Date = 3rd March 2019
Run Number = 1842
Venue = The Strathmore Arms
Location = St Paul’s Walden
Hare/s = TBT OBE
Beer = Mad Squirrel De La Pod; Mauldon Silver Adder; Tring Side Pocket; Nobby’s IPA
Runners = 10
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Newies = 0
Aprčs = 0
Hounds = 0
Total = 10
Membership = Raising a Vera Lynn sweet to the late Queen Mum!
What a contrast in weather condition from the previous two weeks of glorious sunshine. For it was overcast drizzle this morning, & to compound the situation for those who had arrived in plenty of time, Wanktlers, Mr X & My Lil’ were late arriving due to Great Northern playing with their train set & having to get a replacement bus service! These three arrived to find that most of the others were sheltering in their cars.
Bags stowed away, it was time for the circle to take place & so TBT OBE started a ramblings talk that saw many of the Circle yawning in an effort to stay awake, when it was pointed out that the pre-run ‘chalk-talk’ was going to be longer than the Trail, he finally relented & allowed the Pack to start the Hash.
The pack set off, enlightened in the fact that there would be two Held CHKs & that they should CHK out in nearby All Saints Churchyard for they would stumble upon the In Trail! So once out of the back of the Pub Garden, the Keenies would find only two options to now search from the CHK at the small uncapped car park behind the Pub grounds. My Lil’ & Mr X checked it put along the north-western leading lane to Stagenhoe, but they were soon coming back as Wanktlers, Milf & No Eye Deer had picked up the Trail on the wide uncapped track heading down to the south.
It was noticeable that the winds of the approaching storm Freya were increasing, as No Eye Deer’s cap was blown off, so it was somewhat of a relief as the track dropped down to give shelter from these strong gusts. The descent on the stony old route was briefly slowed up at a CHK by a style over into the field to the west, there was no footpath in this field as Wanktlers searched for Dust within, meanwhile My Lil’ had continued down to pass through the Michael’s Hope area where he picked up the Trail. Wanktlers then appeared at a point where a ‘private’ side track joined. As My Lil’ pointed out “It wouldn’t be a TBT OBE Trail without a bit of trespassing!”
My Lil’, Wanktlers & Mr X began to pull away from the rest as they came through by the estate cottages & out on to the tarmac drive way, a path way behind an old iron gate was looked at by My Lil’ but Wanktlers called “On to Check!” a little further around the tarmac drive.
With plenty of signage announcing the road to the house at St Paul’s Waldenbury, being home to the Bowes Lyon Family it was only accessible with pre-invitation, only two options lay ahead, one that My Lil’ & Mr X searched of the south-eastern path through the area of land at the south of the ‘Bury’ which is divided in to many paddocks, all set out with white corded electric fences. Meanwhile Wanktlers searched the main, wide option to the south & he was called back as the other two found Dust, shame that this was a long Falsie!
Mr X contemplated the option of cutting through the empty paddock separating the two paths, but the idea of getting a jolt while straddling the electrified nylon cords put him off, so a long trot back to the CHK was in order. The Hare was pleased as punch to have caught these three out, it also allowed Milf, No Eye Deer, FWB, Tent Packer, Kylie & Where’s Wally? to all get ahead of them.
The route of the ‘Hertfordshire Way’ turned slightly around to the southwest, with the Keenies beginning a steeper decent down toward Whitwell. Where’s Wally? was making good progress down this way, getting better after his back ache but still using a stick for support, he too came down the 35 Yard drop in height to the level of the Mimram & was following on behind FWB, Tent Packer, Wanktlers & Milf over the Chalk bed river in to the village. Whitwell was once famed for the Water-cress beds fed by the pure waters of the Mimram.
My Lil’ & Mr X were just about to catch up but had to wait for a woman in her car to come by, as she moved off it became clear that she had been stopped over a Bar CHK on the lane, which meant the others had missed this! From his vantage point still up the top of the ridge, Kylie had called Milf down in the valley, just as the other two had called the Bar CHK! So, it was back up by the tea-rooms for a long steady trudge of a climb back up almost to the top of the ridge, where the Trail had been marked by the Hare to go off to the southwest.
The Trail now made its way along to the west, stepping up a few feet to & the going up through by the back of the stables upon the ridge, the paddocks the Trail now began to make its way around here had equines within as the path turned from west to north. Kylie was puzzled by the odd hollow that appeared around here & wondered what had been dug out? [Answer on a postcard please? – Ed]
It was noticeable that the winds of storm Freya were picking up in this more exposed area upon the top of the hill, as the Trail headed over toward Little Bury Wood, the Pack were to hear another flight coming in to land a Luton, seems that the low cloud may have made the planes seem to be a bit lower in the skies upon their approach, it may have been reflecting the sound as the aircraft certainly seemed to be louder than normal.
Mr X pointed out the Statue over in the distance toward Walk Wood in a northeast direction, in a part of the gardens that were laid out in the 17th Century for the Grade I house. The original patte d'oie (goose foot) architecture of the gardens still remain for the small stately home built in the 1720’s, there are long avenues that lead to temples & ponds in the former home of the late Queen Mother, who as Elisabeth Bowes Lyon was brought up here.
As the Trail made its way through hedge to the next field, Mr X pointed out a Muntjac that dashed away through the hedgerow. The Trail entered the side of Little Bury wood before continuing northward in to the larger Walk Wood, here there was plenty of Shiggy on the route heading up to the Chalkleys Wood section of the larger plantation, the path turned form nor-nor-east to eastward & then back to nor-nor-east as it followed the dividing line between the two sections of broadleaf woodland of mainly beech & hornbeam.
The first Held CHK was found out to the lane to Stagenhoe, here the Hare handed out various bags of sweets, with the Gin & Tonic ones being the favourites, over the Jelly Babies & Wine Gums. The G & T sweets from ASDA really did capture the flavour, according to the packet the ingredients did contain Gin!
The conversation turned to the Screaming jelly babies, where a jelly babies in places in a test tube, then has potassium chlorate put in there to have the oxidization of the sugars that create a ‘screaming’ noise. [Please don’t try this at home kids!- Ed]
The time was now five minutes to ‘opening time’ & TBT OBE dithered as to whether to cut out the next stage of the Trail & head back along the lane to the On Inn? Although windy, the drizzled had ceased long back on the Trail & the majority decided to continue with the second half of the Run! Tent Packer took advantage of the short cut the Hare allowed, for he had a family dinner to get back to.
My Lil’ seemed keen on following but was persuaded to join the rest in continuing with the Trail but this didn’t last long after he was caught out having gone a long way down the by-way toward Hitch Wood far off to the north. On his return to the tarmac My Lil’ opted to go back to the Pub, since he had been up working at 05:00hrs that very morning! He was joined by Mr X, who hadn’t been working but was struggling after a day at the Rugby & then a St David’s day evening in to the small hours. Hair of the Dog was required!
Meanwhile the Pack moved along the lane toward Stagenhoe House, as the route passed by the north side of Garden Wood to make its way around Stagenhoe House. Now home to the Sue Ryder Centre for neurological Care, Stagenhoe House used to be the family seat of the Earl of Caithness. It was quite a long trot along the driveway to the grade II listed house that there was another Held CHK, being under the multi coloured roof of a gazebo. Here the Hare produced chocolate bars for the Hash to munch on, they would need this for the Trail would now take a long loop in a clock-wise direction.
Leaving the Large house behind, the Trail would head around a CHK on the footpath running from south-west to north-east. The Trail was picked up on toward the smaller Foxholes wood & then around to the larger Hitch wood, unusually the Trail was still there as it passed by the old Keeper’s Cottage, the resident Game Keeper normally kicks out the Trail but for some reason it was still intact over to the small plantation of Pinfold Wood
It was while coming along by the end of the open fields that the Hash encountered a steady stream of a fallow deer, which even No Eye Deer got to see this time! Though later she did call them a flock of deer?
The Trail would turn from its north bound way, running south-eastward along the edge of Hitch wood & down to the southern tip, this route doesn’t appear as a footpath on any of the maps, so it was hoped that these are now permissive routes to get on to the drive way leading along to the lodges on the Preston Road, or was it
It was by the Lodges that the Trail would take to the Chiltern Way, a footpath that leads southward along the edge of the fields to come out through a fenced in path between two of the propertied at the northern end of St Paul’s Walden, on the small, narrow, ox-bow of a lane.
Finally the Trail passed through the grounds of All Saints Church & back to the Pub, though if you were Where’s Wally? & No Eye Deer then you reached the first CHK, saw it was marked & began the Trail again, fortunately realising at the next CHK that they had done this all before!
X & My Lil’ were found at the Bar, they were soon berated for short-cutting,
which in turn led to the
excuses reasons for the Short Cut being taken,
whatever the outcome the two managed to enjoy the last of the Mad Squirrel De Le
Pod Milk Stout, so it was well worth it! These two also managed to bag a
delicious lamb samosa each before the rest arrived, Wanktlers got in with the
last of the meat ones, which left our resident faketerian with only the veggie
option to enjoy!
The Subject turned to the village name & whether it had an apostrophe or not? Kylie also wondered what a Walden was? It probably derives its name from Anglo Saxon – Wald being the Germanic for Wood, & Walden a wooded valley??
The Circle took place in the lower bar room. TBT OBE somehow managed to get through the toasting of the Hash, then it was over to the RA. The Hare was called forward to accept his Down-Down for a good Trail; Where’s Wally? & No Eye Deer were out for enjoying this Trail so much that they were going to go around a second time! My Lil & Mr X had theirs for Short Cutting, while Kylie was out for having Milf stand in as Hashflash for the last couple of weeks!