Date =                            18th November 2018

Run Number =             1824    

Venue =                        The Valiant Trooper

Location =                    Aldbury

Hare/s =                        Mother & Lemming

Beer =                           JHB; GK IPA; GK Abbot

Runners =                    20                                               

Virgins =                        0

Visitors =                       0

Newies =                       0

Après =                          0

Hounds =                      1

Total =                          21

Membership =            On a Trail the Grand old Duke (of Bridgewater) would have been proud of!!


            For the second week on the trot the RA had weaved his magic, skies were blue, the sun was out & only a chilly wind would prevent the morning from being just perfect.  The Pack gathered in the centre of the village, famed over the years for being used in films & TV programmes, featuring in the Avengers, it was the village in the Shillingbury Tales series & of course the ‘Dirty Dozen’ Film. [Not to mention the Dave Allen Funeral Sketch! - Ed]

            Mother & Lemming were found sitting on the bench fitted around the girth of a large Oak, with them was Gemma, who had brought along the Virgins of Jamie & Mark with her.  Mr X arrived & couldn’t resist mentioning that depending on the verdict of the Pack after the Trail would the Hare end up in the Stocks by the duck pond, which Lemming hadn’t noticed until Mother pointed out that it had a sign reading “Ancient monument, please keep off!”

            Fliptop called the opening Circle together in what was already a busy little village, with plenty of walkers, ramblers & locals out & about.  The GM got the run number correct, then introduced the Hares of Lemming & Mother.  Newies were introduced & then the Hare went through the Trail markings for their benefit, also Sludge as well as Happy Feet & Door Mat from Berkshire Hash.  The Hare added that there were a couple of questions to be answered on the Trail, 1) What is the Café called that the Pack would pass near to, & 2) How much is Mr X’s breakfast?  There were prizes up for grabs!

            The Pack were ushered away up Stocks Road to the north, with the Chief Hare’s garbled instructions of turning off by the Pub being thought of as beyond the Greyhound.  Most came back from heading to the north end of the village to find the Trail heading westward through beside the Pub, then out in to a lush green enclosure behind this, the resident bovines seemed oblivious to the Pack.  One member of the Pack missed this turn back & had carried on up to the northern end of the village & found the On Inn!

            Happy Feet, Door Mat, Des Res, Gemma, Jamie, Mark, Mr X & My Lil’ all headed southward to one gate in the enclosure, trying to dodge fresh cow pats along the way before they were stopped in their Tracks when Lemming called them “On back!” Turning around they got to see the rest of the Keenies making their way over the wet green grass to the north-western corner to pass through a kissing gate & on to a treeline by-way, a part of the Hertfordshire way, there a CHK was found.

            Meanwhile Paxo & Whatever She Says joined Mother in taking the short cut out over where the Keenies originally searched within the field.  It was hoped that No Eye Deer would catch up, for it was she who was missing.

Along the way with the Keenies, Lemming took great pleasure in pointing out the Bridgewater Monument high up among the trees on the top of Ashridge behind the Pack!  The first ones to the CHK all managed to turn right & head back toward the village centre, but they were called back as Des Res picked up the Trail in the opposite westerly direction, the hedged-in by-way moved slight off of due west & a CHK was found by a footpath off over by Stocks Golf Club.  The Trail up by the fairways was False, while Des Res, Mr X & Sludge now led the way up in a westerly direction, just as he was negotiating the bend to the south that his phone rang.  [Technology on the Hash! – Ed]

            The culprit calling the RA was No Eye Deer, who was still lost & going around the village like No.6 in the Prisoner, [Which was filmed in Portmeirion in Wales & Borehamwood! – Ed] so, Mr X explained that she should go back to the Pub & pick up the Trail from there.  It seems that this didn’t work too well & she would not be seen for the rest of the Trail!

            The Pack came up to a CHK by the crossing of a footpath leading from the northwest through to the southeast, the south-easterly option heads back in to Aldbury & of course this was dismissed at first for being too soon return to the village, but eventually the Pack would find out that the Trail would head that way on the path leading to Church Farm, named so as it is located right near to St John the Baptist Church, its Norman tower visible for miles around, with its Flag of St George fluttering well in the breeze. 

Passing through the side of the farm the Trail was now right up against the field of cows the Pack had been in earlier.  There were no sign of the SCBs here, nor No Eye Deer, as the Trail changed direction when it came out on to the narrow rustic Station Lane, Lemming warned the Keenies to watch the road for traffic as the Trail, now marked with a P-arrow pointed the way westward away from Aldbury a few yards before leading over to a gap in the hedgerow into a field to the south. 

A CHK was located just within this corner of the crop field, Where’s Wally? Happy Feet, Doormat, Tent Packer & our Newbies were keen on searching the western option, while Mr X & My Lil’ thought better of it & took to the south-eastern alternative across the centre of the crop of a winter crop & this was where the Trail was picked up over to the southern end of Aldbury. 

The Trail turned to the southwest when it reached the dead-end street of Stoney Croft, at the end of which the Pack were led out on through to a CHK in the corner of another enclosed field.  There My Lil’ & Mr X went wrong, while Where’s Wally?  Des Res, Gemma, Mark, Jamie, Happy Feet, Door Mat, Zoya & Tent Packer all continued along the edge of the field before reaching a CHK at its south-eastern edge.

While the rest searched along the farm track toward the northwest, Mr X & My Lil’ again had other ideas & took to the opposite direction that leads out on to Newground Road.  There the Trail was found & the Pack made their way over to the driveway leading up by Brightwood.  A police car was leaving the large Brightwood house there as Mr X & My Lil’ led the way up the rise to find a CHK at the start of the wooded hillside.

            Being first to the CHK meant that My Lil’ & Mr X were the first to go wrong as they began the ascent up the steep path to the northeast, Fliptop, Des Res & Tent Packer all looked slightly miffed as the two up ahead of them found a T & began to come back down with arms outstretched to the CHK! 

Lemming seemed overly happy at these FRBs being caught out, as he marked the CHK in the southerly option on a path for them to start on another steep climb, this arced around to the Southeast.  Paxo walked up with Mother as the route gains some 115 feet (35 Metres) in height to come out on to Toms Hill, Tent Packer asked who Tom was?  Not even Mr X knew that answer to this conundrum, but he did know that the nearby house was called Tom’s Hill House. 

            Now on the plateau of the Ashridge Estate woodland a CHK was found with Des Res hanging around upon it, the Pack would head off in a nor-nor-easterly direction on the tarmac lane, but this soon stopped at a CHK where My Lil’, Where’s Wally? Gemma & Jamie were caught out on a Falsie, My Lil’ put his arms out to indicate that this was false, just as Happy Feet called “On!” in a north-easterly route heading toward the centre of the vast woodland.

            The Trail now cut over near to Tom’s Hill Car Park before crossing Toms Hill Road, a CHK was found a little way in to the broadleaf area at the southern end of the Old Copse section of the woodland, again Des Res was lurking around the flour circle, this was also the first of the CHKs to have six options to check out, as there are a myriad of paths that criss-cross the whole of the estate.  Of course this had the Pak running back & forth like headless chickens, &in the confusion Jamie managed to stop & then turn back straight in to the RA!

Heading northward toward the Aldbury Common section of the woodland was False, as was the south-easterly option on the Chiltern Way, eventually the Pack sorted themselves out & followed the Trail on the north-western option on a wider forest track of the Chiltern Way.  There was plenty of Shiggy in ruts made by National Trust 4 x 4 along the way.

Confusion for Mark at a CHK by the front of a nicely kept large, solitary detached property in the woodland, he checked out two of the three options, after going wrong by misreading the sign that declared “Private, Footpath only, No Horses!” beside the small wooden gate, the Lemming pointed out Mother had placed a small blob of flour upon.  No one used the smaller gate, instead the Hash passed through the gap of the larger adjacent open five-bar gate in the tall hedge surrounding this house.Through the grounds of the house to head north-eastward along the track heading through Old Copse, this was a longer stretch through the Shiggy track without any deviation until reaching a CHK where there were only a mere five options as the Pack reached the centre of the Albury Common.  This far in to the Park & the Hash had only managed to make their way one fifth of the way into the woodland, & only a small section of the whole Ashridge estate!

Des Res left the CHK when the Trail was found on the Path heading away at 10 o’clock from the CHK, as the Pack made their way along this a break in the trees could be seen, this was the southern tip of a green open area below the Bridgewater Monument, the Verdi-green urn on top could now be clearly seen. 

Gemma briefly stopped to read the marker post with info about the five type of Bats that can be seen fliting about in these parts.  My Lil’ was more concerned about the whereabouts of the Lesser Spotted Sludge, who like Paxo had disappeared from sight for quite a while.

The grass was damp with dew, so Hash boots could have the Shiggy & cow pats from earlier in the Trail washed away on they treked over to the out-buildings by Monument.  A Held CHK was discovered on a drain cover by the barns at the side of the Brownlow’s Café, named after the Estate’s former owners, before the National Trust took it over.

Those who went to see what the price of Mr X’s breakfast was couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw the length of the queue stretching from out of the door of the small restaurant!  Yet somehow Doormat was found there sitting at a table enjoying a Cappuccino! [The things some people do for a Down-Down! – Ed]

The place was busy with lots of civilians milling around, kids were making a noise climbing over the nearby wooden play area.  Once Mother had arrived the Pack could enjoy the sweetie stop, though Whatever She Says was searching for No Eye Deer, then Mr X picked up a txt message to say that No Eye Deer was at the Monument.  So, Mr X phoned her to say that the Pack were regrouping at the monument, but when he got through No Eye Deer said that she was now heading down to Aldbury. 

No Eye Deer was now resigned into the fact she wasn’t going to turn back to clamber up the steep ridge again & would meet the rest at the Pub!  However, all was not lost as Mother arrived with the sweets for the Sweetie Stop, with her was Paxo, but from around by the Café the Lesser Spotted Sludge found safe & well, much to everyone’s relief.  Percy Pig & Colin the Caterpillar sweets were handed around, the latter pleased Where’s Wally?

Built in 1832 in memory of Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater (1736–1803), "the father of inland navigation".  Lemming questioned whether the Pack should climb to the top of the monument for a view!   Everyone declined the prospect of clambering the 172 steps to climb 108 feet (33 m) to look down on the On Inn [Which was now open for trade! – Ed] or the Grand Union canal!  The monument designed by Sir Jeffry Wyattville is in a Doric style.  It was built away from Ashridge House as the Duke’s mother wanted "Not to see, or be reminded of my infernal son"

The SCBs would depart to take the easier, wider route from off of the plateau, though this was fairly steep, but far less than the alternative that Mother was so keen on the FRBs taking to end their Trail being led down Moneybury Hill to the northwest, Hare enjoyed this as he wanted to see tall people have to duck down to make their way under low branches, boughs of trees & then an arch formed of two interwoven trees, all on a leafy hillside to Little Stocks.  All of the pack slowed down on this descent, the taller ones having to crouch & readjust there centre of balance, Jamie took a sensible line to one side of the official path so he could use the trees along the edge for support if needed, as the going was hindered by the carpet of large fallen ash leaves, which gives Ashridge its name.

After successfully negotiating the steep decent down the hill the Trail passed by the solitary walled-in home there was one last CHK point by this caught a few of the Keenies out as they continued on toward Stocks, it was here that Mr X mentioned that not far away over a Stocks Manor, the cover image of Oasis Be Here Now album was shot in April 1997 at the former home of Victor Lownes, head of the Playboy Clubs in the Valliant Trooper.  Formerly the in the UK until 1981, he was a regular Royal Oak the name changed to The Trooper Alehouse in 1803 – rumoured to be because the Duke of Wellington met his troops here to discuss tactics.

The album cover shows the band standing outside the hotel, as it was then, surrounded by various props, at the centre is a Rolls Royce floating in a swimming pool.  Apparently Walter Swinburn lives there now.

Through a large enclosed paddock to head southward & complete the last leg of the Hash.  With the On Inn being found on the other side of the last gate.  There Whatever She Says could meet up with No Eye Deer again.

By the time the Pack returned to "Little Storping In-The-Swuff" as the village was renamed in the 11th November 1967 ‘Murdersville’ episode of the Avengers, it was really busy, bustling with ramblers & other civilians out enjoying the sunshine.  The Greyhound had a thriving trade, with lots of people eating Sunday lunches.  The Pack sat outside around the back, though Mother soon regretted her haste in sitting down before checking for damp patches, resulting in her getting feeling slightly moist! [Whoa there Pebbledash! – Ed]

Whatever She Says was rather concerned about holding the Circle while being surrounded by civilians, the RA calmed his anxiety by suggesting the Circle hum Down-Down songs.  Gemma, Mark & Jamie had to for a pre-booked Sunday Lunch before the Circle was called, but our Virgins seemed to be please with their first Hash.

The GM raised the toast to the Hash, then the RA called the Hares forward to receive their rewards for a good Trail, which was slightly longer than the norm.  Des Res had his hit for standing on more Checks than Sludge had Short Cut!  No Eye Deer was called out for getting lost & not being able to see the Trail marked in little 'ant powder' markings.         

By now that the humming of the Down-Down songs became really funny, especially when the Pack performed the Caveman song.

Doormat was out for enjoying a cappuccino on the Trail, & again as Mother was asked to now present the prizes for the Questions posed earlier.  Of course the winners of a Wessex "Don't Panic Hash" Mug containing a Down-Down were Doormat & Happy