Run No. 1508 17th June
Venues: The Crown
Beer: Doombar,; Saffron Pubfootpath; London Pride
Location: Aston End
Membership: Search & Rescue!
It was splendid evening for a Run in the countryside for the second Herts Hash in three days. The GM wandered over to the JM, he noticed that TBT OBE wasn’t there & enquired from Paxo where his ‘partner in crime’ was? Paxo initially declared “Oh! I forgot to pick him up!” but the mock surprise was soon dropped as he said that TBT OBE was busy with lots of work, no doubt this is scrutinising the Trash, Herts Website & weekly emails of any typo’s!
The Pack were ready for the off dead on 19:00Hrs, even ketchup was there on time, although he was still faffing about in the boot of his motor while the GM called the Circle to order.
After the welcoming speech, Sludge remained centre circle to inform the Pack of what to expect out there, for he was also this day’s Hare! There was talk of short cuts, a couple of roads to be careful on & then with a ‘turn left out of the Pub!’ instruction the Pack were set on their merry way!
The RA was first out of the car park, ignoring the CHK at the entrance to the Pub’s rear garden. No Eye Deer lived up to her Hash Handle as she went to look off to the right, until the Hare repeated his spiel about turning left.
Meanwhile Mr X was now up toward the entrance of the farm by Holder’s lane, but he failed to see the arrow directing the Hash off of Long lane & down the Tatler’s lane off to the right, for he was more concerned about the girl driving a 4 x 4 out of the farm drive, she wasn’t looking at the direction he was running from & was startled to see him standing beside her window as she went to move further around toward the Stevenage bound lane.
Tent Packer was on to Tatler’s lane as it peeled away to the southwest, he was also first to the triangle in this lane where Short lane joins it & there he found a CHK. As Tent Packer set off up Short lane, Mr X & No Eye Deer followed on behind ARP, who was searching for & picked up the Trail as it heads around toward the Stables where TC once worked as a trainee Black Smith, a name in only one of which he’s qualified in.
As the Trail followed the arcing lane around in a clockwise direction, the RA slowed up as it had ARP had run on by a footpath off toward the west, he was correct that the Hare was going to be playing a few tricks on the Hash & ARP would fall for the first of these as she ran on to a Bar CHK. Both ARP & Mr X took to another footpath that cuts back through a small bit of woodland & on to the track they had passed earlier.
To the right was a building site for more homes being built to add to the sprawling suburbs of St Evenage, fortunately the footpath over to Stevenage was closed due to the building work ,& so the Pack regrouped as they came out on to the by-way that heads south-westerly to Gresley way. The Track emerged out on to a crop field, just beside the fenced off paddocks that are homes to some horses & a field of cattle.
While ARP was keen to run along the bottom of the field, through the path covered in a mixture of wheat & wild grasses, Porky Pie stuck with the more obvious path that had been left clear of any crop as it rose up through the field to the wooded area at the top. Suddenly there were calls of “On!” coming from both directions, which had the effect of stopping the middle order of the Pack in their tracks.
Mr X & My Lil’ decided to carryon behind Porky Pie, hedging their bets on this being the correct way. They were right to do so, as after a quick glance back down the hill they could see ARP had turned about & had her arms outstretched to indicate that she had found a Falsie. The Next CHK was found just before the path enters the woodland. No one was tempted to take to the permissive route along the top of the field.
Porky Pie was straight over the Aston End lane at Bareliegh, this led on to another footpath where there were two options at the paddock on the south edge of the road, one was to cut diagonally though it by using the gates, the other was to follow the Dust around the perimeter of the field to a CHK by the southern hedgerow.
On the way around the perimeter the RA mentioned that the fence must have cost a few bob to out up as the uprights were old telegraph poles that had been reduced in size to about five foot tall. The dominant feature around these parts is the water tower, the Hash weren’t that far from it now & it was a very distinctive landmark for later on in the Trail.
Porky Pie had disappeared through the small gap in the large hedgerow by the time the RA & Hare Raiser had arrived at the CHK. Mr X went through the gap & started off on the footpath that Porky Pie as on, that leads across the crop field & in to Aston. Suddenly a call of “On!” came from the other direction & this had the RA turning back to emerge back out by the paddock, just as Tent Packer came up to the CHK.
The Trail headed eastward away from the Paddock & on through the edge of another crop of wheat, again this was hard going as the footpath was covered with windswept wheat that made it hard to see what lay beneath. My Lil’ had now taken up the Front Running but he soon lost the Trail at the south-western corner of the wheat field, he went in to the adjacent crop field, at a slightly lower level & then out on to Brookfield lane, where he called out “Lost Trail!”
Mr X found the Dust, partly hidden by the wheat that had been blown over, as the Trail stuck with the footpath in the second wheat field, which dropped down to the lane at a gap for accessing the field. Here a CHK was found. Tent Packer & Sloppy Seconds arrived & they wondered which option was best, Mr X & My Lil’ both said that it was bound to go down Ford lane as it led down in to the valley, in which there are a multitude of footpaths to run.
Sure enough the Trail went down the single tack lane & in to the valley, on the way down a kid getting in to a car, parked up in the lay-by at the bottom, decided that he’d be clever & mimic the FRB’s calls of “On! On!” A CHK was found beside the wooden footbridge edge over the ford in the river Beane, here there were four options to choose from, including on that goes up to & over the Bennington road to get into Highwood.
The major consensus was to take the northerly route along the edge of the crop field by the river Beane, which was now hidden form view as it ran through the thicket hedgerow on their right. The Dust was found & now the Hash would take to a long trot as the Trail gently veered right & then back left off of north following the river’s course.
The Ground was noticeably hard underfoot, even though parts of this are sometimes wet meadow. ARP & Porky Pie caught up with the senior Hashers & were soon by them as the Trail came up to the next CHK, the Trail was quickly found through the hedgerow & over the water course to continue northward on the east side.
The Hare didn’t cross over as he took Paxo, Ketchup, Jaron & the Honorary GM on a Short Cut that began by running on the west side of the hedgerow & the Beane, leaving the likes of ARP, Porky Pie, Tent packer, Sloppy Seconds, No Eye Deer, My Lil’ & Mr X all to follow Dust on the west side.
The latter Trail left the crop field, as it approached the large metal kissing gates to a series of horse paddocks & other animal enclosures, the FRBs had to negotiate getting by a family out walking their skittish sheltie dog. With the footpath being single file, & not wanting to do any ‘cropping’, it took a while to get by & this allowed ARP & Porky Pie to start to get away from the others.
Once by the dog walkers, the Trail led in to another meadow area & then on beside a horse paddock, the footpath was pretty uneven as it moved back toward the hedgerow edge of the Beane, in places it was slightly overgrown with nettles, but as the RA pointed out “They don’t sting this time of year!” Sloppy Seconds said “You always say that!” to the RA.
Apart for the nettles, the other obvious plant material down by the Beane was the tufts of white cotton like bits wafting through the air on the light breeze, this seemed to be emanating from the willows & other osier type of tree, the RA said that he thought that this is known as Old Sludge’s Beard [Old Man’s Beard! – Ed].
The Trail came out to a CHK in the fallow field at the north end of the farm/stables at Oaks, where the river Beane flows around a bend that could become an ox-bow in time. Porky Pie was straight on to the footpath rising up alongside a windbreak of a dividing hedgerow that heads westward, this looked to be the most favourable option. But the Hare had been devious after the fairly long stretch through the valley & Porky Pie was turned back three quarters of the way up the hill. Evil Hare!
Back around the bend in the Beane’s course & another CHK was found, ARP was quickly on to this & Porky Pie was soon back up with her as the senior Hashers still lagged behind a bit, but the Hare’s cunning did allow No Eye Deer to catch up with the other FRBs. The delay in setting out over the footpath toward Walkern was lucky for some, as they would see Tent Packer, ARP & Porky Pie come to a halt at a Bar CHK.
The RA was straight up to another metal kissing gate on through to the paddock beyond, this south-westerly path ran up by the wire fence for another enclosure, this one home to a lot of Sheep & goats. On the way up through the paddock, there was one lonely little & so the FRBs slowed up until it had run back through a small open gate between the two.
After a steady climb up, the Trail reached the top of the hill to pass through another kissing gate the FRBs crossed a piece of rough, uneven feral land. A quick glance back & the FRBs could see ARP & Porky Pie were still making their way up back from the Bar CHK. Being young & spritely these two would soon catch the others up.
The Dust led down to one corner of the feral land, passing through the edge with its unruly hedgerow the Keenies came out on to a Held CHK, where the Hare, Paxo, Jaron & Ketchup were all waiting for the FRBs. Then Fliptop came running along the Short Cut toward the Pack at the Held CHK, & he had the cheek to call out “Keep Running!”. Once the Hare was satisfied that the Pack were all heading the right way, he allowed the search to resume, & to help out he had already marked the CHK but there were still those who weren’t very trusting of the Hare’s motives & treated them with suspicion.
The Trail did head off along the tracks through the greener wheat crop, so the doubters were proved wrong, but that would all change at the Next CHK where the RA & My Lil’ headed out through the hedgerow to run on through the next crop field, on a path which temptingly heads south-westerly toward New Wood. But there was no Trail on the obvious route to where the On Inn sits below New Wood & so these two had to be called back!
A climb up the snaking edge of the rising crop field to the northwest came on to a CHK by a gap in the hedgerow, while the FRBs who went astray made their way on up by a couple out walking their pooch, & then on by Winston & Lucy were who were being taken by them, they could see that No Eye Deer had go wrong at the CHK when she continued around the field!
The RA said that the Trail should now drop down though the stables & just beyond this is a lane that leads on out beside the On Inn. Sure enough, the Dust was found once the Pack had dropped down through the Tree-lined hedgerow, it was found quite away up the lumpy, rock-hard path beside another horse paddock. This route would lead out by the stable buildings & then on to the tree lined end of Holders lane, it would be a simple trot of running down this shady route, passing the On Inn & then following the lane to where it joins Long lane, right beside the Pub.
It was such a nice evening that the Pack could sit outside & enjoy the Ales on offer, there was plenty of talk about the Beer-festival Trail two days earlier but as the RA went about getting ready for the Down-Downs, it was realised that neither Angela or Sis were back. It seemed to be too long for even any walkers not to be On Inn, so Fliptop decided to call Sis (Yes, Technology on the Hash!) but there was no reply as her phone wasn’t switched on!
In the end a search party was formed of Fliptop, Sludge & Paxo in order to rescue the lost damsels (not so in distress). Eventually they were found, after they had gone so far wrong that they had continued through the Bar CHK out by the Beane to end up wandering in to Walkern! There was no Trail there & so they turned back for a long walk in.
Sloppy Seconds couldn’t hang around for the Girls to get back, after he had one of the chips that Porky Pie & ARP had got in & offered to the rest of the Pack, he somehow managed to find one chip with the powers of Superglue as it pulled out one of his back fillings! The RA was surprised at the size of the filling, he reckoned that there was more lead in Sloppy’s hand than there is on some Church roofs these days!
The Circle was finally called once the lost sheep were back. The Hare was rewarded for a great Trail, that was well marked, although the Hare had taken a short cut that Sis & Angela didn’t go on. The two lost sheep where called out for their extra curricular Hashing out to Walkern! Fliptop received a Down-Down for on the previous Trail he accused the RA of not running all of that particular Trail even after he had passed by Fliptop as they ran down toward the Essex Hunt’s Kennels!
Ketchup was out for being the Hare on Saturday’s Trail, where no Down-Downs were had due to the Bar Being packed during the downpour etc. Ketchup would also be there for a bit of Cheese etiquette that Sis informed him & the RA on.
Mr X was called out at the end, where he was presented with another Down-Down for completing over 1,000 Herts Trails & to which he was also presented with a bottle of Raven Port, from the trip to the Tower of London’s Yeoman Warder’s mess.
The Other Trips this year are in Tuesday 17th September, this is fully booked but there may be drop outs, so if you are interested let Mr X know. The other option is Tuesday 15th October, if you are interested please let Mr X know.