Date = 9th Sept 2018
Run Number = 1813
Venue = The Old guinea
Location = Ridge
Hare/s = Wanktlers
Beer = Adnams Best; St Austell Tribute
Runners = 13
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Newies = 0
Aprčs = 0
Hounds = 0
Total = 13
Membership = Trainee Aircrew on a BOGOFF special!
At first it seemed to be that this Trail would have a low turnout, to amuse themselves after an early arrival, Mr X, My Lil’, Whatever-she-says & Wanktlers picked up the nails scattered over the end of the car park, these looked like they were what were left from the remains of burnt pallets, the darker scorched areas in the car park gave this away. Whatever-she-says would mention several times over the day “What is my Hash Name supposed to be?” to which Mr X said “Ask No Eye Deer!” he also went on about the ‘Poppy R*n’ & if you only wanted a T-Shirt & not a medal? The RA was not going to rise to that!
By the time the minute hand had moved around to five to the hour a dozen had turned up, including the return Daddies Sauce who is now over 6 feet tall. He was there with Ketchup & Prince Garmin. This week also saw Carol come along with TBT OBE to partake on this Hash.
TBT OBE called the Circle to order in his inimitable style [He is improving! – Ed] just as Sparky turned up. Once Sparky was sorted, & the Hare had warned of no horns at the start of the Trail, TBT OBE got to finish his welcoming speech.
The Hare was called forward, here Wanktlers went on to explain what there was for the Pack to expect out there. As well as the fact the Trail had been planned to go to visit the de Havilland Aircraft Museum, Wanktlers added that there would be a couple of History Stops, then the tone changed to an apologetic one as Wanktlers went on to say that the return leg of the Trail would be all up hill.
As the Pack set off, Mr X went to retrieve a gift he was going to donate to the de Havilland Museum, so he was going to walk the first half of the Hash with a black bag that contained a picture frame within. He didn’t have to go far for the First CHK, where the rest were waiting by the H CHK, the H in this case stood for History!
So, Wanktlers told of the Pill-Box before the allotments, which is now a registered monument, this was built when there was a threat of Nazi invasion in the Second World War – though his claims it was constructed for Captain Mainwaring did seem a little farfetched, but it was on top of the ridge, at Ridge, which meant it was strategic in several ways, as there was a lot of aircraft manufacturing not too far from this area.
With the First History Stop out of the way, it was a short trot over to the Church of St Margaret’s where the next History CHK was found just within the Churchyard. There an impressive large flat while slab of a memorial was seen.
The Hare went on to explain that this is the final resting place of Field Marshal Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis KG, GCB, OM, GCMG, CSI, DSO, MC, CD, PC (10 December 1891 – 16 June 1969) was a senior British Army officer who served with distinction in both the First & Second World Wars, (Years of Service 1911-1946 which brought him a lot of gongs!) then going on to be last non-Canadian Governor General of Canada, the 17th since Canadian Confederation.
Wanktlers went on to explain that most people have never heard of him, rather most know of the man who served under him, Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, Wanktlers added that his own Father served under Alexander in the Irish Guards. The reason Lord Alexander of Tunis is buried here & not in Westminster Abbey? He wanted to be buried next to his wife, which led to No Eye Deer saying “I bet he’s regretted that?”
Having learnt about Sir Alexander of Tunis, the Hare added that an 1968 episode of The Avengers, All Done With Mirrors was filmed there, this had to be explained to Prince Garmin that it wasn’t Marvel Comics Avengers, but the old British ITV series in the time of Tara King (Linda Thorson)
The Trail resumed with Mr X looking around the western end of the Church. At first it didn't look like there was a path off on this side, but Mr X knew there was a footpath there & this was found almost hidden in the dense hedge.
Out through the green foliage & into the first of a series of a couple of horse paddocks, the first two having one horse in each & both equines seemed to be on the lively side as they headed to the intermediate gate where the footpath crosses between the enclosures.
The Pack walked this section, obeying a Hash Hush on the way. Most passed through without in incident as Sludge led the way, however there's ways one & the one, or two & one was Where 's Wally? who now had an equine admirer who began to lick Where's Wally? Ketchup was the other & the large Chestnut Stallion decided that Ketchups ear was worth a licking!
Eventually the bottleneck at the gate cleared & the Keenies soon got by Mr X & the covered picture he was carrying. He was soon caught up by Carol, No Eye Deer & TBT OBE, with only Whatever-she-says behind him!
The Trail now left the last enclosure to begin a descent over the light loam of a recently harrowed field, leading down away to the west. Carol seemed concerned that there didn’t seem to be an official footpath, but Mr X reassured her that he had run this but from the other direction, the reason the path could not be seen was the fact the farmer had ploughed & harrowed over it!
The Trail passed down by Little Ridge Wood & then through another Hedgerow to the northern end of Big Pursley Wood, Mr X remained here to make sure that the gate between the fields was tied back up again as he knows what some are like with Gates. Incidentally the Deer Gate on the A10 is now commonly known among some Hashers as ‘Sparky’s Gate’ after he left it open & three others had to go back, dodging the traffic & close it!
The dust stuck to the path that turned just a few degrees northward off of due-west to take to a narrow wooden bridge over the Catherine Bourne in the deep ditch below. Over the water course & the Trail now began to rise up as it led up to Mimms Lane, once out on through the hedgerow arrows directed the Hash along the rustic lane to the east. The brambles in the roadside hedgerows were baring plenty of fruit, so much so it was too enticing for likes of Sludge, TBT OBE & No Eye Deer who all stopped to forage the blackberries, allowing Mr X to get ahead of them.
It was along this lane that the Pack would encounter the most number of cyclists, the Hare had previously warned of these two wheelers out & about in a peloton using an analogy to the Tour de France, neglecting to mention the ‘King of the Mountains’ – but more of that later.
A trot along the lane had some looking off at the couple of footpaths they passed on either side on the way down to find arrows directing the way north-westward on by-way beside St Catherine’s Farm. The tree lined route turned north-eastward then back to the northward as it became a tarmac route, a little confusion reigned when Sludge, Mr X & TBT OBE arrived at the crossing of a footpath from Rabley Park to the east & straight over the farm drive, but no dust was seen on other option off of this.
There was little in the way of calling from the likes of Where’s Wally?, My Lil’, Ketchup, Daddies Sauce, Prince Garmin or Sparky, & the Trail seemed a little sparse. So, Mr X ventured up the tarmac to find the Trail leading out on by the farm & on to Rectory Lane, he called “On!” & this was echoed by Sludge & TBT OBE to alert No Eye Deer, Carol & Whatever-she-says behind as to where the Trail was heading. They took to the footpath that continues northward beside Pinks Farm.
More brambles lined one side of the narrow footpath beside the stables before coming out on to the farm land to the north of the farm, out into the open farm fields & the Pack would take to the track that heads up over the ridge, on what was along straight run gently rising some 45 yards. Over to the west side of the ridge & a group of men were seen up by an outbuilding with a few trucks around there, of note was the bright orange windsock that was being blown by the strong breeze. The windsock was there for a reason, as this was a model aircraft flying club’s base.
Once up on the top of the ridge the trail jinked around the edge of a small wood before the Pack got to see a splendid vista out over the Herts Countryside. On the descent down the now hard capped Track by a larger plot of woodland the Pack could see the Arsenil Training ground away over beyond Salisbury Hall, there were no signs of any Gooners getting any much needed practise in.
As Mr X came down to the level he had to stop as a proper light aircraft wobbled in above him in the strong win as it came into land on the long green grass airstrip running from the northeast to the southwest. Aircraft landed & out of the way allowed Mr X moved on to join the FRBs at the Held CHK on a slight kink at a junction with another footpath.
The Pack regrouped, while Wanktlers set the section of Trail leading up to the de Havilland Aircraft Museum at Salisbury Hall in the northeast. With Whatever-she-says back in the fold, the Pack moved on to pay their entry fees with their BOGOFF vouchers!
The Trip to the museum was a good one, well worth looking at if you have an interest in Aviation History & more time to spend there. For Mr X there was another reason for going there, as he donated to the museum a lithographic print of an DH albatross from 1937/38, which turns out not to be quite the same as the seven that were only built, it was a potential variation on the design, but after the five were destroyed during their time with the RAF in WW2 & the other two scrapped so nothing of them exits anymore except a couple old photos – they seemed very happy with it to go in to their collection. The thing has spent years just rolled up in a cardboard tube & never gets seen, so better for others to appreciate it. Mr X also got to see his favourite aircraft (Mosquito) as well as sit in a Venom, which was one of the aircraft his dad worked on when he worked at de Havilland
As No Eye Deer & Carol enjoyed a coffee, Ewok, Paxo & Backpack arrived from their Shooting foray as the Pack were getting ready to leave, Ewok questioned whether they could claim having down the Trail? Mr X said perhaps if they got to the Held CHK & came back to the Pub to pick up a Trash he had laboured so hard on, this could be considered? However they decided not to join the rest back at the Old Guinea.
The rest of the Pack set off in their own time, as the Hare had said earlier to the Harriettes “If you’re fed up looking at ‘big-boys toys’ you can set off down the footpath to the north, then head right over toward the Motorway. My Lil’ made tracks before the rest & with the exception of Where’s Wally? was not seen by the rest of the Hash again on Trail.
TBT OBE almost led some of the Hash via the ‘Tradesman’s Entrance’ [Careful Pebbledash! – Ed] in to the back of the old Manor House of Salisbury Hall, before getting everyone back on the Track previously mentioned by Wanktlers. Out along the drive way that passes the old Hall, which intriguingly had the Staffordshire County flag flying outside of the well-kept garden at the front, the Pack would leave the drive & take to a footpath running up along the edge of the farm fields to head south-eastward running parallel to the St Albans Road.
Off of the farmland as the footpath moved a few degrees to head in to the wooded strip leading up Ridge Hill, this was a nice sheltered trot, as by now the wind had picked up. There rising Trail climbed up a set of large wide areas that were like steps in the wooded hillside, perhaps they were horse jumps? Then when out on the plateau the Trail emerged out on to Rectory lane again but at least this section was downhill on a gentle descent until reaching a footpath off to the left.
Where’s Wally? led Mr X & Sparky off through this as they took to the rough footpath by a cattle field where the bovines were separated from the path by a thin wire of an electric strip fence, this section could not be run as it was too much of an ankle turning threat, it didn’t improved when they reached the end corner of the cattle field & crossed over on to a fenced off paddock. The Pack would now have to make their way through the nettles [Wanktlers did say that “They don’t sting this time of the year!” – Ed] & the vicious brambles that infringe on one of Hertfordshire’s east walked, probably diverted paths.
The Trail came out on to Packhorse Lane, so more tarmac for the Hash. On the way a large white marquee with rows & rows of chairs inside could be seen, here the Hare said an Indian Wedding was taking place the day before when he set the Trail.
Where’s Wally now pulled away from Mr X & Sparky as the Trail crossed over the Catherine Bourne once again, after finding the Trail from the left-hand option at the T junction with Earl’s Lane the contour of the land began to rise once again. Just when the Hash thought that they had reached the level at the top of the first climb, the Trail turned from eastward to make its way southward by Deeves Hall & what lay ahead? Yes another uphill climb!
This was steep enough for Mr X & Sparky to give up & walk/stagger this last leg up Deeves Hall Lane, it was a killer of a stretch to come in to Ridge [Wonder why the village was called Ridge? – Ed] beside the east side of St Margaret’s Church. Where’s Wally? actually ran this section & should have been awarded the King of the Mountains Pink Polka-dot on a white shirt, as the stage winner of this wears in the ‘Tour de France’.
My Lil’ & Where’s Wally? were found out in the Pub Garden, the Hare arrived to find Mr X in the Bar talking to one of his Saracen Fez Boy mates from way back, before he too made his way out to the rear garden. TBT OBE arrived, then Whatever-she-says but No Eye Deer, Carol, Ketchup, Daddies Sauce & Prince Garmin were a long way behind, apparently the last ones in ended up following the ‘Out Trail’ backward to come Inn after getting lost!
Once settled in, the Hare would have the Pack competing in some extracurricular activities in a Paper Plane contest, to go with the BOGOFF Offers where everyone given sheets of A4 paper, & with some crayons had to make, decorate & fly their paper creations the furthest. Sparky said he hadn’t made a paper plane for 70 years! But at least he has a go. After one attempt in the strong breeze, another final took place & the winner of both distance & best decorated went to Prince Garmin! Another Spot Prize was for the first one to name the General who was buried in the nearby Churchyard
Most of the Pack enjoyed the most marvellous pizzas the Pub specialises in, then TBT OBE called the Circle, which only had one Down-Down & that went to the Hare.