Date = 10th March 2019
Run Number = 1843
Venue = The Black Horse
Location = South Mimms
Hare/s = Wanktlers
Beer = Greede King IPA; Doooombar
Runners = 13
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Newies = 0
Après = 0
Hounds = 0
Total = 13
Membership = Windswept!
Only a couple of weeks ago we had gusts of the tail end of Storm Freya, which didn’t really amount to much in Herts, but this week there was no storm mentioned on the weather forecast of one heading over the UK, but the wind was pretty ferocious all morning. The early arrivals sheltered wherever they could, even standing between the bushes until a few cars would arrive to allow them to sit out of the wind.
The Pack finally had to venture out of the nice warm automobiles to hear the GM welcome everyone to the Hash. The Hare was on hand to explain that due to the strong wind, he had opted to cut out a section of Trail, that ran around the exposed perimeter of an open field, something that came as a relief for the Hash!
Then Wanktlers said that he would sing the rest of the Trail to the Pack, something that startled a few. Then he began a rendition of ‘Tiger Feet’ & ‘Lonely this Christmas’, the clue being ‘Mud’ (The Band who had hits with these in the 70’s) & he added that the Pack were going to encounter plenty of it! Then without any further songs or announcements the Pack were left to search for the Trail!
While those who had driven to the venue headed away southward down Black Horse Lane toward the White Hart, those who walked to the venue & had passed over the Bar CHK to the south. Meanwhile Jamie chose to search the west bound footpath between the homes & along by the Catherine Bourne. Having walked there, Mr X had other ideas & he chose to search Black Horse Lane to the north, there he would pick up the Trail for real.
The narrow rustic lane had plenty of broken wind-fallen twigs & branches scattered around the tarmac. At least the Pack were out of the wind as they began the slow rise of the road, sheltered below the levels of the fields on either side. A CHK was found around the slight bend halfway up the lane, where a set of steps led up to a footpath running over the farm fields toward the St Albans Road & the M25 beyond that, no one looked out over the parapet!
Mr X stuck with the lane, chatting to Mark about how his Marathon training was going & discovering that he has had a set back of a couple of weeks. These two found more arrows to lead further up the lane to the elbow in the way, just here a CHK was discovered outside of ‘The Woods’ - a small gatehouse.
By now Jamie had caught up with Mr X & Mark, with Tent Packer, No Eye Deer, Fliptop, Des Res, My Lil’, Rose & Gemma, with TBT OBE following on, finally Kylie coming up the rear. [Stop that Pebbledash! – Ed] to reach the CHK point by the Woods.
In World War I Military rifle ranges were brought into emergency use during 1915, allowing musketry training courses to be held at various locations. These were located at Bishop's Stortford (15 May 1915) Chalk Hill (St Albans) Gorhambury, North Mimms, Warden Hill
Unfortunately, all the above Military bylaws (which contained details regarding the exact locations and dates of operation) have been lost, except for Bishop's Stortford. There are no known surviving archaeological remains of the North Mimms’ Rifle Range, & following extensive searches, the only evidence that it was there are a series of postcards. One being the unposted postcard view (To the left) of ‘The Woods’ south lodge of North Mymms Park, which shows a flagpole, notice board and warning sign stating "PATH CLOSED WHEN RED FLAGS ARE FLYING", which indicates that the rifle range was within North Mymms Park, probably at the base of rising ground in the valley the Hash would run down through a little later?
From the CHK Jamie & Mark picked up Trail heading north-eastward on the uncapped drive to Woodhill farm, where the track turned to the north in between Hawkshead Wood to the west & the Mymmshall Wood to the east, both of which are sections of the greater woodland.
Meanwhile Mr X was on the opposite Path were he also picked up Trail as well, little did he know that he had gone along what would be made in to a Short Cut, missing out the loop back around to the southwest through Hawkshead Wood.
The rest of the Pack would take this u shaped route through the trees to come out on to the same track Mr X was on & follow on behind him, quite a way behind him, where this route became the Trail. Mr X had some local knowledge of these parts, all of which helped as some of the Trail was slightly faded in places due to the early rain that morning.
As a kid Mr X used to work in local kennels & walked greyhounds around these parts, so it was more than just good fortune when he began the descent between Hawkshead Wood & Redwell Wood, emerging from the trees to where a CHK was found by gate to a footpath running into the field on the east of the Track. Here the Trail was picked up again through the grassy area on a steeper drop down to run along the southern tip of Cangsley Wood
There was no stopping for the RA as he carried on along in a north-eastern direction down through the sheltered tree-line dividing the exposed farm land, there the next CHK was found where wonderfully named ‘Love Lane’ crosses from southeast to north west, but in his mind there was only really one way for Mr X to go, & that was along toward the A1(M) & getting on to Home Farm Road by the stables of the huge complex there.
As the Trail turned the bend in the end of the lane, a CHK was found by the footbridge over the A1(M) to Water End, Mr X wasn’t going to check that out, for he had an inkling that with this Hare’s predilection for History, he believed the Trail would follow Tollgate Road around from the North Mymms Cricket Club, to head toward the local historic Church. Sure enough the Trail followed the old road away from the cricket field & its picturesque white pavilion to run between the motorway & a section of the Mymmshall brook which was moving at a robust pace due to the overnight rain.
The Trail would lead along to the Triangular green where a War Memorial stands outside of the gate-houses for North Mymms Park. Mr X was so far ahead that he had time to stop & look at the War memorial & more modern WWI Poppy bench before Mark, Jamie & then the Hare arrived at the ornate entrance to the Elizabethan Manor House.
The Hare marked the Trail to enter the Park, via the open gates, before changing tact from the drive to head down toward the St Mary’s Church, but not before handing the packets of sweets over to Rose, for her to distribute at the Held CHK found on the western side of the Church, which was accessed by walking on a path of laid-flat headstone like slabs, each had inscription of departed locals.
Around just beyond the west door there was a bench, with the Held CHK beside it. The arrival of the pack brought out one of the parishioners who asked whether the Pack wished to use the Church facilities in the extension, he went on to say that he too was at an age where he uses every chance of a toilet these days! Tent Packer filled him in on what the Hash was about & he was offered some Marshmallows, Jelly Bean or Black Jacks by Rose.
Accepting a Black Jack, the parishioner went on to explain some of the history of the Church, including a Mass Dials which are scratched in to the stone work by the doors on the Church. He then refused more sweets being offered to him, adding that at his age he couldn’t have too many sweets, as unlike Rose’s teeth, his will not grow back!
A Mass Dial (or Scratch Dial or Tide Dial) were about the size of a side plate & consisted of a simple indicator – a short wooden peg or ‘gnomon’ projecting at right angles from the hole to cast the sun’s shadow over a series of scratched or carved lines radiating from the centre point. These would be in the days before clocks & railways, it was also from when all time was local to when the sun was at high-noon for midday in that particular part of the country.
The Anglo-Saxons divided the night and day into eight artificial divisions know in Old English as Tid, or Tides. The four daylight divisions were called morgen, more or less 6am to 9am; undern, 9am to noon; middaeg, noon to 3pm; and gelotendaeg, 3pm to 6pm. Morning, noon & evening are remnants of this division still in use today, as are moontide, yuletide and shrovetide.
There were also other interesting graffiti etched in to the stones to admire. Fliptop found one of the war graves within the church yard fascinating, as he learnt of a rank he had never heard of before, that of 2nd Private used in Royal Flying Corp until this became the newly formed RAF in 1918, then in 1919 the rank of Aircraftman replaced it.
Anyhow, the Hare went back to see where Kylie, TBT OBE & No Eye Deer where at. Kylie was first of these three to the Held CHK & the other two arrived just as a restless Pack had begun to search again, though this didn’t go so well to start with, as Tent Packer led most of them over the small bridge across the brook & out in to the cattle field to the north of the Church grounds. Mr X wasn’t going to go that way, for he knew the footpath heads only over to the Tollgate Road & leading completely away from South Mimms!
With no Trail found out in the meadow, the
sheep Pack returned to meet up
with TBT OBE & No Eye Deer on their approach to the Church yard, Rose gave them
some sweets that had been saved for them, all as the Hare marked the Trail out
of the Churchyard & up away to the south-west on the central drive.
This was the start of a long trot, beginning on tarmac drive around to the Elizabethan Manor House but leaving this on the bend where the ‘Private Drive’ sign sits. The route the Trail was on continued up to the southwest, from the bend to become an uncapped track heading up toward Cangsley wood again. The Trail left the fields & the ornate fenced in gardens behind, the going began to degenerate into Shiggy, deep enough in places that would have Des Res trying his best to pussy-foot along the very edges. His picking his way from one slightly dry spot to another was going to be a waste of time, the best option was just to run up through the stony bed of the steam of cold run-off water flowing down the hillside
As the FRBs ran through Cangsley Wood there was a sudden loud crack like a rifle, followed by the straining creaking sounds of a tree toppling over in the woodland, which upon the hill was still being battered by the strong winds. Amazingly with the all edges, wooded areas on Trail, & dropping in to a valley, the Pack weren’t overly exposed to the gusts of wind.
There was no danger to the Pack from falling bits of tree while running along the main track through the woodland, for the trees along the edges had been coppiced, which mean that they were younger, flexible & not that old or too large. Unlike the work carried out on the railway embankments by Network Rail contractors in removing all trees in some areas, old, diseased or healthy, which has since resulted in landslides on the lines, with no trees to ding the earth.
Once the Trail had climbed over the wooded ridge, the Trail would drop down in to the Potwells open area in the vale & here Des Res’s woes would begin in earnest as the puddles increased in size, the Shiggy got deeper & wider to cover all of the path, so now there was no other option but to wade through the tracts of deep, cold water & Shiggy. Of course there was one exception & that was Rose, who was carried over the worst of the wet areas by Jamie!
Cold Feet were kept moving to warm up, as the Hare was leading the way & marking the Trail, for the Trail would come back upon itself, & after last week with Where’s Wally? & No Eye Deer trying to go around again, the Hare was taking no chances with TBT OBE & No Eye Deer this week.
The earlier CHK was marked & now on the level the Trail would head back out by Oak Lodge & then back over the drier, higher woodland to emerge back out on to Black Horse Lane, the final section was to descend back to the village & the Put off to the following week.
Everyone agreed it was a good Trail, made better with the proposed exposed area being cut out! On one of the walls of the Pub was a picture, one that would have pleased Whatever She Says, for it was a black & white historic shot of the village ‘Temperance Bar’!
One subject in conversation that North Mymms is spelt differently from the sister village of South Mimms. The two spellings Mymms & Mimms appear to have been used interchangeably over the centuries, until 20 February 1939 when Hertfordshire County Council decreed in a council meeting that the spelling be fixed as Mymms in the North & Mimms in the south!