Run No. 1916
Sunday 13th December
Beers: Whatever the Hare stole from his Cancelled Barbie Stash
Hare/s: My Lil’
Hash Hounds: 1
Membership: Damp, damp, damp.
A drizzling dour morning for the Pack to turn out to Hash in, but being the Hash there will be enough who wouldn’t let this put them off, which would come as a surprise the Hare & Mr X, who were first on the scene & as the time came around toward a quarter to the hour it was looking like there wasn’t going to be much of a Pod, let alone Pods to go around today’s Trail.
On Milf’s arrival there was talk of her being a Covid-19 vaccinator, Mr X reckons she’s a bit handy with the old ‘Arrows’ & would be more than willing to score ‘double tops’ for the likes of TBT OBE, Sparky & Sludge! Anyhow, the Hare encouraged the first Pod to get under way & for a first in a long time, both Amanda & Flying Solo had arrived early, thus being in the first Pod & not having to play catch up then social distance to get by the other slower Pods.
The Trail began by crossing over from the Car Park to
take to the north-eastern bound, Cedar tree lined Wendover Drive, but this being
the Hash Mr X wanted to change the W for a B just for the Scribes fondness of
scribbling of Hashers being taken up a back-passage on the Trail. [As well as
making sure Pebbledash has something to
choke chortle on when she reads
this penny dreadful! – Ed]
Enough School Boy humour for the moment, as the First Pod were soon away to the curved end of the 120 Yards to reach the First CHK on the edge of Church Street section of the B656. Mr X crossed over to search Roman Road, the dead end right of way that runs behind the former Clock Motel, now converted into homes that look like the residents are in some kind of correctional facility.
Mr X was called back by Kylie & Canny Cant as the Trail was found eastward & then around the dead-end of the old road & down the underpass that goes below the by-pass on the way to the Clock Roundabout. Hash boots were kept dry, for unlike past subterranean Hash passes through here it was not flooded. The Trail now headed under the A1(M) toward Mardley Heath, Kylie commented on the demise of the Clock Motel & Mr X said some of the blame to its closure was no doubt down to the rise in ‘Lenny Henry’s’ accommodation, with Travel Lodges & Premier Inns prevailing over a lot of B&Bs.
With the previous week’s Trail being set in Mardley
Heath, this Hare wasn’t going to head any further toward that part of Welwyn,
for the Dust would take to the Footpath that heads off just before the drive to
Lockley’s Farm. A clamber up the wooded embankment meant that there Hash were
exposed to the
beautiful view of the A1(M) & the rising spray to
accompany the dull roar of the traffic.
After a short southerly trot avoiding the exposed roots, a highly potential accident black spot for the likes of TBT OBE & Sparky but thankfully they were not present today to be tripped up & the Herts ‘elf & Safety Covid Marshal & First Aiders could relax!
The Trail came descended a short slope on the farm drive to take the southeast to lead up between Lockleys Farm to the north & Sherrardswood School to the south. Having followed the farm drive around to the northeast, the Hash would be turning off to the east, ahead lay a far more scenic panorama that the motorway, even in the drizzle the rolling green farm fields were far more pleasant on the eye.
Normally the next stretch of Trail would delight Milf, but in these Covid times she isn’t allowed to stop & pucker up to kiss the unsuspecting/desperate [delete as appropriate – Ed] at the kissing gates, she would be trebly disappointed with the series of three metal gates that lay ahead.
On the first gate was a school information sign, this described the flora, fauna & insects that can be found in this wild flower enclosure, though Hash eyes were mainly kept down to keep watch for drier sections on the slippery Shiggy footpath. It was short way between the first two kissing gates, then in the second enclosure the sign described the breed of cattle within this one.
Fliptop kept Teddy on a lead & took an arcing route to steer clear of the Black cattle [That’s Coos for Canny Cant – Ed] Fliptop added that there was also the sound of shooting echoing from the opposite side of the valley, no doubt coming from Bramfield, as he claims Teddy doesn’t like the noise of the shotguns & would be running all the way home. Perhaps the shooting was the reason for the number of fresh bovine landmines to avoid?
So, once the large herd of very docile black bovines & the cow pats were passed by, Mr X was surprised to see Fliptop let Teddy off of the lead as beyond the last Kissing gate it was open arable land into the valley. Mr X now had visions of Fliptop being late back to the On Inn after trying to round up a loose Teddy! [Why do I have a vision of Pebbledash laughing at this point, I am sure Fliptop doesn’t wear a Teddy*? – Ed]
Having descended some 90 feet on a slippery footpath to the valley bottom a CHK was found, there were only two options, searching further to the east, or take to the footpath heading off to the north. Amanda, Flying Solo, Sludge & Milf, then Tent Packer, Canny Cant & No Eye Deer were well on the way to run by the eastern edge of Foxley Grove.
By the time the back markers arrived at the CHK, which the Hare had now marked with a Short Cut to the north, was good news for the likes of Mr X, Whatevershesays, Gen & Tonic & Kylie. The Hare was already up at the end of the short cut on the opposite side of the vale.
As he looked back down the valley the Hare was surprised to see that Slug, with the boys & 3D, were all heading away to the north & Mr X arrived at the north-western corner of Lockleys Wood in time to hear My Lil’ say “Good luck to them, that loop has to be a couple of miles!” [1.78 Miles in fact! – Ed]
Having hobbled up the hill, Mr X was soon ushered in to the woodland, for those short cutters behind had now stopped as they thought that Mr X may be on a Falsie & standing on the T! Mr X obeyed the Hare’s instructions & directed by an arrow he took to the southbound footpath running through this ‘Private Woodland’. Plenty of nice deep Shiggy along this route, as well as more ‘Sparky trip hazard’ roots to avoid.
Meanwhile the Keenies had turned from east to due north & were now beyond Foxley Grove, leaving the plantation behind there was a kink in the footpath to the west of Whores Wood [Yes, it is actually called that! – Ed] as it begins to rise northward up the backside of Puttocks Hill [Steady Pebbledash! – Ed] for almost a mile before eventually reach to reach the southern tip of Harmer Green Wood.
The loop the Keenies were on turned eastward in Harmer Green Wood for 300 Yards in amongst the trees, notably there are a lot of Chestnut Trees in this area that the Hash & the likes of Tent Packer would like to forage! [A word of advice, microwave your Chestnuts & you know which one the maggots are in as they quite literally pop out! – ED]
While trotting through the woodland some may have noticed the large shafts [Whoa there Pebbledash! – Ed] of the round towers for ventilation for the railway tunnels deep below the wood. If Kylie had been on this bit he too may have also had a large…. [I’ll get my coat…. – Ed]
A turn in direction would take the Hash through the southern tip of Harmergreen wood, the path left the wood & then descended down by the cutting between the two tunnels on the Kings Cross mainline route, this path rose back up as it completed the 100 yards of railway exposure, then crossed over the top of the southern tunnel to enter into Lockleys Wood, a short westward trot led on to the arrow the SCBs had been directed by earlier.
The run through Lockleys Wood was a cheery one, for on the rising tree covered hill there were little painted doors at the bottom of the coppice trees, there were various coloured doors that were even too small for Ewoks! As the footpath changed tack to head to the top of the east side of Digswell, a larger Thank You NHS & rainbow door was spotted.
A CHK was found before the 1960’s estate on the west of Digswell, options were to head over to the eastern side, above the tunnel entrance at Welwyn North Station, this was just Welwyn Station until Welwyn Garden City Station came into existence in the 1920, this area was known as High Welwyn with Digswell below it to the south.
So, the options were now to carry on over in the woodland, or search the old back passage? The back passage it was, as Mr X & Whatevershesays picked up the Trail into the 60’s estate, part of which is built on what was the former Welwyn & District Gas Company grounds.
Mr X continued down from the next CHK by a slightly obscured footpath through from Foxley Green & the car park to Welwyn North Station. Fortunately for Mr X & Whatevershesays the Hare allowed them to continue on Falsie as the Short Cut down to Station Road & avoiding the railway
Whatevershesays then had a moment of doubting the Hare as he wanted to continue down to the Hertford Road, but the Hare convinced him to turn off to the east & head toward the Cowper Arms, sadly no Beer Stop, instead the Trail took to the long, fenced in alleyway as it runs between the backs of the homes to reach the Hertford Road.
Whatevershesays now led the way over the B1000 & down the edge of the horse
paddock at Digswell Water, care had to be taken on this route for there was
danger on either side, slip to the right would mean being caught on barbed-wire,
or a misplace foot to the left it would be a shock from the electric fence. Mr
X said it’s a shame that TBT OBE is having to Shield Mrs Teebs & not here trying
to negotiate this section of
death-trap footpath, or Sparky who could
live up to his name!
Down on to Digswell Park Road, here the Hare reset the CHK on the lane, he grumbled that it must have been removed by the local stables, for no traffic is passing by due the local council having closed the road to allow walkers & cyclists to use this old lane unhindered from its usual rat-run cars during the Covid-19 restrictions.
The options were only two, the least likely was to search eastward to go under one of the 40 arches of the imposing 100 Foot high Digswell Railway viaduct, made from locally sourced clay, the red brick edifice was opened in 1850 by Queen Victoria, who actually got off the Train because she didn’t like its height, so she took a horse & coach to the opposite side, then boarded the Train again! Though she would travel over it in later years, she may have been on to something as in the 1930’s the crumbling red brickwork was encased in the dark engineering bricks you see today.
It was designed by William Cubit in the style of a Roman Aqueduct, an estimated million tons of clay was moved by hand & horse to create the embankments. Anyway, less of the history of our local railway bottleneck & back to the Trail.
The right route was to head westward crossing the river Mimram, one of only 200 chalk bed rivers in the world, to make the way over to the edge of Welwyn Garden City, now the Hare was not going to give any more short cuts to those in need, No more Mr Nice Hare as the ‘walking wounded’ of Mr X [The RA with a long memory! – Ed] was allowed to hobble up to a Bar CHK right where the lane comes out on to Bessemer Road!
While Whatevershesays went back with the Hare to the cut-through, with his ‘Sports Man’s’ injury Mr X was now going to use his local knowledge & ‘Sludge’ it over to Knightsfield, while the rest were directed out through the cut-through & then southward along Bessemer Road, named after Henry Bessemer & his process of making Steel. Once over the busy road the Trail would lead up into the bottom of the eastern end of Digswell Park, where a climb up the tree covered ridge was in store.
The Trail would heads south-westward up to the north of the grassy vale below, the route led on through an area of broadleaf trees & holly bushes bringing the Hash up to a CHK by the grounds of St Johns the Evangelist Church. The Trail would be picked up to the north on Monks Rise [Steady Pebbledash! – Ed] & then out on to Knightsfield, heading north-eastward until arrows directed the way to the west on an acute turn down the dead-end Willow Grove.
At the end of the lollipop shaped backstreet, the Hash were led through a short snicket out to the old Digswell Park Road, no CHK here, only an arrow that pointed the way up the footpath heading northward between the local stables to the right & the grounds of Monkswalk School to the left, where the noise of the soccer games could be heard, or was the shouting & cursing Mr X for being allowed to hobble up to the earlier Bar CHK?
It was a 300 Yards or more as the footpath path, enclosed by a hedgerow to the left & wire fencing to the right, finally came down to reach a turn at its end by the A1000, then a short way around to the subway that leads under the southbound slip-road for the A1(M), then having passed under the A1(M) Bridge the Trail now made its way nor-westward, to an arrow which pointed the way up the zig-zag path up through the wooded embankment to emerge up on to the Welwyn By-pass Road.
Mr X waited by the arrow, all to allow Flying Solo, Amanda, then the Starboard & Port to clamber the steps, then when they were out of sight he nipped straight under the by-pass bridge to make his way over toward the Welwyn Fire Station. Meanwhile the rest made their way through the alleyways to Broomfield Road & then back down through the tree lined drop to Hertford Road & on over by the Fire Station, though Flying Solo later admitted to go off Trail up on top of the higher part of Welwyn.
On this dead-end road by the Civic Centre the On Inn was found by the crossroads with Prospect Place & Mill Lane, from there it was a straight trot up by the White Horse, the Pub normally used by the Hash, then at the end of the road it was around on Church Lane to Lockley’s Drive, on the way the Pack passed by the former Barron of Beef (Now a house) then opposite the Rose & Crown (Under renovation) & finally Rose Cottage where Vincent Van Gogh stayed when his school teacher Sister lived there.
While the Hash more or less stuck to their Pods around the Trail, Sludge broke off somewhere to take Social Distancing to a new extreme, as he was already back at the Car Park before Mr X, who was surprised to see Sludge there! Then Sparerib arrived, seems he was late rising this morning [Stop it Pebbledash! – Ed]
Flying Solo & Amanda, with the Starboard & Port were next home, however there was a long hiatus (Approx. 2 Beers consumption) before the likes of Fliptop made it back, seems he didn’t lose Teddy but Canny Cant had lost his mobile! Kylie informed Mr X, as he was walking home, that Canny Cant was still back there searching for it.
*[I forgot about the Herts (Spirella) Basques & Quakers evening! – Ed]