Date = 29th June 2015
Run Number = 1623
Venue = The Townsend Nurseries
Beer = Old Speckled Hen, Guinness
Hares = Tent Packer
Runners = 16
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Après Hashers = 2
Newies = 0
Hounds = 0
Total = 18
Membership = More future nuptials!!
The weather was a real mixed bag for this evening’s Trail, there were sunny patches & then over to the north a lot of very dark clouds being blown rapidly toward the Nurseries. It wasn’t a day to take out a classic car, but Ketchup did as he arrived unusually on time & drove in to the car park in a Rover 95.
Tent Packer called the Circle together, being the Hare he remained in the Circle to explain what the pack could expect out there. Talk of “Not much in the way of short cuts!” wasn’t what some wanted to hear, while others were more concerned about that being combined with “It’s about 4 & a half mile in length!”.
The words of “The sooner you get going, the sooner you can get back for the Barbeque!” sent the Hash away up the uncapped end of Townsend Lane to the southeast, this hedged-in track had a slight curve as it runs between the crop field on the left & the small holdings to the right. [Bet Pebbledash is chortling away at the idea of a ‘small Holding’? – Ed]
The Hare suddenly had a change of direction as he headed back toward the nurseries as he forgot the Dust to mark the Trail with. Meanwhile the rest of the Hash came out to the first CHK were the Townsend lane joins the Nicky Way, the former Railway line from Hemel Hempstead, through Redbourn & on to Harpenden, then Luton beyond.
There were at least four options to choose from, the one on the Nicky Way to the west didn’t get too far before being stopped, while the option through the kissing gate & off southward through the crop fields to the west of Harpenden proved to be the correct route. No Eye Deer & Milf were well away down this one, Mr X was soon up with them as the Trail seemed to peter out just beyond the staggered crossroads with an east/west path.
Mr X searched the western route but no Dust was found, it was down to Alfa Male, Beerlanda & Max Factor to find the correct route on the east bound path. Along by the hedgerow & the RA heard the first telling to him of Max Factor & Alfa Male’s betrothal, in a romantic gesture that weekend he had proposed. Would it have happened at the Foo Fighters concert they were supposed to attend before Dave Grohl broke his leg?
Anyhow, the Trail began to turn southward from the direct east the path it began on, with a few drops of rain in the Air, Paxo seemed keen on getting No Eye Deer’s waterproof coat off of her! The Trail turned further southward as the path entered what was tree-lined alleyway behind some of the homes on Park Avenue at the west end of Harpenden.
The Hash headed down on to the edge of the Rothampstead Estate, a turn to the northeast would lead along the edge of a very dry crop field that had a patch of ground that had lots of indentations that could have been made by animals but was the surface was now too hard & lumpy to run on, real ankle turning stuff.
Things improved as the pack made their way out through the hedgerow on to the green grassy area of the sports pitches of Rothampstead Park, there was a CHK there & the Keenies of Beerander Milf, Alfa Male, No Eye Deer all took to the route running along the inside of the hedgerow, but by the time the rest had come around to this point the FRBs were on their way back up to the CHK. So, My Lil’ & Sloppy Seconds both headed out north-eastward along the top edge of the park to run behind the small club-house in that end of the Park.
The Dust had vanished as Sloppy Seconds & My Lil’ searched out on to the dead-end of Orchard Avenue, while Mr X & Alfa Male searched along the hedge on the north-eastern side of the top end of the park, the Pack had almost regrouped at this point & were just like a flock of lost sheep & weren’t going anywhere. By now the temperature had dropped & the dark clouds were now over head & delivering a light precipitation.
The Hare appeared at the CHK back by the western hedgerow, there were lots of strange hand gestures from the Hare that were eventually deciphered to mean “Back this way!” But he came up to the large fallen oak tree trunk that once had a T upon it, but this had been rubbed off, as Sloppy Seconds had a good examination of the top of the bark.
Now the Pack headed down the route that Alfa Male, Beerlanda & Milf had searched once & claimed to have found a T! On the second searching near the bottom of the avenue of trees, the RA took particular notice of the strange shaped blob of flour, it certainly didn’t look like a T to him. Mr X pondered on how these Keenies would fare on Rorschard Test [Ink Blots to you & me - Ed].
The Trail continued along the west end of the Park until it reached a CHK up on the slightly higher track of Coach lane, again this was a CHK with many options, for Beerlanda & Alfa Male it was off along the track that veers away off of the Coach Lane track as it heads toward the southwest.
Meanwhile Mr X continued along Coach lane to the west, both were Falsies! The Real Trail was eventually picked up on Coach lane, but down the darker shaded pine wood section to the southeast. This path under the shelter of the tree canopy sheltered the Hash from the light rain in the air, the Pack now ran between the small industrial estate behind the fence on the right & the tennis courts behind the trees on the left.
No Eye Deer pointed out the rubbish left in amongst the trees by the kids, while Mr X had spotted that the good people of Harpenden who walk their pooches around the park do actually bag up the pooch poop, it’s just a shame that so many of these were discarded around the grounds of Rothampstead & never make it to the bins for dog waste. Perhaps they expect their butlers to go around afterwards & clean up?
A Held CHK was found by the single house at the end of Coach lane, where it joins Leyton road. Little Hole decided that he would sneak a bit of shelter from the very light rain by standing under the cottage’s porch. The Pack looked out over the main road toward the Common while they waited for the rest to arrive.
The Silver Cup, as short way up to the north looked tempting as a shelter from the precipitation, Mr X & My Lil’ said that they wouldn’t mind a pound for each time they had been in there in years gone by when Shambler used to set a Trail in Harpenden on a regular basis, he only ever used the one place & that was it! But this hostelry wasn’t going to offer any respite on this Trail.
When the Trail started again, the Hare was kind enough to show the Pack the way from the Held CHK, this was away in the direction to the south & when Beerlanda saw the signpost for West Common she added a “There’s nothing common about west common!”
Milf was impressed by the large boulder that sits upon the lawn outside of the front of the impressive frontage of the Rothampstead House. The Trail continued along beyond the sign post showing the way for a footpath back in to the Rothampstead Experimental Station grounds, but as much as My Lil’ was tempted to do a Sludge & go have a look up there, he would be wrong as the Trail continued southward to the next footpath off to the west. On the subject of Sludge, he was absent this week as he had a party to attend…………….. a pizza party at which there would be a lot of kids!
The RA noticed beside the short access road, that there several bunches of flowers on a bench on the green separating West Common lane & the main A108 St Albans Road. Beyond this are a line of old small cottages, these small two up – two down homes bear a plaque that states that they were built & maintained by an Annuity from the Blue Boar Pub in St Albans!
Something that had changed was the dilapidated old cottage by where the footpath heads back in to Rothampstead Estate, this has been replaced by a completely new built cottage. The Trail now had Alfa Male, Milf, Beerlanda & No Eye Deer all following the route around the perimeter of the grounds to the southernmost point of the Research Centre grounds on a Stoney concrete path out in to Hatching Green. By now the rain had ceased.
This nice little hamlet is now a part of the greater Harpenden area, with its triangular green & old walled gardens, a CHK was found there, though it didn’t take long for the Trail to be picked up once more, this time through the entrance for the drive way heading north-westerly up to Rothamsted Manor House.
It was a long trot along the tarmac drive, but at least there were the information signs to stop & have a brief look at sights along the way, including the area of British Willow conservation, as the Pack neared the main ornate entrance to Rothamsted Manor House the Trail was diverted by an arrow to cut diagonally between two fields that are a part of the insect tracking monitoring project, to a point where it came out to a CHK on the green space to the north of the Manor house.
A CHK was found just away from the Elizabethan red brick buildings & walls gardens, which look impressive in their Dutch Style of Architecture, years ago H4 used to run through the centre of the grounds but in recent times this has been stopped due to the Anti GM Crop activists causing problems, this also the reason that nearly all of the estate has CCTV cameras.
The Pack had three options from the CHK, with the Girls all choosing to take the north-east track on the Coach lane path that Mr X had been down earlier. No one looked at the option of heading into Manor Wood to the west, instead the others followed along behind Alfa Male as he took to the tarmac road to the northwest.
Along this long stretch the Hash would pass by the one of the station's best known & longest running experiments with the Park Grass Experiment, a biological study that started in 1846, it has been continuously monitored ever since. This route became a concrete path heading toward the centre of the estate, it was a long stretch for the Pack to undertake. Those who have ran around here on previous occasions knew that it was now a long trot out to Knott wood.
The Trail completed a large Z-shaped turn to come away from the centre of the park farm & back on to the north-westward route, the dry grey clay soil was as hard as concrete underfoot & this would not let up until the Trail entered Knott wood. It was pretty dark within the wooded area for those who stuck with the Trail, but at least it wasn’t that far until it emerged out of the northeast corner to a CHK on the edge of the Nicky Way.
From here the RA dismissed the option on the path straight across & off down by the local Stables of Harpendenbury Farm, instead it was a straight trot back along the former railway line, since they were so far ahead Alfa Male & Mr X began walking the most of the way back.
By now the clouds were being blown away & the sun was out. The route with its large established hedgerows on either side took a slight arc around to the northeast, on the way the RA pointed out where the path that comes from the stables emerges through a part of the Golf Course & re-joins the Nicky way.
The Hare didn’t bother to put any more CHKs in as he knew that there would be those who knew the way Inn wouldn’t be lured away from the obvious route back & over toward the area that is the site of a Roman villa that now lies hidden beneath the fields
Mr X also pointed out ‘Kylie’s Plaything’ to Alfa Male, as they came up to the junction with Townsend lane, there’s an information board to be found & this has a wind-up handle that powers a generator for a series of short recorded talks from people who had connections with the railway in its former glory.
A short trot back down to the Nurseries, where the smell of a barbeque was wafting through the air, an incentive if ever to put a spurt on to end the Trail in an hour & 10 minutes. The Pack returned to discover Peter & Mrs Mallet had set up the tables & chairs, complete with crisps etc.
Kylie was one of the last ones back from the Trail & it wasn’t because he was walking, as he confessed that he did indeed stop & play with the talking storyboard about days gone by on the former railway line
The Pack enjoyed a can or two, to go with their splendid Barbeque. Mr X was happy as Ketchup had brought along a Chilli Sauce from Norfolk that contains West Indian Scorpion Chillies, rather good it was too! Talk of the Wheelbarrow race soon came around. As well as a few more hints to the RA about the engagement of Max Factor & Alfa Male.
After the meat course had been finished, the weather was still bright but the temperature had dropped a few degrees, so the main table was carried in to one of the glasshouses for the Circle to take place, this also keeps the noise of the singing out of earshot of the locals.
The GM toasted the Hash & then the RA took over the Circle. Two Hares were called forward, Tent Packer for this week’s Run & Paxo for the Thursday Trail – he also deserved his for trying to relive No Eye Deer of her raincoat! Max Factor & Alfa Male were out for their engagement; Those, who were present & represented Herts in the Braughing Wheelbarrow Race were awarded a Down-Down, including tent Packer & No Eye Deer who had Frenchman themed costumes, Milf was on her hit without her partner of Ewok was not there, but these two were Saints & Sinners, to make up the last of the group were Ketchup & Mr X who were Napoleon & Wellington.
Sloppy Seconds wanted to give out the Hashit to Mr X, obviously he missed the RA wearing it the other week, as Sloppy was down in Devon & he ran with Teign Valley & there he was presented with the Teign Valley Hashit by Able Semen! But the tables were turned on Sloppy, which proved popular with Mr X, & may have just been down to the Pack with their ‘pantomime booing’ indicating that that they believe it is far worse for sloppy to yet again claim he didn’t have any money on him to pay his Hash fees & had to put it on ‘Tick’. Finally Peter was awarded his Down-Down for hosting the Hash.