Date = 1st May 2017
Run Number = 1733
Venues = The Rising Sun
Beer = Tring T Drop, Riser Ale, & a few others & lots of ciders!
Hares = Mother & Lemming
Runners = 19
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 3
Newies = 0
Après = 0
Hounds = 0
Total = 22
Membership = Invaded by (Royal) Berks (H3)!
The Circle was held up due to the bus the RA was on was running slightly late, but he arrived just after the hour. Mr X as the most senior member of the Hierarchy present then had to welcome the Hash successfully to the correct Run Number, since both the GM & JM were both absent that morning. There were a few (Royal) Berks Hashers with us this morning, notably Clogs, C5 & C4, who must think that Berkhamsted is in Berkshire?
After the welcome, Mr X then called the Hares forward & Lemming took up the job of Senior Hare, taking it upon himself to best describe the Trail that lay ahead, he then went on to explain that the Hash markings wouldn’t be the usual Herts ones, as they confuse Mother & Lemming.
It seems that the Trail would be “Four & On!” & this drew a few comments of “Lazy Hares!” & the likes, he then went on to mention that False Trails would terminate with an F! [What the F!? – Ed] Lemming said that there hadn’t been a lot of thought in to setting the Trail, again this drew a few more groans.
Lemming finally added that this was also a SODOFF Hash Trail as well, which explains why Flo & Zebedee from the SODOFF Hash were also attending this week’s Herts Trail. Lemming then pointed the Hash away from the Lock that sits below the Rising Sun, to head up the Grand Union Canal in a northwesterly direction toward the Berkhamsted Port.
The tow path led up below the Boat Pub & then under the Raven’s Lane bridge, which bears a splendid painted “Welcome to the Port of Berkhamsted” in a traditional Narrow Boat font, the has continued on opposite the ornate wharf buildings, complete with block & tackle to hoist goods up in to the warehouse..
from the River Thames at Brentford to Berkhamsted in 1798, the Canal was
extended to Birmingham in 1805 & became a part of the Grand Union. Castle Wharf
(The Port of Berkhamsted) was the centre of the town's canal trade, navigation
(shipping of goods) & boat building were among the main activities. The canal
was a hub of the country's inland water transport system, with the transport of
coal, grain, building materials &
the Hare’s Chalk Talk manure. Timber
yards, boating wharves, breweries, boat building & chemical works flourished
along the canal, with over 700 workers employed locally in Berkhamsted.
The Trail ran by the Crystal Palace Pub at the end of the row of Homes to come up around the spiral footpath where the towpath changes to the southern side by way of the Castle Street Bridge, situated near to the Totem Pole a CHK was found. This western red cedar pole, 30 feet high & 3 feet in diameter, was carved by Henry Hunt a member of the Kwakiutl community at Thunderbird Park, a centre for First Nation monuments. The completed Totem was shipped to Britain and erected at Alsford's Wharf in 1968.
It was commissioned in honour of the these Native Americans who saved James Alsford, Great Grand Son of the Timber Merchant at the Wharf, from Starvation! His brother William John Alsford, visited Vancouver Island in gratitude for the local people's hospitality.
Back to the Trail & while the Hash visitors crossed over toward the green space of ‘The Moor’ Recreation Ground on the southwest side of the Canal, My Lil’ was more astute & he headed over toward Berkhamsted Railway Station with a couple of other FRBs, where they picked up the Trail in the tunnel that is the narrow start to Brownlow Road as it passes through the embankment that the railway sits upon on its way down to Euston.
On the northern side of the Main Line, the arrows pointed the way over to the grounds of former Royal Berkhamsted Castle, the FRBs dutifully followed the Trail in through the gate in the railings, they would be on a loop around the moat that surrounds the remaining broken like section of Castle walls of the once impressive Norman Keep that sits upon the one of their earliest Motte & Bailey’s. It was besieged in 1216 during the civil war between King John & the Barons, who were supported by France. It was successfully captured by the future Louis VIII, who attacked it with siege engines for twenty days forcing the garrison to surrender.
The Castle was retaken by Royal forces the subsequent year, it was given to Richard, Earl of Cornwall, beginning a long association with the Duchy. Richard redeveloped the castle as a palatial residence, and made it the centre of the earldom's administration. Edward III further developed the castle in the 14th century before handing it to his son, Edward, the Black Prince, who expanded the hunting grounds. The castle was also used to hold Royal prisoners, including John II of France & rival claimants to the English throne. The most famous event to happen there was that of the surrendering of the English Crown by the Saxons to William the Conqueror.
Sadly after Castles fell out of fashion, by the 16th Century the stone had been pilfered to build & expand the town’s domestic buildings & Berkhamsted House. The remains of the Castle were almost lost forever during the construction of the London & Birmingham Railway in the 1830s, but they were saved when it became the first building in Britain to receive statutory protection from Parliament. In 1930, the castle passed from the Duchy of Cornwall to the government's control.
Away from the History lesson, as the Trail & the Pack were now heading up Brownlow Road & on to a CHK beyond where the road breaks off to the northeast, opposite the bend in Castle Hill road as it turns northwestward. Mr X, who had earlier been sent up this route by Lemming, made easy work of continuing northward on the driveway through to the Cricket Club, sure enough the Dust was found on the footpath at the end of the drive as it leads along the farm fields to the east of the Cricket Ground on Kitchener’s Field.
On the way by the wooden upside-down v-shaped stile straddling the barbed wire fence, this is used to retrieve any loose balls hit for Six [Whoa there Pebbledash! – Ed] the Trail passed on through to the next farm field, there a CHK was found by Mr X & he was quickly On to through the hedge & up the steep northwest bound path along the next enclosed field, it was a 150 Yard climb up to the summit & this would slow the RA down to a walk, but he was relieved to find more than three blobs of Dust on his assent.
The Rest of the Pack would begin to gain back the ground Mr X had made on them, Wanktlers was the first to Catchup with the RA. The RA stopped at the top to look back down the valley where he spotted My Lil’ short cutting from the F down on the path toward Well Farm, no one else was seen to misbehave on this bit.
Back to searching for the Trail from the CHK at the top of the summit & Mr X believed that the Trail would head along the plateau to the North, but by the time he & Wanktlers reached the turn in direction of the track there was no sign of any Dust. So, it was back to the path that runs all the way down from the plateau to Well Farm, Alfa Male, Max Factor, Tent Packer, My Lil’, C5, Sparky & Ian all headed down to Well Farm. It was noticed that the Hares had led the SCBs along the path in the valley, so Mr X kicked through the CHK in case anyone else was daft enough to make that climb up & down the hillside!
Lemming, who was looking back up at those coming down the hill, was particularly pleased to see the RA making an effort to run down the hill when a proper runner came running in the opposite direction up the Hill! As Mr X finally made it to the bottom of the Valley he soon spotted that Prince Garmin was with Mother, meaning that Ketchup had lived up to his natural state & arrived late, but was now up with the FRBs on the shorter climb up through this Horsey area, with paddocks scattered around the stables along the drive up by Well Farm to Trithsden Beeches Wood.
Sparky now led the likes of My Lil', C5, Tent Packer, Sludge, Ian, Ketchup, Wanktlers, Zebedee & Flo on the lower Northwestward bound path along the inside edge of Frithsden Beeches Wood, unfortunately for these Keenies tailing Sparky they would soon realise they would all be "Running Blind" as he missed the point where the trail turned in a clockwise direction to the north & then back around to the southeast.
Max Factor & Alfa Male fared better & picked up the proper Trail to arrive at the Regroup by the remains of the World War One Trenches. They arrived at the same time as Mr X, who had a lot of ground to make up to this point. He was with Prince Garmin & Mother & after having to have an impromptu Hash Halt to allow a Horse & rider to pass by them, Mother offered up a short cut. As they started off Mother pointed out the new signpost pointing the way to the WWI Trenches.
Lemming appeared at the Regroup, then began a little wait by the new information board telling the story of the "Devil's Own" & the history of the Officer Training in Trench Warfare. It was here that Prince Garmin discovered an old iron clasp or hinge that was rusted over, who knows it may have been a left over from the Trench construction?
Eventually Lemming headed away over the elongated open space in the woodland to discover what had happened to the FRBs, his calling of "On! On!" may have worked before the ‘Lost Sheep’ following on behind Sparky all realised they were Off Trail!
The Pack made their way up to the regroup & here Wanktlers produced a packet of Jelly Babies, which went down well, while those interested in the history of this area read the Information Boar on the earthworks that were dug out by hand over 100 years ago.
A Poignant Bench sits by the remains of the Trenches, dedicated to 2nd Lieut. John Graham Goffey, 1897 - 1916 of the 17th Bn Kings Royal Rifle Corp. He Trained in these trenches and killed in action at Beaumont-Hamel (The Somme) 3rd Sept 1916
On 28 September 1914 troops from the Inns of Court Officers' Training Corps, nick-named The Devil's Own, arrived in Berkhamsted to train before heading for the battlefields of northern France.
During the course of WWI, 12,000 troops passed through the training camp at Berkhamsted. They lived in a tented camp near the station, paraded on what is now called Kitchener's Field (Named after Lord Kitchener who appears on the recruitment poster & Herts Hare line!) and trained on Berkhamsted and Northchurch commons and in the surrounding countryside.
Troops from the UK and abroad spent several months in Berkhamsted in intensive training, building skills and character, before being commissioned into other regiments.
Nearly 8 miles of training trenches were dug on the commons of which just 500 m remain. A team of volunteers from the Commons Project and Chiltern Society mapped the location of the best preserved trenches.
The impact on the small town of about 7,500 was huge and there was strong respect and appreciation between local residents and the Corps. For many of the young men, Berkhamsted was their last "home" before the horrors of the Western Front. By 1918, nearly half of all trainees had become causalities of the war with 2,200 killed. More than 50 local volunteers were involved with the mapping project, plus trainees from RAF Halton and members of the current Inns of Court TA Squadron.
By a footpath marker post there were two opposing arrows, one pointing away to the northwest & the other toward the southeast, when it came to the Hares allowing the hounds to search again, Lemming offered the two options of which only the south-eastern one was really considered by the FRBs. Lemming did have a few words of advice before everyone advanced & these were that "The Golf Course is on Common Land!" But keep your eyes open!
The Trail led on through the alder & beech trees that were once commercially grown to supply Berkhamsted’s Saw Mills & Port, it is an unusual undulating landscape which is partly created by the WWI workings. Things progressed & it was up to one of the fairways of the Berkhamsted Golf Course, there were plenty of Golfers out on this slightly overcast morning, none of whom appeared to be up to the Hackers Standard as all the bunkers seemed to be clear!
As the Hash passed by the Golfers on a path between a green & a tee as the Trail headed eastward to emerge out on to the Frithsden Road, with no traffic at the time the Pack crossed over to the War Memorial dedicated to those who Served & Died in the ‘Devil’s Own’.
The Trail led further away on a due east course, bisecting another fairway on a loop around through the woodland in which a part of the Hertfordshire way runs through by the north-eastern edge of the course before coming back around in the trees on its southeastern end.
Max Factor & Mr X were offered a short cut along the opposite side of the fairway, through the wooded edge by the lane. The latter of the two was feeling it a bit after Hashing with the Ashford Loco Hash the day before, but in the end they only cut out a few hundred yards.
The FRBs came put toward the road, just as the slightly peeved SCBs came up to the Tee where there was a foursome [Off Golfers Pebbledash! – Ed] who were facing the road, with one of the guys standing slightly ahead to one side in order to keep an eye out for passing traffic as the fairway & green are on the opposite western side of the lane.
The foursome let Mr X & Max Factor cross in front of them, but where then held up by a couple of cars & a cyclist before bashing their balls over the road! [Steady Pebbledash! – Ed] Meanwhile the FRBs ran along by the tree covered remains of ‘Grims Ditch’ an ancient earthwork that was also dug out by hand - being once a part of late Bronze Age to Iron Age (1200–100 BC) fortifications
Once back over the Frithsden Road the Trail led through a thicket & then out by the putting greens of the Golf Club, near to the Club House. Then while crossing the car park a distraught Mr X pointed out the Club House clock whose hands indicted that the time was 10 past the hour, he exclaimed to Lemming "The Pub's been open for 10 whole minutes!"
Lemming replied that it would all be worth it when he saw the upcoming vista, plus if he ran all the way back, he could be at the On Inn in 5 minutes! [Yer, if you’re a Three A’s Runner! – Ed] So, through the gap between the wooded tree line by the Practice pitch & the rather nice old ornate red brick house that had more than a feel of Jacobian or Elizabethan Faux-Castle about it.
Out to the edge of the plateau was a stunning panorama looking over the valley that Berko (as the locals call it) sits in. On the opposite side of the valley at the top of the corresponding ridge sits the distinctive round white châteaux looking water tower. A CHK was found here before the grassy drop down toward what was once known as Great Berkhamsted.
Only Alfa Male it seems went wrong here, as he was seen coming back from along the ridge to the north, he was soon following on after Tent Packer, Wanktlers, C5, Zebedee, Flo, My Lil’ & Sludge with the rest along the ridge behind the expensive homes that you’d definitely ‘pay for the view’ as they overlooks the scenic valley.
My Lil' was now happy with the Trail, for he had used this route from the Golf Course before in one of his own Trails, he was full of confidence with Berko in sight & consequently lured in to a safe sense of security. Those ahead of him, like Sparky, Wanktlers, Tent Packer, C5 & EVEN Sludge religiously followed the Trail along in a southwesterly direction by the hedgerow, all before turning southward & headed back down toward the New Road the Castle sits beside.
My Lil' knew that the Trail hit a 90° turn but wouldn’t go all the way to the road & he was first to take a diagonal path over the grassy drop descent. Alfa Male & Max Factor followed on, strangely none of them went to the back up the hillside after finding an F down there, luckily for them the RA did the same as he believed the F meant 'Forward'!
Now, the Trail didn't stick with the official footpath as it turned to join the unofficial one that dog walkers & the like use as a short cut, which My Lil' & Co. were already on, this would pass over the squashed down wire fence to lead in to the next field back down to the Castle Grounds.
However all was not as it seems, for a nasty & possibly deadly surprise of the type you’d expect in ‘trench-warfare’ lay hidden in wait for the unwary, the unwary being My Lil' as his foot clipped the trip-wire like fence & he was sent flying to land in a heap on the dusty gravelly dirt, Berkhamsted was once a centre for flint knapping & sharp bits of stone can be found all over.
My Lil’ got himself up, at least he only went down the once, for Sparky had to outdo him by hitting the deck twice on the Trail! The RA said he was just glad that TBT OBE wasn’t there as last time we ran in Berko he took a tumble in front of the RA! Later on when My Lil’ went to change there was blood coming through his t-shirt, due to the scratches on his back which led many to state the obvious with “That’s going to hurt!” which cheered My Lil’ up now end!
The Trail passed by the very obedient pooches in a circle waiting for a treat. [Wonder if their trainer could work on the Hash Circle? – Ed] it then came down to the level with the road at the bend in New Road to cross over to pass the corner of the Castle Grounds, where the On Inn was found.
The final leg of the Hash was to pass under another narrow passageway of a single track road through the railway embankment, this one leading out by the Crystal Palace, & so it was back along the towpath to the Riser, with its advertising board with Edward & Tubbs outside of the ‘Local Pub’ that states “There’s nothing here for you!”
At first the Pack began to sit outside, where C5 was telling the RA about Max Factor sending him the wrong way on the Trail, but this conversation got cut short as C5 believed that Mr X wasn't listening to him, in fact he was sorting out the Hash Wedding Card & was multi-tasking! Then a light drizzle fell, so everyone ended up in the back bar by the time the proper rain started to fall. The 50 pence off a pint for CAMRA Members eased this ‘Hardship’ as everyone squeezed in to the back room, it may have even soothed My Lil’s painful shoulder he kept stretching & rubbing.
When it came to the Circle it was still a little rain in the air, plus being in such a popular Pub it was decided that the Circle would be held in the back bar for fear of losing Hash Seats, & so it took place with softly sung Hash Songs to accompany the Hits.
Mr X offered the Pack the ‘Toast to the Hash’ before moving to one side to invite the RA in to the circle, which meant he jumped straight back in again. The Hares were rewarded with a great Trail, well not if you were caught up in the deathtrap near the end!
Then the Newbies of Clogs, Flo & Zebedee from (Royal) Berks & SODOFF were out for their first Herts Run. Then it was on to My Lil’ & Sparky, firstly for their falling down on the Hash, the RA also added that Sparky had to have a Down-Down after the RA saw a Scientific article where Scientists claimed to have discovered the world’s oldest bacteria fossilized in a rock, Mr X said that he had called the BBC to say that the article was wrong & these so-called boffins should check out Sparky’s Pantry!