Date = 17th January 2016
Run Number = 1659
Venue = The Lilley Arms
Beer = Tring: Side Pocket for a Toad, Colley’s Dog; Hares Foot: Lock Keepers GK IPA & Abbott
Hares = My Lil’
Runners = 8
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Après Hashers = 0
Newies = 0
Hounds = 0
Total = 8
Membership = Frolicking in the snow!
Well, who was expecting it to be a bright, crispy snow covered morning? Not the Hare I can assure you, for he was out the day before setting the Trail in flour! Luckily, after a large breakfast at the Hitchin Kitchen for sustenance, My Lil’ had arrived with Half an hour to spare before the hour, so he went out again to reset the whole thing but this time using hamster bedding!
This left Mr X with nothing more to do than to stand outside the Pub for 20 minutes until No Eye Deer arrived, at least he was cheered up at the woman taking a miniature horse out for a walk, it was on the end of a lead rather like you would walk a dog with. The Horse owner came back in time for the rest of the Pack to see this sight, which led Pebbledash to say it was like the TV advert with a Horse-Flap in the backdoor of a house!
Ewok arrived with Pebbledash, which proved that at least one driver upon Tower Hill has the skills to get a vehicle down when there is snow on the ground. A feat that astounded My Lil' later on, as Paxo once claimed that the bus route right near his house is impassable, even with the slightest dusting of white stuff! [No one has told the 395 Bus Driver that as they manage to drive up there! – Ed]
Anyhow, lots of regulars were missing this week & once the time came around to eleven, Mr X welcomed everyone to the Run, of which he had a damn good stab at the number that it was correct! The second thing the RA mentioned was Fliptop, Ewok said that she has been to visit him & everything is looking well!
Next the RA informed the Pack that the Hare was out there, relaying the Trail blobs of small rodent bedding & apart from that he knew no more, except which way it started! Simply the Trail headed away north-westward, up the West lane until it reached a CHK by a footpath off behind the olde worlds thatched cottages. Max Factor & Alfa Male were soon off down there, with Mr X in tow but they would be stopped by the sound of Sparky blowing his horn from back out on the lane.
The Trail stuck with the old lane & after a short way it became an uncapped Track, this led up the gentle elevation of the hillside, the Pack would get to see how splendid this part of the world looks & it is even better with a white layer of crisp, fresh snow. It’s hard to believe that Luton is not that far away from here.
The RA stopped to get a few pics, he pointed out to Max Factor the little figures climbing up the hillside over near Lilley Park Wood in the distance on the other side of the valley, she said that they would be sledging. [Not the sweary Aussie Cricket thing then! - Ed] Indeed they were, & having fun trudging up the steep hillside & hauling their kids’ sledges up behind them.
There was a kink in the Wardswood track (path) as briefly turned southward & then resumed westward to hug the southern edge of guess where? Yep, the plantation of Wards Wood. Now, the Hare had been worried that some would spot the distinctive footprints of his knackered old flapping trainers, but it seems that there had been plenty of other walkers out & about early this morning, there was a multitude of tracks crisscrossing in all directions. But Mr X was keeping an eye out as eventually the game would be up!
Sparky was well ahead of the Pack, Alfa Male wasn’t too far behind him & Ewok too was putting in an effort to be an FRB, Mr X had lost ground as he took more photo’s but by the time he & Max Factor made it to the next CHK the lost ground had quickly been regained, for Ewok & Max Factor were searching the Falsies off to South & West, while Sparky was coming back from the correct Trail out to the North.
With the main part of the Pack now bunched up arounds the CHK, Mr X used his ‘local knowledge’ from previous Trails around here to go back over the edge of the farm field that Sparky had checked out earlier, Sparky Joined him to retrace his footsteps, no doubt covering up the Hare’s tracks! Sawdust was found quite away up the northern footpath up Mortgrove Farm.
It was a long stretch & long enough for Mr X took his eye of the footprints in the snow, for they had thinned out a bit & they could be easily separated out from each other, maybe it was the sound in the distance that put him off his search as an echo from the Christmas Weekend was heard in the tones of “Aargh! Aaargh!” which brought a bit of laughter to the Hash.
Mr X followed Sparky straight on toward the Mortgrove Farm, passing by a gap in the hedgerow on their right-hand side & so it should have come as no surprise when Sparky ran on to a Bar CHK! A turn-back & indicating that a Bar CHK had been discovered to Ewok gave her an advantage as she approached the gap in the hedgerow to take the initiative on the path running up the sloping hillside on a path up toward Wards Spring wood.
Max Factor & Alfa Male followed on behind Sparky & Mr X, who had picked up a blob of the hamster bedding to make an arrow pointing up the hill so Pebbledash & No Eye Deer didn’t go astray, not that they were that far behind. A fallen pheasant feeder bore a blob of wood chippings to mark the Trail as it made its way to the top northeastern corner of the elongated field.
A 90° turn to the left took the Pack down by a single bar gate to a CHK outside of the solitary house on the elbow of the bend in the Hexton road opposite Burnwell Spinny, here Ewok & Sparky decided to hold the CHK.
The CHK was laid on the clear snow & the Hare’s footprints were now revealed, Mr X pointed them out to Ewok, who admitted that she was trying to work this out earlier! She was impressed that the Hare’s shoe’s heels had left a horseshoe impression in the snow!
Max Factor produced a packet of Randoms, where a strategically
place thumb as in Kylies picture from the other week, made it look like they
were called Condoms! Max Factor made sure she got her
out of the open bag before Sparky got there, but more especially before the
arrival of the large dew-drop he had hanging from his nose!
If the thought of chewing on Condoms was too much for anyone, then Sparky would put the shivers up a few spines as he produced a bag of dog chews that his Nephew had brought back from Poland for him [They weren’t dog-chew but thin Polish Pepperami! – Ed] only a couple of the Pack decided to chew on this dry old spicy sausages sticks that were curled up like the intestines you see coming out of a squashed hedgehog, yep that appealing!
When it came to resume the Trail, No Eye Deer chose the northeasterly route on the seemingly busy little road, while Mr X & Ewok chose the opposite away to the southeast & back toward Lilley. It was the latter two who found the Trail leading up the lane & over the small ridge over which the Signpost for Lilley was found, but would it be a straight run back in to the heart of the village? Nope, not with this Hare!
On the way in to the long village a CHK was found, there were two options already marked from there, one was the long Trail on the footpath heading slightly backward to the northwest, on a loop toward Walk Spring & then back around to head southeastward along the same west side of the valley, land which in 1769 was owned by Colonel Sowerby. The other option was the short cut down only a short way to a bridleway that is a part of Kingshill lane, a uncapped track that intercepts the southeast bound footpath the FRBs were coming down, at this point the Hare had put a Held CHK in.
At this Held CHK there were again markings to indicate a short cut & the long Trail, but since the Pack had already had a regroup & it was such a nice day out in the snow, everyone decided that they wanted to head down the tree-lined avenue of Kingshill lane, it was along this part of the Trail that there was less crunchy snow under foot & the exposed long green grass was now sopping wet with cold melted snow soon began to soak in to Hash Shoes.
Sparky led the way & blew his horn as the Trail ran through the bottom of the valley & then hit the steep climb up the really Shiggy path in the wooded hillside of Kingslane Plantation, that sits south of Lilley Hoo & above that Telegraph Hill, which at 600 Feet above Sea Level is one of the highest points in Herts. No Eye Deer had mentioned how scenic it is up Telegraph Hill to the RA at the start of the Run, but fortunately as lovely as it would look today the Trail wasn’t going that far!
Having scaled the long slippery slope & out of the wood, the Trail now led around the edge of the top farm field & began to head southward along the Baulk, the going along this bit was hard for some of the Hash. Ewok managed to make good headway on the farm tracks with large frozen water-logged parts of the fields up on the top of the plateau, Mr X was one who couldn’t run this bit, his wider & longer gait meant his feet would hit the edge of the ruts caused by narrower tyres than those of a tractor. The ground on either side of the ruts was pot-holed by horse riders, but most of these were a hazard hidden from view by the covering of snow.
It was a fairly long trot while the Trail passed on to the Colemans’ Farm land, that was under Mr Colemans’ name way back in 1769, to run behind the Stockinghill plantation on the south bound route before it reached the next crossroads, here there was no CHK but instead the Trail was already marked with an arrow pointing westward on the steep path back that the Baulk descends back in to the valley, right beside the enclosed field where the Sledging was seen at the start of the Trail up on the opposite side of the valley. The families were still sledging & no doubt that there some large muddy patches by now, the weather had warmed enough for the snow on the grass & trees to start to disappear in places.
Sparky’s journey down the hill was slightly more exuberant than the rest & it looked like he was out of control as he kept stumbling forward for three quarters of the way in to the valley bottom, but miracle of miracles he managed not to do a TBT OBE & kept upright all the way, & without knocking anyone else over as well (Which is always a bonus!)
A CHK at the crossroads on the path along the valley floor was the point where the Hare cut off one last loop from the original Trail, this would have been along by the series of horse paddocks in this end of the valley, which a couple of hundred years ago was had hurdles separating the parts valley path. It was now just a simple case of heading up the rest of the Baulk, the path now became tree-lined after passing over a set of wooden horse traps, perhaps a later version of one of the ancient hurdles?
As Mr X passed by a mother out with her kids, the lady said “Don’t worry there’s a Pub at the end of this!” to which Mr X replied “Yep, we started there & we are finishing there!” Then the woman added that “Oh, it shuts at 12!” But this quip was just pooh-poohed by the RA as he continued up by Baulk Cottage & then out on to East Street, where a left hand turn took the Hash southward toward the old St Peter’s Church, then it was right back into the Lilley Arms with the horse teather across on the small green from the Pub.
Inside the Pub was a comforting warm open fire was blazing away in the Public Bar. Mr X & others were surprised that there were more than two Ales on, for a report in Beer in the evening didn’t give the Lilley Arms a good review, yet there were two excellent Tring Ales & the Lock Keepers, as well as the GK Brand staples. The part in BITE reviews about it being a ‘Locals’ Pub’ was true to an extent, but they all seemed pretty amicable, unless that was because they were appeased as the majority of roast spuds on the bar worked their way around to where the locals were sitting?
The majority of the talk was about Fliptop’s reoperation, also the lack of minutes from the last meeting, then the Christmas Party Weekend being the best one so far [Trouble is it’ll be hard to top that! –Ed] which brought the Pack to tears in places. Girls, it seems if you want to hair to attract Mr X, then wipe an old chicken drum-stick through it! Down-Downs were put off until the following week, due to the weather conditions.