Date = 9th November 2014
Run Number = 1586
Venue = The Swan
Beer = Greedy King IPA, Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted, Bass
Hares = Sparky
Runners = 18
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Après Hashers = 0
Newies = 0
Hounds = 2
Total = 15
Membership = FRBs on a short Trail, SCBs on a Marathon!!!
Everyone seemed to be in Wheathampstead in fairly good time & had parked up well before the High street was closed to through traffic, allowing the Remembrance Day Service & Parade to take place outside of St Helen's Church. A few discussed where the Hash were the previous Remembrance Day, it was in Welwyn, as the Swan had been shut for almost 18 months after the upstairs was destroyed by fire, so I would be good to see how the Place has change since all of this occurred.
The service took place, attended by nearly all of the Pack, the exceptions were the Hare, Foxy, Paxo & Sludge who all remained back up in the Swan's car park, the latter declaring himself too scruffy to be seen at the service!
With the Service over, the Pack now headed back up to the Swan, where Paxo, as JM, stood in for the absent GM! With the welcome out of the way it was over to the day's Hare.
Chilling words were heard from Sparky as he mentioned "It was dark out there when finished setting the Trail!" These did not enthuse most of the Pack! The Hare rambled on about scuffed out Trail, which he said was down to him! Tractor tracks could be used to avoid brambles & that there were no Short Cuts, but there would be a 'Walkers' Trail indicated by a W.
Time was passing & some were losing the will to live, among them the RA after the previous day's F.U.K Full Moon Hash that had a stop where the Pack were treated to very generous shots of Irish Whiskey at Fergus’s place! The Herts Pack finally set off as the Hare faffed about putting Foxy's excess clothing on his car, all had ideas of heading up the hillside of 'The Hill' on one side or the other. [Not the most original name for a road but it does what it says on the tin! – Ed].
With civilians walking back from the Remembrance Day Service the start was rather slow as both sides of the steep up-hill road were searched. Proving the most popular was the option with the narrow footpath from up a set of steps & then on to run by the school grounds on the west of the Hill, this had had most following on behind Mr X, while Sloppy Seconds choose the opposite side, both were to no avail.
Back down to the Pub car park & the Hare was found standing within the entrance & he was not going to give the game away as to where to begin searching. Some wondered whether this could be like the Mark E Mark special from Hertingfordbury where all footpaths out of the village ended in a Falsie! All of which kept the Pack occupied for 40 minutes until the penny dropped!
Some of the afore mentioned civilians laughed as Mr X explained the reason for the condition he was in that morning, that he was forced to drink Fergus’s extra special generous shots of Jamesons’! [Well it would have been rude to have turned them down! – Ed]
At the double roundabout junction at the south end of the High Street, Paxo was seen going off over to search the Marford Road to the east, but nothing was there. TBT OBE was right on top of the Trail as he stuck with the west side of the street & stumbled upon a one side arrow on the corner, this pointed the way up Church Street.
Mr X was soon on to this & up to the first CHK, which was located on the opposite side of the road from Old Rectory Gardens & Bury road. TBT OBE was tempted to cross over the still closed off road, while Mr X continued up Church lane to where it becomes Brewhouse Hill, the RA would pick up the Trail once again.
The climb up the now hill began & the RA knew that there were options off to the left, he soon found another CHK opposite the parked-up Police Car with its blue lights flashing away to indicate that the road ahead was closed to traffic.
From the CHK, Mr X took to head up Wick Avenue & a fair way up this suburban road he found another Arrow, these would be quite some distance apart & in retrospect he may have missed out where the Trail could have taken to one of the alleyway footpaths that intersect & join the roads on the hillside.
Foxy wasn’t too far behind the RA as he made his way further up the Hill, again the civilians leaving the Service slowed the progress of some of the Pack, but with Sludge, Sloppy Seconds, No Eye Deer & Milf no Cookies, she was slowed up as they had to get by more civilians & search for the sparse Trail.
Mr X got further away from the others, as he climbed southward & reached the summit of the hill to a point where turns a slight bend & joins Butterfield road. He was soon on to the next CHK where there is a small green to the east where Butterfield road joins ‘The Hill’.
Potential Trails over the nearby Recreation ground & then straight down the road to Nomansland common were searched by the RA & no Trail was found, as he headed back this gave Sludge & Sloppy Seconds time to cross over the road & search the footpath running behind the homes at the start of Hill Dyke road, Milf no Cookies & Foxy me the RA on his way back & they too crossed over to pick up the Trail in the fields to the south of Wheathampstead.
The Pack were finally on a down-hill trot, even if it was the slightest of inclines over the crop field on an southeastward route toward Dyke Lane, where it comes out by Beech Hyde farm. There a CHK was found.
Now, things probably went really wrong at this point in the Trail, as Mr X used his local knowledge to choose to take to the lane as it turns away to the north & heads back to Wheathampstead. He ran up to a footpath that runs through to the Devil’s Dyke
Mr X found Dust in the gap through the high & thick hedge, his calls of “On!” would bring Milf no Cookies, Foxy, Sludge & Sloppy Seconds away from the other footpaths they were searching to follow on behind him. My Lil’ would also use his local knowledge & take to the same route as the RA
The RA ran within the small area of pine trees to the south of the Devil's Dyke, the narrow path weaved its way between the pines, care was also taken to avoid the brambles intruding across the meandering path. The having reached a large Sycamore, this marked the start of the Devil's Dyke, & a slippery descent would lead down to the leaf-litter strewn floor of the ancient man-made earthworks.
There was plenty of cold, wet Shiggy in the bottom of the dyke, the Trail did not waver from the pretty straight run in the bottom of the tree lined embankments.
Those who have some experience of running through here before, many moons ago, could recall the time when Fartin Martin came a cropper in the Shiggy, fortunately these days that dodgy boggy section now has a length of duck-boards to try & keep clumsy ones from going face first into the Shiggy.
At the end of the public access section of the Devil's Dyke, the Trail came out through the open gate hung between brick gate posts. The FRBs now decided to have an impromptu regroup.
Milf no Cookies & Foxy arrived with Sludge, Sloppy Seconds, Paxo, My Lil' & Fliptop with Lucy in tow. Mr X gave those unfamiliar to this area a brief history lesson on the Devil's Dyke actually being created as a defensive ditch by the settling Belgae tribe, who would become a pain in the side of the Romans when they invaded! The area was excavated by Sir Mortimer Wheeler & they reckoned Caesar got a tad narked by Cassivellaunus & finally arrived with his army en masse to give them a good pasting!
Have mentioned this, the Pack took a look at the new information board that explains all of the above facts in a bit more detail! A couple of wits came out with the same thing about asking the Hare what it like back in 54BC?
Now, the rest of the Pack didn't seem to be following on, a few FRBs became restless & wanted to move on. So, the RA & JM allowed the rest to start searching again.
The Trail turned the end of the hedge to head westward along Tudor road, though looking at the nice homes there it should be called 'Mock Tudor' road.
At the dead end of the road the Trail took to an alley that led between a few back gardens to emerge in to Conquers’ Hill road. On his way out of the alleyway, the RA stopped to pick up a discarded bottle to throw in the nearest bin, TBT OBE followed on & picked up the broken body of a toy pistol. The RA said that TBT OBE may be pleased to have such a thing as he could put himself out of his misery if the Trail panned out to be a bad one.
The Pack came down the road to get to the edge of the Marford road, suddenly the Trail was gone, not for the first time & with the previous long gaps between markings & no Ts to stop any wayward Hashers [Sludge? - Ed] the FRBs would soon be split up one last time.
The RA & Milf no Cookies both crossed over to the side street of Necton road, with the RA wondering if the Trail would cut through to the playing fields behind the bottom of the almost U shaped road & then by the allotments to Mill lane?
After along trot away from the soccer pitches & down a Shiggy path to Mill lane, Milf no Cookies & Mr X came out on to Mill lane & found no Trail at all, not even by the ford! So, they headed back, but couldn’t find any sign of the rest or any other markings, so as the RA had his wallet with him - plan B was put into action & that was to head straight back to the Pub, which lay at the west end of the Marford road.
The RA said he was prepared to run the Gauntlet of being first back to the On Inn, but he need not have worried as Hyena, My Lil’, Sloppy Seconds, Sludge, Fliptop, Frankie & Skip were already there! Oh, & of course Kylie who only got as far as the first CHK!
The FRBs changed & then sat down with a decent pint, firstly they enjoyed Sloppy Second’s cheese biscuits [Hash Food! - Ed] but the main concern was to where the Trail went? Sludge, My Lil’ & the others found Dust back through an alleyway linking Offa’s road to the Hill, but they said that there was no “On Inn”!
By the time the FRBs started on their second pint, it was becoming clear that a large part of the Trail must have been missed. The minutes passed by & it was around half an hour later when 2-1-2 Maureen was spotted walking down the Marford road toward the Pub, it turned out that she had lost the Trail & came back Inn on her own. She was not along as Bush Tucker did the same & came in a few minutes later!
Skip tried to call Psycho, but couldn’t do so, he was now worrying about what SWMBO* would say when she returned to find him all comfortable in the Pub? *She Who Must Be Obeyed! The time still passed by before Psycho, No Eye Deer, Flanders & the Hare finally came in, apparently they ended up near the John Bunyan at Coleman Green! MAKES Kylie’s decision to do the first CHK & then retire to some alcoholic pain killers!
No Eye Deer left before the Circle was called a bit later, to allow those late back to have a respite. When the Circle did take place, there were some Down-Downs carried over from the Previous Week, where it was £4:10 a pint!
The Hare was rewarded for a Trail [He would like to use again! –Ed] for those who didn’t follow its full course! The RA then went on to call Skip forward as he celebrated 70 Years, it was his birthday that very day! Kylie was out for sporting a beard that the RA wondered if it could lead to a Battle of the Santa’s at the Christmas Weekend?
Psycho was out for joining a Zumba Class with Party Animal & the Pack were treated to a quick demonstration! My Lil’ for looking like Keith Richards warmed up on the way back from the Full Moon Trail the evening before! The RA took a hit himself as the Chips he had mentioned the week before had not materialized, he did forget to ask when he got back from the Trail!
Paxo was out for completing his 700th Run with Herts, though the rest of the Pack struggled to recall what you get for 700, an engraved picture frame?
Back in the Pub, where Hey-Presto the Chips & Onion rings that were mentioned before, were brought out for those who stayed on to enjoy more Ale in the somewhat brighter but pretty much unchanged proper Pub! A couple also got to see the backroom that can be used for small events.
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We shall remember them.