Date =                            22nd November 2015

Run Number =            1603

Venue =                        The Swan

Location=                     Wheathampstead

Beer =                           Greedy King IPA, Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted, Bass

Hares =                         Sparky

Runners =                    22

Virgins =                       0

Visitors =                      0                                        

Après Hashers =         0

Newies =                       0

Hounds =                      1

Total =                          23

Membership =             De ja vu!!!


After some musical cars from the Pack to double park, The RA was bewildered by a request from Pebbledash to be allowed to wear the Hashit on today’s Trail, all for Pepé le Pew who is away on course for the next few weeks!  How could he turn this request down!

Tent Packer introduced the Hash to this week’s Trail & soon handed over to Sparky.  There was a mass groan from the Circle as Chilling words were heard from Sparky as he mentioned that there were no Short Cuts, but there would be a 'Walkers' Trail indicated by a W.

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].  

Proving the least 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 only Porky Pie & Sloppy Seconds following on behind Mr X - who was fooled by some crushed chalk kicked out from under the hedge, while My Lil’ choose the opposite side, both were to no avail.

Back down to the Pub car park entrance & the Hare was found standing there & he was not going to give the game away as to where to begin searching.  Paxo was back this week after his noted absence from the previous Trail as he had to do ‘Man-jobs!’ [Ooer Pebbledash! – Ed] where he, TBT OBE, Tent Packer, Foxy, Grease Lightning, Pebbledash followed the arrows around up on to Church Street. 

The Keenies were 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.  From the CHK, the Pack took to heading up Wick Avenue & it was a fair way up this suburban road before they found another Arrow, again these would be quite some distance apart & in retrospect some 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, Grease Lightning, Sludge, Milf, Kokonut, Oxymoron &Tent Packer were soon turning off on to the side street of Malting’s Drive, which would lead around in an anti-clockwise direction & up on to Butterfield road.

The likes of Paxo, Pebbledash & Mr X all mentioned that this Trail was starting to transcend part of the Pack with a group feeling of De ja vu!  Comments of the Trail lasting well from the second week last November to the beginning of March were heard from Mr X, Pebbledash added that it must be set in permanent.

There were no T’s to be found to stop Mr X [As he did last time! – Ed] with Paxo & Pebbledash from reaching the summit of the hill to a point where turns a slight bend & joins Butterfield road, there they were greeted by the sight of Foxy, Grease Lightning, Sludge, Oxymoron, Kokonut, Milf &Tent Packer all running up toward them as they intercepted the Trail. 

Foxy was very vocal at the Short Cutters, but the RA pointed out that Sludge would have mentioned that there were no T’s stopping any further progress!  Sludge agreed as the Pack were soon on to the next CHK where there is a small green to the east where Butterfield road joins ‘The Hill’.

A potential Trail over the nearby Recreation ground & straight down the road to Nomansland common was almost searched by Milf, but Sludge & Tent Packer had already crossed over the road to call “On!”  Over there the RA found a Nightcrawlers’ CD, which coincidently would lead to the GM getting a Down-Down as he showed the RA that he was wearing a Nightcrawlers’ Hash T-Shirt that very morning. [Spooky! – Ed]

 A search of the footpath running behind the homes at the start of Hill Dyke road proved successful, whereas only some 4 months previous the Trail was picked up out on the route on the field side of the hedged-in footpath.  This time the fields edge option ended with a T.  Fortunately this was just beyond a gap in the hedgerow separating the footpath from the fields, the footpath would eventually come out in to the field.

The Pack were finally on a down-hill trot, even if it was the slightest of inclines over the slippery crop field on a southeastward route toward Dyke Lane, where it comes out by Beech Hyde farm.  Foxy accused the RA of ‘Cropping’ as he ran along the stubble side of the path to try & get some purchase in the Shiggy!

There unsurprisingly a CHK was found.  Now, things probably went really wrong at this point in the Trail last time around, as Sludge, Sloppy Seconds & Mr X all recalled how the Trail ran last time & they took to the lane as it turns away to the north & heads back to Wheathampstead. Sludge led the way as he ran up to a footpath that runs through a small pine plantation to the Devil’s Dyke, this time there appeared to be no Trail that way, so they all turned back to the farm’s drive.

Back at the CHK by the farm’s drive & everyone chose to go off through the Beech Hyde farmyard, Psycho, Paxo, Bush Tucker & Fliptop were all caught out as well after everyone had squeezed by a combine sized tractor on the drive before realizing this was not the Trail.  Back past the tractor & out to the CHK once again, where the Hare was found waiting there, rooted to the spot!

The Pack all turned about to search in the footpath options off to the southwest in a fallow field beside the farm, Foxy was seen by the RA as she cut through the wild grass that could be silage, which in the RA’s eyes is far nearer to cropping than running on a bit of stubble!

The Trail emerged on to the S-bend on Cromer Hyde lane, the Trail would head westward a short way to a CHK in a gap in the hedgerow.  As the FRBs made their way up through the wood, it was noticeable how much work had been carried out on thinning out the dead wood & overgrown parts.  The FRBs arrived at the Held CHK on the edge of the lane running through Coleman Green.

While awaiting the arrival of the back markers, the RA noticed a sign warning "Non Authorized Personnel allowed beyond this point!" Which led to this lot of FRBs cocking a Snook & posing for a photo by the sign.

Fliptop, Bush Tucker & pooches arrived as Sparky produced a tatty old half-eaten bag of sweets for the 'Sweet stop' it didn't seem that there were many takers!  As the Pack milled about, Mr X found an old porcelain phone-line insulator that had been uncovered by the clearing out of the thickets, this was offered to Kylie for the railway, but was turned down.  The RA decided it would look good on his garden rockery.

Time to move on, Grease Lightning, Kokonut & Oxymoron headed out southward through the wooded southern edge of the lane to the fields beyond, this was the last time they would be seen by most of the rest of the Pack!  Meanwhile, others found Trail down through the tree-line toward the monument of Bunyan's Chimney, supposedly where John Bunyan lived for a while, when he wasn't in Bedford Jail for his religious tolerance beliefs in the mid 1600’s!

Fliptop had stopped to talk to a couple out walking, they chatted about the Hash & Mr X gave them a card!  This gave then the time to see the other emerge back out on to Coleman Green lane by the chimney.    On the lane down toward the Pub, a large X was discovered on the road, [It certainly wasn’t a W! – Ed] & from here Foxy & Mr X spotted the way back through the recently cleared woodland yards from the way in to the woodland, then off into the fields north of the John Bunyan, Sparky was heard to be making a racket about this not being the Trail, yet the Dust was pretty clear for all to see. 

Foxy was not for stopping, nor was Mr X as they headed back over the fields to emerge on to Beech Hyde lane.  Having made it past the deep rut of Shiggy by the five bar farm gate, the RA led the way on to another tight S-Bend in this narrow serpentine lane, where he spotted a single blob of flour on top of the first fence post on the farm track through Beech Hyde farm.

Out of the Farm passing by the tractor for the third time!  The RA then ran around on to Dyke lane to follow the lane down to where Sludge had been earlier, this time the RA stuck with the high ground by staying on the rustic lane before taking to the footpath running along the top of the ‘Devil’s Dyke’ & peering down from high vantage point he could see blobs of flour in the bottom of the deep hand-cut defensive ditch of this ancient man-made earthworks.

            As it always seems, 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.

Back up along the way up by Dyke lane, TBT OBE suddenly appeared as if out of nowhere & he joined Sludge & My Lil’ on the lane side of the tree-line, suddenly things got competitive as Mr X & Sloppy Seconds ran on the inside of the tree-line, against the other three on the tarmac side to reach the ornate gate at the end!

At the public access section of the Devil's Dyke, the Trail came out through the open gate hung between brick gate posts.  Again there was a CHK at this point, last time the Hash were here 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 Roman war machine 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?

Back to today, with Mr X, Sludge, Sloppy Seconds & My Lil’ knowing which way the Trail went last time, they didn’t hang around, the FRBs knew that the way Inn was along 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, a slight uphill turn to follow Offa’s Way along to Garrard way.  Here the Trail was marked with a W & an L, which puzzled a few as the options seemed to be roughly equidistant. 

Luckily the majority of the Pack got by the Old People’s complex at the end of the road, as they managed to turn up the hill to get on to another alleyway.  The On Inn was found on this as it led out on to ‘The Hill’ then it was a trot down the higher side road running along by the Hill before merging at the same level.  Then it was in to the Swan.

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? 

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 yet again & it seems that Oxymoron, Kokonut & Grease Lightning did an extra loop around over by the John Bunyan at Coleman Green!

The Pack had a room at the back of the Pub, a fee said a platter of chips like last time we ran from here would have been nice, but it seems the Hare didn't ask, instead the pack had to make do with crisps, nuts & scratchings to accompany the excellent ales!

The Circle was held inside, with the ancient internal door being closed before the GM began his toast [Which was well burnt by the time he bad finished! - Ed] The Hare was rewarded for a good Trail, again! That most did a bit more of than last time!

In no order, the other Down-Downs were: Porky Pie for starting to announce something & losing his line, forgetting what he started to say!

Tent Packer was out for wearing a Nightcrawler’s Hash T-Shirt, & the RA explained that it was probably his CD that was thrown on the roadside, as it had Surrender your Love on five different version on it & the GM probably got fed up with each!

Sloppy Seconds was out for the story about Brian the Police Horse candidate, where plod wanted to change his name to something like that of a Greek, Roman or Scandinavian God from Mythology, but the Public demanded that he kept the name Brian  - Brian (sometimes spelled Bryan) is a male given name of Irish and Breton origin, it is common in the English-speaking world.  It is possible that the name is derived from an Old Celtic word meaning "high" or "noble” or related to a cartoon snail!

Paxo was in for being absent doing "Man Jobs" last weekend!  Grease Lightning was out for completing her Decca Fun, the RA recalled the fays when you got a cheap badge & a kiss from General. How times have changed [for the Better! - Ed]

As for the Hashit, well it went to the person who actually asked to wear it around the day's Trail, Pebbledash adorned the Hashit for her husband [Bet he had an uncomfortable night’s sleep that night? – Ed