Date =                            17th March 2019

Run Number =            1844    

Venue =                        The Engineer’s Arms

Location =                    Henlow

Hare/s =                        My Lil’

Beer =                           Loads of Real Ales & Ciders

Runners =                   15                                               

Virgins =                        0

Visitors =                       0

Newies =                       0

Après =                          0

Hounds =                      2

Total =                          17

Membership =            Celebrating St Patrick’s Day!




              For those not taking public Transport, who were not experiencing the joy & excitement of Rail Replacement Bus services & a delayed Train, they were not for hanging around outside the Pub on this fresh but bright morning.  They weren’t for waiting for the Hare to arrive either, so before the allotted time that had been advertised in all relevant media as to ten past eleven, the Pack set off, all without taking in to consideration those yomping over from Great Northern playing with their Train Set.

            Mr X, My Lil’ (The Hare) & Wanktlers, dressed as Father Jack Hackett again, had a bit of a speed march over from the Station, by Henlow Lakes & then over the meadow to the Engineer’s Arms, they were going to pass the On Inn along the way to the footpath that runs through homes clustered around Meadow Walk.  On the way between the homes they would first encounter Where’s Wally? & behind him the rest of the Pack!

            The Hare wasn’t very impressed at the excuses of it being ‘chilly’ & not waiting for him to arrive before the Pack set off, this also meant that there would be not a Jameson’s toast to St Patrick before the off, which in turn meant that Father Jack Hackett (Wanktlers) would not be happy without his ‘Drink!’  With Whatever She Says Car Keys in hand, these three continued back to the Pub to stow their bags before having to run & catch the Pack again.

            Leaving the bottle of Jameson’s behind, Father Jack could be heard shouting out “Drink! Drink!” on the way back through the passageway beside the Pub & then along Park Lane to the footpath through to Meadow Walk, Mr X on the other hand wished the general public they encountered a “Happy St Patrick’s Day!” something which seemed to startle the good folk of Henlow.

            The Trail would emerge out from the homes & on to the edge of the meadow, where it would take the southern path through the small hedged in area of saplings to come out on to the edge of the A507, normally a busy road through from Arlesey to Henlow.  Once over southern side of the road, the Trail would take to the continuation of the southbound path, now the Pack were exposed to the chilly wind as they followed the path out from behind the shelter of the tree line surrounding the farm building by the A507 to the open farm land beyond.

            Ahead of the back markers of the Hare, Mr X, Father Jack & Stand-in Shit, a couple of leprechauns, that turned out to be Lemming & Mother, who along with Where’s Wally? & TBT OBE could all be clearly seen in their lime day-glo Hi-vis jackets.  They had all turned away from the water filled ditch the footpath was running beside, to head eastward over toward Cityfield Farm, TBT OBE & Kylie were caught up with before the turn, while the FRBs had continued to where the Trail turns sou-sou-west. 

The Trail would change slightly to due east as the path run along by the top of the sheltered wooded area that surrounds Middle Water lake, on the corner here an impromptu re-group would take place at the CHK, & there would be a group photo-shot as Milf, then Kylie, FWB & TBT OBE all took turns in taking shots of the Pack, with FWB dropping her phone in the process all of which had the Hare grumbling that the Pack wouldn’t be back until gone half twelve, even a spontaneous chorus of Happy Birthday couldn’t placate him, while Father Jack kept getting in the way of the shot while Cursing away!

Meanwhile Mr X had to listen to the excuses the Pack were coming up with in not waiting until 10 past the hour as had been advertised!  At least Kylie admitted that no one looked at the Farcebook page, email or Webshite until 11 o’clock that day, adding that this wasn’t mentioned in the previous week’s closing Circle, due to the fact that there wasn’t one as most of the Pack had left early!  Mr X wondered why he bothers?

            The Trail resumed with Mr X & Where’s Wally? being the only ones to take to the long southward bound track, for with his long-distance eyes on, Mr X could see a striking white mark on the oak tree in the distance.  On the way down to the next CHK the sun came out & the wind dropped, it was turning out to be a rather splendid morning.

            From the CHK where the southbound track ended at a T-junction with another track, Mr X chose the wrong option as he crossed in to the area of tufts of wild grass toward the bridge over the Railway line, his progress was stopped by two T’s!  So, it was now looking like it was going to be a long Trail that the Hare had promised.

Heading away to the west the Leprechauns of Lemming, Mother, with Milf, FWB, No Eye Deer, & Where’s Wally? stopped the end of the northern end of the long narrow rectangular Laurels Grove.  The Hare wondered why they had done so as the Trail was clear to see leading further westward over the farm fields to southern disjointed end of Henlow, there is a gap in the two parts of the town, one being the old village & the other being the area that sprung up around the old RAF Base of Henlow Camp.

Originally a repair depot for aircraft from the Western Front, the Station officially opened on 18 May 1918.  In May 1920, RAF Henlow became the first parachute testing centre.  Parachute testing was undertaken with Vimy aircraft and parachutists hanging off the wings, allowing the chute to deploy & enable them to drift back to the ground

During the Second World War Henlow was used to assemble the Hawker Hurricanes which had been built at the Hurricane factory operated by Canadian Car & Foundry in Fort William, Ontario, Canada.  After test flying they were disassembled and sent to Henlow in shipping containers & reassembled.  During Operation Quickforce in 1941, 100 fitters from the base were deployed onto Aircraft Carriers which were shipping Hurricane fighters to Malta.  The finished Hurricanes were completed on the decks of the carriers to be flown out to Malta.  Henlow was also used as a repair base for many aircraft types under the direction of No. 13 Maintenance Unit.

Between 1932 - 1933 Sir Frank Whittle was a student at the RAF technical College on the base.  He later spent some time in charge of aero engine testing on the base before being sent to Cambridge, of course later on he was credited with inventing the Jet Engine. 

The Airfield is still in use as a solitary single engine plane flew over, no doubt talking off & landing from Henlow & if it was the one Mr X, My Lil’ & Wanktlers saw earlier it was battling against the blustery wind, where the hangers are now listed buildings.  The site is to be closed & developed in to housing in 2020.

The main Pack headed out through the slippery Shiggy path over the crop fields, meanwhile the Hare put in a Short Cut on the southbound farm-track which TBT OBE, Stand-in, Father Jack, Kylie, Spotted Dick & Custard with Poppy & Scruffy would take, with Mr X following on after changing his mind on which way to go, he was still feeling the effects of the yomp from the railway station to the Engineers & then the long run to catch up.

Over to the west, the SCBs could see Where’s Wally?, Lemming, Mother, Milf, No Eye Deer & FWB all heading out to turn onto a southbound path that leads down to Oldfield Farm, so it puzzled the other SCBs as to why TBT OBE had run on by the footpath of the southeast where Dust could clearly be seen, he would follow the Trail backward toward the Farm without noticing the rest were heading toward him.  Eventually the calls of “Eedjit!” directed toward TBT OBE must have sunk in & he stopped to look back to see the Hare with the FRBs heading over toward the river Hiz & cranes for the area of works across on the opposite bank.

Mr X would lead the way to the next CHK by the bushes & trees lining the river bank, he would pick up the Trail out northbound through the small gap in the hedgerow, for he had heard the Hare say “They can all go through the river after starting the Trail early!” which led him to correctly deduced that the Trail would head over to the narrow, metal green footbridge over the Hiz & linking the two sections of the equine field.

The Hare made sure that the T’s on the bridge were refreshed, not that this prevented Kylie & a few others from not wading through the Hiz, the RA was on hand to observe this but decided not to bring this up in the Circle as the horses were about to be fed & the guy carrying the hay was going to cross to the west side of the river.  The gentle group of around a dozen horses all gathered around the Pack by the bridge, before the first ones began to cross though the wide shallows of the river, all while Milf & others were wading through the Hiz. 

Spotted Dick had to go in & pick up Scruffy who wasn’t going to wade through the river no matter how much coaxing he got from the Pack on the eastern bank.  With the pooch picked up & brought over, the Hare put in a Short Cut for the SCBs, telling them to follow the footpath beside the river Hiz, or they could get lost.

The rest of the Hash made their way out of the equine’s meadow, crossing a flooded area to do so, this cold wet area brought a lot of screams from those behind the RA as they slipped along the way.  Over to the Railway Bridge that starts on the edge of the Mill road to the works. 

On the way up the steep, high steps over the line, Mr X felt a twinge in his Achilles which would have him slow up once on the other side of the tracks as the Trail led the Hash through into Arlesey, one of the longest villages around & was built around the brick making industry, notably the white bricks made from Gault Clay.  Brick making ceased in the early 1990’s.

Passing by the former Brickground Hotel, which is now a Nursery, then the True Briton which is still open, the Trail crossed over by the hand car wash at the old garage to take to the High Street & head northward, as the main artery through Arlesey turns a few degrees to the east, the Pack would pass opposite the Three Tunns, once a thatched Pub but now a house surrounded by the new builds of Three Tunns Close.  Sadly Arlesey has lost a few Pubs over the years.

On the way up the High Street, Mr X was still confounding the locals with a “Happy St Patrick’s Day!” fortunately Father Jack was now cursing on the Short Cut!  The Trail turned to the west & headed along the chain-link fenced in slippery Shiggy path through the small nature reserve back over toward the Railway line, where another set of steps had to be climbed for a bridge over the railway that Mr X had headed toward earlier on the Trail.

Once over on to the western side, the Trail would head northward through the nature reserve between the Railway & the river Hiz, beginning by taking a weaving path through the tufts of wild grasses to enter the wooded area of Arlesey Old Moat Nature Reserve, just as the SCBs of Whatever She Says, Father Jack & Stand-in came over from the river’s edge & into the wood.

The Pack would make their way northward through the Glebe Meadows Nature Reserve on a nice path through the well-kept reserve, that according to the yellow flip-board sign that stated that volunteers out working, by the looks of things they were working on laying hedges & clearing out the old scrub.  The Trail would leave the nature Reserve to come out by Arlesey Station, taking the Hash under the large concrete fly-over & out on to the corner of Henlow Bridge Lakes, where a Held CHK was found by the Weir.

A Jelly Baby stop didn’t hold up Mr X for long, for he wanted to hobble off & get back to the Engineer’s Arms & change.  So, he took to the west-bound path that had a hazel hedge on either side, to pass the entrances to the Camp-site & fishing lakes.  On the way Mr X recalled the ‘Glamp-out’ the Hash had there, especially the check-list for contents in the units, which went on for several pages to checked off, which for some took so long they were late for the Friday night Pub Crawl!

Then over from the CHK by the gate house on the Arlesey Road, this footpath led through the pine wood that has also been cleaned up around the old aggregate sales site, which has now moved leaving the area much more open.  The On Inn was found just before leaving the wood & coming out on to the meadow.

Finally it was a simple case of crossing this & following the out Trail back to the Pub.  Mr X was soon getting changed, a few didn’t recognise him as he came out dressed as Father Ted, it was the full head of silver/grey hair that Lemming so converted, as Ted sat by Father Jack.  The site of the two ‘priest’ brought a few laughs & amused the Engineer’s Arms FC players as well.

Chat went on about St Patrick & things Irish, Mr X explained that St Patrick was actually Welsh, so he would have bene happy with the 6 Nations result!  St Patrick was taken over to Ireland as a Slave before being released & converting the populous to Christianity.  Various Father Ted references were made through out the pre-Circle drinks, with Father Ted Crilly claiming that the money was only resting in his account!  Then there were the references to Tea, of which Whatever She Says was given a coffee instead by No Eye Deer.

 When it came to the Circle, the Hash went out to the enclosed & covered back garden, where the remnants of a Cider festival could be seen.  Here the toast to St Patrick could finally be done discreetly, once the Circle was over.  For the Down-Downs this week & the previous week’s Hare were awarded for their efforts.  Also to receive hits, in appreciation of things Irish, the wee folk of Mother & Lemming were out for being Leprechauns.

TBT OBE was out for going the wrong way around the long Trail from the Short Cut!  Mr X than asked the Circle to have a go at pronouncing Irish names in the Trash, the last couple being almost impossible to work out, the last one was left as just call them Dave, which led up to all the ‘Daves’ in the Circle electing one of them to receive a Down-Down, which meant Stand-in Shit was the recipient!