Date = 3rd July 2017
Run Number = 1743
Venues = Townsend Nurseries
Beer = Tanglefoot, Doombar
Hares = Tent Packer
Runners = 18
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Newies = 0
Après = 2
Hounds = 1
Total = 21
Membership = Lured by the smell of Barbequed Food!
It was always going to be hard work for whoever stepped up to have the next Herts Trail with food at the end, especially to get anywhere near the Cordon Bleu standard of that on the previous week’s visit to Chez Sloppy.
Anyhow, the slight wafting of the smoke from a barbeque at a Hash Trail is enough to bring out from the woodwork those who haven’t been out for a while, this week was no different as Spotted Dick & Custard arrived at the Nurseries with their new pooch, Poppy. It was a half decent turnout for a Monday, considering the last two weeks had been Sunday Runs.
The GM was prompted by My Lil’ about the time approaching the top of the hour, so after getting the run number correct & a little bit where she almost welcomed “Spotted Custard & Dick” back to the Herts Hash, it was over to the Hare, who stepped in to the circle.
Tent Packer’s ‘Chalk Talk’ mentioned a four & a half mile run for those who were up for it on this warm evening, while there were short cuts for others, but overall it was a Trail that the Pack should relax on, a not too taxing affair, as it was an evening for food & drink! Without further ado, Tent Packer pointed the way out of the Nursery gates & on to the end of the uncapped section of Townsend Lane.
On to the Tarmac arm of the populated part of Townsend Lane & the Pack ran just a few feet in to the area where the large houses line just one side, to find the first CHK where Claygate Avenue leaves the elbow of the Townsend Lane. Mr X was caught out on the northeast bound Claygate Avenue, no doubt thinking that the Trail would head over to the Nicky Way behind the houses?
Meanwhile, My Lil’ didn’t even bother checking out this, as in his opinion the CHK was far too close to the start of the Trail! Something that Ewok had picked up on as “On!” was called to the southeastward along Townsend Lane to where it turns from the south east to the northeast.
Now heading toward the centre of Town in the valley below, Paxo, Milf, Mr X, My Lil’ Fliptop, Porky Pie & Alfa Male would not descend from the top of the plateau as a set of arrows directed the FRBs over to opposite side of the street & then off up the tree lined avenue of Maple Road to head sou-sou-east for a short way, now the Keenies were then directed around on to Park Avenue (North) as they embarked upon a very long loop that saw the suburban road become Park Avenue (South) by the time it rejoined Maple Road.
TBT OBE was at the point the Keenies rejoined the SCBs cutting out the first loop the Hare had put in, he greeted them with a cheeky “Where have you lot been?” the Keenies would get ahead of him as they ran on to the next CHK at the start of Orchard Avenue. This heads southwestward from the bend in the suburban street, Mr X was very keen on taking this road as he knew that after getting it wrong on the previous loop, that one of these road led out to the sports pavilion on one part of the sports fields of Rothampstead Park. This was that road.
Sure enough Mr.X’s hunch finally proved correct as Milf, He, Alfa Male, Fliptop, Pôrgu Pie & My Lil’ all came crossed the dead-end to the car park for the Pavilion, no one was sure if there was a CHK at this point? If there was it could have been hidden under parked car, but it wasn’t long before one of the FRBs noticed a blob of flour on one of the oaks dotted over open Parkland.
Leaving the local lads who were setting up their football posts by the pavilion, the Keenies now headed southward down through the green grassy vale to rise up the shallow opposite side of this wide green space to find a CHK on the uncapped path of Coach Lane, which comes up from Harpenden in the East at a point where it joins another path running diagonally from the northeastern corner of the park.
While My Lil’ & Mr X attempts to pre-empt the Hare by looking on the footpath back along the western edge of the Rothampstead Park, Pôrgu Pie, Milf & Fliptop picked up the Trail on the stony track that is Coach Lane on its journey along by the large enclosed scalene Triangle shaped Stackyard field of the Research Area of the Rothampstead estate.
The long dry dusty track led out by the two cottages that sit on the edge of the ornate grounds of Rothampstead Manor House, the Trail didn’t hang about here long enough to appreciate the scenery as the Trail was soon picked up on the narrow tarmac by Pôrgu Pie, Milf, Fliptop as it led away on the long, soft arc around from the south to the east, passing by the Broadbalk experiment on the right.
The Broadbalk is one of the oldest continuous agronomic experiments in the world. Started by Lawes & Gilbert in the autumn of 1843, crops have been sown & harvested on all or part of this special field every year since. The original aim of the experiment was to test the effects of various combinations of inorganic fertilizers & different organic manures on the yield of winter wheat; a control strip has received no fertilizer or organic manures since 1843.
A man with a Boarder Terrier wandered toward the FRBs as they made their way up another long stretch to the elbow in the public right of way as it turns due south near Rothampstead Farm.
Leaving the tarmac lane to run down another uncapped by-way to another sharp turn by an area known as Bones Close, the Trail turned with the right of way to the northwestward, over to Little Knott, where it dropped down on to the track that runs through the edge of Furze Field beside the northern edge of Knott Wood. This area was once a Roman Burial Ground, coming to light when the Roman Temple was discovered at the centre of Rothampstead Experimental Station as that was being established.
The Trail led into the shaded woodland & weaved its way northward on the a path just within the woodland until it emerged at the northern tip, here it came out to the only Held CHK of the Trail on a junction of the Nicky Way, the former Railway line from Harpenden through to Redbourn & Hemel Hempstead beyond.
Here, as the RA approached on the path along the outside edge of Knotts Wood, he was greeted at the Held CHK by baying of “Short Cutter!” from Milf, Fliptop, Pôrgu Pie & My Lil’, so Mr X retorted with “There were no T’s to stop me, we’ll question Sludge on that when we get back!” he also added that the Hare had mentioned that it was to be a relaxing & leisurely Trail!
For some unknown reason the middle order of the Pack were far behind, Mr X said that he could not see the likes of Ewok, Paxo & Max Factor further back on the Trail, he had tried to peer over the rising ground but could not see any bobbing caps from over the Broadbalk, not that he really expected to see Ewok above the hedgerows!
So, after a few minutes wait & no sign of any others, it was decided by the FRBs that the others may be on a Short Cut, so they chose to continue with the Trail. Here there was another split & more accusations of SCBing as My Lil’ & Mr X decided to search the Nicky Way to the northeast as it passes by Great Knott to the right.
The Two on the Former Railway Line soon heard called of “On!” from behind them, these emanated on the westbound footpath through the line-side hedgerow & out toward Harpendenbury Farm. Fliptop even came back to the former railway to beckon the others back, but this failed as they were not forced back by a T, plus these two knew that the others would be on a loop around by the stables & then on a dog-leg footpath out over the edge of the golf course before rejoining the Nicky Way further down toward Harpenden.
At the crossroads where afore mentioned footpath from the golf course emerged from the strip of pine trees running along its eastern flank, a CHK was found at this point & from here Mr X went off in to the adjacent crop field on the east side of the hedgerow, in the Foster’s Area of the Research Centre’s grounds. Here he & My Lil’ were greeted by large swarms of small black flies, so after a brief look back over the area toward Knott’s wood it was decided to carry on.
There were really only two options from the CHK, to stick with the Nicky Way, or follow the Trail around the edge of the Fosters field, to Foster’s Corner at the junction with another footpath over the research area estate, both would lead back around to the uncapped end of Townsend Lane.
It was looking back from this point that a few figures could be seen in the distance, these turned out to be Ketchup & Mark E Mark, who had caught up & were among the main body of the Pack, but they were still some 15 minutes behind the rest & they would not catch up by the time they had passed by the enclosed field of sties for the free-range pigs beyond the left hand tree-line.
So, after a quick trot down Townsend lane it was back in to the Nurseries, where the Barbeque had been fired up & a nice Ale was on offer. My Lil’ & Mr X got a few questions from the rest of the Hash as how they got back so quickly? But nothing was untoward & the Hare’s Chalk Talk of “Being a relaxing & not too taxing Trail!” was again repeated.
The rest of the Pack soon returned, now being joined by Sparky as the nice Burgers, Sausages & veggie food was enjoyed by all. It was noticed that Sparky was happy to chat & let his food go cold, Mr X said that he wouldn’t eat it until it had gone out of date!
The Circle was dealt with, the Hare being rewarded for the Trail, then there were a few anniversary Trails to be rewarded, with Max Factor & Alfa Male reaching One Hundred Runs apiece, just in case the RA was not aware of this Max Factor had written her name & run number in large letters in the Hash Book, this was highlighted with lines like a starburst around it!
TBT OBE bemoaned the awarding of the Hashit to him, having tried to palm it off on Paxo & not stick with ‘Tradition’ in wearing for the number of weeks it has been absent, as if he thought he could pull the wool over the RA’s eyes?