Date =                            20th May 2019

Run Number =             1853

Venue =                        The Jolly Fisherman

Location =                    Stansted St Margaret’s

Hare/s =                        Where’s Wally?

Beer =                           Mac’s AK, Country & MAKS Black

Runners =                   18                                               

Virgins =                       0

Visitors =                      0

Newies =                       0

Après =                          0

Hounds =                      3

Total =                          21

Membership =            A Triptych of Trails!



             An overcast day but slightly sultry evening for those making the effort to turn out of this week’s Trail.  The early arrivals, including No Eye Deer for a change, got to see a couple of muntjac in the garden on the opposite side of the fenced-off ditch to the car park.  The Hare arrived & it was now a case waiting for the rest to arrive & Fliptop to call the Circle together.

            With the intro to the Hash over & done with, the Hare went on to explain what lay ahead, well it was like a cryptic crossword clue, with a Long Trail of 6/3’ in ‘Old Money’, a Walkers Trail of 3/6’ plus a combination of both that would be discussed at the Held CHK (Sweet Stop), all of which was confusing for most, but especially Ewok who had run from Ware to the Start, & with such false modesty she claimed that she had not seen any of the Trail on her way.

If anyone was wondering why Ewok had run to the venue, well she ‘fessed up’ that in a mad moment, which could have been alcohol related or inspired by Hash Test Dummy & Gemma’s gallant efforts this year, that she has put in an entry for next year’s London Marathon.  You heard it here folks, so let’s get behind Ewok & hope that she gets a place for 2020.

            The Pack began searching from the Car Park, with Mr X heading out to the High Street, where he had seen Trail leading up from the River lea Navigation.  He had seen a CHK & a couple of double arrows leading down the steps to the river that is the border between Stanstead St Margaret’s to the west & Stanstead Abbots to the east.

            On the way down Stanstead Abbots High Street, with its eclectic mixture of shops & two Pubs, the figure of TBT OBE came up toward the main Pack on their westward bound trot.  Mr X looked over the road & noticed that the Lord Louis (Mountbatten) Pub was now called the Oak, a little later he then took a look at what was ‘Cheers’ as he passed by this former Herts Hash Christmas Party venue (back in the days when before we made a weekend of it & just had a Christmas meal!) it is now a Thai restaurant.

            The Pack crossed bridge over the wide watery border, now on the Stanstead St Margaret’s side a CHK was found by the stone stanchion, here it was marked ‘Walk’ to the west, while the ‘Long’ [Trail] was shown down the ramp like steps to the towpath along the western side of the River Lea Navigation. 

Ahead lay a long north bound trot on the stony towpath, there were a mixture of narrow boats in various condition to view along the way out away from St Margaret’s, leaving the modern but stylish Maltings like homes to the west behind, the Pack were heading into the Amwell Quarry Nature Reserve area, home to various birds, water fowl & Ewok pondered on Otters?  Mr X said you’re sure it’s not Beavers? [There you go Pebbledash! – Ed]

            To the west was a long area of wild flora & fauna in the water ditch, to the east were the ponds of the nature reserve & the basin for the mooring of boats.  The Pack passed by Stanstead Lock as the route turned nor-nor-west with course of the River Lea Navigation, dotted every so often along the way there were a few benches set to one side of the tow path, obviously placed there for the scenic view out to the west.  Of course you can do more than just sit & take in the sights, you could be like two locals & you could sit there puffing away on some exotic substances, as the distinctive smell allayed to.

            It was well beyond these that Milf had to stop off into the undergrowth to scare the squirrels, No Eye Deer & FWB hung around to make sure she was not disturbed.  Meanwhile Wanktlers, My Lil’, Ketchup, Ewok, Mr X & even Sludge all obeyed the arrows pointing the way over the bridge to cross to the eastern side of the navigation.

            Ketchup was spotted coming out of the Nature Reserve, where the White Hide & James Hides can be found around the edge of the largest of the lakes, it suspiciously looked like he too had been of scaring the local critters.  One hope that these were not the elusive Bitterns that are supposed frequent this area? 

Anyhow, the Trail would now turn on a hairpin bend to take to a rising ramp up to another bridge which led the Keenies back over the Lea Navigation.  Once over the water again, arrows took the Keenies on through the wooded reserve area along the southwestern side, this was a shaded route along an old concrete path that leads right up to the edge of the railway lines, there a bench sat & Mr X was half expecting to read ‘Kylie 4 Milf’ scored into the back rest, but it didn’t.

            The Trail changed direction again to follow another sharp bend out through the trees, away from the Navigation & then up to the railway crossing, care was taken at the level crossing & now the Pack were brought out to Amwell Lane, a little way up from the War Memorial. 

Again arrows showed the way up the green grassy embankment to take to the path that runs along the edge of the New River, as it flows toward London.  First supply drinking water to the Capital since 1613 with the crystal clear water that flows along on a drop of 5 inches per mile on its 28 Mile journey.  It also home to swans, ducks, coots & moorhens, being the most obvious water fowl on view this day.

            The Pack were not for stopping by the New River as it was seemingly the home to millions of bity things flitting about above the slow flowing water, many were glad that they weren’t like Wanktlers & wearing a bug attracting Enfield Hash T-shirt!  There was one brief respite from the bugs was as the Hash would pass by a pumping station, there the water gurgled up. 

The Hash would head back around a long arching way that leads back into the western edge of St Margaret’s, it was here that the FRBs would meet up with Lobby Lobster, Mumblehead & the two pooches with them on the New River’s edge, the Keenies passed on by.

Once through the wrought-iron gate at the end of this section of path, the Pack would leave the concrete route to take to Station Road, here there was a choice of ‘Walkers’ heading on over to the next section of now uncapped path along the edge of the New River, or as the Keenies did, run away from Town & up a short way toward the A414 Junction on Amwell Hill, but the Trail didn’t go that far as it would cross over to take to the farm fields to the southwest.

A trot out through the crop field would lead up to the bridge spanning the A414 below, once over the busy main artery to Harlow, a crossing over a tributary that feeds the New River was had before the Trail would turn to head south-easterly to lead down to the Hoddesdon Road.  The FRBs would come out adjacent to the path by the New River.  Wanktlers, My Lil’ & Ewok arrived just as Sludge emerged from the New River Short Cut, there arrows directed the Hash over the sharp bend in the road, care was needed to get over to the footpath running through the wooded nature reserve to the northeast.

The Trail was marked to direct the Pack up the footpath that takes to the rising spine like ridge in amongst the trees, making sure that no one venture over toward the River Lea Navigation, Milf stopped & got out the camera for the second week in a row to capture a photo of My Lil’ scaring the squirrels amongst the pine trees!

Back on Trail & as Milf & Mr X made their way along this way they were soon stopped as they saw Ewok sitting in the Path & laying on the ground beside her was Sludge.  As they approached they realised that this wasn’t the Held CHK, but instead Sludge had done a TBT OBE in tripping over tree root, hitting the deck & rolling over.  Sludge was left a bit shaken & now had another patch of skin missing from the same arm he scraped skin off of while gardening a few weeks ago.

 Milf sprang in to action & assumed her First Responder Role, but as luck wouldn’t have it for a change Mr X didn’t have the first aid kit with him, having been away he had taken it off of his bum-bag!  FWB also joined Ewok & Milf in caring for Sludge.  Wanktlers, Mr X & My Lil’ were going to carry on with the Trail & try & get to the first aid kit, while Milf said they’d wait for Kylie to arrive & see if he had any first aid kit on him.

There was no sympathy from My Lil’ for as he set off he was overheard saying “Serves him right for taking the Short Cut!” [Ouch! – Ed] so off these three went, but they still were miles behind the SCBs & the Hare as they ran out of the wood to head southward by the New River, running over the single track Cranbourne Drive where the suburban road crosses over the New River & then the Railway line to the isolated section by the River Lea Navigation.

            Away from the homes & the this long stretch led beside the playing fields of the John Warner School where soccer was could be heard being played, looming ahead of the Hash in the distance were the three metal chimneys of the Hoddesdon Power Station, all of which indicated that the Trail was now approaching Rye House.  Sure enough the Trail led by the factory units in Rye House, before turning left to cross the narrow pack-bridge spanning the New River, then once over the Railway bridge the Hare was found by the Held CHK.  No one else was there.

            Now, as the Hare offered up false teeth, gums & chews, Wanktlers, My Lil’ & Mr X explained what had happened to Sludge further back on Trail.  Then Mr X got on the phone to see how Teebs Sludge was?  Milf said that Sludge was up & about, determined to continue with the Trail, no doubt he was enjoying every minute being of escorted & cosseted by Milf, FWB & Ewok. 

            The Walkers must have got tired of waiting as the Held CHK wasn’t being observed, in being so far ahead of the FRBs they may have had a few pangs of guilt, for they gave up the Short Cut back along the tow-path on the west of the River Lea Navigation. 

A figure that could have been Ketchup was briefly spotted over beyond the remains of the Rye House Gate House, the only remnants of the former house that was raised to the ground for the owners support of the ‘Rye House Plot’ to kill both King Charles II & his Brother James on their way back from Cambridge Races.

Anyhow, now there was a complete mix of Trails, with the SCBs of Paxo, TBT OBE, Tent Packer, Fliptop & Teddy joining Mark E Mark & Ketchup in taking the ‘Long Trail’ out through the Meads, while some FRBs took to the ‘Short Cut’ down the Navigation tow-path.  For those on the long last leg, they would be led nor-nor-eastward through the Meads before running on beside the ‘Toll House Stream’ by the RSPB Reserve before turning at the end of the ponds & lakes to advance eastward.

The SCB & FRBs on the longer section would now be making their way on the eastern side of the River Lea Navigation, while the FRBs who were short cutting were on the western side, neither side were that far away from each other, nor Sludge & his ‘Angels’ on the way up to Rye House on the New River towpath.

The Trail turned north-eastward with the bend in the Navigation, but as the Long Trail runners would soon find, that unlike those on the west bank who would turn the opposite way once under the A414 Bridge, the Long Trailers would turn eastward into a wooded area where they would be led on to a dry tack that would turn northward & pass under the A414 fly-over to run up by Banjo Lake on the left & the Hertford County Yacht Club on the right.

TBT OBE wasn’t happy to be on the Trail as it took him by his sailing club, he would grumble later on that with next week’s Trail venue in Ware, & this week’s route, he wouldn’t be able to set a Trail from the Sailing Club or in Ware for weeks.  Mr X simply replied “If you turn up regular enough & let the Hare Raiser know, then you could have had these dates & venue!”

Anyhow, the Pack would now have a long trot ahead, no matter what side of the Navigation they were on, there were no stopping points.  The Pack were pretty well split up by now.  Those on the short cut had a straighter north bound run back in by the newer estate to the left & the moorings of Stanstead Marina to the right, they would pass by the seating for the Jolly Fisherman that sit beside the Navigation, up to the stone stanchion of the Bridge on which the ‘On Inn’ was scrawled like some cheap graffiti.  The SCBs on the tow path would see Lobby Lobster, Mumblehead & their pooches already enjoying the evening while sat at one of the Pub’s benches!

The longer option had those turn to the northeast as the Dust led along Marsh Lane, another long stretch on the dusty track out to the tarmac end that joins the Roydon Road.  Ketchup & Mark E Mark were a bit confused as to the where another Pub used be in southeast of the village, this being the Queens Head, a former Mac’s Pub that was briefly a Chinese?  It used to sit on the corner of Marsh lane, but now all gone & replaced with housing.

 The final stretch for these Keenies was to head north-westward all the way up to the Red Lion Roundabout at the end of the High Street, then back to the Car Park.  Meanwhile the other Short Cut FRBs had already reached the Car par.  After retrieving the First Aid Kit, Mr X then went off to the local CO-OP to get some TCP, except they didn’t have any & the yoof working there had never heard of it!  So, Savlon was purchased instead [Other antiseptic creams are available! – Ed], he then set off to the Jolly Fisherman, but not before noticing that at the Oak (Formerly the Lord Louis) it was 2-1 Pizzas & they had Real Ale hand-pumps, one of which was a Cider!

            Back at the On Inn Mr X joined Lobby & Mumblehead, with Wanktlers & then My Lil’.  Explaining what had happened to Sludge, Mr X toyed with setting off back up the Short Cut towpath, but then Kylie appeared & he said he hadn’t seen anyone else on his travels & didn’t know of Sludge or anyone else’s whereabouts!

The Pack finally all got back one way or another, & a few didn’t have long to select their food option before the Kitchen shut.  The Circle was called but the food was already arriving, so those eating were allowed to stand down.  The Hare was rewarded for the Trail/Trails; Sludge was out for doing a Teebs & tripping over; FWB was out for choking on a pair of the false teeth sweets at the Held CHK, but her Hit was passed on to Wanktlers - who was wanting to turn in to his alter-ego of Father Jack Hackett & go back to give the ‘Last Rites’ to the faller & the choker. [Thankfully his services were not needed! – Ed]

Before leaving My Lil’, Wanktlers & Mr X went to the loo, well there wasn’t much room in the Gents so Wanktlers stood at an angle to the end urinal, Mr then felt his right leg getting wet due the splash-back for Wanktlers, so a bit of cleaning his leg with soap & drying off with paper towels was in order, before heading home & joining the tailback of traffic behind TBT OBE on his way home on his bike.

So in the coming weeks we’ll be looking at an extra First Aid Kit, for Hares to carry & for others the splash-proof wearing trousers après Trail!