Date = 3rd April 2016
Run Number = 1670
Venue = The Plough
Beer = Three Brewers; Tring;
Hares = Sludge
Runners = 14
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Après Hashers = 0
Newies = 0
Hounds = 2
Total = 16
Membership = In a busy village!
It couldn’t have been a finer start to the day for a Hash in one of the most scenic parts of Herts, needless to say only a brief mention of thanks was put toward the RA’s way that morning! Datchworth itself was bustling with cars, people & cyclists, there was a Rugby tournament on & this meant that nearly all the way from the Mardleybury road, along the edge of the green to the crossroads in the East of the village it was lined with parked cars, the two non-parking areas were left in case emergency vehicles were needed.
On their walk up from Woolmer Green, Mr X noticed that on the Datchworth Village sign, situated on the green, that the figure tied to the ancient Whipping post looked remarkably similar to Under Felt! The question he would ask later would be ‘Should the Hare be tied to the Village Whipping Post?’
Most of the Hash cars managed to get parked up in the small car park across from the Pub, but soon this will not be possible as it is up for redevelopment, lucky it was open that morning otherwise it would have meant parking up in the northern part of the Village, like Alfa Male & No Eye Deer did.
The GM was absent this week, since she was running with the Bristol Hash, having spent the weekend in Bath & escaping unscathed in her Sarries’ Colours from the Rugby after Bath were beaten by Saracens, the natives were most restless over the Red Card that Anthony Watson received in the match. One irate Bath Fan even challenged the Ref in his changing room after the game!! [It’s not Football! – Ed]
Anyhow, the JM stepped up & welcomed the Pack to the correct run number, then the Hare was introduced & he went through the warnings of a bit of road running, so the Pack had to be aware of Cars, lots of cyclists but not too much on Horses. There was no introduction for the Newies, but for those who missed it, his name was Skip & hers was Sis! [Didn’t we used to have a regulars by those names? – Ed]
The Hare directed the Hash away to the east on the road out to Watton-at-Stone, the traffic was busy as the Pack ran along the edge of the Watton road, keeping to the southern side of the narrow road. There were plenty of puddles in the pot-holes that showed that the overnight rain had really come down, the Hare had warned that in places the Trail could be a little faint.
A large puddle had formed on the side of the road the Hash were running along, near to the end of the section of green verge, Mr X stopped before this as he saw oncoming traffic & wasn’t prepared to get soaked by the spray from vehicles heading on to Datchworth. This mini-lake cover one half of the carriageway.
In 969 Datchworth was spelt Decewrthe. ‘Dece’ was derived from a man called Dćcca who occupied an enclosure which, in old English, was called ‘wrthe’ the village was surrounded by a moat, fragments of which remain & only feet away from the large puddle.
Safely by the water-hazard & the Pack would find an arrow directing them off of the Watton road & on to the wide stony farm track of Hawkins Hall lane heading away to the south. A CHK point was found where a footpath crosses the Track, Alfa Male was leading the way as he took to the eastward path & then after a short way on to the breakaway footpath over the crop field & back toward the Watton road & he called “On!”.
Meanwhile Mr X was tempted to carry on southward, but a family out walking their pooches pointed out that the others were heading toward the Watton road, however there’s always one & Skip was searching on the path that runs behind the wooden fenced horse paddocks back toward Datchworth in the east, the Hare had to call Skip back from where there was no Dust.
All the of the main body of the Pack all passed back by the Family out with their pooches, Milf took time to say Hello & also explained that the Hash were out running back to the Pub but didn’t know what route we would take as we were following a Trail.
The Trail left the wet Shiggy path in the field & came back out to the Watton road, the SCBs were seen continuing along the tarmac route to where the wooded Track that leads nor-nor-east all the way out to Raffin Green. It was a long trot along the track, having passed by the old tractors & farm machinery at the start it was soon found that at least it was mainly dry with the tree canopy sheltering the way.
No Eye Deer & Milf spotted the odd clump of early bluebells & lent Lilies (Daffodils) that were out along this route, but there was no chance of smelling any perfume from the flowers as the pig sties along this stretch had a more overpowering ‘country smell’ masking the spring blooms. These two had the cheek to ask if the over-powering smell was a product of the RA just up ahead of them?
Alfa Male & Colin had come out of the shade of the tree lined part of the track to open rolling fields, thye were getting away from the rest of the Pack but these two went wrong when they took the breakaway path to the east & then around to the north, they would be back as this was a falsie. As the others looked over toward Colin & Alfa Male, No Eye Deer was impressed by the unspoilt view of the valley beyond these two.
With the other two going went wrong, it allowed Tent Packer, Milf & Max Factor to make good progress on the track as it leads up to Raffin Green. Colin & Alfa Male soon got back on Track & ahead of Mr X & No Eye Deer followed the shallow contour in the hillside No Eye Deer spotted a Red Kite circling around like a vulture above where Colin was heading, so she shouted out “Colin! Red Kite!” to alert him to it & Colin was then seen trying to run while looking up in the sky. [Luckily it wasn’t TBT OBE as it would have ended in a fall! – Ed]
While admiring the little flitty birds, nipping in & out of the hedgerow, no doubt to avoid the Red Kite, No Eye Deer & Mr X were soon passed by Lola dashing by, suddenly Lola stopped & disappeared off to the side of the track to sniff in a path that looked like it had a bit of rabbit activity.
The Trail came out on to a CHK at the bend in Raffin Green lane, from here all of the Keenies all thought that the Trail would head back up toward the top end of Datchworth to the west, for like Mr X they believed that there wasn’t much in the way of footpaths in the opposite direction, how wrong that would prove! For just up beyond the Farm building with its sign for ‘Eggs for Sale’, across from the farm house Guinea fowl were wandering free in the opposite field, a T was discovered!
An about turn & the Keenies got to see something that looked like a scene that was right out of an episode of ‘Last of the Summer Wine’, but it turned out to be the Hare with Skip, Kylie, TBT OBE all emerging out on to the lane. The Hare marked the CHK & the Pack were now heading northward from the bend. Kylie put in a cheeky “Oh, there you are?” to Milf as she made up the lost ground!
The Trail now led a short way on to the next CHK by the start of a By-Way, intriguingly the way had a sign that said “Open to all vehicles” & then another one stating that it had “Restricted Access!” which was pointed out to be a bit of a contradiction. The Trail was found further along the lane by Alfa Male, Colin & Tent Packer as it gently descends to the Stevenage Hertford road in the far off distance.
Another CHK was then found on the grass track that led off of the ridge & in to the valley to the northwest, Tent Packer was put off by the sign that declared ‘No Access, permission require for use’ So, he turned back to follow Alfa Male & Colin down the lane toward the A602 where it comes out at Hook’s Cross. Mr X was not that sure, as he didn’t think that there was any other paths off of the route to Kook’s Cross, though now days there looks like there could be a permissive path to the A602?
Dust was found by Mr X on the drop in to the valley & he found the CHK situated in the bottom there, but of the choices available he went wrong on the path heading sou-sou-westward over toward Bury Wood. My Lil’ now picked up the Trail on the steep climb up the green hillside to the northwest, this meant regaining the 45 feet in height lost on the way down in climbing to the top of the corresponding ridge.
Having been privileged to see the splendid panorama out to the east earlier on, there was a different view as the Trail led across the plateau of the hill, for over to the north the view now had some of the concrete carbuncles of Stevenage almost brutally thrusting out from the green landscape of the trees, hedges & bushes to interrupt the serenity felt on top of the hill.
Mr X had to put No Eye Deer right on what she was looking out over, then, thankfully the Trail turned away to head back toward Datchworth in the southwest. It was another long stretch over the farm track to come out on to a CHK on the edge of Bury Lane, which caught out Milf, Max Factor, Alfa Male & Colin, this allowed My Lil’ to pick up the Trail away from the Farm & the Church with its prominent spire & head down to the junction where Baines lane begins off of it to head off to the southwest.
The narrow lane would lead around to the bend that has a junction with Swangley’s lane, a CHK was found on this bend & as Mr X arrived here he spotted Skip heading out down in to the fields to the west of this, but Mr X knew that there was a footpath that runs by the corner house property, then on behind this & through to the paddocks of the stables of Pound Farm.
Out in to the centre of the Farmyard, crossing the tarmac drive a few yards & then on through a paddock with a couple of horses in to come out on to Hollybush lane. On the way he caught up with Milf & Max Factor & the former was moving from side to side on this Shiggy path in a fashion that it made her look like she was on a ‘Cake-walk’ fairground attraction.
From the CHK outside of the Hollybush School Mr X knew that there was a footpath running around from the right to arc around behind the School & this runs eastward toward the side of the local Churchyard. Already up ahead of him were My Lil’ with Lola, Alfa Male & Tent Packer, none of whom could be heard calling out that they were now to next CHK outside of the walled Churchyard for All Saints Church.
My Lil & Lola were on their way down the second footpath through the crop field south of the churchyard & there was no indication that he was ‘On!’ Trail, judging by Tent Packer & Alfa Male’s lost looking actions on the CHK Mr X took an educated Guess that the Trail was on the other footpath that was actually before the CHK. Sure enough the Dust was found on this parallel footpath to the one My Lil’ was on, the RA noticed that My Lil’ was not going to come back & follow the Trail properly like Tent Packer & Alfa Male, not as My Lil’ knew that the path he was on would curve around to the west & join the one Mr X was well on his way down at the far end of the field.
Having passed y tow walkers who weren’t going to yield to Mr X’s running, he found a CHK with now only two options & the most direct one was the footpath out between more horse paddocks to Brookbridge lane, however Mr X thought that it wouldn’t be too much of a direct route home & chose to take the path that runs back slightly before heading southward down to the back of the playing fields behind the Village Hall.
Mr X thought that he had gone wrong as it was a long way down the edge of the crop filed, near to more horse enclosures before the Trail was picked up, Mr X raised his arm to indicate he was ‘On’ Trail & observe a ‘Hash Hush’! Sure enough the path led down to a CHK in the opening in the hedgerow at the back of the sports ground.
The Minis Rugby was at a break & all the kids were at one side of the pitch as Mr X ran straight down to the footpath beside the village Hall. No Dust was found there, so it was a good guess that the Trail was on the footpath further over to the west corner & out of the sports field to emerge out to the bottom of Datchworth Green & the On Inn. When questioned on the lack of Dust beside the Village Hall, Mr X quoted Sludge saying “There was no T to stop me running through there!”
Back at the Pub & the first Ale went down a treat, especially for those who remembered their CAMRA Cards! With the weather being so nice, the Pack sat outside in the rear garden to make the most of it! Sis was quick to point out the ‘Proof Reading mistake’ on the Committee names & contacts, which wasn’t picked up by the Scribe [Probably as he doesn’t go over this tripe again! – Ed] but as are a lot of things in life, the Trash is a work in progress!
When it came around to the Down-Downs the JM wasn’t telling a long-winded tale, he just toasted the Hash & then it was over to the RA!
The Hare was rewarded for a good Trail; then the two newly elected Members of Max Factor & Alfa Male were toasted with their Down-Downs as they join the Committee, but weren’t present to accept their awards on the day for they both completed a Half Marathon that day. As the Circle went on there was a phone call to the JM, & Paxo answer the GM as Mr X explained about the angry natives in Bath!
Milf was out for side stepping the Shiggy to make her stride to resemble one of someone on a ‘Cakewalk’ [A Cakewalk was a Fun Fair machine from the times of Sludge’s childhood, Victorians loved going on this walk with two corresponding walkways that rock to & from! – Ed]
When it came to the Hashit, it looked like it was going to Skip – for advertising his Foot-rot on Social Media, or the fact that he had done his best to undermine any future development in the corner behind the single garage of the car park before the Trail had started or the Circle called! But no, some ex GM’s were amongst those who clambered for the RA to get it, they were like a shoal of piranhas attacking a poor sacrificial lure in an amazon river!
Even though Sludge had been asked to remind the RA to take the Hashit back from the AGPU, he failed to do so [Almost deliberately I’d say! – Ed] so after an almost unanimous vote, the RA took it like a Man & put on the fairly dry Hashit!
Milf dropped Mr X, My Lil’ & Lola off in Woolmer Green, as they enjoyed the Ales so much they would have missed the Bus. Mr X pointed out the old Whipping Post, surrounded by green iron railings its last recorded use was on 27 July 1665 when two 'vagabonds' were publicly flogged. There were also stocks but these are thought to have been removed in 1899.
One little known fact about Datchworth is the last enemy-action of any kind on British soil during the Second World War occurred at 09:00 on 29 March 1945 when a V-1 flying bomb struck a nearby field. 9,521 ‘Doodlebugs’ were launched between 1944 & 45 by the end of the War, many V1s were shot down by Artillery or like the photo of the Spitfire they were set off course by a flick of the wings, shooting them in a plane was very hazardous & the Spitfire was fast enough to do this.