Run No. 1476 18th November 2012
Venue: The Malta Castle
Beer: Side Pocket of Toad, Tribute,
Hare(s): Mr. X
Membership: Going Batty!
2-1-2 Maureen was the earliest of the early birds to arrive at the venue, she was closely followed by Mr X, My Lil’ & Hyena. While 2-1-2 Maureen wandered off up the Lower Luton Road, the others took the Landlord up on his kind offer to step inside & warm themselves by the real open-fire. Mr X looked out of the Pub’s bay window wondering if 2-1-2 Maureen was actually doing a ‘Sludge’ & looking for Trail?
Anyhow, the time came around to form a circle in the pretty full car park opposite the Pub. The JM, who was standing for the absent GM, held up proceedings to allow Psycho, Skip & Party Animal to get changed. Once the ‘Nutters’ had arrived, the big question on most lips was “Will the JM get the Run number correct?” Apparently Paxo had asked TBT OBE if he knew what the R*n number was? But TBT OBE failed to deliver an answer on that!
There was a sigh of disappointment from those gathered as Paxo got the R*n number correct, so for the time being he was safe from a Down-Down. The Hare was called forward & Mr X stepped forward, yet again, to reveal that he was the day’s Hare.
He told the usual story of Herts Markings, laid in flour, that there were a couple of roads to watch out on & he then added a bit about while he was setting the Trail & seeing a fox come out of a wood toward him, the fox took one look at the Hare & promptly disappeared back in to the wood, then a border terrier dashed out & then back in as it was in pursuit of the fox. In the distance he could hear voices that sounded like they were calling out for a lost dog, the Pack were told to be vigilant.
As the Pack left the car park Sparky told the Hare that he had already seen an arrow, which turned out not to be the one by the red pillar-box across from the road. The Pack set off up the back street of Southview road, it was a slow start as only Ben Dover really had the energy to start running on the steep incline up toward Roundfield Avenue. The Pack made their way up to the junction, though Sparky had ventured off to the southeast on a footpath running between the rear gardens of two rows of homes.
Those who had followed Sparky started to come back, which surprised the Hare as he set about putting an arrow down to mark the Trail in that direction. It was take two for Sparky as he finally found the Dust on the footpath, by now the sun was out & the frosty ground the Hare had been over earlier was now melted & the route had some pretty slippery Shiggy along to the first CHK by a split in the path at the corner of the local allotments.
The Trail was soon picked up on the path as it continued behind the allotments. The path emerged out on to a green space beyond the allotments, there the next CHK was found & it didn’t take the Keenies long to carry over to the opposite corner & find the Trail leading out on to Common lane. Another CHK was found on the side of the road. Ben Dover made short work of locating the Trail once again, as he found it down by the bus shelter & then on to an arrow directing the Pack east bound up on to the Lower Luton road.
Another uphill climb lay ahead for the Pack as they followed the Dust up the embankment above the road to a CHK by where a footpath heads off to the North, running within the tree-line separating two fields. A Falsie was found straight on along by the Lower Luton road, so it was back on to the footpath heading northward. This route was also pretty slippery underfoot but had the added dangers for TBT OBE that were exposed & gnarled old tree roots across the Path.
Halfway up this footpath & at a gap in the tree-line to the east there was a CHK by a desire line running through the grassy paddock to the east, a T was found over by the gate that sticks out from an east to west hedgerow but has no trees or bushes coming down to the south to separate the two fallow fields.
The Trail continued within the tree-line northward up to Mackerye End, a CHK was found on the edge of the rustic lane near to the Large House at Mackerye End, the RA seemed to believe that David Evens, the deceased MP for Welwyn Hatfield lived there at one time? Anyhow, a Falsie was found running down the bramble hedged lane on its way westward back down the hill to Batford, the real Trail was picked up to the east.
A CHK that was placed on the bend in the little lane only two hours previously was now missing. Ben Dover, Sparky, My Lil’ & Tent Pack now took to the footpath over the crop fields to the south, that leads down to the Lower Luton road once more, but they went further than the Hare had anticipated as the T he placed to prevent them running too far had also been kicked out. The remaining scrape marks for where the T was, became more apparent as the FRBs retraced their steps to Markerye End after called back by the others.
Sloppy Seconds & Skip now led the way up through Makerye End & then off on a northward Footpath heading up through the fields by Makerye End Farm. Paxo, Fliptop & Mr X were soon on their way over in front of the Farm buildings & on by the gap in the fencing which allows the residents to view the unspoilt rolling Herts landscape over toward Kimpton.
The Dust led out on to the tarmac driveway & up to the large gates to the main House of Turners Hall, beside these it took to the footpath leading down within the tree-line heading down between the farm land. A third of the way down this old by-way to Marshall’s Heath lane, a CHK was found. Ben Dover was the first of those who were caught out by some sh*t kicking out the Trail earlier on, to make up the lost ground & arrive there.
Ben Dover headed out, following the likes of My Lil’, over toward Turnershall Farm in the adjacent field, they was soon on their way back as “On!” was called by Sloppy Seconds as he had ventured further down the slight incline of the shaded by-way. At the end of the by-way, just beyond the metal gate that blocks access for vehicular traffic, a Held CHK was found.
The Keenies all gathered out by the lane, while Fliptop tied up Lucy & Winston & then disappeared back up the by-way, the Hare wondered if he was going to scare the squirrels but he headed even further back after he had done some rooting about. Now some thought that he was going for a two-bob bit? He wasn’t, instead he was hiding a couple of things that he had found on Trail & would stitch the RA up with later on!
While Psycho, 2-1-2 Maureen, Party Animal & Hyena brought up the rear of the Pack, the Keenies were let loose from the Held CHK to search for the Trail once more. Sparky & Paxo chose the wrong option as they searched northward up Marshalls Heath lane, “On!” would come from the south as Tent Packer & Ben Dover soon got under way along the quiet lane, passing by a Flood warning sign that was now standing opposite a rather small puddle!
After a few hundred yards the FRBs arrived at the next CHK, Ben Dover continued further down the lane to Marshalls Heath but eventually came back as he found this way to be false. The other option was to head Eastward up over the rising ploughed fields on a path up to Heron’s Farm.
Paxo decided that he would go on the full Trail, as did My Lil’ & Fliptop as they set off after Tent Packer, Ben Dover & Sparky who had now caught up. Mr X now set a Short Cut straight down the lane to through Marshall’s Heath, it going would now be easier for TBT OBE’s knee as the terrain would be more even underfoot.
The Keenies were now on a loop over to the east & then around to the south before coming back down from the plateau of freshly plough farm land. The view from the top was pretty good but more attention was needed to look where Hash feet were being placed as the paths up there were churned up by large tractor tracks & horses’ hooves as the route came down from a CHK in the middle of the ploughed fields to the descend to the back of what was the Cromwell Piggeries.
The footpath narrowed as it ran through the tree line at the back of the old piggery & out to the Marshalls Heath lane, an arrow was found to direct the Pack southward. It was here that the Hare had seen the border terrier chasing the fox, but it was all quiet on the western front in the wood beside the road.
Some of the Keenies came out to this just as Psycho, 2-1-2 Maureen, Party Animal & Hyena followed the short cut down from the previous CHK. Just beyond the isolated homes, the Dust took the Hash on to a desire line that gently meandered through the strip of woodland on the east side of the lane as it heads down by the local nature reserve& then to come out on to the lower Luton road, across from the Indian Restaurant which was once the Cherry Trees Pub. An arrow direct the Pack straight across the road to run a short way down Cherry Tree lane to where the Trail passed over the River lea, by way of the narrow hump-back Leasey bridge.
A CHK was found by the old Hatfield to Luton & Dunstable railway line, Ben Dover wasn’t hanging around as at the end of the Trail as he’s in the Exam time of the year so he had to get away early to study, he gave Mr X his subs before running off.
Now the Pack would be on the longest stretch of the Trail as the way led westward by the Lea, to the left was a golf course & there signs warned of flying golf balls. On the other side of the route the Pack would see different warning signs of not to go through the fence surrounding a small manmade reservoir between the line & the Lea where the tow veer away from each other for a bit.
The bright sunshine really highlighted the golden coloured leaves that were still clinging on the trees that line the route, there were plenty of cyclist, walkers & joggers also out enjoying this bright morning. As the Pack neared the end of the former line, well for them anyway, there was a slight niff in the air as the way passed by the local sewage works. The Hare said to TBT OBE, that he chose this way back Inn to cheer Hyena up as he likes his sewage works.
Ben Dover would have been the only one to have found the Bar CHK on the continuation of the line over the Piggotshill lane bridge & on toward Beeching Close. For the rest, the Trail was marked down the steps by the side of the bridge to lead underneath it & follow the single track lane around the bend to head northward up to what now becomes Marquis lane.
The Dust led on by the few homes at the end of the lane & then on to a Held CHK by the small raised green area outside of the Marquis of Granby, Ben Dover had gone by the time TBT OBE & the Hare arrived here. With the rest still a little way back down the line the CHK was marked through in the direction of Mill lane.
Tent Packer was the next of the main Pack to reach the Held CHK, he followed this down to the ford in the Lea & waded through, but when he found the Bar CHKs on the opposite side he failed to realise that he was supposed to go back to find a path between the water & the CHK, he made his way through the small industrial estate at Batford Mill & out on to the Lower Luton road.
Mr X had showed TBT OBE the way on the footpath of Mill Lane running through Batford Springs Nature Reserve, the path by the river Lea was a bit slippery & there were a few tree roots for TBT OBE to look out for & he managed to get out to the edge of the green open area without any slip ups. The Dust led back to the river’s edge & the Hare decided that it would be in everyone’s best interest if TBT OBE didn’t take the castellation like stepping stones on the smaller of the weirs in the Lea.
While the others used the Stepping stones to come around by a sluice gate & over the reed beds then up to the footbridge over the wider part of the Lea, the Hare cut this out for TBT OBE. On the bridge the local Nature Reserve volunteers were out tidying things up, & that could have included part of the Trail but they didn’t & the On Inn was found on the green off of the Lower Luton road.
As the RA came out over the said green, he spotted Tent Packer Short Cutting the last bit back to the Malta! The Pack slowly made their way Inn, & with the weather so fine the Pack sat outside on the front decking & enjoy the excellent Ales, Fliptop came out with a bowl of pickled eggs. Psycho watched Skip as he tucked into the ‘farty’ pickled eggs, then had one herself!
Sloppy Seconds couldn’t stay for as Millwall were playing on the TV, which he says is rare these days. He left with the thought of amassing plenty of Down-Downs that will be coming his way soon, probably over the course of several weeks!! For not wearing a Poppy the week before (Ah Cup-a-soup & Ale) plus a car break down & this weeks sin!
The Down-Downs saw Fliptop standing in for the RA, as Mr X was the Hare, so the Hare was awarded a pint for a decent Trail that took the FRBs just over an hour to complete, the walkers about 15 minutes later. Fliptop’s attention then turned to Sparky, who just moment s earlier had managed to knock his own tankard of Ale over, spilling a whole pint over the Trash!
Fliptop then turned to some of the things he had picked up at the first Held CHK, & secreted out of view until now, he revealed a right-wing leaflet he had found. He then falsely accused the Hare of planting these & Mr X had another Hit awarded to him as his protests that he is not allowed to belong to any such organisations!
Skip was awarded a Hit as he was last to get a drink to toast the Hash with at the opening of the Circle, where also he sat on the comfiest of the Bar stools while ordering. Tent Packer was out for his short-cutting at the very end & missing out on the last part through the springs.
Then Mr X was back in the Circle as Fliptop produced a large map he also found on Trail, the fact Mr X didn’t use a map on this Trail as he knows the area well enough not to need one didn’t matter, again his protest again fell on ‘deaf ears’…………… so he downed his third hit! [He doesn’t forget! – Ed]
Most thought it was a shame that Mark E Mark hadn’t turned out for his Birthday, as the Trail was laid in honour of his Birthday & the 40th weekend that was held out in Malta, in this recession the Malta Pub was the best we could do…..we didn’t even make it to Luton Airport this time!!