Date 17th November 2019
Run Number 1883
Venue The Terrace Bar
Location Lea Valley White Water Centre
Hare/s Waragi & Hash Test Dummy
On their walk up to the venue from Waltham Cross Station, Mr X & My Lil’ had a car stop beside them, which was a little unnerving as at first they didn’t recognise the car, Kerb Crawler, Mugger, Old Bill? Then a sigh of relief as they realised it was Fliptop offering them a lift for all of the final 200 Yards to the Centre. However, there were some horns being sounded as this was close to a junction, which Milf noticed this on her drive in, especially the Citroen’s indicator still flashing to the left along the way!
For some a return to the former 2012 Olympic venue of the White Water centre left them feeling a little intimidating after the last time the Hash were here, especially so for Lobby Lobster as on her last experience there she ended up with concussion after she was tossed like a rag-doll out of the raft which would then hit her on the head!
The Pack gathered up on the Terrace Bar deck, while Waragi was out finishing off the last bits of the Trail. Hash Test Dunny & Rose entertained the crowd with talk of seeing a Muntjac while setting the Trail, then it came around for time to descend the slope from the Terrace to the lower level of the car park, there as the Pack Circled up we were joined by two Virgins of Louise & Savvas.
My Lil’ was getting a little tetchy, with itchy feet to get on with the Trail, he had to wait as the Newies were introduced, then Hash Test Dummy explained what the Pack could expect out there, where Waragi was & about the Sweet Stop was at a Held CHK at Fishers Green, a startled No Eye Deer blurted out “Not the one in Stevenage I hope?” She was relieved when the Hare said it wasn’t.
Then to compound My Lil’s itchy feet, just as the Pack were about to set off Louise asked “How does the Trail works?” So, the concept of the paper-chase like Trail & the marking used were then explained before the Hash finally got under way.
The start had the Hash following a route out around by the calm practise pool then over the bridges spanning the turbulent white water rapids, Lobby Lobster held her nerve & braved it through the centre section & then out over the far side to come down to the lower car park near to its main entrance, where FWB had parked up & was found getting her Hash gear on.
Out on to Station Road & the first CHK was found, Mr X chose to head toward Waltham Abbey to the east, Jamie too chose that direction & soon the two picked up the Trail before spotting Waragi standing by the south-eastern entrance to the Lea Valley Park, who had sorted out the last bits of Trail.
Over Highbridge Street bridge, the Hash passed across the River Lea Navigation & doing so they crossed the boundary between Hertfordshire & Essex. The fact that a MacDonalds sits on the Essex Side of the border crossing was pointed out, on the opposite side a sign welcomed visitors to Waltham Abbey, ‘home to the final resting place of King Harold’ the former King of England who was defeated at the Battle of Hastings.
As the FRBs came around on to small side road of Lea View on the edge of the Abbey View Roundabout, with its carve stone monument to the History of the Market Town, the RA couldn’t believe his ears as he overheard Sludge explain to Louise Hash Markings & the difference between a Bar CHK & a T, for someone so notorious for ‘Short Cutting’ through such devices he appeared to have a very good grasp of the concept! [Will he remember this for his next Hash Trail? – Ed]
It would soon become clear that the Hares had set each possible Falsie at equidistant lengths from each CHK point, which meant that the Keenies were all off checking in each of the two obvious possible directions. Now Louise would experience her first Falsie as she ran around on to Powder Lane, which like the Walton Gardens option would end in a T! It was out on the edge of the path along the arcing Abbey View that the Trail was picked up again by Jamie as it headed toward the Crooked Mile roundabout, the Hash didn’t get that far as the roundabout, as once over the old river section of the Lea the Trail would headed northward in to the southwestern tip of Cornmill Meadows.
Here the Pack would experience the Shiggy the Hash Test Dummy had mentioned at the pre-Trail Circle, indeed the muddy tracts were slippery & cold on Hash feet as the Trail led along by the Lea on the western edge of the Meadows, another underfoot obstacle to be avoided where the very large cow-pats on the wide tract which was fenced off from the Hash on the eastern side were the cow-pat culprits of some rather large black shaggy coated bovines were kept at bay.
Jamie, Mr X, Sludge, Louise, Milf & My Lil’ were soon on the way up to the bend in the Old River Lea, where the path follows the elbow around, it was along here the first of the wild life was spotted, manly water fowl of ducks, swans coots & moorhens before it passed through into another section of corralled meadow on the way up to Waltham Abbey Woods.
It was a long trot through the Shiggy path, & along the way the RA noticed a glass sided building through the tree-line on the opposite Royal Gun Powder Mills side of the Lea, he had never noticed this before. This route was taking Paxo close to where Backpack works at weekends, sadly there was no chance for Dad to embarrass his son!
The Mills began life as Fulling Mills (Cloth production) being fed by a series of water ways cut out by the Monks of the Abbey from the Old River Lea. By the 17th Century these were made in to Oyl Mills (For producing vegetable oil) but during the Second Dutch War there was a shortage of gun powder, in 1665 they were purchased by Ralph Hudson who brought in Saltpetre from Hertfordshire & Bedfordshire.
The mills were taken over, then in the 1780’s bought by the Crown, being developed during various conflicts to Worlds War I when the staff grew from 3,000 top 6,260, most of the new workers were women.. After World War I the work was moved away to the West Country, there it would be safer from Air Attacks, however, it remained important for Developemnet & RDX was produced there, this was a component of torpex – the main component of the explosive used in Barnes Wallace’s Bouncing Bomb. The Royal Gunpowder Mills closed in 1945, but the Explosives Research & Development continued there until 1991. It is the only complete remaining Royal Gunpowder Mill of the three Mills, the others being in Faversham (Kent) & Ballincollig (Near Cork, Ireland)
Having crossed the wooden short flat footbridge over a feeder stream from Cornhill Stream to the Old River Lea a CHK was found. Mr X was soon on to the Trail that moved around to stay beside the river Lea, while Jamie headed briefly off to the east before finding a T, again both Trail options were equidistant to start with.
As the Trail came up to the Woodland a Fox darted out in front of Mr X, though those behind him didn’t see this as it was darted of back into the thicket by the fenced off area to the west, this used to be the old Defence Research Centre on the site at the Royal Powder Mills.
The Keenies ran northward on a drier under foot section through the western side of the pine plantation, at the end of which the Trail turned westward on the outside perimeter of the chain-link fencing where the Trail came out on to the southern end of a ploughed crop field. A western turn would have the Pack struggling along the edge of the rough loam, Hash boots were soon becoming clogged up with sods of clay-like Shiggy on the way around to Fishers Green.
Along this stretch Fliptop was into ‘Tonto mode’ & coming out with what he thought were sign of the activity & that Jamie was not letting on too much about his involvement in the Trail, here the now obvious bike tyre prints in the Shiggy point to a possible a sign of someone cycling around the Trail? Jamie denied any knowledge of cycling this route, but Fliptop was not convinced.
Halfway along the edge of the crop field Mr X wondered if the Trail would pass through a gap in the hedgerow to a lower enclosed meadow next to the Cottonmill Stream, there was no CHK there, but the way through this was rather overgrown with scratchy looking brambles across the boggy break by the adjacent water-logged thicket.
Having set a Trail around these parts before, Mr X said that both paths would lead up to Fishers Green, so they all stuck with the easier option inside the crop field. Sure enough Dust was found & at the end of the field to pass through the kissing gate where the Hash would turn left, to head westward along the drive to the car park.
The large house that sits upon Fishers Green Lane has some rather large & impressive balls [Steady Pebbledash! – Ed] out lining the wide neat verge, these stone edifices are placed there to prevent cars being parked along the side of the lane.
The likes of Louise, Milf, Sludge, Mr X, My Lil’, Jamie all headed off over the bridge at the end of the drive & through the car park over the Horsemill Stream. On the way through the car park there appeared to be no sign of the afore mentioned Held CHK, so the Keenies took to footpath out on to the spit of land heading out between the bottom of Seventy Acre lakes to the north & Hooks Marsh Lake to the south. A gain in height as the Trail led up a high footbridge crossing the water to descend to the opposite outcrop of land projecting out from Turners Hill Marsh. There were plenty of walkers out, as well as Cyclists, which Mr X pointed out to Fliptop as they could be the culprits of the tyre tracks seen earlier!
The Dust led on to a CHK point next to the north bound footpath toward Cheshunt Lock, Louise & Milf checked this out by were soon back to join the others to continue over to the west, crossing the River Lea Navigation & the border back in to Hertfordshire as the way came down the wide track between North Metropolitan Pit to the north & Cheshunt Lake to the south to reach a CHK just over the Mechano looking old military pontoon style bridge spanning the Small River Lea. Here Jamie was spotted on his phone, but the RA was lenient as it was Hash Test Dummy asking him to hold the FRBs at the next CHK!
Mr X had already found the Falsie straight head to the west, while Louise, Sludge, My Lil’ & Fliptop were all called back from the correct Trail to the south. Back at the CHK & the Keenies had a bit of a wait, but at least No Eye Deer & FWB caught up with the rest, fortunately it was a nice morning, not too fresh but legs were beginning to seize up with lack of movement & two really did begin to feel this after walking 10 miles the day before on a reconnoitre of the Christmas Weekend Trail, with My Lil’s groaning away about getting stiff! [Whoa there Pebbledash! – Ed]
Some peered longingly back up the route over the centre of the Lea Valley Park, but there was no sign of Paxo, Lobby Lobster, Rose, Waragi or Savvas. Fortunately a Polish guy out jogging spotted Sludge’s Krakow EuroHash shirt & he stopped off to enquire about it, this took up some time as he was handed a card & given a brief idea of what Hashing is all about. Then a family out dog walking offered to take a photo of the Pack, they were handed a card too but after Milf began flashing her ‘Pussy’ pants at them this may just well put them off of turning out?
Suddenly, over in the far distance a figure was spotted running toward the CHK, it was soon established as being Hash Test Dummy, who arrived bearing gifts of wine gums or sours, the latter not being to My Lil’s taste as he moaned about these as well. Here Louise asked how Savvas was getting on back on the Trail, she was informed that he was on the short cut with Lobby Lobster, Paxo, Rose & Waragi who were heading off from Fishers Green on the Lea Valley Pathway that leads on by the River Lea Navigation & then is clearly signposted back to the White Water Centre on a nice hard-capped & tarmac pathways.
Back with the Keenies, they set off again, some with the lure of being the first to sit on a ‘Big Chair’ would bag the rest of the remaining sweets to themselves. The Trail would lead along toward the level crossing at Cheshunt Station, & on the way there were a series of wooden structures set out for Dog agility exercises. Fliptop took one look & said “Don’t tell Sis these are here!” as she was back at home getting Teddy ready to do Dog agility up near Royston!
Mr X was glad to see arrows pointed the Hash away from the level-crossing, he’s been up the steps for the bridge spanning the line there enough times over the years. Louise & Milf accidently missed the arrow leading on by the entrance to the western side of the marsh of the Lea Valley Park, they were called back as the rest found the well-marked way on to Thistly Marsh, not too far into here & another photo stop was required at the large fallen tree-trunks that have all been carved, some rather elaborately.
Moving on again & the next CHK was found by a narrow footbridge
crossing the Small River Lea, on this side the Pack would run on to the Big
Chair, a huge wooden structure fit for a giant. Mr X ran to this, but had
second thoughts of climbing the structure, footholds or not, as he had previous
struggled in the Shiggy with his worn old Hash boots having little grip left,
plus the leap down wouldn’t be so good for the old knees. Hopefully Santa will
bring him some for Christmas! [If you are doing the Christmas Weekend, don’t
forget your £5 Secret
Satan Santa pressie! – Ed]
Jamie did climb up on seat of the high chair, but he had been beaten in being the first to sit on the Chair as Milf had got underneath & sat on the lower bench seat at the rear of it. Hash Test Dummy had to admit that there was a flaw in his statement about where the winner of the remaining sweets should be sitting on the seat to claim the prize!
Anyhow, more sweets were handed out before the Pack started on the final leg & that took them southward along by Bowyer’s Water, another large expanse of fresh water that is home to varied wildlife. As the Keenies headed down toward Cheshunt Marsh, the Pack ran by an area that was fenced off, & even No Eye Deer managed to spot the goats that live on within this area & are there to manage to wild flowers & plants with their grazing, the goats certainly had some large horns [No Pebbledash! – Ed] & you wouldn’t want to be bent over tying a shoelace with them behind you!
Anyhow, the Pack were led back over toward the Railway line again, they were on a loop around the local allotment area & back through between a series of narrow waterways to cross over Marsh Bridge & then over the end of Cheshunt Marsh to come around the back of the Water Sports Centre & On Inn through a channel of some serious fencing to get in to the car park.
As Mr X made his way back from retrieving his bag, he found a £20 note on the floor, which was handy to say the least. When the FRBs had made their way up to the Café/Bar, they found that Lobby Lobster, Paxo & Rose were all eating what looked like rather good value food.
The Virgins couldn’t stay long & they departed a little while after Waragi, who had to leave as soon as she got back, Fliptop too didn’t hang around long either, after he had eaten it was time for him to head off for Teddy’s Dog agility class! With Hash Test Dummy having to drive later, plus the selection drinks being somewhat limited to Becks, the Down-Downs were put off until next time that they are around.
On her way out FWB had a job finding her car, but at least she did better than Sparky, who went by the venue, even went to the Reception but couldn’t find the Trail, he did find a monument (The one in the centre of the Roundabout) & from there he went on a long walk!