Date = 3rd September 2017
Run Number = 1753
Venues = The Manor House
Beer = Nelson’s Revenge, Sundowner, Ruddles, Greede King Abbott
Hares = Fliptop
Runners = 20
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Newies = 0
Après = 10
Hounds = 0
Total = 30
Membership = Going underground!
The weather was slightly overcast as the Hash headed to Royston. Two early arrivals, due to Train timetables, had almost 50 minutes to kill & there was no better place to while away the time but in the ‘spoons the Pack would finish the Trail at!
Sitting looking out of the Pub window the RA & Beermaster were watching the world go by, things of interest included seeing the Hare across the street, who was in action setting Trail! Then Ketchup & Prince Garmin stropped outside & peered in to the ‘spoons’ window, Ketchup had a shocked look on his face seeing two Hashers already on the Ale!
Time came around to go wander to the Car Park behind the local Council offices, on the way Mr X, My Lil’, Ketchup & Prince Garmin spotted Sparky parked up in the Banyer’s hotel car park, where a local was trying to show him the way to the correct car park. Banyer’s Hotel was also the venue where Incider stopped to use the facilities.
Sparky got the message & drove around to the place where the Postcode led Ketchup directly to! Perhaps Tomtoms interpret these things differently? The RA is tired of having to explain that Postcodes, unlike Ordinance Survey coordinates are for sorting letters & not an exact address or location, that bit is left to the local knowledge of the local Post-persons! Also the Car Park was not on King James’ Road, which was the Full Address that Sparky demanded a few years ago to be added to the weekly emails!
The Circle was called by Paxo, the JM standing in for the absent GM! Paxo looked for reassurance from the RA as he announced the Run Number, there really was no need for this as he had it spot on. Then the Hare was called forward, so began the usual tangled web of Red Herrings from Fliptop as he claimed that the Trail could be a long one, or you could be measured in mere minutes! Fliptop added that after the Trail there would be a trip to the ‘Royston cave’, when he told the Pack of the prices, Kylie added “That would be most of the Pack!” when it was mentioned about OAP Concessions!
So, without further ado the Pack were ushered away toward the Melbourn Road, needless to say that My Lil’, Ketchup, Prince Garmin & Mr X were soon out on to this road & then down to the pelican crossing to follow the arrows that they had seen Fliptop place down only around half an hour earlier. All while Kylie, who’s younger than those he took the rise out of with being eligible for concessions at the Cave, slowly limped along to the ‘spoons as he was still feeling his injured piriformis – think ripped deep buttocks! [Whoa there Pebbledash! – Ed] Sis too left the Pack, for she had Lucy with her & Lucy is feeling her age now.
The Trail headed southward down the alleyway beside the local equivalent of Pound Stretcher, to come around through a little shopping precinct, Mr X stopped outside Age Concern shop waving a few of the middle order by & offering the words of advice “Move along, nothing to see here!” as the Trail would lead on up by the white building of the old Town Hall, complete with its Royal Coat of Arms.
As they embarked on their way up Fish Hill, No Eye Deer, Mr X & Whatever She Says were now behind My Lil’, Incider, Ketchup, Prince Garmin & Where’s Wally? Then when they emerged on to Priory Lane the FRBs could be seen coming back from over the small ring-road toward the centre of Royston, this led Mr X to believe he knew where the Trail would go, so he headed westward on by the back of the Old Bulls Head, then beside the Chequers to find arrows pointing the way over the curved one way junction & on to Sun Hill.
Sparky blew his horn & it soon got the attention of those who hadn’t heard how loud his new horn is, yes, there would be no Sunday Lie-in for those who had been drinking the night before, or any kip for the poor night workers going to bed! Some of the Pack were half expecting angry locals to come out & accost him, which also led to more speculation as where his old horn had gone? [Steady there Pebbledash! – Ed]
A slight gradient was taken up in to the area of homes, passing by a cut-through heading southwestward between two streets, of course the Keenies soon found the Bar CHK on Sun Hill & turned back to indicate to those following on to take to the cut-through that leads out on to the Cul-de-sac of Mounteagle.
The Trail crossed straight over to the continuation of the alleyway way as it came out in to the tree line that runs southwestward to northeastward a natural feature that splits up the various cul-de-sacs of the estate, Slug was up with the FRBs at this point, mainly because Starboard was running with Prince Garmin.
Having turned toward the southwest & ran through the tree line until it came out on to the A10 London Road, the Trail turned to the northeast where the SCBs of TBT OBE & Paxo were found wandering along, all as the Keenies took to the path within another tree line, this one being along the west side of the main road before it dropped back down to reach a Held CHK by a byway, that leads out by the edge of the Royston Hospital.
Fliptop arrived & the Hash got to hear more (Red) Herrings than you’d find in a Trawler’s Net from him, it was convincing enough waffle for the majority to head away down the by-way that leads nor-nor-eastward up out between the fields & up toward the reservoir up on the edge of the heath, Sparky was particularly keen in rushing away & as he did Mr X said, “That’s it Sparky, run & find the T before the rest of us get there!” Words that would ring true!
Fliptop was happy to see the Pack fall for the Falsie, the Pack returned to find that the CHK had already been marked, in the direction across the London Road. A break in the traffic allowed the Pack to cross & then set off northwestward up the rising road until reaching a CHK point by a footpath up the tree covered embankment behind the last estate of Shrubbery Grove.
Where’s Wally? & Sparky were soon up the steps to follow the footpath that runs along by the fenced off rear gardens before running further in to the Green Walk Plantation, these two got a little carried away as they continued running southeastward, missing out the small triangle of desire lines that Mr X & My Lil’ had picked up on & followed the Dust in a northeastward direction to a CHK by the of the estate.
My Lil’ & Mr X wasted no time in going out in to the edge of the cropped farm field, they picked up the Trail on the edge that runs along beside the eastern edge housing estate, getting further away for the rest of the Pack until they finally went wrong at the opposite northern tip of the field, near to the dead-end of Grange Bottom [Steady there Pebbledash! – Ed] They dropped down in to the wooded valley, then struggled to find any Dust, Sparky & Where’s Wally? fared no better further along, but finally they were put out of their misery by Paxo who pointed the way up the hillside, just beyond where Sparky had gone off in to the woodland.
The RA stopped to scare the squirrels in the wood, this didn’t go un-noticed by Pebbledash who hollered out “Was that good for you?” as she approached with Puddles, Whatever She Says & Lobby Lobster. But the RA didn’t hang around as he headed off down in to the wooded gully when “On!” was called on the route that leads a few degrees off of due south, the path slowly rose with the landscape until it reached the level where it came out to a CHK on the crossroads with a tree-lined drive way to Flint Hall Farm, no doubt that this building is named after the local landscape of the flint that litters the soil along with lumps of chalk.
While Where’s Wally? & Sparky headed over the drive on the footpath which heads over toward Grange Farm, Mr X was not as keen on that long route over the furrowed fields, instead he chose to look down the tree-lined footpath that runs parallel to the drive way out to the B1039. Before reaching Sunnymead in the east, there was a CHK. Again the RA chose correct as he attempted to run out over the soft sandy like loam of a very recently seeded field, any chance of running was soon curtailed.
The going slowed as the Dust was picked up over the seedling, the FRBs could also see that there was only really one set of footprints heading out this way & those belonged to the Hare from when he set the Trail. The FRBs headed over toward a tall footpath marker post, this wasn’t the longest path to the northeast but it was the dustiest as the light loam soon worked its way in to Hash shoes.
Incider told Mr X that the rest seemed to be going around in circles back in the wood, even though those who had crossed the field were calling “On!” it seems that the rest didn’t believe this was actually a footpath, which was pretty plausible for those who haven’t Hashed this area before. Sparky & Where’s Wally? were no doubt lured away by the lumps of chalk that, that like the flint, are scattered around the fields in this area.
My Lil’, Mr X, Incider, Ketchup, Prince Garmin & Starboard were soon up through the roadside hedgerow & out on to the grassy verge. The Trail passed by the new builds on the very outskirts of Royston, these being situated just a few yards inside the Welcome to Royston sign on the Barkway Road. The RA has always had a hankering to write the words “Vasey, you’ll never leave!” under the Royston part of the slogan, in honour of the League of Gentleman! But has always thought better of it!
A quick change to the eastern side of the road, & at the bend in the road & the Keenies found a CHK point, the popular choice was the option of the footpath through the finger of wooded land behind Limekiln Close, after a short way through this Starboard & Prince Garmin seemed more concerned with the playing fields below a local school than searching for the Trail from a CHK that was near to a split in the footpath, My Lil’ may have been better off having a go on the playground furniture than continuing straight on only to find it a falsie.
My Lil’ came back to follow the path off through the spur of a path that had the Hash clambering over the bent & squashed down link fence, once over this the the Pack would now embark on the long stretch that weaved its way through the trees of Stile Plantation, Incider wanted to keep up with Mr X as his local knowledge was invaluable, just My Lil’ & those who have run this section before, for she said she hadn’t a clue where she was.
There were a couple of little kinks in this route & also a lot of gnarled old roots to avoid. Just before the footpath comes out on to the Newmarket Road the RA heard an “Ow!” accompanied by a thud of someone hitting the deck, so, Mr X waited out on the Newmarket Road for Incider to arrive, & this took longer than he expected.
When Incider did appear she was helped along by Ketchup & with brown earthen marks on her cheeks [Her face Pebbledash! – Ed] it looked like she was wearing war paint after tripping on a root [Or was it a Red Herring? – Ed] & falling face first in to the earth.
As My Lil’, Ketchup & the two Horrors headed off down northward along Hollies Close, Mr X offered Incider the slightly easier option of taking the direct route along the Newmarket Road to the roundabout by the Council buildings, which now houses the cinema, which as Mr X pointed out is ironically opposite where the original picture house was, before it was pulled down to make way for new homes.
Back on the Trail & the Keenies would soon find an alleyway that links the dead end Hollies Close cul-de-sac, halfway along its route with the Melbourn Road to the west, the On Inn was found just before the mini-roundabout crossing on to King James Way.
For some of the Keenies there was a long wait for Paxo to arrive back to his car & release their bags. Sparky too was late in getting back, he was quick to accuse the FRBs of Short Cutting, which didn’t go down well with those like My Lil’ – who had run all of the 3.1 Mile Trail!
Eventually Paxo arrived back with TBT OBE, Lobby Lobster, What Ever She Says could get around to the Manor House, it was on the way that Incider realized that the place where the facilities she had used pre-run wasn’t the ‘spoons pub!
In the Pub & No Eye Deer & Fliptop went off to sort out the tickets & times for a trip to see the famous ‘Royston Cave. TBT OBE admitted that he had been looking at the H*re & Hounds Website, which he said was far superior to our humble Webshite, but he wasn’t so keen when he was asked if he’d like to take over our one to improve it. One day there may be an update, when someone gets some time to look at it, but what do you really want? Lots of flash images & adverts or information that’s easy to find?
3D & Port arrived as Après Hashers, they were there to join in the tour of the Royston cave. The Circle took place out in the rear patio garden, the Hare was rewarded for a good Trail, TBT OBE’s earlier comments about the Website were ignored, he got off Scott free. Where’s Wally? & Sparky were out for running the furthest on the Trail by falling for most Falsies. Starboard was out for reaching 50 Herts Trails.
My Lil’ was out for some indiscretion, Kylie had a medicinal Ale for his ‘Deep Buttock' issue & finally the Hashit went to Incider for her failed trapeze act!
After the Circle the Pack retired as by now more food had come out, then the Pack joined by Suicide Blonde, Both Ends, as well as Whatever Mum Says, then it was soon time to go & visit the nearby Royston Cave, which was actually quite interesting.
Royston Cave is an enigma. No records of its age or purpose exist, but it is manmade and contains an extensive range of wall carvings representing the Crucifixion, the Holy Family and several saints including St Katherine, St Laurence and St Christopher. Other carvings are less easily identified and have been interpreted as possible pagan symbols.
Some studies have drawn comparisons with Knights Templar sites. Others point to possible Masonic symbols, that could link it to James I who maintained a hunting lodge at Royston. Some believe the Cave is a spiritual centre where two ley-lines cross.
The Cave was discovered by accident in August of 1742 by workmen erecting a bench in a butter market in Mercat House (since demolished). A millstone was found in the ground, which when lifted disclosed a vertical, well-like shaft, about 2ft (60cm) diameter and 16ft (4.8m) deep. Toeholds had been cut in the chalk on opposite sides to form steps. A small boy was "volunteered" to make the first descent. It was found that the Cave was more than half filled with earth and "debris".
The domed ceiling, now bricked and grilled, was complete and partly tiled. It was said to have been within a foot (30cm) of the surface of the road. Also noted was the existence of what is now called the East Shaft; an opening then almost closed by several courses of clunch blocks painted red to look like bricks of which only two or three courses now remain. It is believed to have been a chimney or an air vent.
In the expectation of finding buried treasure the shaft was enlarged and the Cave was emptied quickly, uncovering the carvings in the lower part of the chamber. There was no scientific archaeological investigation made at the time but according to the Rev. G. North who visited the Cave shortly after its discovery the contents included, apart from earth, some decayed bones and a skull, fragments of a small drinking cup and a small unmarked piece of brass. The millstone, which covered the entrance, is now in two pieces, one forming the last step of the present entrance, the other lying alongside. The original entrance is closed and now lies under the road.
Early visitors came down the original (north) entrance with the help of ladders but in 1790 the present entrance was made by Thomas Watson, the owner of what was then called the Town House on the opposite, north side, of Melbourn Street. He was a bricklayer and in the cold winter of 1790 there was nothing for his men to do, so they were set to work cutting the 72ft (22m) long tunnel between the Town House and the only place in the cave wall not covered with carvings. Mr. Watson was able to charge 6 pence for each visit, an appreciable sum in those days. He also effectively took over the cave and ever since then cave and house have been in common ownership as "The Cave House and Estate".
In 1964 the Cave, Grade I listed by English Heritage, was leased from the then owners by Royston Town Council who installed the railings and lighting. The History Society monitored humidity and temperature for a full year and found that the humidity was always high and the temperature steady at 10°C (50°F).