Run No. 1917
Sunday 6th April 2021
Venue: Gobions Open Space
Beers: BYO Stash
Location: Brookmans Park
Hare/s: Mr X
Hash Hounds: 1
Membership: Socially distanced Sunny Snowflakes
Yes, we were back! Lots of background work to make sure we are within Government Covid Guidelines with Risk Assessments & Covid Contacts amongst the things cover
So, after the second lock-down of isolation where most of us have managed to struggle through to glimpse the crack in the door of freedom to almost escape the humdrum existence of the Covid Hamster-wheel of work, shopping, home schooling & if lucky a trip to a vaccine centre to break up the day! Thankfully we did have some quizzes to help keep in touch during this time, thanks to 3D & Slug for the majority of those, by the way we’ll have to get Flying Solo & Mr X as a part of ‘Superteam’ for the Hash to take on a few Pub Quizzes to ‘promote the Hash’ when we can get out properly.
Early signs seemed ominous for the Hare, with only Tent Packer & My Lil’ being there for 10:45Hrs, it looked like there were only two going around the Trail. Were Hashers still doing a Ketchup & hibernating at home, were the wispy snowflakes drifting on the breeze enough to scare Hashers off?
Thankfully the answer was no, as more Hashers managed to do a Freddie Mercury & ‘Break Free, though some found locating the area a little hard. Milf said with What3words it took then directly into the car park to the correct Three metre square of the 17 Trillion the app divides the world up in to! Yes you should try it, you can download the apps for iPhone & Android. For My Lil’ & Sparky we will maintain publishing Ordinance Survey Coordinates, though Sparky’s Map does have ‘Here be monsters’ in the bottom left-hand corner!
Having moored up & once on land, Tent Packer decided that although it was chilly, it wasn’t cold enough to go around a Trail wearing his ushanka, though he may have had ulterior motives because this could be a very distinctive furry target for any stray dogs out on the loose in the park! So, he left the Red Fox fur hat on his dashboard, which had the RA commenting that Tent Packer should leave the window down a little to give it some air or he may get back to find that the RSPCA could have broken his windows to let the poor beast have some fresh air,
The light snow flurry came & went several times, at least nothing was settling as the sun made an appearance, so there was even snow in the sunshine as the Pack began to grow in numbers, the Hare started to get things underway for the first of the pods to set off, which happened around 11:10Hrs!
The Trail was marked out of the dusty corralled car park, to head away over the grassy green expanse of Gobions Open Space in a south-eastern direction toward Gobion’s Pond. The First CHK was found on a felled tree trunk close to the water’s edge, the Hare looked on in amusement as almost all of the first Pod followed Zing-a-long-a-max off away to the east, in a clockwise direction around the Pond on a wide gravel path in to the woodland.
The Hare marked the CHK in the opposite western, anticlockwise direction [That’s counter-clockwise for any American’s reading this! – Ed] So, the Keenies’ Pod came back to pick up the Trail on the route through the trees surrounding the lake, the last Pod were advised to go around the outside of the bushes & trees as there was a tract of Shiggy coming out from the Pond.
The Trail would make its way around to the southern edge of the Pond, some would call it a small lake as it was pretty large. Slug, Port & Starboard were up with the front of the Pack as the Pods passed by the coots, ducks & other waterfowl out on the pond. Beyond the Solitary fisherman, halfway along the lake & the Hare was happy to see that the Falsie down the steps out of the tree line & in to a large green enclosure to the south had caught out Slug, who was well ahead of the Pod following on behind him.
Slug was last to return & by the time he was back on Trail he seemed to have lost his inspiration & his enthusiasm had dwindled to a dawdle at the back of the Hash, perhaps he lives by the motto “Fool me once, bollocks to this again!”?
The Trail moved on the next 170 Yards to the eastern tip of the Pond, there another CHK awaited for the Pack to discover. Only two options from here, south away from the lake & down to Bluebell wood, or north up by the end of the water in Gobions Garden Wood?
While standing on the CHK, some spotted a picture of an Easter Egg way up some 12 feet or more on a Silver Birch near to this CHK, so it seems that there was, or was supposed to be an Easter Egg Hunt around the Open Space this weekend. A T was found to the south, so it was back up to head northward a short way to pass by a couple of old tree stumps that have been carved into ornate chairs that would be suitable for Hobbits to sit upon.
As Waragi & Rose set off around the western tip of the Pond, the latter would mention being worried about a couple of Blackbirds nesting low in their garden, (According to the RSPB) blackbirds Turdus merula (Fnarr! Fnarr!) like making low nests & can be aggressive enough to attack any marauding cats.
The likes of Milf, My Lil’, Tent Packer, Sludge & No Eye Deer all found the Trail & followed it 200 yards up to the gates in the north-eastern corner of the Garden woodland, passing thought the metal gates the Trail ran for another 100 Yards along the wide dry-capped driveway out to the northeast, emerging out between a couple of homes on to the urban commuterville of Mymms Drive.
Arrows pointed the way to the northwest & away the Pods went as this road of detached homes turns to the north, after 150 Yards, at the crossroads with Moffats Lane (From which the Nursery Rhyme character was supposed to have lived) & Calder Avenue the Trail turned eastward.
Now earlier Sparerib decided that he would take the shorter version of the Trail, but for reasons only known to himself he forgot the Hare’s words of “Those who want to short cut stick with me!” The Hare wasn’t going to around all of the again after setting it earlier that day, & instead Mr X headed away south-eastward down Mymms Drive & Sparerib hadn’t noticed.
The Hare was surprised to see that Paxo, Whatevershesays, Slug & 3D all turned down the offer of the Short Cut, which was marked. While the Hash made their way around a loop on Calder Avenue, they could appreciate that although Brookmans Park may be somewhat exclusive, the locals obviously are above picking up their dog’s poop, or abandoned bottles of Jam Shed Malbeck! [Thought with all the money around here they’d all be sipping the old ‘Widow Clicqout’, like the Guernsey Harriettes! – Ed]
Anyhow, before the Hare approached the next CHK from the short Cut, he spotted Zing-a-long-a-max emerge out from the southbound arm Calder Avenue, though he did check it out on the Falsie toward the new small estate over the Ray Brook back at the previous CHK on the T junction in Calder Avenue.
Two options from the Check Point, but this time Zing-a-long-a-max made no mistakes as he crossed the Ray Brook after it had passed under Mymms Drive, here he took to the southbound path toward a sheep field, there he turned by a pile of sleepers to pick up the Trail to the west on a wide dry capped path.
Mr X saw the Sleepers by the CHK, & as these now had a pair of old boots on them, Mr X thought that when Kylie reached this point he’d be thinking “Nice sleepers!” & if Sparky was out & about on this Trail he’d be thinking “New shoes!”
The Trail followed a slight bulge in its route, then turned through 90 degrees to head southward, after a couple of hundred yards between two enclosed fields the Pack were now back in to Gobions Wood once again, right by a large shipping container to the left, but things improved as the Hash could see two sentinel like, very large sequoia Trees with their distinctions red bark.
Once amongst the trees where a CHK was found by the Ray Brook, the water way that criss-crosses the woodland to supply the ponds. A Falsie lay to the west, as did the option to the south over a small pack bridge which had warning of “TROLLS!” chalked upon it! In back ground is the large redbrick edifice of Folly Arch constructed by James Gibbs circa 1740 & listed grade II* this was once a part of the former estate southern boundary.
The Keenies were taken out on a loop to the north-eastern point of the wood, where the running was a little hard as the ground underfoot was bone dry but over the years it has been washed out to leave the old knurled roots of the broadleaf trees exposed to be a veritable TBT OBE, or Sparky hazard! Thankfully for the Hare neither Sparky or TBT OBE were present this morning to take a tumble over these.
The Hare put in a short cut over the Troll’s bridge, with Whatevershesays being first to take this option, then the Family Slug followed on with the Hare marking this as an official route in the direction of the Folly. The east end of Gobions Wood is the site of the 1730 Bridgeman pleasure ground [Steady Pebbledash! – Ed] A small mound was there, on which once stood a statue of Hercules, but this along with the House have long gone & the Hash had to make do with Sparerib on a mole hill [With a lot of imagination toboot! – Ed]
Just before the southern edge of the wood the Full Trail was picked up & Whatevershesays changed tack to follow the meandering path within the wood. The Pack would be led on a long trot through bluebell fields wood, shame that the Pack were a couple of weeks too early to see the cyan spectacle when they are all out in bloom to carpet the woodland floor. Of notice here are the Elm trees that managed not to succumb to Dutch Elm Disease, a sight to behold.
It was a pleasant trot with the shelter of the trees, something that was handy as it was 500 odd yards around the inner edge of the wood until reaching the next CHK. This would be found as the Trail rose up from Gobion’s Wood to become Swallow Holes [Steady Pebbledash! – Ed] section of woodland, here in the southern tip there was a gate for the footpath heading southward out into a sheep field, there would be no Trail out toward Boltons park Farm, a part of the Royal Veterinary College campus down on Hawkshead Road.
The Trail remained within the woodland, avoiding any sheep worrying, but staying inside the wood meant there would there a few ups & down around Swallow Holes as it lived up to its name. In the bottom of the waterway were a series of wooden foot bridges to cross before climbing back up again, the Hare had chalked ‘Woof!’ on the bridge handrails that have badges embossed in to them, each inscribed with a dedication & the name of a faithful hound that has passed away.
Another descent to a CHK found in the Deep Bottom section of the wood [Pebbledash, No! – Ed] it was a rise up again & over another footbridge. Milf & My Lil’, along with Tent Packer had now made their way to the front, they were the first of the Keenies Pod to make their way to the western end of the wood by a horse paddock to the south, this had three horses in, one of which being a bright almost Lipizzaner white.
Passing out into the western horse paddock beyond the end of the trees, the Hare was going to take the Trail around the outer path but as last time we ran here it was blocked by fallen trees, however with no equines in the field the pack were directed diagonally across the paddock to re-join the path. It was spotted that the old route is now accessible with the trees having been cut up.
Many mentioned the fact that they had never run though Gobions open space, or the wood before? In fact H4 have only Hashed this area a couple of time before. Originally the Gobions Estate existed from the 12th Century when the More family built their Manor House in at least the 1390’s, it was purchased in 1708 by Sir Jeremy Sambrooke, by the 18th Century the Gardens created by Royal Gardener were much admired.
By the 19th Century the Gobions Estate was merged with the Brookmans Estate by Robert William Gaussen, the house was pulled down around 1838 by him in order not to spoil the view from his place! Until the Middlesex & Herts Wildlife Trust took over from the now defunct Gobions Woodland Trust in 2013 access was restricted to only a couple of old footpaths.
The Trail now passed by the solitary bungalow on the west side of Bluebridge Road, where the Ray Brook passes under the road back into Brookmans Park. Once off of the defensive concrete wall protecting the bungalow on the southern bank of the stream, a set of steps led up the roads edge, arrows pointed the way over to the western side of the road where a CHK was found.
Zing-along-a-max, Milf & Tent Packer were straight down the steps in the embankment to find Dust leading along the edge of the barren crop field toward the mainline railway, but after a long trot along by the Ray Brook two T’s were found by a pile of freshly cut tree trunk & branches that had a delightful smell to them.
After an about turn they would have to make their way back up the wooden steps to Bluebridge Road, where the Hare had marked the Trail northward & back into Brookmans Park. But after only a few yards over Blue Bridge the Trail turned off to the west on to the side street of ‘The Gardens’.
For most it was a 750 Yard loop around via Oaklands Avenue, with a CHK by the Brookmans Park URC Church to throw off Zing-a-long-a-max, while My Lil’ had no such issues as he headed straight back down Bluebridge Road on Trail. The Hare had to defend My Lil’ later on from Sludge’s accusations that he hadn’t gone around all the Trail?
Further back on the Trail & the Hare & Sparerib were making their way up over to the dead-end Bluebridge Avenue to the northeast. The short side street had a gate into a field at tits north-eastern end, a token of a CHK was found by the Five-Bar entrance, there was really only one way to go & that was south-easterly to a gap in the treeline, then once through the hedgerow it was a dog-leg turn to the east.
The Pack now had one final tear-drop shaped green enclosed space to cross, there was a CHK by a path into the wooded strip on its northern edge, but this didn’t fool anyone! Along here Zing-a-long-a-max admitted to the RA that he was following a book on Army Fitness Training, I am sure there are a few of the Pack who could advise him on that!
The Trail now passed over a wooden bridge between the two sets of tall hedges on either side of a path heading away to the south, but no turning now as the Hare thought that the Pack had done enough on their first Hash Trail back, also it was snowing when he reached this bit of the Trail earlier on! The more observant may have notie Eater Egg No1 pinned up in a tree here?
Out into the Open Space to the west of the Pond, for a quick left-turn to run up by the hedge-in kids playground & back to the car park.
With Social Distancing in mind, the returning Pack kept a safe space between each other & had their BYO drinks. Paxo arrived back, with Rose & Waragi in their Pod, finally Des Res & Fliptop, with Teddy late arrivals being last Inn. Not quite the same as a usual Hash but at least were out & about, & in the coming weeks it will start to become more like a Hash being allowed to drink outside in groups of Six for only four more weeks, as you read this. Then there will be 5 weeks of staying in Pods of Six inside the Pub before we can get back to normal & have a proper Circle, the RA reckons that this could be quite messy with months worth’s of Charges being dragged up from the old grey-matter!