Run No. 1909
Sunday 27th September
Pub: The Horse & Groom
Hare/s: My Lil’
Hash Hounds: 0
Membership: Adhering to the guidelines by days…
Having adopted the Sports England directives, this morning saw the assembly of some of the most illustrious athletes feet Hertfordshire, keeping things kosher with staggered start times for a Trail set by My Lil’. As Mr X had walked over to the venue, he had already spotted some of the this weeks markings, but the walk over wasn’t as time consuming as he expected & with the prospect of a half an hour wait in the bracing cold wind on this overcast morning, the decision to start on his own wasn’t a hard one to take [Whoa there Pebbledash! – Ed]
So off Mr X went, having found Dust in the north-eastern corner of the car park at the end of Arm & Sword Lane, to come out on to Park Street & head away to the north. As he hobbled away he was unaware that the Hare was out there double checking the Trail & he would spy Mr X from a distance.
Behind him in Pod one was Milf a former AAA member*, Tent Packer, Lemming (whose personal best is 9.9 seconds), Mother (Who is always disappointed in Lemming finishing in 9.9 Seconds) & Where’s Wally? being spaced out to more than 2 metres each, they were followed on by Pod 2 of Paxo (Current Herts Walking record holder in his age group) Pebbledash, Howard & Philippa, along with the Hare, then after them No Eye Deer & Whatevershesays set off. Finally there was the late arriving Spare Rib. *American Automobile Association
Having passed under the old red-brick arch of the viaduct carrying the drive into the grounds of Hatfield House, the Trail would soon arrive at the first CHK point by an alleyway off to the left, this would be a loop around on to small estate of Park Meadow before coming back to Park Road via another alleyway on the west. The Trail would however leave Park Street one more time as it had a second loop out in to Park Meadow (formally the meadow area of Hatfield House grounds) to lead between the homes & come out on to the Old Hertford Road as it heads north-eastward.
Passing the end of Park Street where the Old Hertford road turns 10 degrees & then finally due north at the very end to where it stops at the dead-end by the A1000. Arrows pointed the way over to the north side of the busy main road, where the Next CHK was found, two option were available, either northeast or southwest along the edge of the A1000? Mr X relied on his local knowledge & chose correctly to head to the southwest, where an arrow would be found on the rising footpath up the tree-lined embankment the Ryde area of Hatfield sits upon. When Sparerib reached this point he stopped here to take a snap of the Ryde street sign, to send off to Ryde area of Hatfield.
Having climbed up Park View the Trail turned northward up the Ryde, the Hare was going to make sure the Pack would enjoy another loop as the Trail would head off up Stag Green Avenue to the northeast & then reach an alleyway where arrows pointed the way down through a passageway, here the Trail turned from northwest to west & then after about 30yards back on to The Ryde & southward down to an alleyway that leads out on to the Bull Stag Green & to the footbridge that spans the Kings Cross mainline tracks below.
The north-westerly enclosed box bridge leads out on to the dead-end of one section of the old Great North Road, there was once a road bridge at this point, known as Wrestlers Bridge after the nearby Pub, but in 1966 while the line was being renovated the 116 year old bridge collapsed blocking the rail lines, the bridge was demolished cutting off the Great North Road but then the new footbridge was put in place as residents of Birchwood were then directly cut off from Hatfield station, Bus Station & Old Hatfield.
Mr X had an advantage at this point since he had walked down the Great North Road & hadn’t seen Dust along it, so from the CHK on the small green space to the west, he knew that odd on searching the old Hatfield St Albans branch line was worth a punt. It paid off!
Beyond the modern sculpture that incorporates the rail & aircraft connections of Hatfield’s past, it kind of resembles scrap metal welded to a post! Dust was found as the ‘Alban Way’ gently arcs around below the homes that back on to either side of this treelines route that is now a dedicate Cycleway & Footpath. After 30 yards the Trail came out on to the edge of Ground Lane, no CHK was found by the Crossing, instead arrows pointed the way over to the continuation of the old line as it makes its way south-westward between the back of more homes in Hatfield.
It would be a trot along the Alban Way of some 200 Yards until the next CHK was found, this was already marked with Trail to the south, or SC (Short Cut) to continue southwest along the line, for the Keenies a loop starting off on a footpath bisecting Vixen Court side road to reach a footpath off to the southwest, this path runs along the top end of St Luke’s Graveyard, the footpath would emerge out on to Wellfield Road, where it turned nor-nor-west. This section of Wellfield Road was famous for the local Union Workhouse being situated here, but it’s now long gone now.
The Keenies crossed the road & re-joined the former railway line via a ramp up to the footbridge spanning Wellfield Road, Mr X thought that Kylie would have enjoyed this week’s Trail, in fact he did go around a day later as the took in so much of the former railway, opened in 1865 by the St Albans Railway Company to take passengers to Hatfield & the main line to London was soon out of date & passenger numbers dropped off when the Midland Railway Mainline opened St Albans City Station in 1868 to go into London St Pancras & by 1939 Passenger services were withdrawn, only to be reinstate to get workers to the de Havilland Aircraft Factory in Hatfield, after the war it was go back to freight, then closed in 1968. Bet Kylie was walking along the line like he was in his own one man a three-legged race? [Careful Pebbledash as I try & keep the athletic theme going here! –Ed]
Anyhow, back to the Trail & then continued for a further 200 Yards to come down a short ramp on to the edge of Lemsford Road, no stopping here as arrows pointed the way over the road & on by the small street works by an alleyway that is the next section of the Alban Way as it runs beside the small Fiddlebridge industrial estate on the left & then the Galleria to the right. Sadly the Fiddle Pub (Also known as the New Fiddle, Cat & Fiddle) has now been demolished for housing, his Great Grandfather was once a regular in there!
The Trail now approached the B6426 Cavendish Way & it would lead under the short dual carriageway, here there was a brief stop for the likes of Mother, as she ‘eyed up’ the old sofa & bed that was left in the underpass, perhaps she was going to ask Sparky if he wanted some new furniture? By the time Kylie reached this section of Trail the sofa had indeed been removed!
A turn to the southeast would lead the Hash up by the bus stops on the opposite side of the road to the Galleria, then crossing College lane the Trail ran down the short & steep grassy embankment to cross a grass are before a small wood that covers the drop down in to an area commonly known as “The Dip” & once through the gate the Trail advanced to the southwest a fallen tree had to be negotiated, which was fine for those with longer legs!
Out of the trees & the Trail came out on to one of the oldest roads in Hatfield, this being Chantry Lane, the narrow single track lane weaves its way up hill, then on through one of the side estates to come out on to Bishops Rise, a road that is named after the fact a Bishop’s palace used to reside upon the Hill to the southeast.
The Hash were now lead over to an alleyway that leaves Bishops Rise on the east, the hedged-in route runs by the local underground reservoir on top of the ‘Hill Top’ area of Hatfield, after 65 Yards the path came out on to the western edge of the Roe Hill Park Sports ground, where a couple of games of soccer were underway with supporting onlookers. Two things filed the air up here, one was the colourful language, that seems to be part & parcel of the ‘Beautiful game’ these days, the other was the distinctive odour of a different kind of Hash that was drifting on the strong breeze.
A trot across the pitches led the Pack out to the south of Briars Pavilion to reach Briars Lane, a few years ago this road was closed due to the chalk works deep beneath the road that was undermining the local houses, until the council put supportive measures in place in the ancient tunnels to stop any subsidence.
The Trail now changed track to head northward, then around the bend in Briars lane to the northeast, there another alleyway footpath was found & down this the Trail ran, with the grounds of the Bishops Hatfield Girls School to the north. Some 200 Yards one a serpentine like path had Mr X catching & ripping his FUK Full Moon sweat shirt (The last one of the that never to be repeated run of shirts & My Lil’ doesn’t have one!) it snagged on a wire sticking out for the fence, as he tried to give two locals enough social distance & he was forced over to the left as they refuse to yield. So much for social distancing from Joe Public, when the Hash are going out of our way to obey the rules.
Out on to Woods Avenue & the Trail came out to a CHK, here the choices were to use the nearby underpass, those who have run this area before had more than an inkling that the Trail would pass under the road & then head southward down Woods avenue for a few yards until reaching a footpath that runs north-eastward by the local 2203 Hatfield & de Havilland Air Cadet hut.
The Trail followed the tarmac path within the wooded strip as it turns northward for 100 yards before coming out on to Old Rectory Drive, an area of old & new, but sympathetic, homes near to the Breaks Manor. Once the de Havilland drawing office, ‘the Breaks’ was donated to become a youth club that has been around since the 1950’s & had some famous bands play there. [Who recalls Johnny Kid & the Pirates, the Tremalos or the Zombies? – Ed]
No CHK here, just a continuation of the Trail as the footpath turns a few degrees to the west of due north for a 100 Yard trot up to the white footbridge arching up over Link Drive, once down the edge of the green space by the tower block of Goldings House & on north-eastward for another 100 yards to find arrows pointing the way down in to the hollow roundabout via one of the sprayed subways, seems that there are no Banky’s in Hatfield by the looks of artwork adorning the tiles, but it was the first shopping trolley sighting in the roundabout that links the four arms of the joining roads.
Mr X was pretty sure that the Hare had set the Trail away from the normal ‘Home run’ on French Horn lane, he was correct as Dust was found up the subway & ramp up to St Alban Road east, opposite to St Luke’s Church & his Grandmother’s old home, to run 30 yards to find an arrow heading southward into St Albans Road East Recreation Ground, which in years gone by had a World War I tank within its grounds. As those who have read old Herts Trash reports will know that the first tank trials took place in Hatfield House Park.
After 60 yards the Trail emerged from the Park, now on Old French Horn Lane the Trail ran eastward to take to the left-hand branch of the road as it becomes Cranbourne Road, this was the last stretch & at the T junction with Endymion road there was a choice of the long trail a few yards to the south & around via French Horn lane then back to Beaconsfield, where the Short cut was straight over to the railway footbridge up & over the lines & down to the Taxi ranks & bus stops.
Down by the Great Northern Pub on Arm & Sword Lane & in to the Horse & Groom, everyone signed in, or shot the NHS Track & Trace App QR Code on the Bar (My Lil’ being an exception to that), before the Hash pods were sat at the end of the pub in three pods, away from the locals at the old fireplace end – which is lucky as that end of the Pub is rather uneven as the warning signs indicate & make you walk like your p*ssed even when you haven’t had a drink! It all seemed a bit strange, having to wear a face mask in the Pub until we were sat down, but I am sure we’ll adapt, we are Hashers & being served at the table was rather flattering!!
Someone did ask if we had to be from the same family to sit at the table in a pod of Six, [As of going to press] the guidelines are that the Six people from separate households can mix in a Pub [Currently not available in Scotland, the Midlands & North of England due to extra lock-down restrictions] It is still recommended to adhere to Social distancing.
Mother, Lemming & My Lil’ were in the same group we were in at the Orange Tree, with the addition of Spare Rib, which was five. Almost the same social bubble. For me the only social bubble I actually have!
Milf, Paxo & Pebbledash were three at a separate table, on the other side of the dividing beams, similar to the ‘social bubble’ they were sat in at the Orange Tree.
Tent Packer, Howard & Philippa were sat at the opposite table against the back wall. Lemming did some ‘man-spreading’ when he was sat a bit too far away from his table but still within 2 Metre Rule, but it may have looked as if we were one large group & Lemming was chastised by the Bar Maid & Mother (With that stare) to move back over.
Sadly No Eye Deer, Whatever She Says & Where’s Wally? ended up being seated outside, but thems the rules!
The UK On-Sec now has had confirmation from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport about Government Guidance regarding Hash House Harriers & an exemption of the Rule of Six, seems we can carry on, but to err on the side of caution we will still be setting off & sticking with Pods of Six maximum!!