Date = 16th December 2018
Run Number = 1828
Venue = The Reading Rooms
Location = Wheathampstead
Hare/s = My Lil’
Beer = Farr Brewery
Runners = 17
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Newies = 0
Après = 1
Hounds = 1
Total = 19
Membership = Not running too Farr!
A new Venue in Wheathampstead for Herts to try, since the loss of the Abbot John, there have only been two options for a Trail in this neck of the woods, the Swan or the Bull, but now there was a new option of the Reading Rooms that has been established by the local Far Brewery earlier this year in what was once a florists. [Hashers of a certain age would remember when you could order a pint of Flowers at the Bar! – Ed]
The Pack gathered down at the Public Car Park behind the Bull Public House, the exception was Tent Packer who was parked up around at the car park off of the Marford Road, he bemoaned this after walking down to the lower car park. Time came around for Fliptop to welcome the Hash to the Run, then it was over to the Hare to explain what the Hash could expect out there, the forth coming information included that due to the constant rain the day before he was forced to set the Trail that morning. He added that it was normal marking & that the last section of Trail was ‘A bit boring as I got fed up by that point!”
So, the Hash began by being directed out of the car park & on to East Lane, which does exactly that & led eastward before breaking off as it briefly went southward from the Meads Lane. Wanktlers followed the Dust up behind the railings of the twisting dead end of East Lane, to come out to a faint CHK there that eluded Sparky’s eyesight until it was pointed out to him.
Fliptop called on behind the small fenced-off play area on the north-western corner of the sports ground but this would turn out to be False & so it was back to the tarmac footpath that heads southward up toward the Marford Road. On the way up by the fenced in all-weather sports area, Sparky scared a little kid who was opening & closing the gate to this.
The Dust carried on, leading Gemma, Mark & Rose, Ewok, No Eye Deer, Milf, Mr X, Wanktlers & Tent Packer southward until it reached a Bar CHK! On the way back Ewok commented on how ‘Wily’ the Hare was? Mr X said he’d call him something else than wily.
A eastward run now began back by the all-weather sports area, to lead along the bottom of the football pitches that were in use with the local team playing there, running behind the pavilion the rail came up to a HCK by the alleyway footpath leading out on to Necton Road, this didn’t slow the likes of Fliptop up as he continued further eastward to the footpath at the south-eastern corner of the sports field.
The footpath now lead on between the horse paddocks to the north & the allotments to the south, the Hare & the likes of Whatever She Says, Paxo & Lobby Lobster were already along this route & had reached the CHK by the T junction with a north bound path along the tree-line between the paddocks, however Fliptop & Tent Packer were soon calling “On!” as the path runs out to Mill Lane. These two would drag most of the Keenies out along this way with them, as well as Whatever She Says, Zoya, Rose & Mark before the T was found at the end of the hedged-in end of the path.
The Keenies made their way back to find that the CHK’s marking to the east was now been altered into an L shape to point northward! Sparky was among those who were now leading the way between the equine paddocks, a kissing gate had to be negotiated on this Shiggy path before it turns to the west. Ewok was now in heaven as the Trail made its way between the paddocks with the little Shetland Ponies in, seems she’d like to take one home if she could.
By this point Rose was needing some encouragement to run, seems staying up late at Brownie camp had taken its toll, unlike Mr X whose lack of enthusiasm was blamed on drinking Shepard Neame’s Christmas Ale at a relation’s Birthday Party the night before. However, he did persevere with making an effort to run, even through the slippery Shiggy in order to burn off the night before’s excess.
The Trail left the equines behind as it came out on to the meads, the lush green area beside the River Lea, which meant that the Pack hadn’t really gone that far! Mr X was surprised to see those ahead of him crossing the river by way of the footbridge, as he knows this Hare likes putting in a river crossing or two when he sets Trails in these parts, it must have been still dark when he set this, or was it too cold to wade through the river?
Anyhow, Sparky & Wanktlers headed away to the east on the northern side of the meads, taking to the path that was once a section of the Welwyn Garden City to Luton Railway halting passenger services in the 1965 after the Beeching report. Shame the line still doesn’t exist, as it would be handy to have another train line leading to Luton Airport these days, than a lame bus service.
While these the FRBs headed away to the east, the Hare had marked the Trail over in the opposite direction, having been caught out earlier Sludge, Mr X & No Eye Deer were now the beneficiaries of this, arriving as My Lil’ set off over toward the path as it leads along behind the newer estate of Waddling Lane, Dawes Lane & Abbot John Mews (Named after John who became the Bishop of St Albans, this pub was no more bigger than being in someone’s front room, but Greede King sold it as small Micro Pubs weren’t the future or any profit to be made in those days, how things have changed! –Ed)
The Trail was not going to take to any of the cut-troughs off of the former railway, instead it weaved its way out of Mount Road to come back to the High Street, where the Pack were directed straight over the road to pick up the Trail heading southward, running along the western side of the main route through the village, the Hare had the Pack taking to the footpath behind the bakery & other shops, keeping the Trail out of sight of most driving in to the village as thy ran the flagstone path by the gushing waters of the millstream in the large culvert below.
Mr X said that the Pack had not gone very far from the start, Milf did know that there was Dust a little further up the High Street, to King Edward Mews when the satnav of the Hybrid Car they arrived in took them to this point. The Dust led westward along the bridleway by the newer builds of King Edwards Place, this area used to be where Helmets were located, a company where Junior [As he had the correct credentials! –Ed] was employed many years ago. They specialised in making helmets, from Pith Helmets, Police helmets & more specialised ones for fighter pilots & the like.
A Held CHK was found at the end of the bridleway, near the north-western corner of the play area of the park behind the grounds of St Helen’s. Wanktlers confessed that he had seen the On Inn up in the grounds of St Helen’s earlier on after he had arrived early & was mooching around at a loose end. He told of there being two famous burials there: Captain George Upton-Robins, hero of Hill 60 in World War I (May 1915), also the family plot of the Cherry-Garrard family in the north-west corner. The main inscription is to Apsley Cherry-Garrard, a distinguished soldier and father of Apsley Cherry-Garrard (1886-1959), a member of Scott's Terra Nova expedition to the Antarctic in 1910-1913, he was the author of 'The Worst Journey in the World'. His inscription is on the back of the stone cross that marks the grave.
Ewok said to the Hare that he was a bit cheap not having any sweets to hand around at this regroup, My Lil’ then surprised her by getting out a packet of Liquorice Allsorts to pass around, though there was talk about these not being Bassetts as there was no ‘Bertie Bassett’ in the Packet to eat! [There’s no pleasing some eh? – Ed]
Zoya asked Mr X what was the defence between a Town & a Village? He explained that it is usually based upon size & the governing authority, he went on to explain the defence between a village & a hamlet, with a hamlet not having a Church or religious building.
Once Lobby Lobster & Paxo arrived, the Keenies were allowed to resume the search for the Trail & it was soon picked up again to the west, running beyond the medieval homes, where the Barons’ opposing King Edward II patronage of Piers Gaveston (& alleged sexual affair with the King) lodged & began to amass their armies in 1311. Led by Thomas of Lancaster & Guy de Beauchamp (Earl of Warwick) they would eventually curb the Monarch’s power & Gaveston was executed at Warwick in 1302.
Back to the Trail & now the Pack made their way off of the bottom of the U-Shaped Ash Grove to take to the path that runs between more equine stables, as the path turned toward the north, it became clear there was a menagerie of animals here as the Trail ran by Chickens & more Shetland Ponies before crossing the River Lea again. No Eye Deer commented on how clear the river water is. Indeed it was as the River Lea derives its name from the Celtic word Lug (meaning Bright).
The river Lea was also the boundary between Saxons on the west & the Danes to the east. So, when the Pack crossed over the river to come out to & crossed over the Lower Luton Road, they were now in former Danish territory, until Alfred the Great quelled their ambitions.
Back to the Trail, Mark made sure Rose safely crossed before taking to the slippery Shiggy path up the rising hillside farm land to come out by the farm buildings at ‘The Dell’ there Gemma turned back to take over running with Rose. As Mark went by them, Milf pointed out to Mr X that Mark was very colour coordinated, with his day-glo lime top matching his shoes! She then realised that she should have lent h her gloves to complete the lime combination.
Beyond the farm buildings began a long slow rising nor-nor-westerly run up the farm track, which had the pack gain some 35 metres in height. While Ewok & Wanktlers came back from the footpath off to the west, Tent Packer & Sludge could be seen checking out the opposite easterly one, this too would be false & to add to their woes as Mr X approached the CHK he pointed out an oak on the distant ridge to the north that appeared to have a blob of flour on it. Even though the ‘Wily’ Hare claimed the white markings could be paint.
It turned out that the Trail would head up toward Herons Farm before turning westward where the tree was & then come back down to the south, then briefly westward & back to the south to join the path that Ewok & Wanktlers had been on earlier.
As the Hare had earlier marked a Short Cut on this route, the SCBs were now ahead of the Keenies as they headed westward toward the old Crowell Piggeries over at Marshalls Heath, the likes of Ewok, Wanktlers, Fliptop, No Eye Deer, Milf & Gemma had passed by Rose & Mark to find a Bar CHK on the descent of the hillside to the west!
They came back to find Tent Packer & Sludge were leading Sparky & Mr X off over the seeded crop field to start heading down hill in a southward descent back toward the Lower Luton Road, the path wasn’t quite a straight one, with a kink in its course to come in by more horse paddocks. This would be the last slippery path of the Trail before it came down to the tarmac footpath above the Lower Luton Road.
Arrows pointed the way eastward along toward the Folly, crossing the normally busy road by the Pelican crossing, where Sludge, Tent Packer & Sparky were all led through the lych gate on to Melissa Field, the green space is marked by a pub-style sign (that originally marked the Rose & Crown) located on the other side of the road (now a private house). The 2.5 acre field was donated to the Parish Council for “exercise & recreation” by Harold Fitch Kemp in 1932 in memory of his daughter.
This was a loop to occupy the Keenies was a brief one before the Trail came back up to the Lower Luton Road, where the Hare had confessed it was a bit boring! He originally was going to take the Trail out by the Cherry Trees & back around over the old railway line, but this would have been too far. No one was worried about running back along the Lower Luton Road to the earlier crossing over the River Lea, the Pack now retraced their steps in the opposite direction through by the Shetlands, who had just been fed & were nose bagging on fresh hay.
Back at the held CHK behind St Helen’s for a second time, here the Hare produced a packet of Jelly Beans & one of Fruit Pastels for the Keenies to start on. Ewok must have felt guilty as she would later hang around for the back markers to come in.
While waiting for the rest of the now strung out Pack to arrive, the Hare said that when he set the last part through the grounds of St Helen’s he was met by the Vicar, who asked what he was doing? He seemed to be amused at the idea of the Hash finishing the Trail at the other end of the Churchyard.
Eventually Waldorf & Statler from the Muppet Show, sorry Whatever She Says & Kylie arrived, an offer of sweets was made to cheer them up didn’t seem to work. Whatever She Says was more concerned as to where the Bar was? Since he had failed to spot it earlier on, it is rather inconspicuous, so the RA pointed it out to those around him once they passed the On Inn he pointed out its location.
Wanktlers didn’t bother going back to the Car park, instead he made a beeline for the Bar, since it was just now 10 past Noon! The rest of the Pack settled in to find that the Bar wasn’t full of kids playing Monopoly, when Wanktlers said to the Barmaid that there was around 20 coming in, she suggested the Hash use the upstairs room.
Much to the Pack’s amusement there was a picture of the real Waldorf & Statler on the side of the till in the Bar, something that was pointed out to Kylie & Whatever She Says.
So, the pack climbed up the narrow stairs in the corner to come up in to the roof room above the Bar, Milf wasn’t the only one to be impressed by the exposed beams of this olde worlde building. The place was decorated with some interesting poster, paintings & prints including one odd one that in the (Unisex) only toilet, the door opened to reveal an old poster to Elect Jeremy Thorpe!
Of interest was a hand held machine on one of the shelves, many guesses were put forward, with some believing it was something to do with cotton & bobbins, but it still didn’t seem quite right. So, when the Barmaid came up to wash some glasses up she was asked what it was? Turns out to be an American made carpet stitcher to bind two sections together, these days they used tape!
The pack were treated to the sight of tent Packer, Milf & Sludge on the sofa, as they took up the position of the monkeys in the famous ‘Hear no evil, see no evil & speak no evil’ pose, just as well this was before Mrs Mallet arrived! Meanwhile Zoya was impressed by the detail in the weekly Trash [Glad that someone appreciates it! – Ed]
So, it was time for the Circle, which was held upstairs, since the Bar has no garden or car park! When it came to the Down-Downs the Hare was rewarded for a cracking Trail, which was not spoilt by the last road section. Ewok was called out for her previous week’s bullying tactics of splashing Prince Garmin & Lewis, something that apparently she did again this week in the Shiggy! Sludge was out to be presented with his 800 Run Teapot, from out of the spout he drank his Down-Down. Sparky was out for Scaring the kids; While Kylie & Whatever She Says were out for being Waldorf & Statler, the two critics on the Muppet Show!