Run No. 1511 7th July
Venues: The Six Bells
Beer: Oakham JHB; Citra; Sarah Hughes Ruby Mild; to name a few!
Location: St Michaels’ Village, St Albans
Membership: Crazy Hot!
The weather this week had taken a very quick turn from fairly dull to become a glorious weekend, Sunday being the hottest day of the year so far in 2013 & fortunately there was a slight breeze to keep the pack a little cooler than they could have been.
With such good weather there was a noticeable increase in the amount of civilians out & about, the car park by the Museum (recommended in the weekly email) was chocker with cars well before 11:00Hrs & these didn’t all belonging to the local Church goers!
Those who didn’t take public transport soon found it difficult to find a parking space, & after several attempts at driving around with no luck, the drivers had to go a lot further out to get parked up. The Grand Monkey wouldn’t get around to calling the Circle together until around 11:15!
While waiting for the GM to appear, Mr X took up Sparky on his offer of wearing sun-block. As the RA rubbed the lotion on his skin, he soon became aware that there was a distinct vinegary smell to it. The RA now wondered if it was beyond its sell by date, or if it was some homemade concoction of Sparky’s? Being out of date was more likely & later on he would hear more on that subject.
With the cars being park so far away, the RA decided to ask if he & My Lil’ could leave their bags in the Pub, but when the Barmaid learnt that these two weren’t with the Band the answer was a resounding “No!” Luckily for these two, Paxo, TBT OBE & Ewok had turned up & so the bags were stowed in the boot of Paxo’s car before he drove off in to the distance to park up.
The Circle was finally called out on the street, with Sparky mentioning the Full Trail would be 7 miles in length, there were some groans of discontent around the Circle until the mention of a Walkers Trail calmed those whom were still recovering from Oxymoron’s Trail the week before! Mrs Mallet would be content with the walk through the Park.
The Trail finally got under way & the Pack set off down through St Michael’s village, on the bend in St Michael’s lane, out to the main Hemel Hempstead road, a CHK was found. Tent Packer, Mr X & My Lil all took to the short way out to this main road but were soon sent back as they found a T just around the stone wall for the local school.
The next option was up by the St Michael’s Church & the Verulamium museum, on the way the Pack passed by the flowing water of a burst main beneath the road. Some of the Pack inadvertently went in to the Church grounds while Paxo had found the Trail out through the car park. TBT OBE led those on the consecrate ground, out of a gate & on to the edge of the open playing fields of Veralum park behind the car park.
The Pack soon slowed to a walk as the Dust took to one of the desire lines through the long, wild grassy area beside the Hemel Hempstead road. Tent Packer, Sludge & Mr X all put on an impressive of running as a very fit young woman came running toward them, with her long blonde hair swaying behind her. Not that the RA noticed she had abs like Jessica Ennis, her six-pack got more attention from the men than their Party-sevens did from her! [Your showing your age! – Ed]
A drop in pace to a brisk walk soon happened once the girl had jogged away, back to the Trail & the Dust followed the south-westerly track up through the wild grasses until it was almost in the south-west corner of the park, there a CHK was found.
Sloppy Seconds was now regretting wearing his yellow Herts Polo shirt in the heat of the day, not only was he feeling uncomfortable he was also attracting lots of flying beasties.
It took quite a while for the Pack to get back on track, with everyone spread out in all directions searching for the Dust. No calls of “On!” were heard, just calls of “Are you?” echoed around the grounds. The RA decided that he would search the shaded wooded area that was a part of the ramparts for the old Roman wall, but this search seemed floored as he followed a path up the earthen ridge.
The RA looked down through the wood from his high vantage point, below him he could see Sloppy Seconds walking aimlessly on a lower parallel path, & Sloppy Seconds had just gone by a fallen tree trunk that had flour on one end! The RA descended the wooded ridge & pointed the Dust out to Sloppy, who claimed that he was now “Just on a wander!” but just as soon as the Dust was found, it was lost again!
The RA went down & then up the steep sides of two parts of the ramparts but found nothing on the opposite side as there was nowhere to go as it was pretty much over grown on the top. Again the Pack were all over the place searching for the elusive Dust, some made their way out on to the tarmac path that runs from King Harry lane & heads north-eastward in to the Park, passing between the old Roman Wall on the west & the rampart ditch on the east.
Ewok & Paxo were still on the west of the wall & they Sludge & Tent Packer picked up the Trail, while TBT OBE, Sloppy Seconds, Mr X & My Lil all made their way from the tarmac path & over the wall to get back on Trail, as they Hare instated they did! They could have stayed on the pedestrian route they had left, as the Dust would leave the end of the remains of the wall & come out to a CHK by the west to east path that crosses the route toward Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, & leads through the sports grounds of Westminster Lodge to the east.
The RA almost went wrong as he headed northward toward Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, but he was brought on through the hedgerow & over the field to the east as calls of “On!” came from Tent Packer & Sludge who had picked up the Trail there. The Pack were now out in the open & the heat of the sun beating down on them could be felt as they made their way up toward the edge of the river Ver.
The Trail didn’t take the shaded path up by the river’s edge, instead it kept to the mown area of the sports fields as it took the Pack out on a long trot over to the northeast corner, where a CHK was found near to a small wooden footbridge spanning a part of the river Ver, as it flows beneath Holywell Hill road.
Sludge was straight over the busy road, to follow the footpath along by the Ver as it flows eastward. Meanwhile Mr X & Tent Packer looked up by the seemingly now shut Duke of Marlborough Pub. A quick look behind the Pub & they couldn’t see any Dust there, little did they know that it was hidden out of view just about 20 feet away from where they were on Grove road!
Once over the busy Holywell hill road, the Trail was picked up on the footpath running beside the Ver, the path changed banks by way of a metal footbridge over the river to lead away on the north bank & through the wooded area to emerge out on to Cottonmill lane, by the St Albans diving club at the old swimming pool.
There was no sight or sound of any of the others of the Pack & it took a while for Mr X & Tent Packer to get back on Trail diagonally over the road & on down by the Ver, as it meanders through the edge of the grounds of Old Sopwell Gardens. By now the RA was feeling the combined effects of the heat & the previous day’s watching the British & Irish Lions beat Australia in the third & final test to win the series!
The RA slowed up as he pointed out the old ruined remains of a Lee house to tent Packer, he told Tent Packer some of the history of the ruins, he also added how the Trail was now heading eastward out to the old railway line from St Albans Abbey Station out to Hatfield.
As the two took to the duckboards over the small wet land conservation area, Mr X explained that the Hash used to have to plough on through the Shiggy years ago, but now they can keep their boots dry! Which doesn’t seem quite the same.
Once off of the boards & on past the allotments, the Trail left the river’s edge & passed beneath the railway bridge on a loop around to the south & then back up on to the line to head northward & over the Ver again. By the time Tent Packer & Mr X had made it here, the Trail was already marked up the steps & on to the old line to miss out the loop.
Before this short cut was found marked, the RA was starting to doubt that anyone else had gone this way & had reckoned that Sludge had probably missed this section of the Trail out & gone up Holywell Hill earlier on, but he would have to eat his words as these two found another arrow marking the CHK near to where the railway line comes out behind the homes on at the start of Riverview road.
As they took to Riverview road, Mr X & Tent Packer would see Sludge & My Lil’ up ahead of them, for it was these two who had marked the Trail to cut the loop out. The going was now quite hard & the FRBs were labouring away as there was no shade along the residential street, for part of the way the Keenies slowed to a walk to regain their stamina, especially the slight uphill rise at the end.
The Trail emerged back on to Cottonmill lane, there it would head up the hill to take to Sopwell lane where it would turn westward to head over toward the Hare & Hounds on. The Dust would now weave its way through the back streets & alleyways of the Sopwell area of St Albans before leading out on to Holywell Hill for the last time.
It was on these back streets of the Sopwell area where My Lil’ told the RA that Sludge had doubted that Mr X was following on with the Trail out to the railway line & back! [Touché!-Ed] The RA was not impressed but he did confess that he had thought something similar about Sludge!
The Hare’s cunning had the Keenies cross over the road only yards up the hill from the Duke of Marlborough, for Mr X & Tent Packer they would have to follow the Dust back around on to Grove road, but form the opposite direction where they were just feet away from the footpath running below the school grounds, at least it was shady as the Dust led back in to the Veralum Park.
Ewok seemed to have been luckier earlier on, as she didn’t see the Trail cross the road by the Duke of Marlborough & she found her way back! It seems that Sloppy Seconds went a similar way as he was also back to the On Inn before the FRBs were!
Once out in the south-eastern corner of the enclosed green space below the towering edifice of the Abbey Cathedral, the Dust would continue along the bottom end of the hill until it reached the opposite corner by the old Mill & Ye Olde Fighting Cocks.
The temptation of a Beer stop was overcome as the FRBs were on the last leg of the Trail, this would be by taking to Abbeymill lane up to Romelands, before it came down to Lower Fishpool street [Named after the Abbey Fish Ponds-Ed], this in turn becomes St Michael’s lane before it crosses the Ver at St Michael’s bridge, next to the Kingsbury Watermill & once over this the On Inn was found.
The RA & My Lil’ were surprised that there was no water crossing here, as a ford runs beside the bridge & has been used before on a Herts Trail, a splash in the Ver would have been refreshing on such a day as this one.
Ewok & Sloppy had made themselves at home in the Bar, she asked “What kept you?” to the hot, sweaty & tired FRBs as they queued for an Ale at the outside Bar. Ewok then went on to ask where the Trail went after she had lost it on Holywell Hill, all of which was explained in good time.
Ewok was particularly enjoying the Ciders & the fact that she couldn’t drive Paxo’s car as she had just change her insurance, her apologies later on to Paxo seemed ring a little hollow but entertained the rest of the Pack!
The Hare finally came back, as he & Paxo escorted TBT OBE around the Trail & Sparky was soon like the Spanish Inquisition [No one expects the Spanish Inquisition! – Ed] to check if the entire Trail he had set had been run.
Paxo seemed reluctant to go & get his car, which had the RA & Hare Raiser’s change of clothes in, this also included the Trashes & the Book to sign. He eventually capitulated when it was realised that My Lil’ & TBT OBE couldn’t pay their subs or buy a round as they had no money on them!
Sloppy Seconds made a hasty disappearance as he was in a space that only had a two hour waiting with no return, & Traffic Wardens had been spotted putting tickets on the illegally parked cars down the road. He would not return. The RA still has an account of Sloppy Seconds nine Down-Downs!
Paxo did return & managed to bag a space right outside of the Six Bells, once changed the Circle was called inside the Pub, as it was too noisy outside with the band & all of the punters out there.
With the toast out of the way & the GM handed over to the RA. Sparky was out for setting the Trail, then the RA called out Sludge for doubting the RA had been out to the far end of the Trail, Mr X joined him for his disbelief in Sludge doing the same! As the RA was leading in to story about the next Hit, it was then established that there was no Hashit out on the Trail & so Sludge was called forward, but as the RA handed Sludge his second Down-Down, the GM pulled up his T-shirt to reveal the Hashit beneath. So, it was two Down-Downs apiece for the RA & GM!
After the Circle, the Pack enjoyed more Ales & Ciders on offer, here Sparky told Ewok that he had some wheat-a-bix that morning for breakfast & the sell by date on these was 2004!
The pack finally left as Andy Murray started his quest for another title, Mr X & My Lil’ made their way up to the Mermaid to check it out for the next Friday the 13th Trail in September, & of course sample a few Ciders & Perrys!