Run No. 1475               11th November 2012

Venue:                          The Swan

Beer:                              Charlie Wells Bombardier, Tribute, London Pride, Proper Job,

Location:                      Wheathampstead

Hare(s):                         Mr. X

Runners:                      19

Virgins:                          0

Visitors:                         0

Après                             0

Newies:                         0                        

Hounds:                        1

Total:                            20

Membership:              Paying our respects!

 

It was a total contrast to the previous week’s Trail, the Hare was the same one but the improvement in the weather meant that a few more put in the effort to make it over to the Hash.  The Hare had managed to get around & set the Trail that morning, returning well before having to head up to the Remembrance Day service in the closed off High Street, outside of St Helen’s Church where a single bell was tolling.

                Most had remembered to get there early as to take part in the two minutes silence, after the bugler had played ‘the Last Post’ the silence was obeyed at Eleven o’clock as the various standards were lowered.  The bugler then signalled the end of the respectful silence & nearly all of the Pack then made their way back up to the Swan.  Here the Circle took place.

            One thing that was noticed this morning was the fact that Kylie was growing a tash, the moustache was the question of whether this was being cultivated on his top lip for Movember charity month, or was he going to the Blue Oyster Club later on?  (See Police Academy Film!)  [Perhaps Kylie has a very important nose that it needs underlining? – Ed] he then compounded the situation by putting on a pair of dark sunglasses!!

            The GM got the Run number correct in his introductions, before handing over to the Hare.  Warnings about a couple of roads to cross, a chance to see an avenue of Ash Trees while we still have them, & the Trail was marked in flour were all mentioned before the Pack were directed away over the road & southward up the ‘Hill’. 

Not a fast start for the Pack with a long steep incline up the road toward Sandridge, but things would soon change after the Pack had encountered the First CHK, which was found halfway up ‘the Hill’ beside an alleyway between two of the properties.

From the CHK the Trail was found down the walled in alleyway of Limes Way which leads out on to the bend in, the Pack began to run as this led out on to Offa’s way & the Trail followed the bend in road around by the bungalows. 

On the way Tent Packer came back from going astray earlier on, as he went to pass TBT OBE & the RA he tripped & almost went flying.  The Hare was surprised at Tent Packer losing his footing as explained to No Eye Deer he had tried his best to highlight any potential ‘Lemming Traps’ while setting the Trail, especially after what had happened the week before.

The Dust led on to Conqueror’s Hill & the next CHK was found half up this residential street, the Hare arrived & was surprised to see Custard was coming back from the alleyway that the Trail took to come out on to Tudor road.  Someone further up the alley found the Dust & “On!” was called. 

The Keenies soon found themselves at the end of Tudor road, & a CHK was found on the grassy embankment at the T junction with Dyke lane.  The FRBs of tent Packer, Oxymoron & Kokonut were quickly on to the False Trail through the gates & on the path running through bottom of the Belgæic Oppidum, which is nowadays known as the Devil’s Dyke [Not to be confused with Devils Penis, which is a parsnip! – Ed]

This was once a part of the fortification built by the Belgæic Catuvellauni Tribe, not far from their City of Verlamion.  Later to be renamed Veruamium by the Romans & then ST Albans.  The fort in Wheathampstead is  reputedly where King Cassivellaunus was killed in battle against Caesar’s forces in 54 BC. 

The FRBS would find a T, down in the Shiggy bottom of the huge earthen ramparts line with trees, but not before luring the likes of My Lil’ Sloppy Seconds, Kylie & a few more of the Herts Old Guard up there.  Fartin Martin was glad he hadn’t ventured in there as it was a place where he went flying after tripping over a sunken tree stump in a really boggy bit.

No Eye Deer was lucky that she arrived at the CHK at the same time the Hare did, she saw him mark it in a direction down Dyke lane toward the Marford Road, there Trail was picked up once again.  The Pack had to negotiate the busy Marford road, directly over this the Dust led on down by L’Olive Restaurant, which to those who are almost local is still known as the Nelson Pub, form which Herts have Hashed in the past.

Sheepcote lane runs from by L’Olive & down toward the river Lea, halfway down this rustic village lane a CHK was found, it was also the point at which Henry, who was off the lead, caused a bit of a kerfuffle as he found that his attention was rather preoccupied by a cat, as is the nature of dogs, & he shot off to the footpath leading out two the back of the local allotments!  He was soon brought around by Lofty.

Ben Dover caught up with the Pack at the CHK, he informed the RA that an older woman was just starting off from the Pub, this was deduced as being 2-1-2 Maureen who had remained at the Service back at the Church & no one else had noticed that she was missing for the Circle!  The hare said he would be marking all the CHKs as is the way with H4 so she should be fine.

A few others went off through the hedged-in path out to the allotments, but as My Lil’ said “It would be too soon to head back toward the village centre!”  He was indeed correct as Dust was found down by the ford on the river Lea, which was higher than normal but at least was flowing over the top of the raised concrete part, though it was pretty close.

The Trail followed Sheepcote lane as it becomes an uncapped track away from the Farm & then the parking area for the fishing club, the way was now strewn with large puddles as it made its way under the bridge supporting the Cory-Wright Way by-pass above, this road being named after a local Councillor who was found guilty last year of being a bit of a Jimmy Savile!

Kylie was found to be trying to pre-empt the Hare’s plans as he was spotted scaling the footpath up the embankment by the horse paddocks before the By-pass, he was called back as there was a Held CHK on the other side of the bridge.   Perhaps it was Kylie’s shades that prevented him from seeing the Held CHK in the shadow cast by the bridge?

Even when it came to being allowed to Check it out, he still had an inkling about going back under the bridge, so the Hare had to call him back a second time!

The Falsie straight up Sheepcote lane to the north was soon found, this left the alternative route of clambering up another less steep & shorter embankment, then taking to the footpath around the fenced in outside perimeter of another large paddock.

Sludge, Tent Packer, Ben Dover, Kokonut & Oxymoron all led the way out over the paddock as the footpath changed direction toward the northeast.  At the end of the paddock they found a CHK on the other side of a Kissing gate.  A few were tempted to follow the footpath out along by the coursed of the river Lea but they would only find a T by a bench in the meadow.

The Trail was picked up again at the next Kissing gate up in the meadow, this one being in the hedgerow to the north, My Lil’ & Kylie were among those to be caught out by the Bar CHK the Hare had cunningly placed on the footpath as it leads back westward to Sheepcote lane.

Instead the Trail would follow the path as it ran around the bend on the inside of the hedgerow & up to the field corner by the former Hatfield to Dunstable Railway opened in 1860 (before Welwyn Garden City was Built) & closed to passengers in 1965.  Once up & through the gate & over the embankment, a Held CHK was found down on the shaded former railway line.

The Pack slowly gathered at the regroup, while the Hare had set Fartin Martin, Dragon’s Den, Fliptop & the hobbling TBT OBE off on a Short Cut straight up Sheepcote lane.  Mr X then made his way along the old railway line toward the pack, once within shouting distance he hollered out for them to “Check it out!”,

The Keenies soon found the T on the bridleway up the embankment, some returned by the way they had come up through the rising path covered near the start with low nettles, [Which don’t sting in the frost! – Ed] but others who are made of more daring do took it on themselves to cut down through the steep wooded embankment, they now headed off eastward on the Ayot Greenway toward the Picnic area in the isolated end of Robinson Wood to one side of the former railway line.  But it was when No Idea & Kylie noticed that the Hare was now starting off back they way he came from the west, that they cottoned on to the fact that the Trail in fact went that way.

Now the Pack all made their way back along the line toward the west, on the way back to Wheathampstead. Just before the line crossed over Sheepcote lane there is an information board that attracted Kylie’s attention.  He was first to grab the winding up part of the dynamo that powers an audio presentation that describes the history of the former line, that fits in with the map & the pictures on the board.

No Eye Deer & Sludge also stopped & listened along with Kylie to former workers telling their tale of days gone-by on the line, the Hare tried to encourage them to move on as he wanted to get them on the same track as the others on the way up Sheepcote lane to the north, this was because the Trail would come back in just below this point.  Eventually they moved on & Sludge correctly guessed why the Hare was directing them up to the north at the crossroads of paths with an “I suppose we’re heading out on a loop?”

The Hare said that he would hang around to make sure that 2-1-2 Maureen was on the right track when she caught up, it was doubtful that the others believed this as they set off up the track between former pits on one either side, there were plenty of ‘Keep out’ signs on both of the fences to warn of the danger if anyone strayed off of the beaten track.

 Dust led to the end of the track, several large concrete blocks were placed there to stop any unauthorised driving down the way, once by these & the puddles all over this area an arrow directed the Hash over the narrow lane of the Codicote road, it now took to the footpath that leads along the edge of a crop field, beside a fence protecting the land of Lamar Park to the west.

At the top corner of the field the Pack reached the furthest point out on the Trail to the North, the Path turned westward & cut through a gap in the hedgerow.  On the south side of the path there was a warning that the field was used for Police Dog Training, no straying from Sludge there then!

The footpath run through an avenue of Ash trees, the sunshine made the golden leaves really stand out on this enclosed way, as well as making it a bit slippery underfoot as it led on toward what was the Club House of Lamar Park Golf Course, for some reason the course has been closed for quite some time now.

A CHK was found at a point where another footpath breaks off down to the south, on a path running by what was one of the fairways on the other side of a line of pine trees to the left, as the Trail was found down this route & progressed further south it came out on to the driveway into the Lamar Estate.

On the other side of this drive there was a fair bit of construction going on, with several large mechanical diggers around a very large hole which some thought that they were making a lake?  Perhaps they are if the river water running down the drive way from a seemingly unattended hose pipe was anything to go by!

The Trail passed out via a temporary Kissing gate by the main drive gates, there an arrow directed the Pack over the Codicote road again, now the Pack were on to a tree-lined footpath that heads back beside the wooded area of pits on the left, the same one thicket of trees which the Pack ran up on the way out on the other side. 

To the right was an enclosed field & ahead in the distance the village of Wheathampstead could be seen down in the valley, the distinctive tower of St Helens Church stood out the most.  At the end of the path the Trail descended the embankment to cross the last part of the Ayot Greenway that terminates by the edge of the By-pass. 

Arrows directed the Pack straight across the boggy track & up the opposite embankment to pass through a metal kissing gate, the Dust in the enclosed fallow field ran on a diagonal path to another kissing gate, once through this it was it was down through the tree lined slope to emerge back out on to Sheepcote lane.

Ben Dover was the first to make this & find that the Out Trail had just been altered & now arrows brought the Hash back down to the bridge with the Cory-Wright way by-pass above , the Trail passed through the bridge to where Kylie would now find that there was an arrow directing him back up to where he wanted to check out earlier, twice, before the Hare called him back each time!

After a scramble up the steep bank, & ducking under the bar across the path that’s been added to prevent walkers dropping down this & to encourage then to use the more gentler slope down to the lane, the Footpath now took to the next section of the former railway, as the Ayot Greenway heads in to Wheathampstead & on either side there was a wooden fence, one had the by-pass on one side & a couple of paddocks the other. 

The track moved away from the By-pass, the uncapped route passed through a gate before it led on to a Held CHK by a split in the path, the Hare was found sitting on the near by bench.

The Pack slowly came up to the Held CHK, & once Oxymoron, Kokonut & Tent Packer were there it was time for the Hare (The RA) to watch the Pack wade through the river Lea.  2-1-2 Maureen was given a note from the RA excusing her from this part of the Trail, T-B-T OBE, Kokonut & Dragon’s Den were also let off due a Bad Knee, a Cold & a Bad Back!

The rest of the Pack waded through the Lea, the GM was hesitant to go in & suggested that he should escort the likes of TBT OBE, but the RA reminded him that he had a packet of cup-a-soup in his kit bag for the Down-Downs. 

There were lots of chimp like noises as the Pack waded through, it was quite high as the water went almost up to Ben Dover’s knees & his knees are higher than most!  Kylie ventured in, as did Fartin Martin, My Lil’ was overjoyed at the water crossing as it wouldn’t be the same Hashing through this part of Wheathampstead. 

The RA & a couple of the more established stalwarts recalled the time, almost twenty years ago, when the pack were in & out of the river Lea at this point like a fiddlers elbow & to finish off they waded all the way down the river behind the Bull Car Park, emerging out on to the High Street by way of stepping up the steps beside the bridge, much to the astonishment of the few passing civilians.

There were more astounded civvies out this morning on the green space of the former meadows off mead lane, they found it amusing to see the Hash wade through the river.  There were a family out sitting at one of the benches by the opposite bank, then a couple out walking crossed the nearby bridge, which was out of bounds with two Bar CHK’s.  The couple asked if the Hash was a masochist club. [The Jury’s out on that one! -  Ed]

Mr X briefly explained things, handing them a card to do the rest as he tried to get the grit & stones from the riverbed out of his old decrepit Hash boots, he then caught up with the tail of the Pack as they made their way out by the local sewage works & then on to Mead lane & on to the High street.

Having made it up to the Pub, the Landlord asked Mr X if he was doing alright, to which the RA replied he was knackered!  The Pack dried off & decided it was best to try & get inside to warm their feet! 

The Hash managed to squeeze in to one of the tables in the Bar, it was pretty busy there with Sunday Lunches & some of one of the local Football Teams being in there, but there was enough room to get the Trashes out, the Book signed, Hash Subs paid & to tuck into the sarnies on offer before going out for the Down-Downs.

Sloppy seconds didn’t hang around too long after he had a couple of sarnies, but he wasn’t away as quick as Ben Dover, who made a sharp exit straight after the run as he had tickets for the Tennis at the O2 Arena!  This meant that Sloppy would get away with the fact that he was spotted not wearing a Poppy, he had been questioned on this on the Trail & his excuse was “It’s on my other jacket!”

Fliptop stood in for the RA, as he was the day’s Hare, so Mr X had his hit for a good Trail of an hour & 10 for the walking wounded on such a Glorious day.  Dragon’s Den & Farts were called out for walking hand in hand, seems that they weren’t the only ones.  Lofty was out for Henry going for the cat!  Spotted Dick was called out by the RA, after Fliptop had used up all his Hits & there was a spare one going, this was for the fact that there were a few Fungi to be seen on the Trail & Spotted Dick didn’t do any of his usual Foraging!