Run No. 1484 13th Jan 2013
Venue: The Green Man
Beer: Black Sheep; Greene King IPA, Abbott; Whitemills Hedgecutter, Rumcask
Hare(s): Mr X
Membership: Covering new ground!
There can’t be many times when the Pack actually gets to R*n on ‘new ground’ as after all the years of Hashing in Herts there can’t be many footpaths left that haven’t had our Hash shoes plodding over them. Last time the Pack ran from the Green Man the Hare found out about the new woodland being created by the Woodland Trust to the northwest of the village of Sandridge! At that time it wasn’t all open to Public access but now it’s a different story.
The Pack gathered on this cold morning, the GM’s car’s dashboard instrumentation had told him that it was – 1 outside & there were just the odd little flake of snow floating in the air as he parked up. The Hare sat with the GM until the most of the Pack had arrived, though the circle was going to be delayed slightly to allow My Lil’ to arrive on the Bus, & that was due to arrive around 5 minutes past the hour.
Once out in the open air, the GM didn’t want to hang around getting cold & he quickly introduced the two Newies of Rubbed Raw & Sandy Crevices, before handing things over to the Hare as the rest of the Pack moved about to try & keep warm. The Hare’s words were equally brief, the Herts markings were rapidly explained for the Newies before adding that there would be short cuts & two Held CHKs. Then the Hare ushered the Pack away down the High Street toward the Southwest.
The GM had handed his keys over to the Hare, who remained behind to collect his bag from My Lil’ who was bringing it along on the Bus. Fortunately the bus was on time & My Lil’ decamped, bags were stowed in the GM’s car before these two joined the Trail.
A short way down the High Street & the First CHK was found by the rest of the Pack, this was situated near to the local public conveniences & the Village Hall, if TBT OBE had waited for only a few minutes longer then he could have used these & not had to have peed behind the cars in the car park as he did!
The Hare & My Lil’ were pleased to see Paxo & Silent but Deadly coming back up the High Street to take to the footpath running along the edge of the Recreation Grounds, then to follow the others out to the horse fields beyond. The Pack had been pre-warned that there would be lots of horses at certain points on the Trail, so a ‘Hash Hush’ was obeyed as everyone made their way through the kissing gate, & on to the right-hand option of the split in two of the two paths to pick their way over edge of the paddock that was churned up by the resident equine’s hooves!
At least there where were no twisted ankles by the time the Pack made their way on to the next CHK, this was found out of the kissing gate at the end of the paddock on Sandridgebury lane, the Trail was quickly picked up on the lane to Sandridgebury farm. It wasn’t that far along this narrow single track lane until the next CHK was found, by the opposite path through the horse paddock.
The Keenies quickly found the Trail once again as it took to the bridleway, which is a part of the Hertfordshire way, heading off by the small nursery paddock where the kids were having their riding lessons. The Pack were now heading westward on the shiggy tract of the bridleway, lined on each side by thicket hedges.
A round concrete structure at the side of the path, just as it bends around to the left, had a CHK hidden behind it. The Hare at the back was happy to see that Rubbed Raw had led the rest of the gang further along the Bridle way, which meant crossing a patch of deep, cold & wet Shiggy before finding the T up there! They came back to search out in the fallow looking field adjacent to the bridleway, it was here that the Hare had almost caught up with Sludge to return his keys, but before he could Sludge scuttled over toward the Ancient woodland of Langley Wood.
“On!” was called at the path entering the southern tip of the woodland, this call brought Sloppy Seconds back from his wanderings up the path worn in to the taller wispy grass of the open area. The Trail now weaved its way through the inside of the western edge of the wood, for those with keen eyesight an iguana was seen up in the bough of a sapling, very exotic for Hertfordshire but it was only a soft-toy from Mexico!
The Dust had the Pack running through woodland that was obviously once used for coppicing, the trail the path took was a wavy one that avoided the round pit like depressions dotted around the woodland floor, a CHK half way around to the northern tip of the wood saw Sparky, Rubbed Raw & Fliptop searching out into the denser heart of the wood, there was nothing to find there!
The Trail continued around the inner perimeter until it came out of the wood to a series of wooden gates at a crossroads of two main paths through this area of developing new woodland, here a CHK was found but most of the Pack seemed to be preoccupied with the pack of various dogs who had amassed at this point. This new woodland is extremely popular with dog walkers. It was here, when the owner of a couple of Dachshunds explained what breed these were to a group of kids, that the Hare pointed out these dogs are actually ‘Racing Snakes’!
Sludge, Sparky, Sloppy Seconds & Rubbed Raw were soon on to the Trail as it headed north-westward on a wide track that is one of the two original Paths over the former farm land. This way had lots of puddles along the two main ruts made by tyre tracks, along the way the thick ice from the water had been broken by a four by four & scattered around. No one slipped over & no wrists hurt! The Dust was placed on the wooden supports for the line of saplings that one day will create an avenue down this route.
The next CHK was found by the end of the avenue-to-be, by the southern finger of Well Wood, here Rubbed Raw was off like a whippet & on to the bridleway heading north-eastward along the bottom edge where the woodland becomes Pudler’s Wood, as the way arcs around the contour of the wood a T was found, so it was back along the track that has been churned up by horses hooves.
The Hare was glad to see that Sparky had already set off once on the real Trail, but came back to follow Rubbed Raw on the first Falsie, better still he then went on to follow Fliptop on the other False option! The Trail was eventually picked up as it descends down the hard core track beside Pismite Springs, passing by the local Woodland Trust volunteers who were busy at work on an old hedge, they were restoring it by weaving the core stems to create a new managed wild life refuge in years to come.
The Trail descended down the stony path to the bottom of the hillside & a Held CHK was found on top of a square concrete block, the H was placed on the H shaped iron remains of a girder that once came out of it. Nearly all the Pack stopped here, the exception being Rubbed Raw & he was off running a loop around another area of fallow land, he went up to the edge of the ‘Bedpan line’ (Bedford to St Pancras) that goes through St Albans & then back.
At the Held CHK the Hare offered out Strawberry Mushrooms, [No magic ones this week! – Ed] while the Pack waited for TBT OBE to hobble down the track, it was here that Gobbler explained why this new ‘Heartland Wood’ was being developed in small areas. Apparently there is a need to have wide open spaces between the nurseries of saplings in order to allow wild animals to spread seeds, as well as insects & the wind to pollinate the flora.
Anyhow, when it came around to searching for the Trail once more, the Hare was pleased to see that Rubbed Raw was off on the other Falsie, taking Sparky & Sloppy Seconds with him on the original footpath that leads up the steep hill toward Ayres End lane. Meanwhile Sludge had gone off on the correct Track, but seemed to be put off by the state of this bridleway as it was rutted with the deep imprints made by the riding of horses.
Sludge came back & was then ushered away form where he had been. The going wasn’t just ankle-twisting, it was also cold, wet & starting to soften underfoot as the frozen surface had began to melt since the Hare had been around to set the Trail earlier that morning.
Along this stretch Mr X explained to Sandy Crevices that this area was once farm land, which was acquired by the Woodland Trust to create a huge woodland, well by Hertfordshire standards, & how it is great to run over new territory after over 25 Years of Hashing in Herts there aren’t many places H4 haven’t been.
The Hare waited for the FRBs to get ahead of TBT OBE & My Lil’ so he could offer them a short cut to avoid the continuation of the rutted ground. Along the bottom of the valley, running beside the hedgerow there would be some confusion as Sludge headed up a desire line of a path over the grassy hillside toward Pudler’s Wood once again, he would not find any dust up there & was called back down to the lower level, but Sludge wasn’t going to loose too much of the altitude he had gained as he began to shuffle along nearer to the top of the plateau.
The Hare noticed that the CHK, he had put in half before the Trail would take to going up the hill, had been kicked out but since it was to be the only one that was destroyed it wasn’t a bad percentage with all of the dog walkers out & about this morning.
Sludge’s gamble in not coming down a level paid off as Rubbed Raw, Gobbler, Silent But Deadly, Sloppy Seconds, Sparky & Paxo all took to the footpath from the next CHK, which was still in tact, to lead up the grassy to the southern end of Round wood. A CHK was found by corner of the wood, now the Pack would find the Trail was on another bridleway track, again this was like a ploughed field due to the horses passing over it.
Gobbler & Silent but Deadly stopped along this stretch as they had to talk ‘Dogs’ to a few of the pooch walkers, meanwhile Sludge was back to his best ‘Off Trail’ & was out in the adjacent field to cut over to where the SCBs were, the going toward them was on level ground so it was a shame he was called back by the Hare to follow the Track up to the end of the field & on to the Next CHK. The Hare pointed out that there was even a port-a-loo for the GM & Sparky to use, well you know what its like at their age!
The Trail now turned back toward Pudler’s wood, Sludge had an inkling that the Trail would go that way after spying the Short Cutter go up by that way. Again it was hard work under foot on another long stretch of horse imprints, the Hare only later realised that he could have taken the more level route over the grassy hill top where horse riding & cycling are prohibited.
Anyhow, a CHK was found by the corner of the Pudler’s wood, the Hare had placed this around a pile of horse dung, which obviously prevented it being kicked out completely! TBT OBE & My Lil’ had already made their way off down toward the southeast over the almost plain top of the plateau, though this didn’t stop a few of the FRBs from going astray here!
Everyone made it to another CHK, which was found by one of the main routes back to Sandridge & the other one led back over to Langley wood, the latter would have no Dust along that way. Rubbed raw was soon on to the Trail as it runs down the main track descending back toward Sandridge. Over to the left the large house of Hill End Farm could be seen a few fields away.
The Final Held CHK was found halfway down the hillside, though Rubbed Raw was off again & well over the grassy area toward the edge of Langley wood, he returned when the Hare hollered out “on back!” This time the Hare offered up liquorice torpedoes [Whoa there Pebbledash! – Ed] While Gobbler & Silent but Deadly caught up.
There was a splendid vista over the valley that Sandridge nestles in, the panorama stretched right over to woodcock hill, where the Aerial for the MOD could be seen on top of the hill. The Hare pointed out that the new wood will also stretch out over toward the ancient wood on the other side of the valley
When the Checking out began again, Paxo was starting off toward the east, he had to be stopped by the Hare, he was puzzled by Paxo as the village could clearly be seen down in the valley to the south.
The final stretch of the Trail continued further down the hill, before peeling off to the south, the Hare looked on in astonishment as the Trail over toward the car park was picked up & then abandoned for the other option back to Sandridge. After some gesticulating from the Hare, the Keenies realised the error of their ways & cut across the grassy area, then over the back of the car park to take to one final hedged in track, this one leading between horse paddocks & then out through the stables & farm to the High Street.
The Pack wandered the short way up to the Pub, even the hobbling walkers were back an hour after starting.
After a change of clothes & the Pack settled in to the Pub to experience Ales straight out of the Barrel, even the normally bland IPA had some flavour to it! Of more interested though was the local Whitemills Cider, Rubbed raw would have a half of the 7.5% drink later on.
In the Bar, Rubbed Raw was surprised at the length of the Run report in the Trash handed to him, Mr X was glad that it was appreciated. Which is more than he could say about Silent but Deadly’s treatment of the Trash, as he managed to managed to knock his drink all over one of the Trashes, & that was after he had scribbled on it to make sure his Herts Pen worked!! This wasn’t missed by the Curate, who was going to do the first few Down-Downs when the Circle was called.
A friend or relation of Rubbed Raw & Sandy Crevices popped in, he had run the Trail after learning these two were in the vicinity, but as he was a real runner he was going to go back around again! None of the Hash were going to join him. The Pack preferred to stay in the warm & admire the new Herts Hash Hoodies that Gobbler & Silent but Deadly were now sporting!
The GM called the Pack outside, but they didn’t get that far as Fliptop ushered everyone in to the back conservatory, here the PACK circled up. Sludge toasted the Hash before handing over to the Curate. The Hare was called forward & was awarded his Down-Down for a good Trail, which was over new territory for the Hash.
Sloppy Seconds then went on to award Down-Downs to the Newies of Sandy Crevices & Rubbed Raw, a chorus of ‘Beaten by a Woman told you who did theirs the quickest! Next out were Silent but Deadly for abusing the Trash, He said that Silent but Deadly ought to marry Spillage!! Silent but Deadly was joined by Gobbler.
Sloppy Seconds did surprise everyone when he dobbed himself in, which led to a very elaborate, long story that Ronnie Corbett would have been proud of, the RA stood in at the end of this to add that Sloppy’s Down-Down would be from his 100th Run tankard, which as he wanted was a glass one, the RA then demonstrated that it holds more than a pint!! [We’ll all be wanting one of those! – Ed] Sloppy Seconds has one crossed one Down-Down off of the long list he has accrued!
Sparky was out for almost going to the wrong venue, he was headed for the previous week’s St Albans Trail amongst other misdemeanours!