Date = 8th November 2015
Run Number = 1647
Venue = The Swan
Beer = Bitter & Twisted; Landlord; Doombar
Hares = Sparky
Runners = 17
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Après Hashers = 0
Newies = 1
Hounds = 1
Total = 20
Membership = Paying our respects!
Remembrance Sunday came around again & this not being our first time of running from the Swan, but there was a bit of toing & froing of cars to double-park in order not to fill up all of spaces in the Pub’s small car park. Some of the regulars had the sense & ability to walk a little further down the road & parked elsewhere.
Fortunately for those who had pulled up in the Swan car park, the RA had called the Pub the day before to warn them of Herts turning out there. Mr X’s suspicions of Sparky not informing the Pub of our visit proved to be correct.
This week saw Door Mat & Happy Feet come along with Lemming & Mother, this would be their first Herts Hash as they joined the regulars at the corner of the closed off street for the Service of Remembrance that takes place outside of St Helen’s Church.
It seems that there are some cretins out there who still try & drive through, there engines disturbed the service, but the local Plod were on hand to make them turn around. At least it was better than the Uno Bus Driver who sounded his horn as he tried to drive through the Service in the street in Cranfield, Bedfordshire. He was later suspended by the Company, who later made a donation to the Royal British Legion.
With respects duly paid, the two minutes silence observed, the Hash made their way back up to the car park of the Swan, there Tent Packer would call the Circle together.
Back amongst the fold this week was 2-1-2 Maureen, as well as Lofty with Henry. It was noticed that Ewok was sporting a new purple tint to her hair, which Milf commented on how she liked it & this led Paxo to parody this with his own take on the haircuts of most of the Male members of the Herts Hash.
With his welcome speech over, Tent Packer handed over to Sparky for his Hare’s ‘Chalk Talk’ & this had him drawing out the Herts Hash Markings on the car park for the benefit of Happy Feet & Door Mat, all of these bizarre markings just seemed to confuse the Herts faithful & the visitors alike!
Sparky did mention that he had lost a small brown bag that he keeps his flour in & that he would be grateful if the Hash could keep an eye out for it on the Trail! The some ten minutes past the hour the Hash set off.
The Trail began from the car park, with the Service still taking place further down the High Street, it would have been preferable if the Hare had just marked the direction straight over the roundabout to head off down the Marford Road, instead of letting the FRBs head away in different directions only to the stand outside of the Pub bellowing out “On Back!” which seemed more than a tad disrespectful to the civilian populous & hopefully will not be associated with the Hash.
Sloppy Seconds had an insight in to the Start of the Trail, since he had seen the one sided arrows leading around by where he had parked up, Tent Packer too had parked that way but he hadn’t noticed the Trail & had to be called back from the High Street.
The Trail led away to the east on the Marford Road, passing by the local Fire Station & then a Church, the rest of the Pack followed on behind Sloppy Seconds as the Trail turned northward into the residential side street of Brockett View. Sloppy Seconds took this opportunity to stop & drop his coat off in his car!
Dust was found leading in to the local Recreation Grounds where several football games were just kicking off, the FRBs ran over toward footpath that heads out through the allotments to the east of the sports pitches, but the Keenies progress was held up by a T, also by the T was a W & an arrow pointing the way for the walkers to head off on the footpath by the allotments.
Paul took the Walkers option, he would be followed by Ewok, My Lil’, Sloppy Seconds, TBT OBE & the Hare, all while the rest returned to Brockett View to follow this road around from the north to the west & down to the start of the dead end Meads Lane.
The Pack bunched up on Meads Lane as they looked down at contradicting one sided arrows & crossed out one-sided arrows that were all scrawled all over the kerbs, eventually the Pack realised that they were supposed to head down Meads Lane to the east, before coming back up through the recreation grounds to another footpath that runs at the northern end of the allotments.
Away from the noisy soccer game & Sludge led the way on the Shiggy path, like Sludge & Mr X had little grip on old Hash Shoes soon both began to struggle as they had to negotiate the gates on the way by the horse paddocks. These were home to some very small Shetland Ponies. As he passed by the dwarf nags, Lemming said that at last he had found a horse of a size that he could ride!
The fenced-in path reached an elbow & turned to the west to led up to join the footpath that the SCBs were on, all of the Pack headed eastward between narrow gap left by the hedges on either side to emerge out on to Sheepcote Lane. There were plenty of dog walkers out this morning, as well as some people who looked as if they were out jogging to keep fit! [Mugs! – Ed]
The Trail was picked up again on the way down Sheepcote lane, Milf informed Mr X that Kylie had acquired a ‘Thunderthighs’ & we had to guess what it eats? Without knowing what animal it is, if indeed it is an animal, most were pretty well stumped. The answer will be revealed next week at the Trail from his Gaff.
Anyhow, the Trail passed on by the small farm & over the dry ford in the river Lea, the water flows under the concrete base & these days only covers the way if there has been exceptionally heavy rain, some of the more senior Hashers recall the days when this was an open ford & it was far better fun wading through. In times gone by this would have been used for washing the sheep, hence the name Sheepcote lane.
Milf was in her element after the Trail had passed beyond the ford, for she firstly stopped to say hello to a group of women out jogging, trying to encourage them to join the Hash on the way out of Wheathampstead. A little further on along the farm track Milf now said hello to an elderly pooch out being walked, then she greeted the owners.
Onward toward the bridge for the by-pass of the Cory-Wright Way (Name in honour of a local Councillor who got jailed for doing a Jimmy Saville) Doormat had a quick look up the rising path at the side of the Track, this leads on to the back to the old railway line into Wheathampstead. Doormat was called back down as Sloppy Seconds & My Lil’ had found the next CHK under the by-pass bridge, in fact they had continued northward to find not only a T on the farm track which is a part of the Hertfordshire way, they also discovered Sparky’s lost brown satchel bag.
Mr X pretty much guessed that the Trail would take to the fenced in path running along the edge of the field above the level of the farm tack, this was ignored by some as it heads back toward the by-pass road, but before getting that far it enters the enclosure, crossing the field in an easterly direction in an area known as the Watersplash toward long Meadow.
Out of the enclosed paddock to the longer grass of the meadow area that runs alongside the river Lea, the Pack were now starting on through a series of sections along through the lower ground, a CHK by one path up to a footpath running up to the edge of the next field on the higher level ended with a T. So, the Pack moved on again in eastward in a direction toward the land of Brockett Hall.
The river Lea’s serpentine like route took it away from the straighter course of the footpath, the path also rose slightly in elevation as it came out through one last gate & on to a drier & firmer hard-core path. At this point Paul, was directed to follow on behind My Lil’ & Sloppy Seconds who were heading northward up the ridgeway to the former Welwyn Garden City to Wheathampstead railway line, now known as the Ayot Way. They were hoping that the Trail would come back Inn that way.
Further eastward the Pack progressed & the river Lea came back nearer to the footpath, a Held CHK was discovered by the path off up the ridge to the north. Lemming would get a sneaky peak at Trail heading up that way when he snook off for a chance to scare the Squirrels, it may not have just been squirrels he scared as a group of rambler came down that way? One of the ladies said that they weren’t up for running that morning, looking at the Pack it appeared that some of them weren’t up for it either!
The hanging around left some feeling that they were going to cease up, to pass the time the tale of Ten years past the ‘sell by date’ of Sparky’s tinned Squid in Ink was told. Then Paxo arrived to say that the Hare was quite away back, so the Mr X & Tent Packer decided that the Trail should continue, especially as it was correctly guessed that the Hare would be offering around out of date Jelly Babies & this threat alone was enough to make them move on! [Apparently they were all black in the bag, though most wouldn’t have started off that colour? – Ed]
So, everyone headed up the way Lemming had gone earlier, but beyond the entrance to the enclosed field a T was found, this also had an arrow & a W to indicate the route for Walker, which Sludge & the RA would take, both feeling the odd strain after slipping around in the Shiggy earlier in the Trail.
The Trail would continue along down by the river Lea until came out at Water End, where it would finally change direction just before the Elizabethan hall beside the ford, it would lead up in to the farm fields on the higher level to the north, leading up the crop field to Sparrow Hall Farm where at a Crossroads with the Ayot Greenway, it would now turn to the west & begin the journey back toward Wheathampstead. But as the Hash made their way along this long straight route back, the Hare would have a couple of tricks up his sleeve.
At the point where the Walkers Trail came up earlier from the river Lea, a CHK was found & on the obvious route down the line to just beyond Robinson’s wood picnic area a T was found on a metal pipe in the base of the old track bed, so the Pack had to go back & come off on a strange footpath that starts heading off to the north, running along by the edge of Robinson’s Wood, then turns westward along the north edge of this square plantation beside the railway line. The path then comes over to run alongside the line but within the edge of the crop field beside the Ayot Greenway.
Re-joining the wide track bed some distance down from the T that stopped Mr X & Sludge earlier, the Trail would now keep to the former Railway line as it passes above the large deep pit like depressions on either side, then a CHK was found by the western end of Black bridge, from where a footpath leads up the embankment.
Mr X & Sludge both fell for carrying straight on at this point & had to come back to take the southbound path up the embankment. My Lil' & Sloppy had already reached this point, failed at the T straight ahead & then returned to the CHK marked around the white post & had kicked it out, however with some of the previous CHKs being slightly skimpy on the flour it wasn't that noticeable that it had been marked up the embankment!
Over the embankment & back on Trail as it led around the outside of the smaller enclosed field on the level above the meadows below, where the Hash had run on out by the Lea. Once around the corner of the field Mr X saw two familiar figures of Sloppy Seconds & My Lil' disappearing behind the tree line in the distance, this meant the there was no need for anymore Checking as the Dust led on by the gate for the footpath down through the meadow to the Lea.
It was now an uninterrupted trot along to the footpaths termination where it passed beside a nice new shiny metal gate on to the farm track where Sparky's bag was found. M Mr X did venture up the farm track that is a part of the Hertfordshire way but he turned back when he remembered that the only path of off this leads out to the Codicote road, which would mean road crossings.
The Trail was picked up beyond the outbound T, & then an arrow pointed the way back under the bridge for the by-pass, it then turned up the footpath that Doormat had been up on the Out Trail. The Dust was picked up on the new path that leads on to a gate where the route becomes the Ayot Greenway former railway line once again.
Along the way the Hash could see the odd fisher folk sitting amongst the reeds on the bank of the river lea just slightly below them. Out of the furthest gate before the slight drop-down in to the meadow north of the Lea. Mr X met up with Paul at this point & soon stopped him from venturing over the Bridge from the nearby CHK, as Mr X knew that the only option on the South bank of the Lea would lead on to Meads Lane, which explained why there were lots of crossed out arrows along there, the Hare had stumbled upon his out Trail while setting the Inn part of it!
The final leg of the Trail would move away from the river’s edge, Mr X & My Lil' could believe that the Hare hadn't utilised the wide short banks to have at least one river crossing! But alas, the Trail cut over to run through the relatively 'New builds' around Mount Road.
A simple exit from this side road & the On Inn was found after the left-hand turn to head up the Station Road & over the old bridge across the Lea, where the road becomes the High Street.
Passing the steps down from the northeast corner of the bridge, Mr X told Paul of one of his earliest Herts Hashes when the Pack had to wade from well behind the Bull Pub & out of the Lea via these steps on a day when there was snow on the ground!
Back at the Pub & the Pack came back at different times, with those lacking local knowledge being out for quite a while longer. The Pub generously supplied some sandwiches, the Hare informed Mr X that if yet had more notice they would have got in more bread, since they also have a few of the local football team in there as well. [Surely it’s the Hare's job to enquire about setting a Trail at a venue, let alone any free food? - Ed] Milf was generous enough to hand around some of her & Kylies chips.
Paxo had to leave before the Down-Downs, he rounded up TBT OBE & Ewok to head off as the Pack were about to go outside. When it came to the Down-Downs the Pack made their way outside to the wooden gazebo like smoking shelter. Tent Packer got through the Toast pretty quickly & it was over to the RA, who asked what everyone thought of the Trail? He then called out the Hare, who was rewarded for a Trail that the Hash got around all of, this time.
The RA then asked if there were “Any anniversaries in the Book?” Mother instantly replied “Yes our Wedding Anniversary!” & Lemming started a lament like cry of despair that Mother had said this to the RA! The RA looked at the Hashit & said that he would come back to this subject a little later!
The Newies of Happy Feet & Doormat were awarded their Hits for completing their first Herts Trail. Finally, Mother & Lemming were called forward, the RA said that as Hyena had once been adorned with the Hashit, that they could both get in to this & so the two of them squeezed in to the singlet & then dispatched their Down-Downs. Long after the Circle had disbanded, Lemming was still in a state of Shock at Mother’s out-burst!