Date =                            9th March 2014

Run Number =            1548

Venue =                        The Two Willies Willows

Location=                     Welwyn Garden City

Beer =                           Ghost Ship; London Pride; St Austall Tribute; Doombar

Hares =                         Mr X

Runners =                    17

Virgin =                          0

Visitors =                       0                                        

Après Hashers =         0

Newies =                       0

Hounds =                      2

Total =                          19

Membership =             Celebrating George’s Birthday, & Sparky’s too!

 

The sun was out in style this morning, it seems to have been a long time since we have had a bright & warm a morning as this, though to be fair it hasn’t rained on a Trail for a while now, with the Pack out on those grey days managing to get around fairly dry! 

It was so mild that it would become the hottest day of 2014 to this point in the year.  With a fair day in prospect the turn-out was far better than it has been in recent weeks of dull, wet weather.  My Lil’ decided that he would bring Lola, his new hound, out for her first Herts Hash.

The Hare returned from setting the Trail a mere 30 minutes before the Pack would circle up, he found he was sweating after stopping outside of the Two Willows to await the others to arrive.  For those who did make it this morning, they were in for a bit of a shock as Junior had ventured out all of a mile from his home to join the Hash. 

There seemed to be a running theme with the first words utter by each arrival, as many were confused & were trying to work out if it was Christmas as Junior was there & these days he’s normally only seen on the Herts Hash at the Christmas Dinner!  The RA was soon getting fed up with the earache over this!

Once Pebbledash had returned from the Ladies, Sludge took up his position of GM to welcome the Pack to the Correct Run number!  The notable missing person was Sparky, who had been seen driving past the venue but ended up a fair way away from the Pub to park up.

The Hare was called forward, Mr X went on to explain that it was the normal Herts markings, that there was a Held CHK, a Ladies CHK, Short Cuts & there a few roads to be crossed, but more importantly was that on the Pack’s returned there would be food & a tab so the first drinks were on Sparky, who was footing the bill to celebrate George’s 72nd Birthday!

The Trail started by taking the Pack up Parkway to head north-eastward, running on the east side as it passed by John Lewis’s store that was the former Welwyn Department Store.  At the northwest corner two arrows directed the Pack over the first of two pelican crossings, this was toward the memorial for the founding of Welwyn Garden City, the second crossing was almost at a right angle to the first, the latter took them over Bridge road to ‘the Campus’. 

Like the Parkway, all of the spring flowers were in bloom, with plenty of Daffodils on show, that a friend of the RA’s says are ‘Happy flowers’ as they know Spring is on its way!  Would there be as many happy daffs on show at Twickenham later on that day?

Sludge began to veer off course on this large green space that is a semi-circle in shape, he was called back from the steps & benches at its centre, when Tent Packer & Pepé le Pew called “On!” as they ran over to the trees on the west side of the Campus, there a Verdi Gris [green-grey] statue of a nude male, standing on tip-toes & stretching arms upwards, is located & this would be the Ladies CHK the RA had mentioned earlier. 

Pepé le Pew was convinced that when Pebbledash arrived to see the Statue ‘Ad Astra’ [to the Stars] she would compare the not so well endowed figure to that of Pepé le Pew’s physique.  The nude male doesn’t have much going for him & no one would have been surprised if the little weeny had a COCK-tail stick sticking out of it!

When the Trail resumed, No Eye Deer was first on to the Trail when she found it would cross the road at the northern pelican crossing, once over the road the Trail turned eastward by the front of the Campus West building, which amongst other things is the home to the Hawthorne Theatre, named after the late Sir Nigel Hawthorne.

The Dust again led slightly off of north, up toward the ‘White Bridge’ at the start of Digswell road.  Most of the Keenies were caught out by running over the ‘White Bridge’ & onto a Bar CHK just by the crossroads with Sherrards Road.  They came back & a few peeked over the parapet of the arching bridge to see My Lil’ was progressing behind Pepé le Pew on the Ayot Way below to the west.

The Former Welwyn Garden City to Wheathampstead railway line is now a popular walking & cycling route, this leads from behind the Hawthorne Theatre on a slow arcing turn of the first part of a serpentine like route as it makes its way along the edge of Sherrards Park Wood.  For Junior & My Lil’ this should be an area of local knowledge, so any of the Pack who were unsure as to where the route may go, perhaps should have been wise to keep an eye on these two.

Pepé le Pew was straight through the next CHK, he wasn’t tempted to leave the former line this early in the Trail & he picked up the Dust further along the way.  My Lil’, Junior, Sludge, Tent Packer & TBT OBE all followed on as they began to get away from Ewok, No Eye Deer, Puddles, Pebbledash, Lofty & Henry with Paxo, Backpack, Hyena, 2-1-2 Maureen making up the back of the Pack.

Sparky caught up before the Trail left the former railway route, he complained to the Hare that the Trail wasn’t very well marked where it runs up to the Ladies CHK!  Perhaps he ought to look at the trees, were the Dust was placed to prevent the Trail being kicked out.

Back to the Trail & this would turn off the Ayot Way at the point where a former level crossing used to be, Pepé le Pew & the other FRBs made short work of the CHK by heading down the tarmac ramp onto to the oval suburban road of Reddings.

My Lil’ & Junior were soon over to one of the main entrances to Sherrards Wood, there the next CHK was found on a drain cover before the information boards explaining the Wood’s classification as a place of Special Scientific Interest, due to its broadleaf trees.  There were also a few A4 sheets about the work being carried out within the Park, that includes the removal of diseased Beeches & old Sycamores.

On approaching the entrance to the Park, Ewok spotted a rider out on her horse & said that she was in two minds that morning whether to put on her jogging bottoms or her Jodhpurs, the RA said that there was nothing wrong if she had turned up to run around in her Jodhpurs!

The FRBs were soon on to the footpath running northward up the inside of the east edge of the woodland, it was slightly up hill  & just as it levelled out a CHK was found by an area that had seen some Sycamore’s removed.  The Hare found that TBT OBE was making good use of one of the tree stumps that had been cut to make a seat for weary travellers.

It was clear how much work has been carried out in thinning out of the trees, in places the sun rays were beaming down through the less dense canopy.   There are various reasons this has been undertaken, from the removal of non-native species like the Rhododendrons, to those trees that are diseased.  In places the woodland does look a tad sparse to what it once was.

Tent Packer, My Lil’ & Junior continued on northward to find a T up by another area of tree work, not all of them came back to the CHK to pick up the Trail heading deeper into the woodland, instead they cut through the scrubby bushes to get on to a north-westerly path through the leaf litter of the coppiced area.

The Trail made its way on between the Conduit wood & Temple wood parts of the parkland, a CHK was found just before the woodland ends on a hill which drops down to the open green area before the homes of the Knightsfield part of Welwyn Garden.

While Sparky checked it out to the east, on a path that runs back behind a local school where there was no dust, & nor was there any northward down to the green space where Tent Packer was heading.  It was down to Junior to pick up the Trail, as it left the path on a shiggy path that weaved its way through some holly bushes & over a fallen tree to then turn left & head over toward the reservoirs at the north end of the main woodland.

 As the Trail progressed westward, the RA noticed that Pepé le Pew had gone wrong at the next CHK, he was coming back to join the rest just as the Trail was picked up on another path of Shiggy that took the Pack on to a CHK near to the edge of the Rectory road to Digswell Place.  It seemed that while Pepé le Pew had come back to the fold, Sludge was no longer with the Keenies & was off on his own Hash!

There was no leaving the Shiggy & leaf litter for the dry tarmac lane, as the Dust led through the bushes on a purpose made horse track that would lead out to the car park running eastward of the reservoir.  A CHK was found here but it didn’t take the FRBs long to work out that the Trail would head southward on the long bridleway down to ‘Sixways’ a place where almost every Herts Trail within these woods always seems to reach a Held CHK, where three bridleways cross each other.

Just for a change the Hare had decided not to go up to this usual stop, instead the lure of a path of deep Shiggy to the right was preferred, but all of the Keenies missed the Dust there & they blindly continued on to Sixways decorated with several wood carvings. 

The Hare stuck to the proper route & saw those who were guilty of Short Cutting on the north-easterly track toward the Red Lion on Digswell Hill.  Sloppy Seconds was pretty vocal in getting his excuses in early to the Hare, as the FRBs caught up where the two paths met.

Now, it would be too easy to have taken the Keenies straight up toward the Red Lion, so the Hare decided that another off the main route trot was in order, the Dust led now ran down a slightly steep leafy bank to a small stream running in the bottom of this gulley.

Junior was the first to see the rope swing that was hanging from the branch of one of the old sycamores; he grabbed a hold & swung out over the watery ditch.  A rope swing is always too much of a temptation for the Hash! 

Once Junior had his swing on the blue rope, Pepé le Pew also had to have a go, but as the onlookers watched the bough bend under his weight they all moved back a bit!  It must have put them all off as the only other takers were the kids out for a walk with their parents, the civilian kids were interested in the anticis of the crazy adults, who had run down to have a swing on the rope!  Then the kids had to go on the swing.

The Keenies made their way up the tree-lined embankment to where a CHK once was only 40 minutes earlier, the scattered dusty remains on the mossy top of the bank were still there to see.  It wouldn’t be the same without some Numpty kicking out the Trail in Sherrards! 

Once down from the earthen embankment, most of the Keenies thought that there would only be two options to choose from, as they were now back on the Ayot Way, but not Sparky.  Oh No!  He had decided to scramble up the opposite bank where there was no Dust at all!

Junior, Pepé le Pew, My Lil’ & Sloppy Seconds all began to head off down the former line to a point where a wooden railing  that  headed to the northwest, this ramp like structure had Dust on it & led the Keenies back up to the wide track of the bridleway that heads up to the Red Lion.  The Dust turned to the left & the Trail did indeed move in the direction of the Red Lion, but just up on the level another CHK was found.

Only Pepé le Pew decided that he would take the Shiggy path leading in to the Brockswood part of Sherrards, Junior must have been heartbroken to have to come back from heading toward the Red Lion as Pepé le Pew called “On!”  Sparky & Sloppy Seconds were soon tagging along behind Pepé, as the Dust led through the Shiggy on a meandering path over toward the southwest.

The Path ran through another coppiced area & then on to the undulating area of round pits, a short but steep drop down in to the lower dell led on to a Held CHK.  Pepé le Pew watched the golfers out on the 15th Hole of the Welwyn Garden City Golf Club, at the Held CHK the Hare produced a bag of Jelly Babies, which were handed around.  Lola seemed very interested in the sweets, unlike Henry who wasn’t bothered!

The Pack were held up until Hyena, Paxo, Backpack, Pebbledash, 2-1-2 Maureen, No Eye Deer & Pebble dash to arrived, they had been delayed in explaining the what the Hash is all about to the parents of the kids who were still on the rope swing.  It was still apparent that Sludge was absent from the Hash!

                The Trail resumed & the Pack were soon on to the path running along the edge of the golf course, as it makes its way along to the edge of Brockswood lane, a T was found down this route & the Keenies were going to turn back until the Hare, who was in a generous mood, called for them to carry on!

At the bottom of the wooded hill, the Trail came out on to the tarmac lane by the old Scout hut & then made its way up the inhabited part of Brockswood lane.  The pavement climbed up the high grassy bank above the road below, up there Lofty noticed a box of Which magazines that were free to take from the end of the garden, not hat anyone did.  The terrain the path was on began to gently drop down to the level of the road on its way toward the town centre.

The final CHK was found opposite the junction where High Oaks leaves Brockswood lane to head off to the south, Pepé le Pew was found sitting on the bench behind a bright red pillar box as he waited for the rest to catch up.  TBT OBE, Tent Packer & Sparky continued down Brockswood lane, but a T would bring them back to join the rest in heading off down High Oaks.

Only TBT OBE & THE hare took the Short Cut down Brockswood lane, no one was sure what Sludge had been up to as he still was not in sight, the Pack went down High Oaks & then were directed over the road to the dead-end cul-de-sac of Dognell Green, at the end of this is the local tennis club by which a short alleyway out on to he corresponding cul-de-sac of Dellcott Close.  There are some nice houses to admire around this part of town as the Trail came back out to Brockswood lane again.

The final part of the Trail was to turn off on to Valley Road, a short way down this & arrows directed the Hash over to run up Russellcroft road & up to the On Inn found just beyond the crossroads with Handside lane.  As the Pack came Inn, ahead of them the Coronation Fountain [1953 Queen Elizabeth II] could be seen in full flow on the Parkway.

The Pack settled to sit outside the Pub, it was glorious & made a change to be able to drink al fresco.  Mr X had set up a tab & made sure that the Inn coming Pack received their first drink on Sparky. 

A little later on & the Hash were treated by Sparky with some food to celebrate George’s Birthday, the chicken wings were nice but there was a slight miscommunication between Mr X & the Pub when he went in there during the week to sort out the food!

All the sandwiches were egg [Where was Skip as he likes Farty Egg? – Ed] this was due to the RA being told by Sparky that he is rather partial to egg sarnies & some how it was lost in translation!  It wasn’t too much of a problem, unless you were TBT OBE or Junior!  But the different dips made it easier to scoff the sarnies before getting egg-bound!

When it came to the Circle, Sludge had made an early exit [No Doubt to avoid getting a Down-Down for going on his own Trail? – Ed] so Paxo called the Circle to order & toasted the Hash, he then handed the Hare his Down-Down.  Everyone agreed the Trail as a good one, taking an hour to get around, except for Hyena as he stated that it took him an hour & 15 minutes!

Normal Service was resumed as Mr X took the Circle, on his list of sinners were Junior for the RA having ear ache as everyone commenting on his appearance this morning.  Pepé le Pew was out for expecting Pebbledash to say that the little chipolata on the nude male statue was like his, but she didn’t & joined Pepé le Pew after saying it wasn’t the size she recognized but the Verdi-Gris colour that was the same!  TBT OBE for sitting on the stumpy chair in the wood, while Tent Packer finally received his 50th Herts Run Bag! 

 Back in the Bar & Ewok enjoyed the cider, then it was one of the original designs for a ‘Garden City’ by Sir Ebenezer Howard that occupies one wall of the bar.  She & Pepé le Pew were tickled by the area of forest for Epileptics, the home for waifs & the home for inebriates!

Welwyn Garden City being the World’s 2nd Garden City after Letchworth.  Also on show is a picture of the scene from ‘The World’s End film, where this Pub was known as the Famous Cock [Whoa! Pebbledash! – Ed] ironically its name at the time was the Cork but was changed to the Two Willies Willows as the name Welwyn is supposed to originate from the name of the Willow tree!

Those who left early, abandoned a few hardy souls who stayed on to watch the Rugby, where they saw a lot of unhappy Daffodils to see at the end of the good match!