Date = 24th February 2019
Run Number = 1841
Venue = The Marquis of Granby
Location = Batford
Hare/s = Mr X
Beer = London Pride, Doooombar; Adnams
Runners = 11
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Newies = 0
Après = 0
Hounds = 0
Total = 11
Membership = Celebrating the man with more Pub’s named after him!
This may have been the warmest day of the year so far? [It was at the time & has since been surpassed! – Ed] But the bright sunny morning couldn’t get most of the regulars to turn out, which was rather disappointing for the Hare as he’d put a lot of effort in, having been around early that morning to set the Trail. Things picked up a bit as the two early arrivals of Wanktlers & Sludge were joined by Sparky, followed by Milf, Kylie & Ewok, then Tent Packer who’s back from South Africa, Des Res before FWB & Where’s Wally? arrived, suffering with his back he was laid out in the car.
The Circle was called after 11 o’clock, in the vain chance that anyone else would arrive, but this was not to be! Sludge carried out the welcome speech in the absence of the Hon GM, the other GM (who was briefly well enough to travel to Liverpool with UK-Qatar Hash but was then suffering after a Pub Crawl of the City!) The Joint Master was also AWOL, apparently he was tending to his pansies in the mountain top garden?
Anyhow, the Hare was introduced & he went through the usual tale of Normal Hash Markings, there would be short cuts, there were two Held CHKs, the Pack had to be aware of roads to cross, avoid dogs, horses golf balls, tree roots, fast paced off-road mountain bikers, all before being allowed to head up Crabtree lane to the first CHK.
As the Pack set off at what could be described as a slow amble, the Hare added that as My Lil’ was not present that day, the first CHK was not going to be directly outside of the Pub! A few yards up the hill & the First CHK was found by the old crossing where the former Welwyn Garden to Leighton Buzzard line ran through to Luton.
It took a while before the likes of Sludge, Tent Packer, Wanktlers & Des Res picked up the Trail to the Northwest on what was the former line, which was closed in 1960’s. This was a pleasant enough trot along the level of the former track-bed within the shaded of the trees high up on either side. The Trail passed under the road bridge of Station Road above the line, there the second CHK was found.
On the way, Kylie asked Mr X if there was ever a station there? He replied that Station Road leads over the hill to the west & down to Harpenden Station, but wasn’t sure if there was a station in Batford, it turns out that there was & it was called Harpenden East!
Back to the CHK point, Milf went wrong in checking straight ahead, Tent Packer went up the ramp to Station road, but he turned off before that to check out the footpath running along the top of the Railway cutting below. It was Wanktlers who noticed that there was a chalked arrow over the narrow tight S-Bend the bridge sits in the middle of, he called “On!” & the Hare scooted across to the opposite side of the road, in order to see if any traffic was coming down the Hill.
Mr X warned the likes of Sparky when the road was too busy to cross, he then waited for Where’s Wally? to arrive & see him safely across. Where’s Wally? who was walking along with aid of FWB’s stick for support, said that it felt so good to be up on his feet & moving after a week laying on his front.
With FWB coming back to look after Where’s Wally? the Hare now headed off up Station Road to the southwest, on what was a long steady climb up the suburban hillside. A CHK on Dalkeith Road slowed the FRBs enough for the Hare to see the tail end of them disappearing further up Station road as it bends enough for the Trail markings further not to be seen until the Keenies were on top of them, crossing Overstone Road on the way.
The Next CHK was found by the track of Granary Lane, on old partially uncapped route that heads south-eastward, the Dust there was found quite away down this route, hidden on the concrete ramp of the slightly set back garages behind the homes on Overstone Road.
The Keenies were briefly slowed up at a CHK between the bollards by the dead-end of Shakespeare Road as it backs on to Granary Lane, the Trail would continue along, moving a few degrees further eastward & narrowing in width from a track to a footpath as it runs out on to the bottom of the reversed L-Shaped Overstone Road, a CHK there was rapidly dealt with, as the obvious choice of the continuation of the alleyway as correct
The next stage of the Trail was a short one, where the Trail was found right at the path’s termination where it joins Crabtree Lane, here a set of arrows directed the Pack south-westward a few yards before crossing over to a CHK by two footpath signs on the nearby lamppost.
When the Hare arrived he found Des Res & Ewok loitering around the CHK, while Tent Packer, Sludge & Sparky all checked out the south-eastern Path, they were soon coming back as “On!” was called by Milf ,Wanktlers & Ewok on the alternative tarmac path running behind the treeline of Crabtree Lane to the northeast!
It was a shame that the north-eastern option would turn out to be a Falsie, so it was back again to the south-eastern option for Sludge, Tent Packer & Sparky as they followed on behind Kylie & the Hare as the path led out on to the green space that lies between the many arms of housing that make up the Chesterton Avenue & Alzey Gardens.
On her way getting back on to Trail, Milf had an encounter with a local weilding an Axe, the disgruntled resident was concerned about what all the noise was all about? Being used to dealing with ‘Red-necks’ Milf Placated Mr Angry of Harpenden about the Hash calls, the Axeman retreated to his gardening no doubt to take out his frustration on a gnome? He must have been one of Paxo’s kindred horticulturalists making the best of the sunny day?
A CHK was found on the large roughly-triangular open green space, Sludge headed north end, while Tent Packer headed to the south-eastern option. It was Tent Packer who found Dust on the trees & then arrows leading down the narrow alleyway footpath out on to Highfield Avenue & of course the Bar CHK at the end of this.
Wanktlers came back first & soon picked up the Trail on the continuation of the old footpath through to Alzey Gardens, another road that sweeps around in spirals with its many short arms to create the estate. A short trot through a small part of this estate would come out on to roundabout on main roads joining Piggotshill Lane, arrows pointed the way to the north to take the Hash up the old narrow section of Piggotshill Lane that bends a few degrees eastward off of due north.
A CHK was found by the entrance of small side estate of Hilltop Walk, this had a sign that mentioned it being a ‘private Road’ & for dog owners a potential fine could be in store for any ‘Fouling of the street!” Sparky went wrong as he looked over toward the old Farm House to the east, but the Trail was found further along Piggotshill Lane.
The Pack passed by the entrance to the Aldwickbury Park Golf Club as they began a steady descent down the rustic lane within the edge of the woodland beside the Golf Club, there was a trot up through the trees on the wooded bank beside the fairway for a short way, then it dropped back down to the level of the tarmac..
Near the end of this lane there was a slight wiff in the air, for on either side of this section of the lane are the water treatment plants, fortunately the Pack would not hang around too long as the dust passed through the two steel posts that prevent this old lane being used as a ‘rat-run’ & the Pack were taken to the steps leading up to the Bridge for the former Railway line again, arrows pointed the way along this old track away to the east.
Mr X put down an arrow & the words “Pub 500 Yards” to hopefully direct Where’s Wally? who was being still receiving assistance from FWB, to go under the old brick bridge & around to the Marquis of Granby. Kylie arrived & was about to take this short cut back to the On Inn, but Mr X explained that this was for Where’s Wally? to take if he had enough by this point. Kylie then alerted Mr X to the fact that Where’s Wally? had mentioned that he was determined to get around all of the Trail, no matter how long it took him!
The Pack would now enjoy the nice warm day, running in the dappled sunshine through the branches of the trees lining the former railway line, this was the longest stretch of the Trail. The Hash would pass by the edge of the Golf Club on one side, on the other side the meadows were the river Lea weaves its serpentine way through this lush green land, which attracts all sorts of wildlife, from Pied Wag-tails & Great Tits mentioned by the Hare & that make Ewok take over Pebbledash’s duties of sniggering at the words!
Milf seemed to attract a large yellow butterfly on her way around. Also of interest on this stretch was the large fenced off lake, this being a deep pit. Beyond this were the many ox-bows where the Lea has changed its course over the years to leave the isolated pockets of water that are the ox-bows & are fished by a local angling club.
The First Held CHK was discovered at Leasey Bridge, where there used to be a level crossing on the narrow single track lane, here Milf persuaded a cyclist, who was repairing his flat tyre to take a photo of the Keenies when they arrived here. When Mr X &Kylie arrived she then persuaded a woman & her son out cycling to take more snaps as the Liquorice Allsorts were handed around by the Hare. Kylie was mightily impressed by the large white posts for the old crossing gates still in situe.
With the main body of the Pack together & the time being ten to the hour, Mr X ushered the Hash away up Cherry Tree Lane, coming out beside the Cherry Trees Indian restaurant to then the Busy Lower Luton Road, here double arrows had the Hash cross over to take to the north bound Marshalls Heath Lane. As it was such a nice day, Kylie was happy to carry on with the whole Trail, not taking the short cut along the lower Luton Road that was marked with a WW? & an arrow.
Kylie admired the bank of railway sleepers outside of one house on the lane, before crossing over to where a CHK was found on the left-hand side of the lane, by the kids Play Area at the bottom of the heath. The Keenies soon found an arrow at the start of the alleyway cutting back between the homes to lead out on to the cul-de-sac of Marshalls Way, the Hare was pleased to see this & even more elated as they FRBs came back before they found the Trail proper in the scrubby woodland to the west of Marshalls Heath.
A wavy route was run on the undulating desire-line at the bottom of the wooded fallow land behind the homes, this would emerge out on to the uncapped track of Castle Rise, there a CHK was found. “On!” was called as Milf, Ewok, Sparky, Tent Packer, Des Res, Wanktlers & Sludge all headed out toward in a nor-nor-west direction out beyond the last of the buildings to head up through the farm fields on the way to Mackerye End, though it seems that Sludge peeled off fairly soon after to take to a dog-walking route through to a scrubby fallow area by the Lower Luton Road!
The rest of the Hash headed up to small area of olde world Manor houses & fancy gardens in the north. It was an ideal day to cross this wide open area, on what would be a large loop, turning when it reached the bend in Mackerye End lane to head a few yards to the west by the nice red brick homes, then tacking back southward up a couple of steps set in the old holly hedge, the FRBs began coming down southward on a footpath within the tree-line.
The Hare didn’t cover this section again, for he had gone back to mark the short cut back on the Lower Luton Road for Where’s Wally? & FWB! However he was aware that the rest would get to see what he was surprised when he set the Trail, for on the descent down through the treeline used to divide farm land from Mackerye End down to the Lower Luton Road, the former farm land to the west was now being levelled & readied for a huge estate to be built upon it, to considerably increase the size of Batford eastward from Common Lane. Mackerye end will no longer be so sedate.
After the long trot down through the treeline, everyone was relieved to find that Sparky didn’t come a cropper on any of the knurled old roots of this ancient boundary, a Held CHK was found where the path finishes on the embankment above the Lower Luton Road. The Held CHK had been marked westward by the Hare, for he had put this in for one specific reason & that was to catch out Sludge at the very end of the Trail.
Sludge, Wanktlers & Tent Packer followed the Dust down the path as the embankment dropped to the level of the road by the roundabout into Batford by the old mill. There, there were a series of arrows that took the pack over the busy road & then southward on down Mill lane, through the end of the small industrial estate where Superfine Tapes resides.
The lane gently led down to the ford in the river Lea, there the Hare was found stranding in the middle of the ford as he waited for the rest to catch up around ten past the hour. First there was Sludge, after his slight detours to get ahead of Wanktlers. The Hare was not surprised to see Sludge take to the footbridge, crossing the first of the two T’s on this, while ignoring the large arrows pointing the way through the ford! The Hare thought that the arrows was plain to see, but read on dear reader!
Wanktlers waded in, Sludge hesitated on the bridge but was not for turning, so as soon as the Hare began handing out American Hard Gums to those who would wade into the nice cool water, Sludge crossed through the second T- to the opposite bank. At least Sludge took some photos of Milf, Ewok, Mr X & all in the ford, but it wasn’t going to save him when it came to the Circle!
Mr X was happy to stand in the cool water for quite a while, going around the Trail twice, plus some pooch walking first thing that morning meant that his feet were a little sore & the waters of the Lea soothed them, though you wouldn’t want to be drinking it further downstream!
Some of the locals out enjoying the day were slightly surprised to see the Hash standing in the river Lea, including the cycling lady & her son who took the earlier pictures at Leasey Bridge, but that’s the Hash for you!
The On Inn was written on an old lump of concrete on the southern bank of the Lea, so once back at the Marquis of Granby, the weather was so nice the Hash could sit outside in the garden once, Mrs Mallet had joined the Pack. It would get to a point when Mr X thought it wise to find out about Where’s Wally? progress, so he called him to find that he had taken the WW? Short cut along the Lower Luton Road, when the call was answered, Where’s Wally? then explained that both he & FWB were bamboozled by the T on the bridge over the Lea & couldn’t work out how to get back Inn.
Obviously the arrows pointing into the Ford weren’t big enough, nor the Pub close enough to be seen (approx. 300 feet away from the ford). Mr X explained what they had to do to get back Inn, but Milf & Ewok went back over the Lea to the corner of the development area opposite the start of Mill Lane to fetch them back.
The Circle was called & the Hare was rewarded for his effort, on a sunny day that made it! Then it was back to Mr X to take the Circle as RA. Being Estonia Day, those with Tallinn Hats were rewarded for supporting the day; Sludge was out for pussy-footing over the River Lea!
Wanktlers deserved his Hit for also showing off his H5 Red Dress Pantomime-Dame’s red bloomers he was given the week before, after he had Hashed with them. [Teebs will be jealous! – Ed]
Anyhow, after the Circle Mr X was quizzed on the William the Conqueror that was spotted on the side of one home up the hill in Harpenden? He didn’t, though in Scotland he’s known as William the Bastard! Anyhow, he told the Pack about Lieutenant-General John Manners, Marquis of Granby PC (2 January 1721 – 18 October 1770) was a British soldier, the eldest son of the 3rd Duke of Rutland. As he did not outlive his father and inherit the dukedom, he was known by his father's subsidiary title, Marquis of Granby.
Manners served in the Seven Years' War as overall commander of the British troops on the battlefield and was subsequently rewarded with the post of Commander-in-Chief of the Forces. He is probably best known today for supposedly having more pubs named after him than any other person - due to his practice of setting up old soldiers of his regiment as publicans when they were too old to serve any more.