Date = 6th December 2015
Run Number = 1651
Venue = The Woodman!
Location= Chapmore End
Beer = GK IPA, Abbott; Beacon,Tring
Hares = Pepé le Pew
Runners = 10
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Après Hashers = 0
Newies = 0
Hounds = 1
Total = 11
Membership = On a Trail set in the dark!
‘Tis the season of the small Pack’s, every year there is always a drop off in numbers as we approach the Christmas period with family & sh*pping or scavenging through skips for the Hash Christmas Party ‘£5 or less’ Secret Santa Pressies coming first, this is always broken at the Christmas Party Run when they are all dragged out for the Seasonal Pig-out!
This week’s Hare was Pepé le Pew & the Dust that was seen by those driving in from the south of the village would see very fresh looking flour, was this going to be the second ‘almost live’ Hared Trail in as many weeks? The answer to that was an emphatic ‘No!’
Pepé le Pew was dropped off by Pebbledash, who said she had to attend another event that morning, which degenerated in to a conversation with Milf & Beavers being mentioned! Pepé le Pew, now out of the car, turned his attentions to the RA’s car, which is a rare sight on a Hash, he started to ‘buff’ the front wing of the car & gave it a polish with the crotch of the shorts he was wearing. [Apparently it’s a condition called Mechonophilia! – Ed]
Anyhow, Pepé le Pew had been out setting the Trail at 06:00 Hrs in the morning when it was very dark. Pepé le Pew took Koda around with him, was this as protection in case there was something nasty untoward out there? He said that it wasn’t a long Trail [Though it took over an hour to get around! – Ed] adding that it took him two hours to set it & a lot of the time of that was spent sniffing at post, trees, bushes & out canine markers. [Bet that Koda got fed up & dragged Pepé le Pew away from such things? – Ed]
There seemed to be a few ‘eager beavers’ who couldn’t wait to inform the RA that TBT OBE had taken part in the previous day’s Bike Bash, where he showed off his new ‘Electric Bike’ & that he managed to fall off of this no less than three times! Ewok then arrived & offered TBT OBE’s apology for not coming along that morning as he has hurt his shoulder falling from his bike! Well, at least he would now have the time to finish off the Minutes of the last Hash meeting before it comes around to its first birthday!
With no Grand Monkey or Joint Monkey present this morning, it was down to the RA to welcome the Pack to the Herts Trail & he got the Run Number correct in doing so. Then it was over to the Hare, for the ‘Chalk-talk’ in order for the Pack to be enlightened in what to expect out on Trail.
Pepé le Pew told the Pack that there weren’t any False Trails from the CHKs, which meant as soon as the Dust was found from a CHK the Pack were ‘On!’ & the other options would just be long empty paths, though there were two places on the Trail were there would be a Bar to stop certain Hashers running too far & as Pepé le Pew reiterated that these were “Not to be confused with a T!” All of this info must have whistled right over Sparky’s head & the breeze would have cooled his pate!
The Hash were shown the way down out of the village to the southwest, the Pack left the green with its archetypal English Village Duck-pond, passed by the Pub & also the footpath that leads away between two of the properties across from the Woodman. The Keenies began to run & Kylie was heard to say “There she goes!” as Milf left him behind.
Ewok was also pretty keen this morning as she was also up at the front as the Trail left the narrow lane at the sharp elbow in its course that must be a 90° turn, the Dust took to the uncapped Track that continued to the south-westward out in to the farm fields, Mr X said to Sloppy Seconds that the thin & leaf-less hedgerow offered little shelter from the wind cutting blasting over from the west.
The woodland became a little denser on either side & this did finally offer a bit more of a wind-break, the Track would come out to the first CHK on the Run. Ewok chose to search the first footpath & this cut away to the north, Sparky choose the opposite one that is slightly staggered from being a true continuation of Ewok’s choice, as it heads out toward Rickney’s & the new buildings that are there, Sparky too would find no Dust.
It was down to Milf & Mr X to take to the correct route that was still on the main Track as it makes further westerly in direction on its way below Flower Ash Wood, it would lead on to the fenced off area that was once a gravel extraction pit. They were followed on by Sloppy Seconds & My Lil’.
The next CHK was found above the large former pit, & the obvious footpaths leading off to the south & west routes respectively around the wooded area of Bardon Clumps were now the favoured options, while the footpaths that head down in to the extraction area were not searched as Dust would have been hard to hide from the view above.
Milf was on to the Trail at her first attempt from the CHK, Sloppy Seconds went wrong & came back on track as the main uncapped drive headed along the edge of the woodland & out to the Sacombe Road. On the way the Pack could see a load of ‘Fly-tipped’ bathroom material that was spoiling the countryside. Obviously the Fly-tippers are relying on the local authority not to have the sense on taking the samples from the shower unit & bath’s plugs for a few ‘short & curlys’ that would hold a bit of the old DNA?
Anyhow, Milf, Ewok, Sparky, Mr X & Sloppy Seconds arrived where the Track comes out by the junction on the Sacombe lane but there was no sign of any CHK or arrows, so this had the FRBs split in searching the narrow lane in either direction. No Dust could be found to the north or the south of the three options & the Hash seemed to have ground to a halt.
When Pepé le Pew arrived, he said that the CHK he had placed there had gone. It was re-instated & he also marked the way down the narrowest of the three lanes & that was the one that drops down between the fields to Bullsmill. The single track lane showed signs of the rain in recent weeks as it had a scattering of various sized pebbles & stones washed down to the lower level by the farm buildings, the rain must have been pretty intense for it managed to was a fridge down off of the embankment & left it on the tarmac halfway down the start of the descent.
On the way there was more fly-tipped waste, this still remaining up on the embankment of field above to the left, at least Ewok had prospered with the Fly-tipping as she found a metal spiral dog tether, Ewok added that Paxo could be tethered to this on away weekends? She would carry this around for the rest of the Trail.
A CHK was found by a green area near to the walled farm, from here Sparky actually picked up the Trail to the north, on a farm track heading toward Foxleys wood, his calling of ‘On!’ brought Milf back from the southern option.
Sparky was soon off down on to the path that cuts off of the Track by about 30°& he disappeared like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, vanishing out of view through the spindly thicket at the start of the path’s decent down to the level of the river Beane below Foxley’s wood.
My Lil’ asked if this was the area that is famous for the edible snails, Mr X said that it was but ironically these large molluscs that were brought here to be eaten by the Romans are now classed as a protected species & cannot now be eaten from the Wild In 2008, the Roman snail Helix pomatia was added to Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), and it became an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take individuals of this species (as did possession and sale) – not that you would want to, as Snails need to be purged of any toxins from turds & other nasty crap they may have climbed over & ingested! Best to stick with the farmed one! [Or even Better ten year old tinned baby squid! – Ed]
On the way through the sheltered edge of the woodland that covers the high bank to the west, Mr X was now asked what river was flowing on the west side of the footpath? He said it was the Beane & he added that this flows down from Stapleford, he added that the footpath sticks by the Beane all the way in to the village that sits just a stone’s throw from the Hertford to Stevenage road.
It was along trot through the leafy riverside path until it emerged out through the wrought iron gates in to the grounds of St Mary’s Church in Stapleford, Ewok now had her bearings as she had a good look at the old Church with its wooden Bell tower, which is quite an impressive structure. The village name may have come around from the old Anglo-Saxon Stapelford, being a Stake marker by the ford.
A right turn would head up the hill, away from the river & the main Stevenage road toward the local Primary School, those who have run this area before thought the Trail would continue on by Flint & Stone School House & head eastward, but no, not this time as the Milf called “On!” to the north along the delightfully named residential road of ‘Clusterbolts’ to the where the Held CHK was found on a green that had a set of picnic tables, here the Port Stop was to be had.
The view from the homes, that only line one side of the road, was splendid panorama as it looks westward over the Beane Valley & the meadows that stretch out over toward the Stevenage road.
Having had a shot of the Port the Hare had generously brought along, Milf followed Mr X over to the tyre hanging from a nearby tree, he would give her a push on the kids swing for quite a while until she felt uneasy with the port she had consumed. Milf then convinced Ewok to have a go on the swing, then somehow egged on 2-1-2 Maureen! Fliptop, Sloppy Seconds, My Lil’ & Mr X now thought better of this & started on with the Trail again. Everyone was glad that TBT OBE wasn’t present that morning, especially Kylie who was not on duty!
A footpath was marked at the end of the wall north of the green space, again the footpath followed the river’s course, this time at the foot of Clusterbolts wood. Near to the end of this section of woodland the Keenies heard a familiar sound, which is normally associated with TBT OBE, this time it was Sparky who made a loud enough distinctive thud for the RA to hear. [Sparky will be getting an electric bike at this rate! – Ed] My Lil’ said “It must be a Qatar thing? They can’t run without falling over if they don’t have sand under their feet!”
The path emerged out of the lower section of the dog-leg wood & run between the Beane to the left & a fenced off paddock to the right. Over the opposite side of the paddock a footpath gate could be seen by the top end of the wood & this was tempting but the barbed wire fence was a little off-putting for any short cutting over to the wood, as it could have ended up with a few things cut short.
A CHK was found by the point an east-west footpath crosses through the paddock & over the Beane on its way over to the low lying fields to the Stevenage road. Sparky chose to search over the Beane, no one with an ounce of ‘common’ would have even considered that! It looked as if Ewok would join him as she went on to the footbridge, meanwhile Milf continued northward toward the Woodhall Estate which left Mr X & My Lil’ to start crossing the enclosed paddock.
The Hare, who was with 2-1-2 Maureen, called Mr X & My Lil’ back. So, they trudged back to find that Ewok was actually playing ‘Pooh-sticks’ on the bridge, Mr X, My Lil’ & Fliptop all decided to have a go, all of them soon found out that although the river was flowing to the south, the brisk breeze coming up the river kept blowing the ‘pooh-sticks’ from going under the bridge, the exceptions were Fliptop’s short, bent turd looking stick & a large snot ball that Ewok evacuated in such a ‘lady-like manner’ out of one nostril some impressive distance in to the river below!
Having enjoyed Winnie the Pooh & Christopher Robin’s favourite game, it was time to head northward again. Milf was now a long way ahead where she was seen clambering over the set of steps over the end of the old red-brick wall, the rest followed on & were also confronted with a very recently fallen tree across the footpath.
While Ewok could get underneath the fallen ivy clad tree, others with longer legs stepped over the barbed wire it was holding down & then up through the longer grass to come out of the paddock by way of the wooden gate, this avoided the clamber up the old ladder over the wall, behind which a wide weir in the Beane is found.
2-1-2 Maureen & Kylie were now on a Short Cut with the Hare back on the path into Clusterbolts wood, the rest made their way toward Hornbeam & Home Farm in Woodhall Park, & soon found that that the most northerly point of the Trail would not go as far as the large house in the distance. The Trail would veer slightly eastward & down to a CHK on a nice newly compacted drive. Milf took the wrong option on this track, while the rest had realised that heading southward would take them up to where the SCBs would be.
On was to the south, & after a climb up the short ridge the Dust was found leading the way on the wide hard-capped track between the hedged-in fields. By now the enthusiasm was waning slightly, but it appear that the Hash were on their way home, but it was still a long way off! Just to keep the Keenies ‘keen’, the Hare put in a small triangular loop off of the stony track, while My Lil’, Fliptop, Kylie & 2-1-2 Maureen continued along the track.
Ewok, Mr X, Sloppy Seconds followed on behind Sparky & Milf, but unlike the latter two, they managed to see that the Dust left the eastbound track toward the glasshouses & cut back by 45°to run through the spinney like wood. Habving passed through this these three came back out on track right by the SCBs, so it wasn’t much of a loop! Kylie was now concerned & he pined away at the sudden realisation that Milf had not emerged from the loop out, there wasn’t as much sympathy when it was pointed out that Sparky was also missing!
As the Track came out to its southerly end, where it joins the elbow bend in Church lane, there was a 90° turn in the Trail as it headed eastward straight up over the wind-swept farm field to emerge out on to Stony Hills lane, right by the solitary building that was once the Three Stags Pub at Stony Hills, but sadly it is now just a house!
Mr X felt that the Trail was coming to its conclusion, but it wasn’t quite the same as the last run from the Woodman & the footpath off of the lane to the east had no Dust on it, instead the Trail would move down a few hundred yards to another footpath to the east, this one hugs the North edge of Stonyhills wood, this area gets its name for the amount of flint & stone that occurs in the local soil.
The Footpath changed direction slightly to the southeast as it left the woodland & headed down in to the more open farm land once again, this being to the north west of Chapmore End. It was a straight path between fields, the hedgerow on the left gave some shelter from the wind & by this stage of the Trail there was a very, very light rain in the air. The final CHK was found at the crossroads with another footpath, Mr X continued straight on & was not tempted to either the north or the south.
Sloppy Seconds questioned the RA’s choice, but 25 Years’ worth of Hashing kicked in as he ignore Sloppy & he continued down to the back of the homes, where the footpath became sheltered by the large properties on either side, the one of the right even had its own tennis court!
The On Inn was found on this footpath, just before it emerges opposite the Woodman Pub. There was no sign of Sparky of Milf? So, a quick change was in order as the rain was becoming heavier!
Once in the Pub the RA spotted the Woodman ‘Annual Picklefest’ Poster, which meant that the Hash were a week too early for this annual event, the reason this run was set on this date, but perhaps it wasn’t a bad thing that the Hash weren’t eating any pickles, especially Pickled Eggs as Sparky happened to mention that he puts his plums in his porridge that morning! It was enough for the RA to put off the Down-Downs for the second week on the trot. So, if you have read this before the Circle, watch out it’ll be a bumper one!
May be the talk of having the family pooch stuffed, to be turned in to a rug on his demise may be enough to earn a Down-Down?