Date = 8th May 2017
Run Number = 1734
Venues = The Hope & Anchor
Location: Welham Green
Beer = Greede King IPA, Chas Wells Bombardier!
Hares = My Lil’
Runners = 6
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Newies = 0
Après = 0
Hounds = 0
Total = 6
Membership = Depleted by Hackers, Hens, Stags & Man-flu
The GM & the JM weren’t present for today’s Trail, but a faithful half a dozen managed to make an effort & four of them had survived the Stag Weekend, an event that may have accounted for Mark E Mark & Ketchup absence, as these two were drinking (A fairly decent) Red Wine at the Greyhound Stadium, as it worked out cheaper that a couple of pints of Guinness!
Anyhow, on this grey & overcast evening the RA was left to call a circle over by a white 1965 Vauxhall Victor 101 Super, with the impressive FAT 977C registration plate & white walled tyres, so, Mr X stood in & welcomed the Hash to the correct Run Number, seems that the practice is paying off! Then without further ado the Hare was called forward, with such a low turn out there weren’t enough present for the usual crescendo of jeering My Lil’ expected as he stepped forward.
The Hare, as is the norm, had little to say about the Trail with the exception of a couple of busy roads & a few horses to look out for on the Trail, Oh, & there Short Cuts briefly mentioned in Kylie’s direction. Then it was out away down Station Road, the Station being a few miles away at Brookmans Park, which was the only station until the new one was built in Welham Green in September 1986! Almost immediately the Trail crossed over to the northeast side of the south easterly road.
Kylie was quick to say “Is it a Pub Crawl Trail?” as he spotted the pub-sign for the Sibthorpe Arms a hundred yards or so down Station Road. Unfortunately for the Hash the Trail up to the Sibthorpe ended with a Bar CHK that prevented any entry to the Pub! So, it was back to Delsome Road, the right-hand fork in the Y-shaped junction where Kylie & Mr X had benefitted from the Hare marking the Trail back to the north, it was here that someone added that if Paxo would have been present he would have called the FRBs back.
Mr X ran on by the alleyway that the Trail would take to off of Delsome lane, running between the back of the houses on Welham Close & Somers Road, with wooden fences on either side the pack made their way northwestward & every so often there was the odd encroaching plant to duck under, or avoid until coming out to an area of garages. Kylie was leading the way & took the Pack down the Nor-nor-westerly alley out on to Somers Road where the Trail turned again to head to the west end of this road that one of Mr X’s Great Uncle’s family lived years ago.
The Trail turned northward & passed through another alleyway to come out on to main Dixon’s Hill Road, the Keenies caught up with Kylie as everyone had to stop for a break in the traffic to cross to the northern side of the busy main drag through the village.
More alleyways lay ahead, Welham Green has a myriad of these rabbit warren like paths. The latest one headed northward before turning to the west, Milf startled a couple of locals by saying “Good evening!” to them. The locals haven’t really been the same since Vincenzo Lunardi "The Daredevil Aeronaut", descended upon them as he set down the UK’s first manned balloon flight to drop off an airsick cat, after setting off from the Honourable Artillery Company in London on 15 September 1784
The Hash emerged out on to Puttock’s Drive, [That’s Puttocks, not Buttocks Pebbledash! - Ed] where Mr X suddenly slowed up in front of Milf, who almost run in to the back of him. The Trail ran around a loop through another set of garages then back to Puttock’s Drive, a Civilian local asked if the pack were following the markings & his mind was put at ease from possible Burglary signs!
The Hash moved on around to a CHK by an alleyway off dead-end spur of Puttock’s Close which saw Wanktlers heading out through the left arm of the alleyway to a Bar CHK to Vincenzo Close, named after the "The Daredevil Aeronaut".
Back to the junction for Wanktlers & Mr X to find that Where’s Wally? & Milf were heading northward up to emerge on tom Huggins lane, Milf was quickly on to the Trail on the continuation of the alleyway to pass between more back gardens to arrive out on to Pooley’s Lane, finding a CHK right opposite a nice large old rustic Farm House.
While Where’s Wally? & Wanktlers choose to look away along the road to the left, Milf again chose the correct route as she headed up to & then searched down the fenced-in footpath that runs a just few degrees westward off of due north. The chain-link fencing soon became solid steel uprights as the path passed by the Marshmoor industrial park, home to a Tesco depot amongst the other huge Warehouses.
On the west side of the path was a series of horse paddocks, a far nicer view than the large dull grey monoliths to the east. There was a CHK halfway along this tarmac path which managed to throw Wanktlers off of the scent as he paid a visit out between two of the fenced-in depots.
Milf & Where’s Wally were up ahead of Wanktlers, as he rejoined the Pack just as Mr X followed on behind the two FRBs on their way up toward New Barnfield & the School that sits there, amazingly there were plans to build an incinerator at that point, fortunately after years of controversy it was rejected.
Wanktlers passed Mr X & joined the others in running around the corner to find a Bar CHK behind the School Grounds, by the time Mr X had reached the footpath off to the west, which the others had been lured beyond, the Hare had marked double arrows to direct the Pack that way.
Ahead of Mr X was a nice long run through the tree line path that slightly weaves a route by the bone-dry brook the runs by the northern end of the Horse Paddocks, Wanktlers believed that the patchwork of equine enclosures belongs to the Royal Veterinary College at Brookmans Park? Anyhow, to the Northern side were the fenced off playing fields of the School, after which were the not so securely fenced off fields of Angerland Common.
Exiting the gloomier shade of the tree line, Mr X was first on to a CHK on the edge of the open common, ahead lay a nice view of the green countryside heading toward St Albans, yet there was no sign of the A1(M) or the A414. Here Mr X dismissed the idea of heading down beside the horse paddocks to Bush Wood to the South, Wanktlers was on to the westbound footpath along by the hedgerow but he soon stopped in his tracks as he found a T, so an about turn was needed.
The Hare had by now marked the CHK in the direction Mr X didn’t fancy, for it would have made the Trail too short in his opinion. Having revaluated things, he now believed that the Trail would go on to the cut off old remnant of Delsome Lane, the building of the A1(M) marked the demise of this by-way, but at least it is now incorporated in to the series of footpaths around here.
Mr X told Milf that just on the other side of Bush Wood he used to work in the Greyhound Kennels by the old Piggery there, both of which have long gone since & is now a construction company depot. Anyhow, Kylie followed on as the Trail did hit Delsome Lane & headed Westward, this slight downhill trot was rather nice as the Bluebells were still out in bloom in Bush Wood to the left, all of which led Wanktlers, Mr X & Milf in to a false sense of security that the wicked Hare had planned on, for there would be a Bar CHK further down the bramble lined tarmac lane.
Back up the lane for a short way to find that Where’s Wally? & a short cutting Kylie were being led through the tip of Bush wood & out in to the crop fields leading up to the edge of the A1(M), the ground under foot was like concrete & you can see why BBC said earlier that week that the county is heading toward ‘Drought’ status!
The hard, dusty, stony path was clear through the green crop, Mr X was asked what the plants were? “Hardy!” was his answer! As the Hash ran on to a CHK situated on its end where it joins on to the North-South footpath from the dead-end of Delsome Lane to a bridge that leads over the motorway. While Wanktlers looked back toward the lane, the Trail was picked up on the along the field’s edge to a farm bridge over the A1 (M).
Once over the concrete arched bridge the next CHK was found, from here only Mr X was not lured away to the northwest, mainly by the motorway sign spotted earlier that indicated the exit for Welham Green, for unlike Where’s Wally? & Milf he knew that this was a long way around through the end of south Hatfield & then down the Great North Road!
So, having walked down the wooden steps Mr X would head away along the edge of the crop by the A1(M), but not that far down his preferred route AS the Trail changed direction to run through the centre of the crop field. The RA was wary but Wanktlers ran on by the huge old solitary Oak Tree, his calling convinced Mr X to continue as he now believed the Trail would go in to North Mymms Park.
Sure enough after a left hand turn, the Trail took to a permissive path along the edge of the crop to reach a new gate in the hedgerow by Tollgate road. M, This new bit of path is obviously there to prevent anyone getting mullered on this narrow but fairly busy lane, Mr X elaborated that last time the Hash ran this bit they had to regroup & run all together on the tarmac before reaching the footpath in to the estate grounds of Mymms Hall.
A diagonal path cut over an empty sheep enclosure, warning signs of keeping dogs on leads gave away the sometime woolly inhabitants. The Dust led on to the wooden footbridge that spans a fairly deep gap that was another dried river bed, this one being the River Colne.
Once over the bridge the Trail led up to St Mary’s, in the new looking back room it seemed that there was some Choir practice going on & Mr X wondered if our Hash Song Mistress was tempted to go in & teach them a song or two? Fortunately for the genteel folk inside, Milf didn’t!
It was here Wanktlers gave those around a brief history lesson about the fate of a Priest who was dragged out of St Mary’s & shot during the English Civil War, the musket ball holes were to be seen in the Church doors for year, but it seems that they may have had new ones fitted, unless they are within the inner door?
The Elizabethan Red Brick North Mymms House, behind the large trees beside the Church, was a location for the 1983 film The Wicked Lady, starring Faye Dunaway as a bored aristocratic lady who takes up highway robbery, which was actually based on the true life of Lady Katherine Ferrers, who lived at Markyate & plied her trade as a Highway Woman on Nomansland near St Albans. The exterior of the house appeared in Agatha Christie's Marple's The Mirror Crack'd as the house of Marina Gregg.
Out through the graveyard & beyond the Vicarage where a CHK was discovered under an old tree on the driveway like St Mary’s Church Road, Mr X was tempted to go up the few yards to search the footpath that cuts over North Mymms Cricket Club grounds, but Milf had already picked up the Trail on to the nice gentle decent down this tarmac way to cross the dried up Colne again at the bottom & then out on to Tollgate Road once more, from there the Trail led up the entrance road from the Gatehouse & the green with the War Memorial to come up on to the start of the road bridge over the A1(M) on to Dixon’s Hill Road.
Once over to the east side of the road & the Hash were led on down to the north on a footpath through the small area of woodland that shelters the old dead end road of Dixon’s Hill Close, this used to be a crossroads at the dead end, where it crossed the old A1 route & over to Tollgate Road, it was there that the Budgie Café once traded, but like Ackerman’s Café behind it the closure of the road saw its demise, it is a private residence.
The Trail would lead up Dixons Hill Close to where it joins Dixons Hill once again, along which there were miniature road-markings on the footpath to indicate where the new ones needed painting on the road! By the time the FRBs had made it to this point there was no sign of Kylie or the Hare, not that it worried the rest, for most had more than an inkling that they were on the last leg, sure enough as the Trail came in to Welham Green one again the On Inn was found, from there it as a short way to the Hope & Anchor.
The Trail was just a few minutes over the hour for the FRBs, who did actually kept up a pretty good pace for the majority of the Trail. There were no Down-Downs, as the RA didn’t really see any misdemeanors worthy of comment on Trail, plus the Hare put off this to the following week as they only had IPA on in the Pub!