Date = 16th March 2014
Run Number = 1549
Venue = The Rising Sun
Beer = Whitstable IPA; Riser Ale; Chelmsford;
Hares = My Lil’
Runners = 8
Virgin = 0
Visitors = 0
Après Hashers = 0
Newies = 0
Hounds = 0
Total = 8
Membership = Basking outside the Riser!
The effort to get to this magnificent Pub for Sloppy Seconds involved a 70 odd mile round trip in his Fanny-magnet, while others took advantage of public transport & two of the Pack cycled there in order to enjoy the Ales on offer at this excellent Pub. As for the rest of the regulars, who knows where they were? On a Caribbean cruise perhaps, or may be putting their bathroom back together?
The sun was out again on a consecutive weekend of fantastic weather, the Pack circled up outside of the Riser (as the Rising Sun has been known for many years), it is a picturesque location near to the Berkhamsted Lower Lock (No.54) on the Grand Union Canal.
Paxo did the honours & stood in for the absent GM, he got the run number correct after a bit of head scratching from the RA, followed by a few hints. The Hare was called forward, & My Lil’ didn’t have too many boos at his appearance in the Circle. He informed the Pack that it was the normal Herts markings, it was dry out there, unless you fell in the canal & that was about it, oh & that there would be some uphill climbing involved en route!
The Trail began by following the towpath away to the northeast, passing under the bridge (No.142) by the Boat. Apart from the civilians out like ants swarming along the canal side in the sunshine, there were also squat white cast-iron bollards for tying up canal boats to avoid tripping over. Somehow TBT OBE managed to get safely by all of these terrors! [It wouldn’t last! – Ed]
The level of the canal was quite high as water had been washed up by the wake of a passing narrow boat on to the cobbles under the bridge (No. 142) supporting the end of Ravens lane. Once out from under the bridge, the Pack could look across the canal to see the Berkhamsted Port, with its bargee style decorated trading post signs.
The Trail continued to pass by the Crystal Palace Pub & then up to the next bridge up the canal, this had a decorated plaque declaring ‘Francis Egerton of Berkhamsted 1736 – 1803 the canal Duke’ as the Pack ran up to Berkhamsted Top Lock No. 54
The Dust would climb up on to the road section of the bridge by way of a winding ramp up to the road level, from here a large totem was could be seen, this was created by Henry Hunt & was located there in 1968 by the Great-great grandson of John Alsford, who founded the Alsford’s wharf a former timberyard.
The Trail led across the bridge for Castle Street & over to the west side of the canal, then down on to a CHK in the corner of a green space of Moor Recreation ground on the west side of the canal.
Lemming was off down along the canal tow path but was soon stopped by a T, meanwhile Sloppy Seconds, TBT OBE & Mother were heading along the roadside with the Hare, not that he was to be trusted as he was leading them on to a Bar CHK up toward the High Street!
The RA, having been encourage to catch the others up by a local girl, arrived just in time to avoid both of these Falsies. Fortune smiled on Mr X as he spotted the Hare mark the Trail off on to the green space, by way of a hardcore path on the west edge. The hard capped path would take Lemming & Co back over to the tow path once again as the canal slowly turned slightly to the west.
A CHK was found at the end of the Moor recreation ground, by the edge of Lower Kings road, once over this Mr X decided that he would search straight on between the canal-side & the river Bullbourne, a feeder river that had now appeared on the west of the Grand Union Canal towpath
The next CHK was found by a footbridge spanning the canal from the Supermarket on the west, then over to the local Football Club on the east side of the Grand Union, Lemming decided that he would cross over, while Mr X continued north-westerly. Although Mr X had missed that the Trail was running between the Bullbourne & the canal, he was heading the right way.
A quick look through a gap in the hedgerow & the RA saw the Trail there, he picked it up for the short way left by the Bullbourne before it ran back by the Canal that was dotted with narrow boats & fisher folk along the way. A few more yards up the Canal side & another CHK was found, this right by the start of a footbridge before
A quick trot to the west on a narrow wooden footbridge, then a quick hairpin turn to get on to the rising footpath of a bridge spanning the canal was the way to find the Trail as the Dust kept with the tarmac path at the end of the bridge that soon leaves the green space & goes through a tunnel in the embankment for the railway above.
On the other side the RA found himself in suburban of east Berkhamsted, little did he know as he took the left hand option of the back street he would be following Dust to the end of South Park Road, luckily we don’t have anyone called Kenny on the Hash!
The Trail would now make its way up the streets, climbing the steep hillside by way of Delehay Rise & then to Gaveston drive, the latter being named after Piers Gaveston an unpopular male, who was said to be the lover of Edward II, Edward lavished gifts on Gaveston & Berkhamsted Castle was one such gift. Both would meet nasty ends, after Gaveston was exiled three times for his ‘Unhealthy friendship’ with the King.
Gaveston was ‘Outlawed & finally despatched by three nobles, including the Earl of Warwick. As for Edward II, he was deposed by his wife Isobella (Known as the ‘She-Wolfe of France’) & died imprisoned within Berkley Castle, allegedly he was killed by way of a red hot poker being shoved up his back passage, which left no mark on the outside of his body! When his son, Richard III became of age, he had his mother’s ally Roger Mortimer executed, amongst others, for his Father’s Murder, while his mother was given a generous allowance to retire from Public life, & died in Hertford.
Having gained some 150 feet in height from the canal side, a CHK near to the top of the hillside was held briefly as some stopped to enjoy a respite to catch their breath. Lemming chose to head off south-easterly along the residential street, after the RA had concluded that the other option didn’t lead anywhere.
It took a while for Lemming to find the Dust, as the locals obviously take pride in their homes perched up on the hillside & some had tried to clear up the Trail, but the dusty remnants gave the game away so the Trail could progress on to Murray road to come around on to a CHK on the crossroads with Castle Hill road.
Lemming & Mr X stupidly searched in the exclusive looking estate by Castle Hill farm, it eventually dawned on them that this was the wrong choice & on the way back - as if to rub salt into their wounds, a call of “On!” came from Mother, TBT OBE & the Hare who had all gone off up the other route, off the end of Castle Gate drive. There the Dust was found entering the woodland between the homes & the farmland out to the east of Berkhamsted.
As the RA made his way along the meandering path within the woodland, he heard a loud thud & a long groan up ahead of him, then, as the trail came around a slight bend he saw the sight of someone on the floor. There was TBT OBE lying on his back & completely motionless, the RA suspected the worst until he heard TBT OBE say “It had to happen in front of you, of all people!”
Mr X helped TBT OBE to his feet, then trotted off pointing out other obvious tree roots, & a low hanging branch that TBT OBE should avoid! At the northwest end of the woodland, the next CHK was found on the footpath running along the edge of the Bridgewater School grounds. Here a local kid saw the RA’s T-Shirt & uttered “Hash House Harriers! – Awesome!”
Along the side of the chain-link fencing for the School grounds, to head north-northeast & emerge out in the open farmland on the plateau on the top of the Castle hill. Don’t be confused with the Castle Hill name, as the Castle doesn’t reside up here but is situated back down in Berkhamsted.
A CHK was found on the edge of the first of the enclosed lush green paddocks up here. Mother checked it out to the southeast, while Mr X chose the opposite direction to finds the Trail leading away to the next CHK in the corner of the enclosure. Mr X wasn’t going through the gate five-bar gate or the adjacent kissing gate & on to the farm track beyond, he decided to check it out along the edge of the field in a direction slightly off of north.
Lemming & Sloppy Seconds soon caught up from going wrong at the CHK by the School grounds, they went through the kissing gate to head over toward Cornerfield behind the Bridgewater School. Sloppy Seconds would be vocal about the fact the Hare had again gone off through the gate with them to lure them on to what would be another falsie. Even Mr X wasn’t going to get away from this as he had turned back after hearing Lemming & Sloppy Second’s calls of “On!”!!
It was second time lucky for the RA as he returned to the edge of the enclosure, ahead of the Hash lay one of the greatest views in Hertfordshire & of some of the UK, for over the two verdant valley ahead lay the wooded Northchurch common in the distance, this native woodland is just a small part of the larger Ashridge Common.
The RA would get ahead of the others as he ran down in to the first, smaller of the valleys that was home to a couple of sheep fields, the Dust then led up through a gate in the top corner of the sheep field & on to the corner edge of the first of the crop fields the Pack would now visit
The ground up here was quite hard underfoot, but an encouraging word from a woman walking her dog, the RA followed Dust beside the tree line around to the crossing of footpaths up on this second plateau. He was first on to the Held CHK by a bench in memory of Mr & Mrs Stevens.
The Pack soon regrouped, with Paxo & Hyena making up good ground to be pretty close to the rest when the Hare allowed the Keenies to start searching once more. The RA was the only one to go wrong from the Held CHK, as he headed off to the northeast & was on his way to the larger valley when he was called back by “On! On!” echoing back to him. Bang went his theory that it would be a usual long My Lil’ Trail.
The Trail kept to the high ground for a while as it ran along the farm track at the top of the hill, the track turned to head south-easterly, again there was a fantastic panorama to be taken in. The route began to drop slightly, then at a point where the path split in to two, the Hare marked the CHK with a ‘Trail’ & a ‘Short Cut’. He went on to send Sloppy Seconds & TBT OBE off to the right of the tip of the triangular hedgerow, still heading away to the southeast.
Meanwhile, Lemming led the Hare, Mother & Mr X on the easterly, steep drop down the hillside to come down to the edge of Well Farm. Once in the bottom of the valley, the Four FRBs made their way in a south-westerly direction, beginning in the first of the farm’s horse paddocks, this one having some nags within.
Through the hedgerow & in to the next paddock, there the FRBs met up with Sloppy Seconds & TBT OBE as their footpath took a far gentler drop down to the valley. Hyena & Paxo would also take the SCB route & they weren’t that far behind the Keenies.
The Pack were now on the last stretch, which left the paddocks to run through Kitchener’s field, slightly lower than the Cricket Club & the pavilions to the north, the Pack emerged back out into Berkhamsted on Brownlow road.
A trot along this road led the Hash on by the ruins of the stone remains of the Berkhamsted castle, which was mainly constructed by William the Conqueror [or William the Bastard as he was also known as! – Ed] in the last corner of the grounds was the remnants of one of the two moats that used to surround this historic building.
Unbelievably, William I had beaten Harold at the Battle of Hastings & then marched up England, crossing the Thames at Wallingford due to the lack of bridges, then circled right up to Berkhamsted, to stop at the Anglo-Saxon Castle before heading to London to take the City & Crown himself king on Christmas Day.
The Trail approached the Railway line, to pass through the narrow, almost skewed bridge for the line coming in to Berkhamsted station. Having watch a few drivers seemingly not able to negotiate this almost single track passageway, giving way doesn’t compute for some drivers, the Pack managed to cross over the road once through to the other side of the tracks.
Most just made their way back to the Grand Union to run back Inn behind the Crystal Palace, which meant that instead of going along the road in front of the Pub where they would miss the On Inn near the end of Station road where it meets Raven road.
The day was so good that Lemming had to ask Mother if he could stay a bit longer for another drink, & she agreed even after he had slagged off her cycling ability! The RA awarded the Hare the only Down-Down, leaving TBT OBE’s until the next Run, as he was driving, & his questioning the Hare-line for a golf event? [Which was on it! - Ed)
The Hash enjoyed sitting & watching the narrow boats travelling up & down the canal through the lock, while debating Lemming’s winning of the UK Nash Hash Best Fancy Dress contest, which involved a sarong & a bit of eye-liner! [Yul Brynner in the King & I my Ar*e! –Ed]