Date 10th November 2019
Run Number 1882
Venue The Reading Room
Hare/s Mr X
Beer Farr Brew - full range of
This year it was a return to Wheathampstead for the Remembrance Sunday Service, & Trail following on afterwards. With the High Street closed off to traffic around 25 to the Hour, most got there early enough not to get caught up in the closures. The weather was fine, if not a little cold
After the end of the ‘outside’ service of respect, the flag-bearers from the Scouts, Rainbows & a host of other organisations all followed the choristers & the Clergy down the High Street, going by the lych gate & then turning off on to the footpath that runs along the northern edge of St Helen’s Churchyard, which was the same way that the start of the Trail had been set, much to the Hare’s disbelief!
A slight hold up allowed Kylie to go back & faff about putting his outer garments away in his car, while Sparky went back to his vehicle for a drink of water! However there were those who couldn’t wait, even before the opening Circle could be called, My Lil’ & Sludge broke ranks & headed off behind the parade to follow the start of the Trail to the west! The parishioners walking to the indoor service broke off through the Churchyard to go inside St Helen’s, while the Hash moved on to the north-western corner of the graveyard, there the first CHK was found.
Those who had set off before the introductions didn’t get too far away from the rest of the Hash, as they had taken the diagonal footpath heading over the green park space to the northwest of St Helen’s Grounds on what was a well-marked Falsie! So, it was back to find that Flanders, Pebbledash & No Eye Deer were heading off between the tree line & the Crinkle-Crankle Wall that lines the western side of the old walled-gardens.
Kylie was impressed by the unique red brick wall that he said should be described as ‘Corrugated’ with its alternating curves running in & out along its length. The reason the wall has a serpentine design is that by using alternative concaved & then convex curves means it uses lest bricks, for the wall can be just one brick in depth & the design means that no buttresses are needed to support the construction.
Some had a quick peek in through the open wooden door set within the garden wall. At the end of the wall the Trail came out on to the footpath running from the end of King Edward Place, for a left-hand turn to lead them along by another, smaller & straighter wall & then out of the gate near to the kids play area on the green space.
While Sludge & My Lil’ both went off to search north-westward on the bend in Ash Grove, No Eye Deer was first to find the Dust leading away in the opposite direction off the bend to head southward up the hillside, finding the dust on the same side as the homes & up to the end of Ash Grove. There the second CHK was found, No Eye Deer & Milf would now lose their advantage on the rest as Trail was found heading down Bury Green in a direction back toward the centre of Wheathampstead, however the Trail would soon turn off at a cut-through beside the old Chapel, which is home to the Humane Slaughter Association!
Out on to Church Street, there the Trail headed south-westward away from the village centre, crossing over by the entrance to St Helen’s School before following the rising hillside for a hundred yards & then bearing off to the southeast around on to Wick Avenue.
The next CHK was located just yards away over on the T-junction where Lattimore Road begins. As Milf went off further along Wick Avenue, My Lil’ was first to continue going uphill as he searched & found the Trail up Lattimore Road. Once on the level at the top, My Lil’ ran over the start of Barton Road & would find a Bar CHK further along Lattimore Road, he turned to indicate to Sludge that this was the case, so Sludge benefitted as he just turned off on to Barton Road to find the Dust. No Eye Deer & then Milf were soon up with the other two as the Trail passed through a short wooden fenced-in alleyway to come out on to the green space on Matlings Drive.
My Lil’ fell for the Falsie that was down the alleyway between the homes, leading on to Wick Avenue, Sludge on the other hand soon found Dust heading away on the path’s opposite & somewhat shorter route between more homes that took the Hash out on to Lattimore Road again, just a few yards after the bar CHK My Lil’ found earlier on the Trail.
Mr X marked a short cut straight over the damp grass of the green space & then up Malting’s Drive to the south & on to the CHK by the footpath on Butterfield Road. Flanders & Pebbledash crossed the green to follow the Hare, they arrived at the CHK just as the Keenies made their way around from the loop.
Sludge, My Lil’, Milf & No Eye Deer were soon off down the footpath to the southeast, running between the homes to start with before leading out in to the woodland on north of Nomansland Common, the Hare was not the only one who was surprised that since the last time this path was Hashed, the school to the east is no more, it’s now a new Housing estate!
One advantage of the school going, is that the old school sports fields behind are now open to the public access, so the Hare set a CHK in the woodland near to an old gate to the footpath that heads eastward below the playing fields. Unfortunately for Sludge, Milf & My Lil’ the CHK had been kicked out by some Cock-womble & they unwittingly carried on descending the slight wooded hillside to Nomansland common.
Nomansland was the former hunting ground of Lady Katherine Ferrers, who is better known as ‘The Wicked Lady’ who in the 1600’s according to the popular legend, often told with an emphasis on hauntings by her ghost, Katherine came into highway robbery in her husband's absence in order to redress her fast-dwindling fortune. During this time many highwaymen were Royalist supporters bereft of home, estates or income, who were left to make a living as best they could, so any courteous highway robber was perceived to be one of these well-mannered gentlemen.
Later these alleged ‘highway woman exploits’ were to be made in to a Film starring Margaret Lockwood & James Mason & of course the local Pub! Katherine Ferrers died mysteriously aged 26, which only adds to the mystery of her life.
Fortunately for No Eye Deer, she was just in earshot of the Hare when he called out “On back!” to those off Trail, after the Hare realised that the CHK was missing! The others continued until they would eventually realise that they had run out of Dust & this Trail was very well marked! The Trail ran back up on the opposite side of the tree-line thicket to the northeast, the Dust would then turn the corner just beyond the port-a-cabin changing room & head eastward by the line of parents out watching the kids play soccer. Most noted the sign that stated “These are Children playing, the Referees & Officials are all volunteers, so please respect them!” [A somewhat sad sign of the times! – Ed]
With Flanders & Pebbledash up ahead & passing through the kids play area to the south of the new Old School estate, Milf & My Lil’ emerged from the woodland to the south off the paying fields, to head up & join Mr X with No Eye Deer in heading through the gates of the fenced-in play area. No one stopped to have a go on the play equipment!
Having caught up with the rest, Milf said that Sludge was way ahead off-Trail, while My Lil’ add “We won’t see Sludge again on this Trail!” Mr X was now resigned to perhaps losing one on his Trail until the On Inn!
A CHK was found on the gravel path running behind the new estate, then when picked up again arrows led the pack through the small cul-de-sac side roads around the interlinking narrow backstreets. The Hare pointed out that there were no paths on these roads, no doubt to allow more houses to be constructed on the footprint of the old School grounds.
Out of ‘Old School Drive’ to make their way along Butterfield Road again, heading south-eastward to find the First Held CHK of the Trail opposite Wick Road. Having taken the earlier Short Cut Paxo & Sparky were found at the regroup, also there was Flying Solo & Elizabeth, who had set off On Trail much earlier than the rest, who were back at the service!
Here the Hare handed out lollipops, after he had picked them up off the floor [They were wrapped up! – Ed] but soon realised that these were not to everyone’s taste as some politely refused one! Funnily enough, those with Bald Heads all accept a lollipop, so there must be a Kojak gene? Still, there was something good to occur at the Held CHK & that was that Sludge found his way to this point to prove his distractors wrong!
Allowed to search again, My Lil’, Milf & Sludge led the popular choice of heading out toward the top of ‘The Hill’ but the Trail would not go that way & it was down to Flying Solo & Elizabeth to pick it up once more by looking down Wick Avenue, running the urban hill top estate to reach another section of the footpath the Hash were on back at the green space on Matlings Drive!
My Lil’ was now only feet away for where he had been turned back earlier, as he took to the alleyway out to ‘The Hill’. Care was need to cross the sometimes busy B651 of ‘The Hill’ where another footpath heading eastward was marked to take the Pack around a series of back alleyways & back-passages [Whoa there Pebbledash! – Ed] that twisted around from Saxon Road & then out through on to Hilldyke Road.
A CHK was found on Hilldyke Road, here the Hare informed Flying Solo that there was a ‘scooter friendly’ option if needed, but Flying Solo was happy to carry it, as she & Elizabeth followed Milf, Sludge, My Lil’ & No Eye Deer through a gap in the hedgerow beside a bus shelter.
The Trail would now run along the perimeter of a field of brassicas, a route starting off parallel to Hilldyke Road, down which the Hare marked as a Short Cut along the street for those behind. The going was slippery under foot on the ‘dog-walkers’ route along the rough feral edge of the crop field, at the eastern end of the crop field the Trail would lead through a small gap in the hedgerow out on to Dyke Lane. Care was needed squeezing through the hawthorn hedge here, especially as the Keenies crossed the narrow lane & on to a CHK within the edge of the Devil’s Dyke.
Sludge was now on form as he found the route running northward along the top of the western embankment of the ‘Devil’s Dyke’ & for a change the Trail did not descend in to the bottom of the large earth workings, which always amaze people as they that were all dug out by hand by Ancient Britons.
Sticking with the top path meandering through the tree-line meant that the FRBs were only on the other side of the divide to the route Paxo, Pebbledash & Flanders would take on the Short Cut along Dyke Lane. Both routes would descend on the way northward, meeting at a Held CHK by the gate to the workings that are open to the public, the other earth workings of the former fortified town, known as the Slad, lies on Private Land.
At the information board, the Hash could read up on how the Dyke was made about 50 BC by Belgae invaders. They moved up the rivers Thames & Lea, from what is now continental Belgium. The plaque on the brick pillar states that ‘Devils Dyke’ was given to the people by Lord Brocket in honour the Coronation of King George & Queen Mary
The Devil's Dyke is some 130 feet wide at the top, with a depth of 40 feet, off course this would have bene deeper & probably had wooden barriers along the top of the ramparts. A display in the St. Albans Roman museum states, "For at least 100 years before the Roman Conquest in AD 43, this part of Hertfordshire was the heartland of a powerful and aggressive tribe known as Catuvellauni, Celtic for 'expert warrior'..... The earliest capital of the Catuvellauni is likely to have been at Wheathampstead. ..... Here are massive earthworks known as Devil's Dyke. ......... This was attacked by Julius Caesar in 54 BC. "
At this Held CHK the choice of sweets had a better reception, as the Hare brought out a packet of Fudge to be handed around to the FRBs! With the time having gone Noon & the Bar being open, the Hare didn’t want to deprive My Lil’ from missing out on ‘valuable drinking time!’
When the Pack set off again it seemed that My Lil’s Hashing/Drinking senses were tingling & he was soon on to the Trail away from the usual & more obvious route down the lane to the Marford Road! He searched Tudor Road & found the Dust, the rest followed on behind him just as the SCBs came along Dyke Lane to join in with the Keenies.
The Trail led to the dead-end of Tudor Road, where the Hash were going to be led on some more back alleys between shuttered back gardens, a CHK was found where there were two choices, the north bound option was ignored, as My Lil’ & Sludge both chose the westbound option out to Conqueror’s Hill, again they were both on form, no doubt recalling previous Hashes around Wheathampstead they hedged their bets & came up trumps by looking over on Offa’s Way.
The last leg of the Trail was to head further westward through Offa’s Way, Flying Solo & Elizabeth were up with the Keenies as the Trail would turn toward Garrard Way but then take to one final alleyway, this red-brick walled route would lead out to The Hill, turning right to come down the steep incline on the driveway that sits higher than the main road. Elizabeth could just let her scooter free-wheel down this section, but had to apply the brake on the way to the On Inn near to where The Hill begins to level out as it approaches the Swan.
In the Reading Rooms the Pack would find Tent Packer who managed to hobble to the first CHK. He joined the Hash as they made their way upstairs to enjoy the Ales, as well as large slices of cake & some really nice ‘home made’ Scotch eggs, which were rather filling.
There was a lot of talk about the previous day’s Treasure Hunt, organised by No Eye Deer, where the Hash got to meet up with Max Factor & Alfa Male, who were with Stand-in Shit, Paxo, Milf &Kylie all of whom weren’t on the ‘Winning Team’ [The Hash is supposed to be non-competitive! – Ed] but tell that to Flanders, Sludge, Mr X, Lemming, Mother, Heir Flash & Instant Whip who were!
Lemming for one wouldn’t let it lie, as he ribbed Kylie about being next to one Clue that Flanders spotted while standing right next to each other! All agreed they’d take part in another one.
Tent Packer soon found his niche as he discovered an old turn table & a lot of old 45’s which he began to play. This of course got a few comments on his DJ-ing skills [Not ‘arf pop-pickers! - Ed] as well as his choice of discs to play! At least this took Kylie’s mind off of listening to the Wining Treasure Hunt team mentioning him standing right by one of the clues & not spotting it when Flanders did for the opposition!
When it came to the Down-Downs, there was just the Hare for an excellent Trail that only took an hour to get around. After Mr X had his Down-Down, No Eye Deer was out for the great work she did in organising the ‘Murder Mystery Treasure hunt’ the day before in King’s Cross, all of those who took part enjoyed this day immensely.