Run No. 1483               6th Jan 2013

Venue:                           The Farmers Boy

Beer:                              Veralum; Blue Monkey;

Location:                      St Albans

Hare(s):                         Mr X

Runners:                      12

Virgins:                         0

Visitors:                        0

Après                            0

Newies:                        0                        

Hounds:                       0

Total:                            12

Membership:              Out on a misty morn!


                This week saw a drop in the numbers who turned out the previous week, the New Year Hangover was obviously in full swing as the few gathered outside of the Farmer’s Boy, the really early birds were amused by the sight of Tent Packer steering his tank of a Mercedes back & forth in to a parking space along one side of London road.

There was a heavy mist hanging in the air this morning & the Hare said that it wasn’t as bad when he had set the Trail only an hour or two earlier.  The Grand Monkey held up proceedings with the opening Circle as the Pack waited for Philippa to park up down London road, near to the old Cinema. 

Just as the show was about to get on the  road, Sloppy Seconds decided that he would wander up the road to his ‘Fanny Magnet’, so he would miss the introduction to the correct Run number & the Hare’s comments on what to expect out on the Trail.

                Dogs being Walked, Golf Balls & roads to cross were about all the Hare really had to say about his Trail, as the Hare looked at TBT OBE he added that there would be short cuts before ushering the Hash away down London road to the Southeast.

Sloppy Seconds had returned & was off out at the front as he & Tent Packer led until he stopped to look up a passageway [No, Pebbledash! – Ed] that leads to the back of two of the shops on the road.  The Trail continued along London road to a CHK by the steps leading down by the side of the old Cinema, the RA pointed out that this is under renovation by the people who own & renovated the Rex in Berkhamsted.  Philippa enjoyed hearing this, as with two restored old cinemas then there would be a chance that she could get to see more films at the Rex.  Obviously not Lord of the Rings trilogy!

Thumper was pretty well on the ball at the start, as he & Sloppy Seconds headed down the steps to descend down & around to behind the cinema & on to the dead-end of Lower Paxton road, Silent but Deadly had the energy to come back to the steps & call out “On! On!” for the slower adults behind!  The RA pointed out the old fashioned street name plaque up on the walls of the homes & suggested that two of the black letters should be whitewashed over so it would then read Paxo Street!

The Trail would now turn to head up Paxton Street, leading the Pack up the parallel street behind London road, they had just run down.  As they came up to an arrow, almost out on to Watson’s walk, Paxo & TBT OBE both said that the Ford parked across the road was a nice model, it was TBT OBE’s car!  They added that they hadn’t seen any Dust along here but Dust there was there & it took the pack down to a CHK on the Junction with Cotton Mill lane & the Old London road.

Gobbler, Thumper, Philippa & Silent but Deadly were straight across the mini roundabout, they were up with My Lil’ who was utilising his local Knowledge to search the alleyway off of the junction, this tarmac path descended down between the properties & before emerging out on to Riverside road, here the Dust stuck with the tarmac footpath on the left-hand side of the road.

Once the way had levelled out the Dust followed the footpath between the two steel tubing barriers to prevent cycling on the path, now it rose up above the road to turn off in to the walled off end of the small Abbey Fields estate. 

The Pack were soon out on to Old London road once again, a CHK was found by the side road of Ramsbury road, Paxo wondered what My Lil’ & Sludge had been up to as they returned from this route back to the Old London road.  The Trail continued further south-eastward to a CHK where it joins London road, Sludge & My Lil’ were caught out as they had gone off down Cornwall road.  Paxo enquired what these two had been up to down there?  “Looking for Trail!” was the answer!

The Trail was found to continue toward the southeast, passing by the cordoned off area that was once an Italian restaurant but is not being developed into something else, probably about 50 flats?  Another CHK was found by the roundabout for the industrial estate & a few had crossed over at the lights, the lure of joining the Alban Way was tempting for Tent Packer, My Lil’ & Gobbler but there would be no Dust over by the industrial estate.

“On!” was called on the short curved side road that leads down by the old Station on what was the Hatfield to St Albans line, which terminated at St Albans Abbey Station.  Here the Dust only led a short way before it came to a CHK on the footpath that is a part of the former railway line.  Philippa said that she had passed this old Station, which is now a day-care nursery, when she took part in a proper half marathon type R*n!  [That almost sounded competitive there! –Ed]

Sloppy Seconds was the first to be tempted to go under the road bridge, with London road above, on the old route which also had him passing beneath the bridge for the mainline railway to St Albans City Station, he was not going to finds any Dust on this long route to Hatfield in the northeast.

“On!” was soon called in the opposite direction & away from the old Station house, as well as the surrounding estate of small homes that was once a scrap yard that was home to several World War II tanks & other military vehicles that the owner used to rent out for film work. 

The Dust left the little estate & headed along the tarmac route to stop at the first Held CHK, found on the end of the bridge above the termination of Riverside road.  While waiting for the Hyena to make up some ground on the rest of the Pack, Thumper & Silent but Deadly decided that they would climb up in to the large boughs of the tree the CHK was place beneath. 

After short wait the Hare allowed the FRBs to start searching once again.  My Lil’ was straight down the steps, passing beneath the bridge to follow a Falsie out on the footpath off of the uncapped track arcing around to the Veralamium Fishing club lakes, this would take the Pack up a shiggy footpath beside the Golf Course before a T halted any further progress to the southeast.

Another T was found out on Riverside road & so it was back up the steps to the former railway line, by this time the CHK had been marked & the Hare was seen wandering up the way, with Sloppy Seconds in pursuit.  The Dust continued on over the next bridge, this one having the River Ver flowing beneath, it was here Sloppy Seconds asked the Hare “Are there any Front Runners up this way?”  To which the Hare replied “Yes, You!”

The Dust led further along the way as the line starts to slowly bend around from the southwest to the northwest, where it would have pulled in to St Albans Abbey Station.  A CHK was found by what was an old foot crossing over the much shallower embankment.  It took a little while but the Trail was found down off the embankment & out along the edge of the playing field southeast of the old line, this would lead back up the line on a footpath below the wooded embankment to pass under the bridge the Ver flows beneath.

After falling foul of the last CHK, My Lil’ & Sludge had been shown the Short Cut, with TBT OBE, that led down the steps from the second bridge, they were now taking to the footpath beside the Ver, these three were following the river on by the allotments by the time the others had come around from the loop. 

The Pack now followed the serpentine like course of the Ver, taking to the new wooden duckboards that have taken the fun out of what was some very good shiggy to run through in years gone by, now days it can’t be done in order to protect the reed beds below.

Once off of the long wooden structure, that stands above the marshy ground which seems to be home to the common spotted Tennants cans that could be seen nestling amongst the reeds, the Pack could wipe their feet clean of any dog turds that were picked up on the bottom of Hash shoes as they trod over the wooden boards by utilizing the green area the Trail came out on, a CHK was found in this corner of Sopwell Gardens. 

Tent Packer & Gobbler caught up as TBT OBE, Sludge & My Lil’ wandered up to a T, which was found next to a bench on the banks of the Ver.  The FRBs cut across the green space, Paxo was very verbal about their short cutting, which meant they missed out on going through the weaved stems of some cane like plants to from an archway before leading up to the ruins of Sopwell  which dominate the green space. 

The RA explained that the ruins are 16th Century remains of the house that was built on a former Benedictine Nunnery, built under the patronage of Geoffrey de Gorham (Abbott of St Albans) as home of the Nuns when he founded the Abbey in 1140.  It was mentioned that Philippa’s mum would have been at home here, she was up at the Cathedral for a service. 

The remains of Re Brick, Flint & Tottenthoe Punch became the home of Richard Lee in the 1530’s, who, as one of Henry VIII’s advisors made the most of the Reformation & took the land for himself.  The property was sold to the splendidly named Sir Harbottle Grimston in 1669 & parts were dismantled & used to build the family’s new home over at Gorhambury, west of St Albans.  It fell into disuse, though there was a motorcycle repair shop there until the 1960’s.

The Dust led on through the doorways in the separate edifices of the old red brick wall that stick out of the ground like skeletal ribs, once out of the last section of wall, the Trail turned direction to head out over the green of wet grass & shiggy to the Cottonmill road.  Tent Packer & Sloppy seconds went to search over on Prospect road, while My Lil’s nose was leading him over to search out the other option, which was down by the local allotments toward the old Swimming pool whose last use was by the St Albans diving club.

While other looked at the information board to tell the history of the Nunnery Gardens, My Lil’ picked the Trail up & was soon on over the Ver at Cottonmill bridge to follow the Arrow that dropped down the few steps to run down beside the Ver once again, the shiggy footpath made its way along through the long narrow green area that is all that remains of Bing’s Orchard between the Ver & the back of the homes below the Sopwell area of St Albans.

As the meandering path made its way though the trees to the metal footbridge spanning the Ver, the Hare said that he was going to put a water crossing in there but was foiled by the fence on the opposite bank, he also didn’t think that he would be able to limbo under the low height of the bridge for a second option! 

Just before the bridge, Paxo spotted a stone arch away in the back of the Gardens at the rear of the allotment on the opposite side of the Ver.  He wondered what it was, & surprisingly Mr X didn’t know either!  But he wonder if it wasn’t to do with the Nunnery, it could be to do with the waterworks & the Electricity Substations the Trail was nearing at the bottom of Holywell Hill, or something left over from what was the estate of Holywell House which was the ‘Favourite home of The Duke & Duchess of Marlborough!’, who of course were the Spencer-Churchill family.  (If it was such a favourite home, then why was it demolished?)

The Trail came out to the bottom of Holywell hill & once up the step on to the edge of the main road, an arrow was found pointing straight over the road to edge of the Park, a CHK was found on the new footbridge bridge over the Ver.  By the time the Hare arrived on the scene the FRBs were on their way up behind the Duke of Marlborough Pub, which is now apparently closed.

My Lil’ must again have been using his local knowledge to sniff out the way up Grove road, before being directed over by an arrow on to a footpath running at the bottom end of the local school grounds, Paxo wondered why there were so many CCTV camera at this point until the Hare pointed out the School grounds behind the maximum security fencing!

The shiggy path led westward to come out in to the bottom end of the Abbey Park, a CHK was found beneath an oak tree & the Hare was happy to see all the FRBs head up the tarmac path toward the Cathedral perch majestically upon the hill, but halfway up the climb a T hidden behind a park bench stopped them in their stride. 

The RA looked on to see Gobbler & Silent but Deadly do the right thing by coming back down the tarmac path to the CHK & then on to the shiggy track at the bottom of the park.  He was more disappointed with Sludge, Sloppy Seconds & My Lil’ who all cut down the tarmac path that runs diagonally to the opposite bottom corner of the Park. 

A CHK was found behind a square wooden bollard where the Abbey Park comes out to the old Mill & Ye Fighting Cocks Pub, right on the corner of Verlamium Park.  The Hare explained to Silent but Deadly that Ye Fighting Cocks is one of the oldest Pubs in the UK!

My Lil’ arrived at the CHK, there he said “I bet it’s up the lane!” before setting off with Tent Packer, Sloppy & Sludge to venture out toward the lakes & fish ponds that once fed the Monks of the Abbey in Verlamium Park, all o0f which surprised the Hare as My Lil’ was right first time. 

It was now down to Gobbler & Silent but Deadly to pick up the Dust as it took to the rising Abbey Mill lane, on the long steep climb the Hare warned the Pack to watch their steps & take to the tarmac of the single lane as the black cobbles of the footpath were rather slippery with the moisture in the air.

The Trail passed through the ancient Abbey gatehouse, which was home to the third printing press in the UK! The Dust led out on to Romelands, where a Held CHK was found.  The Hare explained that this area was famous after George Tankerfield, who was a baker in Barnet but was unfortunate enough to a Protestant in the days of (Bloody) Queen Mary I, he was dragged to St Albans in 1555 where he was burnt at the stake!

At the Held CHK the Hare produced a couple of bags of sweet, Coconut Mushrooms or Fizzy Cola bottles.  Thumper & Silent but Deadly went of the Cola Bottles, while Philippa preferred the Coconut Mushrooms which she has never had before!  Some of the Pack walked over to the notice board on the green, no doubt to check on what the RA had said to them about George Tankerfield?

The Trail resumed before Hyena had made it up to the CHK point, even TBT OBE had managed to hobble up there in plenty of time to enjoy the sweet stop.  While Sludge & My Lil’ went to look over on the Cathedral Abbey Grounds, Gobbler found the Dust around on George Street & on the way up the Pack got to hear how TBT OBE & Tent Packer have been patrons of the Thai restaurant that the RA remembered as the King’s Arms!

Just before the High Street begins, the Trail went off to the right & through an entrance to an enclosed courtyard of shops, with bakery & a few restaurants within before dropping down the steps in the left-hand corner to descend on to the alleyway that leads from the High Street & around the walled Cloisters to the eastern end of the Cathedral, again the going was a little slippery on the cobbles.  My Lil’ moaned that the Hare should have just allowed the Pack to have gone through the graveyard beside the Abbey, which coincidentally was where he & Sludge were called back from!

The Dust led out of Sumpter’s yard to the edge Holywell hill, coming a out at a point around three quarters of the way up this steep climb.  Arrows directed the Pack straight over the busy road & having made their way around the old bloke’s car that was stationary in the hatched box in the road, the Pack made their way in to the old Coaching entrance for the White Hart Hotel.

The Trail passed straight through Saracens Head yard at the back of the hotel & on through the newer homes built behind this.  All of the little cul-de-sac areas had names with a Ryder theme, this was because the home to Ryder seeds of St Albans used to be here & their name is now more synonymous with the Ryder Cup Golf competition which the Europeans skilfully pinched back form the Yanks out in America last Year!

The Trail would now simply run a short way down Pageant Road before turning off on to Harte lane, where the On Inn was found just a short way up for the White Hart Tap Pub, here P arrows from the Public car park directed the Pack out of the pass-through by the Beehive Pub & back out on to London Road.

Sloppy Seconds could stay for long, he didn’t even come in for a drink as he seemed to spend most of his time trying to get into the boot of his ‘Fanny Magnet’ which all looked a bit suspicious as he spent ages wiggling his key in the lock to get it to open. [No Pebbledash that’s not a euphemism! – Ed]  He has already broken the other key in lock!!

Back in the Bar & the Pack settled in to enjoy a few Pints, eventually after the Hare-line was sorted out, due to a few changes being discussed, the GM called the Circle outside.  He saluted the Hash with the usual toast, then he awarded the Hare his Down-Down, well what happened to the accompanying Hash song?  It was awful, everyone out of time & off key [nothing unusual there then! – Ed] but far worse than the norm!

With the Hare out of the way, things returned to normal with the RA taking over.  Silent but deadly was awarded his bum-bag for completing his 10th Run, he was warned not to leave it in a Paris Bar like his brother did!   Paxo was out next, as the RA explained that he has earache the week before about the Book being missing [It was in Paxo’s car boot & no way to treat such a sacred thing– Ed] & the complaints about it being missing continued to this Hash, there was even a cock up with three pages being missed out due to its absence!!