Run No. 1492 10th March 2013
Venues: The Cowroast
Beer: Bombardier; Colley’s Dog
Membership: Chasing a Playboy Bunny?!
Well, Mother’s day had its normal effect in depleting the numbers once again, though there was an unusual excuse from one of the regular’s in not turning out as he was suffering from gout! Ouch! Anyhow, this week saw Lemming & Mother cycle to the venue from their home, are they on a fitness drive?
The Pack gathered in the car park & as the time approached the hour there was no sign of the regular stalwarts of Mr X & My Lil’ who were on the 501 Bus from Hemel. Their convoluted journey had a strange start as the ticket machine on the first bus wasn’t working & so they had to wait for the driver to write out an emergency ticket by hand from a pocket book.
The two on the bus eventually arrived & almost immediately the GM went through the motions of the introduction to the Hash, there were no mistakes with his speech & so the Circle was handed over to the Hare. Gobbler told the Pack that there was plenty of Shiggy out there, there were lots of circular CHKs, Bars that were the same as the normal Herts Markings of a T, then the Pack were ushered straight over the main road.
The Pack were soon on to the small lane leading over the pack bridge spanning the Grand Union Canal. A CHK was found just over the bridge, near to the steps leading down to the towpath. My Lil’ & Paxo followed on behind Silent but Deadly & Phillipa as they found one blob of Dust down Wharf lane. More calls of “On!” also came from Lemming, who had chose to go down by Cowroast lock & head along the towpath as it runs north-westward toward Tring. [Is there a phone ruining? - Ed]
The Trail crossed over a small footbridge, where the towpath rises over a feeder channel for the canal from the Cowroast marina. Once beyond the area for mooring up of narrow boats, the Trail arrived at a CHK by a gap in the hedgerow at the corner of the crop field north of the Marina.
From the CHK the GM had followed on behind Lemming as they continued along the towpath, meanwhile Mother tentatively went in to the field to look on the windward side of the hedgerow. Mother would find the real Trail, while Sludge would find a Bar across the towpath on the leeward side, this led him to turn back & then cut through a gap in the hedgerow instead of going back the CHK point!
The chilly wind was biting on the field side of the hedgerow, the cold air may have taken the Pack’s breath away but it led to everyone running this route to keep warm as they made their way up to the relative shelter of the hedgerow along Newground road, through which they emerged to find a CHK on the edge of the tarmac.
Sludge chose to search over the bridge across the canal, while the rest thought better of it & headed in the opposite direction toward village of Aldbury. The Dust was found running toward the picturesque village, but just a short way up the lane & over the Railway bridge another CHK was found, would the Pack be heading back to the southeast? Here the RA handed out a H4 card to a guy out running to keep fit.
When the Pack picked up dust along the south-easterly footpath, some thought that they were heading out on an elongated loop back & then up into Ashridge common, they would be wrong & a few tutted about being caught out by the Hare, especially after he gave them false encouragement by wandering down the Falsie himself. Phillipa was none too happy at getting caught out either, especially as the Hare had given her false information to lure her off that way, how dare he do that on Mother’s day!
The trail continued a short way back along the lane until it reached the next two footpaths, which were slightly staggered apart. The RA was the only one to go off down the track beside a small holding on the way out to the Hangings, he was soon on his way back from this Falsie as “On!” was called from Lemming over to the northwest of the road. On his way back to catch up with the Pack, the local farmer said “It’s a bit cold to be out today!” to Mr X.
The Cold breeze was back to its full strength as it whistled around the end of the ridge of Tom’s Hill, the next part of the Trail was out in the exposed open fields as the footpath led up to a CHK near to an out-building that a soft racehorse gallop runs by. Lemming continued straight on in a nor-north-westerly direction & it was a long trot out for him before he found the end of the Trail that way!
While Phillipa went to look westward beyond the out-building, My Lil’ picked up the real Trail up the gallops toward the Church far away on the northern edge of the village of Aldbury. A few made comments to the RA about how his bare legs were now a very bright pink colour as the wind whipped in to him, the RA explained that he didn’t like wearing jogging bottoms & preferred shorts.
On the way up the spongy surface of the Gallop, Gobbler explained that it was all made of insulating materials, rubber & other such things & put down by a former race horse trainer who owned Stocks house. As soft as it was to run on, there was one draw back for some as the little gritty bits managed to get inside Hash-shoes.
A CHK was found where a footpath crossed the north-westerly path, from here My Lil’ was lured off to the east side route & on in to an enclosed paddock, he would come back after finding a Bar. Having seen what My Lil’ had indicated, the RA decided to follow the byway out to the lane of Newground road & on to the by-way up to Brightwood. He too would be coming back as TBT OBE found the correct route & called “On!” as the Trail ran all the way up to Station road.
On the way out to the road back in to Aldbury the Pack had to cross over a small enclosed paddock, this was full of wild grass. Just on entering the field Silent but Deadly would stop to look at some wire in the hedgerow ditch. The Pack were now led down toward the heart of Aldbury, but a CHK by the path into St John the Baptist Church caught out Mother as she headed out through the graveyard.
Up in the distance the RA pointed out to Thumper the Bridgewater monument perched up in the edge of the woodland of the Ashridge estate, the Pack now ran in to the picturesque village of Aldbury. Here a CHK was found by the Duck pond. This village has been seen on TV & feature in films many times, Phillipa explained that a scene from ‘Bridget Jones, Edge of Reason’ was filmed there, but as it was to do with a Fox Hunt it was deleted from the cinema cut, only to be seen on the DVD.
Other such programmes to be shot there were the Avengers, Inspector Morse, Midsomer Murders, Shillingbury Tales & best of all is the Dave Allen sketch with the race between two sets of pallbearers to the single open grave! Another Film shot there was the Dirty Dozen, a lot of that took place up at Ashridge House.
Aldbury is also famous for having tall Stocks & a well preserved whipping post, by the end of the Trail would the Hare be in the stocks or tied to the whipping post?
My Lil’ & Lemming crossed straight over the road junction in the centre of the village, the RA followed on as he too believed that he Trail would take to the long steady footpath up to the Bridgewater Monument up on the ridge. They would all be wrong as Gobbler called them back, Lemming said to the RA that Gobbler waved Lemming back, but only when the RA had his back was turned to Gobbler so he wouldn’t know!
Anyhow, the Trail now led northward through the village, passing by the Greyhound Pub to lead on to another CHK, this one being by one of the many footpaths that lead over to the tree covered Ridgeway up in the east. Phillipa was unhappy at being caught out a second time as the Hare had laid a Falsie on the first footpath off of the Stocks road up toward Ashridge, no doubt the idea of the stocks were now imprinted on her mind.
The Hare, with Silent but Deadly & Thumper, had got well ahead of the Pack as they ambled back from the Falsie, when they did get back on to Stocks lane they would make their way out on to the next footpath out over to Ashridge. The Trail stopped before reaching Stocks House, the former mansion that was once the UK Playboy mansion (where Europe’s largest Jacuzzi was installed) then becoming a Golf club & hotel under cricketer John Embury, then on to be bought & turned in to a private residence once again for the race horse trainer Peter Harris, it is currently the home of his son-in-law Walter Swinburn. It is also home to the swimming pool that the Rolls Royce was put in for the shot of the Oasis album cover of ‘Be here now’
Anyhow back to the Trail! By the time the Pack had followed the course out in to the enclosed paddock, the Hare & his offspring were just about seen in the tree line at the far end of the field. Having traversed the paddock, the Trail led in to another paddock, this one had a couple of equines within it & so with a ‘Hash Hush’ being obeyed hands were raised to signal the way finally over to the bottom of the Ashridge. Once through the gate, the Pack were now faced with a short but steep climb up through the trees on a slightly slippery surface climbing some 75 yards in altitude to the top of the wooded ridge.
After the breath taking climb, the Pack had a short trot through a small holding on the ridge, the Trail passed through the grounds of this where they saw two deer that were cast in iron on the immaculate lawn! Up in within the trees the Pack were finally out of the bitter wind, which was lucky as most had to slow up & get their breath back after that climb.
On the way out of the grounds the pack passed a small garage with a Pink Paraffin sign on it, the Trail now turned to take the Hash up to a Held CHK right at the base of the 108 foot tall Bridgewater monument, a column that has a Verdi Gris Grecian urn on the top, that was built to honour the Third Duke of Bridgewater, father of the inland waterways, one of the famous residents of Ashridge House.
Lemming was a little perturbed by the fact that the Monument was shut, so he couldn’t climb the 170 steps to the top. This would be a bit of luck as the time was fast approaching the hour & there was a still a fair way to go to get back.
The Hare pointed the Keenies off toward the southern end of the open space the visitor’s centre occupies & in to the northern end of Ashridge common wood, here the Trail ran though to one of the long paths running through the scenic woodland. It was noticed that many of the routes in the woodland have access for mobility scooters, ideal if you are suffering form gout & need to take the weight off of your feet!
There were a few comments as the Pack emerged out from the education centre in the middle of this section of woodland, for as they came out on to the driveway up to the education centre the Pack spotted Mr X & My Lil’ joining this road from the left-hand side. These two called out a bluffing “Checking!” as they made their way to the drive, Phillipa wasn’t the only disbelieving among the Pack about where these two had come from!
With the Dust now looking a bit sparse in places, the Hare made his way to the front of the Pack to lay fresh Dust & add in a little official short cut or two. Perhaps the group of abandoned empty wine bottles, spotted by the RA, behind one of the trees lining the drive gave away the Hare’s drinking habits?
Mr X & My Lil’ would find the Trail would lead along to edge of the deep hollow of Grymme’s Dell in the elbow of the Toms Hill lane, once over this seemingly busy lane this afternoon, the Dust led along the drive over to the top of the ridge to Toms Hill, in 1954 a RAF Vickers Valetta crashed on Toms hill killing 16 of the 17 crew on board. The RA knew that there is a path that runs through Toms Hill farm & then on down through the ‘Hangings’, as he had used this way for a Trail of his in the past.
This was the way the Hash would take as it passed through the farm yard, that doesn’t look like it is a working one any more & is really just a lot expensive homes these days. Beyond the exclusive dwellings the Trail dropped down the wooded slope & then in to the paddock below the ‘Hangings’.
Having made their way up along the north-eastern edge of the field, the Trail would go through to the next field to the south, but here there would be one last uphill run as the contour of the hillside led over to the open field above Norcott Court Farm.
Mr X seemed to get a bit of a spring in his steps as he ran down over the grassy paddock to join the Hare in making their way though the farm yard, & then on to the byway down toward the Railway line. The Trail would turn to the west & then off to the north as the route took to the fenced-in part of the byway leading all the way back to the Newground road, a short way along this is a footpath runs that runs off of it & over the freshly harrowed field beside the mainline.
Weary legs manage dot get the Pack up the steps on narrow, high concrete footbridge over the Westcoast mainline & then down to the second part of the crop fields, this was the final leg as the footpath run straight over to Wharf lane & then back over the Grand Union canal.
The Pack soon came into the warmth of the Pub, but almost as soon as they had warmed up the GM called the Circle together outside in the chilly air once again! Mr X warned Lemming not to do what he did & bash his head on the Pub’s hanging baskets, Lemming said that he was safe from that as he stood underneath the flowery adornment to the Pub.
There was a bit of a staggered start, as the Hashit was still in the GM’s car & had to be found. Finally the Hare was called forward & he received his Down-Down for setting a good Trail that was longer than expected but a good one to stretch the old legs.
Phillipa was out for her Hash naming, which after a convoluted story ended up as being Gobblette! Both Thumper & Silent but Deadly found it funny to watch their mum get ‘Christened’ by the RA. Mother was called out for it being ‘Mother’s day’, as well as having a Saracen bike that she had arrived on. Lemming joined her as the RA went on to explain that having cycled to the venue, they completed a long Trail & now had to cycle home, if they swam up the canal a bit then they could complete their own little Triathlon!
The RA then went on to tell of how 21 years ago, on this very weekend, two of this Pack set off on their first Herts Trail, from the Goat in St Albans & these two were himself & My Lil’, so they had the next two Down-Downs. Finally the Hashit went to TBT OBE for driving a third of the way to the Venue & then getting a lift from the GM for the last rest of the journey & back!