & brambles either side stopped any chance of avoiding the water.

Pebbledash found the Trail, while Puddles was called back from searching over the metal footbridge spanning the Nene, for another path to Water Newton.  The Trail now took to a farm track as it made its way back over to the railway line, Pebbledash was first through the gates of the level crossing, & to the CHK on the opposite side.  She quickly found the correct route out in to a crop field to the right of the dead end of Station lane. Both routes crossed the old Roman route of Ermine Street.

            Blow was not so sure as the others behind Pebbledash, he was keen to carry on up the tarmac lane as three blobs of flour could clearly be seem heading northward along Station lane that once served a long gone halt on the line, Ketchup too was for heading out that way, but the RA & My Lil’ soon brought these two around from the Red Herring as they too found the Trail as they followed on behind Pebbledash.

            The footpath would now move away from the railway & took a path at an angle through a crop field on Normansgate field, by now the rain had ceased as the Pack headed over toward a wooded area by the Splash Dyke. A CHK was found on the south side of the dyke, Pebbledash finally made a mistake as she chose to check out along this side of the dyke, heading eastward, so she would not find the Trail from there.

            Mr X & My Lil’ crossed over the Splash Dyke & found Dust within the wood, once over the dyke the Trail turned right & My Lil’ led the way on to a CHK at the corner of the wood, now it was his turn to go astray as he continued along the north bank of the dyke at the bottom edge of a recreation ground.

            The Trail was now picked up the RA as it took to a puddle strewn uncapped path leading northward between the two large playing fields of the recreation grounds.  This would lead out by some sympathetic new builds that fit in with the village of Castor.  Directly across from the end of Port lane was the Beer Stop of the Prince of Wales.

            The Ale on tap was certainly on form, as was the Cider & Perry that Pebbledash seemed to enjoy.  It was here that the Pack would eat. Fortunately as this was more of an adults Trail, than a Horrors, with long straight stretches on slippery surfaces, it meant that with the Pack being strung out there wasn’t a big queue at the Bar.

The Horrors & their parents sat out in the Pub’s conservatory, as by now it was a gloriously sunny afternoon!

            Sis was probably the last in, which was no surprise as she was in charge of Horrors & two hounds on the Trail, also Angela & Rachel were at the back as they too were rounding up the last of the Horrors, which at times must be like trying to herd cats?

After a couple of hours in the Pub, or less as the choice for time of staying there was up to the individual, the Pack set off back to Ferry Meadows in dribs & drabs.  Paxo was amongst those leading the first party of Horrors to head back, while Fliptop went back to get a car to drive those who needed to be ferried back by road to Ferry Meadows.

The Trail made its way along the Peterborough road as it winds its way out of the quite, picturesque village.  Just before the end of Castor village, where the main road leads up Love’s Hill, the Trail turned off to head down Mill lane, back toward the railway in the south.

            The Trail turned off of the lane & took to a wide grassy farm track of the Landy Green way that led eastward until it reached the north-south footpath that is a part of the Hereward Way.  The Trail now turned southward, toward the Railway & again it passed by more hidden remains of Roman villas & other historic buildings, the whole area was once a very busy Roman town of Dvrobrivae. 

There a Castle & pottery kilns can be found amongst the remains, there was even some treasure found there.  No wonder Tony Robinson & Time Team went there for a dig in 2011!

The Trail reached the Railway, by way of a water logged path, it then crossed the tracks to take to a path on very side of the skeletal bridge over the Nene, then once over the Nene it crossed back over to the other side of the tracks.

            A wooded area near Lynch bridge lay ahead, the Dust led on through this & then on to a path that swept around in a huge arc near to Gunwade lake part of Ferry Meadows, this led back to the campsite but away from the Railway line. 

While those still camping out were now home, the two who had to get back to Peterborough found them selves too far away to make the last Train at 16:00Hrs.  This now left them with a long walk to Ham lane, down this long route  & then on to the bus stop, where a local who was smoking & drinking in the shelter told them that the bus doesn’t stop there anymore, & that they should go up to Cherry Orton to catch it!!!

At least it was a bright sunny day now as they trudged further along, they arrived to find that the next bus wouldn’t be going by for another 40 minutes, which meant that they had time to go in the Windmill for a Pint, or two as it was that long a walk.  It did leave the two lost sheep wondering if it would have been their best plan to have got a bus back at Castor?