Date = 20th January 2019
Run Number = 1835
Venue = The Quiet Man
Location = Hertford
Hare/s = Mr X
Beer = Doombar; Dark Star Hop Head
Runners = 17
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Newies = 0
Après = 0
Hounds = 0
Total = 17
Membership = Running on St Féchín of Fore’s Day!
Yes it came around to again to have another Saints Day Run, with Wing Nut & Vicky Vomit from the Essex All Saints Hash to celebrate another of the little known Saints, this time being the Feast Day of St Féchín of Fore, an Irish Saint, hence the fact the Trail was going to be from the Quiet Man, an Irish Bar in Fore Street. What a Glorious Day it was for a Trail, the sun was out in a clear sky, though the air was still a little crisp.
Some of the Pack, who had arrived early, joined the Hare in the Spoons just around the corner to ‘keep warm’ & of course some had a wee snifter! It took most quite a while to realise that the Priest sitting with Mr X was none other than Wanktlers who was showing of his method acting skills in being Father Jack Hackett from the Father Ted TV series! He did look the part, unshaven, wearing a dog-collar & carrying his grandfather’s Irish Police Sergeant's Swagger Stick, all while randomly cursing with the eponymous “Feck! Arse! Nuns, Girls & Drink!”
Those temporarily residing in the ‘Spoons moved around the corner from the Six Templars to the War Memorial in Parliament Square, Lemming & Mother were impressed at the painted stones on the War Memorial, especially the one with a nice verse upon it. It was here Vicky Vomit would go through his spiel about the story of St Féchín.
St Féchín (pronounced Feckin in the east of Ireland!) Was a corrupt Irish monk who, on behalf of corrupt high-kings Diarmait, Ruanaid & Blathmac, prayed for a plague in Ireland upon the poor to reduce their numbers. He should be the patron saint of the super-rich. However, how he is a saint is a mystery, but as abbot of Fore Abbey his feast day is January 20th. Of the three saints asked (Féchín, Manchan of Leamonaghan in Offaly & St Gerard of Mayo) by the Kings, only Gerald refused the request. Féchín’s end was poetic justice, as he & Manchan died of the Yellow plague they prayed for, while Gerald the Good survived!
The Trail began with the Pack heading eastward along Fore Street, an eclectic mix of old buildings with various shop fronts, perhaps these were too distracting for Sparky, or was it the uneven cobbles & flagstone path that was like an optical illusion to him? Whatever the factor was, Sparky was soon tottering & then gravity got involved as he went down like a sack of Spuds! Fortunately he was wearing his knee & elbow protectors. [Does he have a box to protect George? – Ed]
By the old Post Office there was a cut-through of alleyway to the south, here the Trail would lead the Hash through to the exit of the Multi-story car park on Gascoigne Way. Now there was a brief return to Fore Street via a passage by a local tyre fitters before coming around by M&S to take to an underpass below the A414. Upon the opposite side of the dual carriageway the Trail would lead from a CHK below the Royal Mail Delivery Office to head off along the southern edge of the A414 to come out at the dead-end of The Gulphs, where another CHK awaited.
Jamie, My Lil’, Where’s Wally? were all among first to the CHK point which was near to one of the entrances to All Saints Church, there the Hare was waiting after short-cutting after purchasing a couple of packets of Wine Gums for later in the Trail! This bit of the Trail was added just for Vicky Vomits benefit, with an All Saints Hash Connection, which of course led to a photo stop for Vicky Vomit by the Church sign.
The Hash picked up the Trail inside the grounds of the large Rose stone edifice of the Church, arrows turned the Keenies to the south, following the path all the way to the southern end of the graveyard by Hagsdell Road & the next CHK was found on the inside of the kissing gate in the old railings. Meanwhile the Hare hung around by the Church marked the Short Cut along the length of the southern side of the Church for Father Jack, Paxo, Lobby, Rose & Mark to take.
For the Keenies it was only a short way along the path on the inside of iron railing fence for the Hash, then it was back into the Church grounds to run all the way back down to the A414 My Lil’ & Jamie were soon back form the loop to meet up with the SCBs to pass out through the wrought iron gates on the western side of the Church grounds by the A414.
After a few yards the Trail passed under Gascoigne Way by descending into another subway, at the end of which arrows direct the Pack around on to the path way running from the end of Bell lane & along the edge of Gascoigne way to lead out on to the end of Parliament Square, double arrows directed the Hash straight over the junction & on down Castle Street.
Passing the old stone buildings to run westward arriving at a CHK by the southern entrance to the grounds of Hertford Castle, the Hare was happy to see that Sludge was caught out by the Falsie around at the end of Castle Street, he also took Wing Nut with him before they both came back to follow on behind My Lil’ & Milf down through the small green area before the old stone & flint medieval walls of the grounds of Hertford Castle, some of which incorporates earlier Roman work.
Passing through the side gate ion the Bailey Walls, the Trail would lead on through the Castle Grounds, Sludge wanted to short cut at this point but the Hare had other ideas & wanted to encourage those who haven’t been in the walled grounds a change to appreciate what is in there.
As it started off northward & then turned slightly to the west having passed by the large bolder that represents this site being where the second General Synod of 673 took place. The Hash then passed by the main gates, arrows prevented any straying out by the Hertford Theatre & back of the Six Templars, instead the Trail passed through the ornate Arch dedicate in 1938 to run by the large earthen mound that as the original Motte, that sits behind protective railings.
A wooden footbridge took the Pack over a section of the River Lea as it headed over to the walled in path that runs out by a wider section of the Lea, a nor-nor-west run beside the grounds of St Andrew’s Church, set in to the old red-brick west wall are several head-stones from the Church’s old graveyard which caught the attention of Lemming.
A left turn out on to St Andrew’s Street & arrows brought the Pack around a CHK by the underpass, the Trail on the opposite side being a Falsie, that Sparky & Wing Nut fell for.
The Real trail resumed away down North Road, which curiously runs just a few degrees north of due West. My Lil’, No Eye Deer & Sludge where leading the way down to the roundabout where the Hash found that the Dust crossed over the crossing on North road, by Sele Mill, once the site of the first Paper Mill in the UK, now a walled in area of apartments.
The Trail would now lead along the front entrance to the Hertford Hospital, before taking to the rising diagonal Path up to the dead end of Royston close, having climbed to the top of the hill side, a CHK was found at the end of Royston Close where there were several alleyway footpaths, the one heading over the railway was a Falsie, while the one leading back down to North Road proved to be correct to finish a little loop for the FRBs, as My Lil’, Sludge, Where’s Wally? No Eye Deer, Milf, Lemming & Mother emerged from down the steps to be kept well within sight of the SCBs of Vicky Vomit, Father Jack, the Hare, Rose & Gemma, Paxo & Lobby Lobster
Crossing over the crossing for Hertford North Station, to come over by the boarded up area the now abandoned Sele Arms Pub sits, another example of developers buying Pubs up, but fortunately the Council have rejected the planning application, for it would be a loss of a community asset.
Anyhow, the Trail turned north-eastward off of the A119, on to Beane Road crossing opposite the car park, here the Keenies stopped to watch a fox out over the meads, before carrying on over the river Beane to a point where arrows pointed the way back over the road to the entrance to a new path that runs on through the new park area to the east of the River Beane.
The Trail was picked up on the tarmac path beside the river Beane, leading through the green space to the south, with the Keenies being led on through the tree-line by Where’s Wally? chaos was soon to reign as the Trail came around to the alleyway by the local School, as Where’s Wally? thought that the double arrows were a Fish-Hook! So, he ran back thinking to was an eleven until he reached My Lil’ who definitely knew that this Hare would not stoop as low as to use a Fish-hook, best to leave these vile things to the likes of TBT OBE’s friends on H5!
Retracing his steps Where’s Wally? discovered his Faux-Pah & had to find that the Trail was now marked up to the east side of the green space behind the school grounds to run up around 100 yards away from the Beane-side Path, then on to Millmead Way, running between newer homes which line this new estate’s way back up to Beane Road, where Paxo was found to be showing Lobby Lobster his old home.
A CHK where Molewood Road, Nelson Street & Port Vale all meet, had the SCBs checking it out now, with the Molewood Option was the favourite, having been run so many time before by H4 but this was a Falsie, as was Nelson Street, with the proper Trail being found a slight way down Port Vale & then of along the enclosed diagonal west to east alleyway by the former railway line link of the Lower Bengeo Railway between Hertford North & Hertford East Stations that comes out on to the end of dead-end of Byde Street.
Before the New Hertford East Station WAS BUILT IN 188 the original station was what is now the Great Eastern Pub, there were also two more Stations in Hertford, one at Cowbridge on the branch which joined the old Hertford North Station this went as a part of the Beeching Report. The other was at Hartham Lane, where the McMullens Brewery sits, this closed in 1924 when the Hertford loop-line was opened with Hertford. The sidings were also there for quite a few years as well. All of which was put in for Kylie’s benefit, but he was AWOL for this Trail!
Arrows pointed the way south-eastward along Balfour Street, which was another short loop for the Hash, that even ROse went around, as it would turn at the bend where Archers Close splits from it, the arrows there would point down to the sou-sou-westerly section of Balfour Street to cross the narrow bridge over the old railway to head back to Port Vale again, there Lobby Lobster & Paxo were found walking along beyond the Mill Stream Pub to meet the Trail again.
A turn on to the dead-end Russell Street led the Keenies on a short trot up to a Bar CHK, the reason for this was that the Hare was hoping to get on to the old Railway line, which for some time has been talked about being opened up as a footpath/cycle way, but access is denied by several fences & according to Paxo it has been like that since he was a kid! [Weren’t the Trains still running then? – Ed] The Council have said that they are Ok with the old line becoming a footpath, the obstacle being the fenced end where some new builds sit.
The Pack were finally coming out of the Port Vale, beyond the Two Brewers & on to Cowbridge where My Lil’ moaned that he didn’t want the Trail to turn left! But left the Trail would turn to pass by the area where the Cow Bridge Station once stood by the large road bridge.
The Trail ran by the Sidings Court to climb up the edge of Port Hill, passing by the Vet’s surgery that was once the Reindeer Pub, following the bending road around to a point where a crossing sits, double arrows pointed over to the northeaster side of the street.
Crossing Port Hill Road & the Trail was found heading up to a CHK by the ornate Gatehouse & gates to Warren Park, Mother hung about at the CHK, while Wing Nut & Sludge checked it out along the tarmac drive beyond the gates. Wing Nut called “On!” & the rest followed on away through the wrought Iron Gates on the old Warren Park Road, which leads away to the east above the Stagecoach Theatre Arts School.
Double Arrows were found by the footpath leading up the wooded hillside of the Warren Park & Danesbury area of Bengeo, Sludge took one look at this this steep climb up between the trees to the top of the ridge & thought NO! to himself as he continued along the smooth tarmac route. The Hare wasn’t too worried as this was going to be a Short Cut anyway & was marked so a bit further on.
Mother wasn’t going to wimp out, just like Lemming & quite a few of the Hash, she took to the climb up the wooded ridge, this route eventually levelled out & led along the back of the homes at the top of the plateau, with a bit of a dip at one point to head north-eastward. This route is no longer as much fun as it used to be, as it now has been ‘improved’ with steps & wooden rails for Health & Safety, probably to prevent Hashers like Sparky & TBT OBE from rolling all the way down the steep slope.
This wooded route would come back down to the tarmac drive, where the Hare was with My Lil’, Paxo & Father Jack who were being tailed by Lobby Lobster, Paxo, Rose & Mark.
The Trail would now lead up to the end of the drive & pass through the gates to find a Held CHK by the distinctive flint building of St Leonards Church, which stands out with its distinctive wooden west bellcote.
Overlooking the shared Beane & Lea valley, the Grade I Listed church dates from about 1120, it is the oldest building in Hertford. When Holy Trinity Church was opened in 1855, St. Leonard's was stripped of its fittings to stand empty & unused for some years, until the Gosselin family of nearby Bengeo Hall commissioned its restoration & refitting between 1884 &1894. Both date from the 19th century restoration. The bellcote houses a single bell, dated 1636. Remains of medieval wall paintings were uncovered during restoration work in 1938 by William Weir.
Missing from the Keenies was Where’s Wally? FWB, Jamie, Gemma & Sparky, Rose & Mark arrived before all of them to the Held CHK, were wine gums were being dished out, then a Photo opportunity was arranged with Father Jack Hackett vigorously waving his swagger-stick & cursing the civilians who were passing by! Eventually Jamie, Gemma, Where’s Wally arrived at the CHK for some Wine Gums in after the Group Photo at the top of the Hill, Fish-hooks were the talk of the hour, as it was nearing midday!
FWB arrived just as the Pack were about to set off again, the Hare made sure she had a couple of Wine Gums, before he set off back down the Short Cut on the tarmac route, where he met up with Sparky, so he got Sparky to turn around & join him in meeting the others at the bottom of the hill
The Trail was picked up on the footpath on the southern side of the Church Grounds, a rapid decent through a paddock to turn 90° & then a few degrees more head sou-sou-west along the edge of the fenced of marsh land to the north of the River Beane, as it flows along the northern end of Hartham Common, the Trail would leave the meads & touch upon the tarmac lane of Warren park Road for a few yards, here the Hare & Sparky met up with the rest of the Pack before turning southward on to a wooden footbridge over the Beane & then onto Hartham Common.
For the Keenies arrows pointed straight over Hartham Common, where a local football team were going through their warm down. As they passed by the Sports complex the Pack were brought out to the access road by a car park, there the Trail would be marked with the Trail & a Short Cut.
The Trail looped around the outside of the Common to the east on the northern bank of the River Lea Navigation, a CHK was found by the Weirs at Dicker Mill, where there’s always a CHK. A trot over the bridge spanning the long weir where the Beane joins the River Lea, would bring the Keenies back on Trail, now they were on the southern bank of the navigation.
The regulars of the Pack now knew that the tow path along the edge of the River Lea Navigation was heading back toward the Centre of Hertford, the Short cut would bring the rest out to the tow path on the western side of the allotments, this meant that the SCBs could also enjoy the view & the smell of coal & log fires smouldering away on a couple of the narrow-boats moored up along this stretch.
No deviations were put in as Trail led on along by the quaint terraced homes that line the northern side of the navigation, for Safety reasons it was avoided as the side street was where Sparky came a cropper last year! Passing the Old Barge Pub, to come out on to Bulls Plain. The Pack were led straight over the rising lane by way of the pack-bridge over the Lea, this north-western bridge would cross the waterway & then turn north-eastward as it began a loop around behind the New McMullens Brewery to come out to the car-park for the newer Sainsbury’s store. Unless like Paxo & Lobby Lobster they took the official Short-Short-Cut straight over the common!
Now it was a simple turn around in an anticlockwise direction to get on to Hartham Lane to pass by the Old Red-brick Victorian McMullens Brewery to find the On Inn opposite the carved alter stone which is the last remains of St Mary The Lees on Old Cross pulled down I 1514. From there the Pack could follow the P-arrows back to the car park to change, then follow the rest of the P-Arrows out through the corner of the car park to pass over the weirs in the river Lea before walking down the Wash & then around to the Quiet Man.
Lots of things were discussed, even some Committee stuff was passed & there will be no alterations to what is now written in stone! It would soon come around to the Down-Downs & the Pack went out to the small enclosed astro-turfed patio garden. Once Paxo had raised the toast top the Hash, the Hare was rewarded for what was a good Trail! It took Mr X a lot longer than normal to sink his Pint, as it was rather cold! The rest would have to endure this when he took the Circle to perform his RAing duties.
Wing Nut was out as this week’s Guest, he confessed that he was born in Hitchin! Sparky was out for losing his tussle with Gravity! Where’s Wally? was out for his imaginary Fish-hooks! Vicky Vomit for being out on the Saints Day. Wanktlers for still being in character as Father Jack Hackett, still with flat cap, dog-collar, swagger-stick & crumple cigarette!
Whatever She Says was out for causing the Barmaid all sorts of issues when she didn’t have the dink he wanted & so he asked for a Murphy’s, which she claimed she had never heard of! [In an Irish Bar? – Ed]
Saint Fechin was a feckin fecker
That bigger feckers made a saint
Prayed for a plague to plague the poor:
The fecker: a saint he aint!
The least of Gods children he prayed ill for
At the behest of a cruel king
Who thought the poor too much in number
Showed church and state to be the same thing.
But a bittersweet justice God gave
He allowed the plague on the poor
That was prayed for by the clerics for the king
But it carried them off including this hoor!
How can a church that prays for death
For the poor call itself pro-life to this day?
Gods name they shamelessly took in vein
Up to now an apology they refuse to say!
So on January 20th let us remember
Saint Fechin the fecker from Fore
Showed how church and king are the same thing
Let us call Fechin a feckin saint no more!