Run No. 1478 2nd December 2012
Venue: The William IV
Beer: GK IPA, Abbott
Hare(s): TBT OBE & Sparky
Membership: Slip-sliding away!
This must have been the lowest turnout of the year? Those who did venture out to Shenley on this crisp, frosty morning would find that the Pack would start of with a ratio of two to one for Hashers to Hares! It soon became clear that only My Lil’, Mr X, Sloppy Seconds & 2-1-2 Maureen were there for the opening Circle, which the RA had to call together as now the JM was absent, as well as the GM!
While Sparky fiddled about in the back of his car, TBT OBE handed out some toffees before he told the Pack of four [luckily there weren’t three there then! – Ed] that it was slippery out there in places, he also added that Sparky had been out there twice to set the Trail, was this a portent of doom? Apparently Sparky had to go & hack through some of the undergrowth in a tale of daring do that wouldn’t have been out of place in a Boy’s Own Story!
With the thought of Sparky in a pith helmet & shorts, hacking away with a machete to clear the way for the Pack, the four set off down London road, passing by the local school on the way. As the four made their way to the southern end of the village the footpath ran out & the Trail crossed the road just after the White Horse Pub, now the Pack found themselves on the shady side of the street.
A CHK was found on the slippery frost covered Path, from Here Sloppy Seconds continued further south-eastward on London road, while the RA crossed over the road & looked on the footpath running through the yard of Pursley Farm. Once through the green metal gates, Mr X found Dust leading across the concrete yard & out to the open fields to the east.
The Dust led on along by a hedgerow heading over to the northeast. This would be the start of a long trot, firstly passing by the mounds of rubbish & spoil the Pack passed in between, along the way the Pack had to avoid the frozen puddles that were scattered along the way slowly descended to the lower level of the surrounding fields.
Hash feet would now get cold & wet as they Trail crossed over a harrowed & seeded field, here the frozen slippery surface belayed the fact that below the surface were pockets of ice cold water, the sound of cracking of the frozen surface was accompanied by lots of groans!
The RA & My Lil’ led the way over to the next CHK, they were quiet away ahead of TBT OBE who was escorting 2-1-2 Maureen down the hillside. From the CHK, My Lil’ headed northward up the hillside, but he would find a T to stop him, in the opposite direction Mr X headed out over another ploughed field & he too found Dust. Meanwhile, Ben Dover had caught up & passed 2-1-2 Maureen, TBT OBE & Sparky to arrive at the CHK & he chose to search on the third option of heading further north-eastward.
It would be Mr X who picked up the Trail heading up to the top south east corner of the field, it was a long hard slog up near to the corner of Great Pursley wood, the hard & rough fields slowed progress on by Littleridge wood [There was nothing little about the ridge the Pack had just climbed up! – Ed]
At the top corner of the field was a gate, once through the horse paddock another gate led out to an enclosed field to in the northwest corner of the hamlet of Ridge.
Mr X chose the footpath heading directly across the seeded field that heads over to St Margaret’s at Ridge, he would find a T, as would Ben Dover who took the option to the gate in the south end of the field out toward the Old Guinea. So, with Falsies being indicate in two of the three directions, it left My Lil’ & Sloppy the simple choice of heading down the hillside to the North.
The Footpath ran in to the next seeded field, this was far more boggy & the FRBs were soon slowed up as the clay soil clung to Hash boots on the way out by Ravenscroft Farm, the Hare had actually set the Trail around the easier route of the perimeter of the field & only Ben Dover took to this way, the others ploughed on along the tractor tracks the farmer had made to indicate the footpaths route through the crop.
The Trail merged down on to to Mimms lane, there a CHK was found near to a huge ice covered puddle at the side of the trio of lanes. Ben Dover was now ahead of the others & he was straight on to the correct route, but it took him a while to find the Dust as he looked down at the ford in the Catherine Brook between the two fenced of fields. The others followed his direction when he called “On!” & they would soon find that the edge of the first field was had lots of scratchy little thorn bushes along the way. In the corner of the field the Trail would pass over a small footbridge at a gap in the larger hawthorn hedgerow.
The Trail now headed out over an enclosed meadow, the RA nearly came a cropper as the Trail led up to the grassy ditch running through the centre of the field, this was hard to see & he almost toppled in as he came to an abrupt halt. He, Sloppy Seconds & My Lil’ had to move over slightly to one side to use a raise earthen crossing.
Once at the end of the wet meadow the Dust headed into the scrubby woodland surrounding a lake, but the other Keenies lost the Dust as firstly they tried the anticlockwise option around the swollen lake, without any luck. Then they had more success on the clockwise route through the scrub. But with all of the fighting their way through the wood they lost sight of Ben Dover & could no longer hear him calling.
The footpath was not marked at all, the RA explained that he set a Trail around here years ago from the Old Guinea at Ridge, he too had trouble with one of the footpaths as the local’s in a large house had illegally closed it off with barbed wire. The route the FRBs were on was the suppose rerouting of the afore mentioned path!
Eventually the three managed to stumble out on to a bridleway lined with oaks & other broadleaf tree, they were now heading back southward through the Tree-line to come out on to Mimms lane once more, there an arrow directed them to pass by the front of St Catherine’s Farm, the lane was pretty slippery & there was Black Ice to be careful of. The Keenies now passed by the old footpath that is fenced of with lots of warning sign’s about it not being having Public access any more.
More arrows kept the Pack on the lane, more icy bends in the narrow lane lay ahead as the route wound its way up hill, before breaking off over the fields to the southwest, it was now becoming obvious that the Keenies were heading back toward the ‘Out Trail’ as Big Pursley wood could be seen up on the hill top.
Indeed the Path came out of the corner of the wet & frosty grassy fallow field, on the way out on to the harrow field beyond the Pack passed by a bloke out walking his dogs, one of which the RA correctly identified as a Swiss Bernese.
Sloppy, Mr X & My Lil’ made their way up to the CHK, where My Lil’ had run up the field earlier on, the Trail had now been altered with an arrow directing the Pack up the former Falsie that My Lil’ had fallen for on the Out Trail.
A steady up hill climb led the three FRBs up to Mimms lane for the third & final time, at the top the three took the opportunity to look back down in to the valley to see if they could see any sign of Sparky, who they presumed would be sweeping up the trail of the Hash.
There was no sign of Sparky, but in his orange to Ben Dover could be seen making his way up the behind the Pack, it seems that the three ahead of him had missed a bit of the Trail out by stumbling on the Trail on the by-way by St Catherine’s Farm! As the Trail took to the lane, there were more patches of black ice, not that this seemed to slow any of the drivers of the two cars that passed by.
A short trot around the twisty bends & the sound of Hash boots being stamped on the tarmac to remove the large clods of clay that had accumulated on the way up could be heard. The Dust came up to a Footpath that leads back down in to the valley, Ben Dover found the Trail on the alternative path that sticks to the top edge inside of the field. The Pack could now see the south end of Shenley in the distance, with only two more fields in between.
Ben Dover reached the end of the first field & ignored the arrow pointing down in to the valley, with his long legs he was able to get over the barbed wire fence on a well worn track used by the locals. The Trail was again scarce as the four headed through a gap in the thick hedgerow. While Ben Dover looked around the enclosed field by the local garages, the other three were made their way out through the now defrosted wet field & up to the top corner, there they took to an alleyway to get out on to Newcome road & then Harris lane, at the end of this they turned right to come out by the local School once again.
Ben Dover decided that he would do the final part of the Trail, which would lead him back down toward Pursley Farm, where he would come back out of the Footpath above the one the Trail led through the farmyard, then it was back up London Road to the On Inn! It took the Keenies an hour & five to get around.
Ben Dover didn’t hang around as he is heading toward Exams, he was wished good luck & a happy Christmas by the others, as they changed to head in to the Pub. All three were surprised to see that the SCBs weren’t already ensconced within the Bar, they presumed that 2-1-2 Maureen was going around the whole Trail. What they didn’t know was that she had taken a tumble on the black ice on Mimms lane & fallen on her wrist.
When they made it back, 2-1-2 Maureen’s wrist was pretty swollen. So, ice was wrapped in a towel & put on her wrist but it was kept swelling up, the RA thought that 2-1-2 Maureen had broken her wrist & made a decision to skip the Down-Downs to the following week.
Only a quick drink for those who escorted 2-1-2 Maureen back, but there weren’t enough legal limit Hashers to drive both 2-1-2 Maureen & her car back to Enfield, the others were on their second pint of Abbott by the time the Pack was all back.TBT OBE brought 2-1-2 Maureen’s car around to the car park, where the Land Ladies generously said it could stay safely parked up, he soon discovered that it has heavy gears & no power steering!!! He then took 2-1-2 Maureen back to Enfield, where in the Hospital they confirmed that her wrist was broken. It’ll be in a cast for 6 weeks.