Date = 30th May 2016
Run Number = 1678
Venue = The Rising Sun
Beer = First Chop Dark IPA; Tring Drop Bar, Mansion, a couple More & 19 Ciders!
Hares = My Lil’ & Mr X
Runners = 11
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Après Hashers = 0
Newies = 0
Hounds = 0
Total = 11
Membership = Missing a Premature MKH3!
This week was apparently too far for a few of the Pack to make an effort to get out to. The attraction of the On Inn was enough to ensure some others would be there for the range of Ales & Ciders available, for Milton Keynes Hash it was such a lure that they turned out the day before, getting their before the Hares had been around to set the Trail, then Daisy, Arseover & Doggie Bag extracted their revenge on the Hares by forcibly making them drink more than they expected, which mean they missed the last 501 Bus back to Hemel Hempstead!
Honeypot was present this week, a face that hasn't been seen for a while with H4, but appears that he's no longer resident in Papua New Guinea & now resides in Watford [Just a slight contrast there then! - Ed]
To start with, it seemed that there wasn't going to be any FRBs for this Trail & Mr X was going to have to abandon his plans to sweep up around the Long Trail, but then Ketchup & Jaron arrived - to be followed by Max Factor & Alfa Male. The whole Trail was now back on.
For the two late comers, who had missed Paxo's welcoming speech in the absence of our GM, Mr X went back over what to expect on the Trail, including one road that need care in crossing & a couple of bits of quiet lanes that would be run on.
The Pack were then ushered away from the Rising Sun Lock No.55, they were Circled up upon, directly outside of the Rising Sun, to head away to the southeast on the canal-side towpath. Within the first few yards the Hash passed by a new-build that was sympathetically designed like a small wharf like building to fit in with the old canal based homes.
The Keenies would be lured away off up on through the small enclosed kids play area off of George Street, as Paxo, TBT OBE & Honeypot had seen Dust from walking back from where Paxo had parked his car, the Hares enjoyed this. TBT OBE hadn’t made it far enough around before others had found the T off of 'Small Bridge' Bridge No.142A over the canal.
Max Factor had continued under the narrow white footbridge spanning the width of the canal. She was about to turn back but was given a clue by Mr X to stick to her guns on the towpath. The Trail led on to the first CHK, there was another chance to leave the canal & head over to George Street, Max Factor searched this option but it would prove to be a little fruitless!
The Pack would now continue along the canals' east bank until reaching Rose Bridge (No.142), this one being a narrow, high single-track road bridge & the eastern stretch of towpath would finish up on the bridge, right where a CHK was found. Ketchup & Jaron were the only ones to search the footpath that is almost hidden by the bushes at the end of the towpath ramp, but they would be called back.
Meanwhile Alfa Male was on to a Falsie on the western towpath as it heads away from the bridge in a southeasterly direction along the waterway, but he must have run on beyond the two T's one of the Hares had put down. Alfa Male would fall way behind the rest who were now making their way down the rustic narrow Bankmill lane, passing by a couple of very nice old abodes. On the opposite side, over a meadow area, were more smart looking new builds that line the main road to Hemel Hempstead.
The Pack came out to a Junction with Bullbeggars Lane, Ketchup had to take a second look at this signpost as he thought it read differently at first glance! A CHK was found here, Ketchup & Jaron found the Trail out the short way to the main road, the Trail would split with My Lil' taking TBT OBE on the Short-Cut down Bullbeggars Lane & back to the Canal towpath
Mr X was now going to have to sweep the marked Longer Trail, as Fliptop & Paxo said that they would do the long Trail as the Hares had spent the time setting it! All of which meant crossing the busy main road, arrows directed the way over to Garden Field lane, a dead end road that a sign showed had a ½ mile long footpath at its dead-end.
The Keenies were now embarking on a climb up the ridge, this hedged in route was only punctuated by one CHK by a path out in to the back of the housing estate, this didn't slow the Keenies up as they all stuck with the steep climb of some 150 feet in height over the half mile, this gradient made sure the Pack wouldn't run this section.
Max Factor was becoming worried that Alfa Male was now lost as he hadn’t txt her! The Hare said that even if he had run through the T's back on the towpath, he would eventually realize that there was no Dust on that section for a few miles, then he would meet the SCBs on the Short Cut as he returned.
Up on the plateau of the farmland above the homes meant the Hash could finally look out at some of the green fields & back over at the top of the west side of Berkhamsted. The next CHK was found just within the wooded area that runs from northwest to southeast at the edge of the farmland.
Ketchup, Jaron & Honey Pot were straight on to the right route, a path that bares to the left to run on to the track which takes a parallel course to the A41 down on the cutting. The noise of the traffic was quite a din to start with but would disappear as the hard capped Track began its gentle south-easterly descent & the busy road dropped in to a cutting. As well as the noise, the breeze was nullified upon the hill for the track had a hedgerows on either side to offer shelter.
Mr X pointed out the marker-post almost hidden away among the holly to one side of the Track, this cast iron pillar had the image of a bull on one side & on the other the inscription that said it was a marker for the Boundary of the Foundling Hospital Estate which was built in 1935, all in order for the original Hospital to leave Covent Garden. Foundling Hospitals were set up for orphaned Children but after the 1950s, orphaned Children were not put in to such institutions, instead adoption & fostering was preferred. It is now home to a School.
By now Max Factor was back on form, to pass by the rest of the FRBs & lead the way down by a split in the Track, where a footpath disappears through the hedge & down by the Motorway. The sound of the traffic dissipated & was almost inaudible by the time the Pack reached a CHK at the crossroads with another farm track, it was at this point that the Hash could get a great view out over the rolling hills to the west, with the A41 hidden from view in the cutting through the valley away from the Track.
Max Factor was pretty much on form now & was soon on to the Trail again as the Sugar Lane track continued on its long slow drop down to Bourne End. On the left of the track was a series of paddocks behind the tree-line that were home to black goats & other animals. The populated end of the lane was tarmac, with some nice detached homes on the tree-lined ridge to the left.
An arrow on the junction of Sugar lane with the Hemel Hempstead Road, care was taken on crossing on the bend to get to the footpath on the opposite side to run a short way around to where the narrow Sharpes Lane heads off toward the Grand Union Canal in the east. Max Factor was impressed at the home they passed by, especially with its lake.
Once over the Bullbourne River, more arrows were found & these pointed the way down by the north side of the small humpbacked pack bridge of Pixes Farm Bridge No.146 over the waterway. Down on the footpath & an arrow pointing the way south-eastward along the towpath indicated to Mr X that My Lil' & TBT OBE had already passed through.
With the canal on the left there would be plenty of narrow boat homes moored up at the edge, as the Pack would run on by the first of the three Winkwell Locks in this busy area, further along there were more boats on the opposite bank as a lock & wide section of a turning point in the canal was passed by.
Mr X pointed out the odd raffle ticket like sticker that were spotted once in a while along the tow path, these were the numbers that had fallen off of the badges worn by the hundreds of Jewish School Kids out the day before partaking in a ‘Sponsored walk’ from Berkhamsted to Hemel Hempstead, with so many kids on the footpath it meant that it took ages for the Hares to lay the Trail on Sunday. They also had to compete with the ‘mad buggers’ who were endurance running from Birmingham to London along the canal in one go!! Which meant running through the night to complete the 100 Mile Trot!!
After a short section of canal, the Trail passed by Locks 59 & 60 came in to Winkwell, My Lil' & TBT OBE could be seen imbibing outside of the Three Horseshoes, an excellent old Pub that Paxo corrected Mr X on the date it was built around 1535, My Lil' said "Blimey, is that the time?" This meant that the Pub outdated the canal by over 270 Years, as the Hemel Hempstead to Berkhamsted section was started in 1798 but due to a shortage of bricks it wasn’t completed until seven years later!
Once over the white metal Winkwell Swing Bridge (No.147) the rest of the Pack joined the SCBs, as well as a couple out enjoying a quiet drink by the canal were interested in what the Hash were up to, no doubt the site of the RA adorned in the Hashit intrigued them? The Hash was explained to them & the girl seemed quite keen on turning out the following week.
Alfa Male now caught up with the Pack, it looked like he had had a good run to make up from his lost ground.
There is a tale of the local Lock Keeper way back in 1898, one Joseph Buck lived in his Lock Keeper’s Cottage which is next door but one to the Pub, on Christmas Day he drowned in his own lock! Was it a result of drinking in the Three Horseshoe? We’ll never know!
When it came time to carry on with the Trail, Honeypot & Mr X were left behind as Honeypot had bought an extra pint, while Mr X waffled on about the Hash, then the swing bridge was opened to prevent them escaping the Pub's canal-side patio garden, & unlike the poor Lock-keeper they didn’t want to end up in the canal!
The Trail continued along the towpath, passing the turning point & then the last of the Winkwell Locls No.61 as it arcs around a bend as the canal sweeps below the rail bridge No.147B the mainline to Euston passed on above the Grand Union Canal. The Westbrook Mere lakes on the right could be seen through gaps in the tree line, then as the progressed the back of Mill Stream Hotel, Generals favourite place after a problem with bookings for a Posh Nosh many years ago!
On by the Boxmoor Lock No.62 & then up to a CHK on Old Fisheries Lane Bridge No.148 for the dead-end lane, though it used to run through the bridge to the Hemel Road, it is now only open to pedestrians. Strangely the last working services on this section of Canal was the delivery of Lime Juice from Brentford to Boxmoor that final ceased in 1981!
The towpath was favourite & so it proved to be as the Trail progressed on by a stretch of reed beds in a narrow nature reserve between the canal & the high railway embankment built by George Stephenson on his line that opened in 1898. On the opposite side were the Chaulden Playing Fields & Rugby Ground.
On beyond the Fishery Lock No.63 then under the Fishery Road bridge & on to a Bar CHK on the opposite side from the Fisheries Pub, having come back for the nasty Bar CHK, the Pack now crossed a narrow weir, where the stream for the Bullbourne trickled over. The Dust cut diagonally over a section if the Boxmoor common to come out on to the main road, over this & through the car park for the Pack were led up to Hemel Hempstead Railway station to catch a Train back to Berkhamsted. Mr X was happy to see an EWS engine go by, & was quick to text 66078 to Junior as it trundled through!
Having alighted at Berko, Honeypot got to see the P-Arrows from Station to On Inn for the first time, he claimed he didn’t see any markings after he got the Train to the venue in the morning! He also got to see an impressive totem after a turn backwards & then around again to take to the eastern towpath, Mr X explained that the bird on top of the Native American like Totem was a Thunderbird!
Passing by the Crystal Palace, then the Boat (Where MKH3 took shelter while awaiting the Rising Sun to open on Sunday!) then on the opposite bank was the Emporium Stores at the Port of Berkhamsted, as was painted on the Bridge by the Boat Pub, from when the building supplied the working Narrowboats of days gone by.
Back at the Rising Sun & the Hash sat outside, there were some that enjoyed the impressive ploughman’s, while Honeypot produced his brass drinking vessel that looks as if it was bartered for in a Souk, he would find out later on in the Circle that it holds just over half a pint!
When it came to the Down-Downs the Hares were rewarded for an excellent Trail, of around an hour, with a great Beer Stop. Alfa Male was out for not txting Max Factor that he was fine after going astray on the Trail! Honeypot was out for his return to H4 - finally Mr X had the Hashit as he forgot it the week before!