Run No. 1921
Monday 3rd May 2021
Venue: Heath Club
Beers: GK Doombar, Buntingford
Hare/s: Port & Starboard
Hash Hounds: 1
Membership: Trying to park 8 cars in to a 3 Metre Square Space?
For the latter half of the day the portents of a stormy wet day lay ahead, so the hardy one gathered to get the Hash out of the way before the gathering grey stratus clouds became too dense.
After years of trying, & failing dismally, to explain to Sparky that Post Codes are an inaccurate for locating exact places for Hash Rendezvous, as one post code can cover a whole side of street with over 100 Houses, it was decided to use what3words on Herts Hash Hareline, a system that gives an exact location anywhere in the world to just one 3 metre square (The exception for this use being when Hashing from someone’s home, for Burglars could be alerted to Hashers absence at weekends, so its near to the venue!) However, some people just don’t think, as a complaint about the what3words location for today was put forward this very morning, for it directed to down near the entrance to the car park.
TBT OBE called Mr X to ask where everyone was, as he was parked up on the what3words place, but no other Hashers were in view! The car park was pretty full due to Mr & Mrs Royston, their Kids & the Dog seemed to be out this morning on the heath, so the others had to go right up to the back end of the car park to find a space, seems TBT OBE expected the Pack to get 10 cars in the same one 3 metre squared space? In fact you’d only get half an average car in one square, or a fifth of Tent Packers yacht. So, for future reference & a bit of accuracy, please can you park on top of each other?
The early arrivals managed to find their way from the Train Station & all the way to the far end of the car park, where they found the family Slug, here 3D remained with Slug as Port & Starboard set off to lay the Trail ‘Live’ which left a few of the Pack to remember the days gone by when they could set ‘Live Trails’ [In the last Century? – Ed] & not get caught by the Pack, or in these Covid times ‘caught by the Pods’! [Steady there Pebbledash! – Ed]
On his way by the Heath Club marquees, Mr X stopped off at the restaurant to see if they had any tables to book for 12:15Hrs, as there was a sign declaring that to be served Alcohol you would need a table number! The Hares hadn’t bothered to check on table availability, & things now looked like it could be a dry return as none were available until 14:30Hrs! But when Fliptop arrived, he said that the reservations were for the Restaurant side, not the Tea Bar side, My Lil’ & Mr X were now hoping Fliptop was right!
Time passed by the 10:45 Start time for Pod 1 to set off, yes another thing that no one takes any notice of! Eventually Slug & 3D mustered the Pods to get under away down to the east & on to the white ‘Chalk’ path over the flat section of Royston Heath. Dust was found by Pod 1 as Milf, Tent Packer, Loud F#cker, Zing-a-long-a-max, My Lil’ & Canny Cant made their way around on the path as it turns to north-easterly direction toward the Royston Golf Club on the Baldock Road. The Club house must be one of the furthest away from the first Hole?
Flying Solo was soon on to this bright white, concrete hard, path but her running would be hampered all day today as both Elizabeth & Isabell had come on their bikes today. Not only is Fliptop our Hash Grand Fromage he now has other feathers in his cap, now he was in ‘Nature Reserve Patrol Mode’ as he was a veritable font of knowledge about the bye-laws of the Heath & that Cycling is Verboten! on the Heath, though it’s probably aimed more at Adults!
Back to the Trail & this bit would be easy enough to peddle along, but this being Royston the odds on this being an entirely flat run were pretty slim. Mr X was happy to remind everyone in the last 25 years or so, the H4 had only run out to the north of Royston about 4 times, just a paltry four times over land that is as flat as the Dutch countryside for so many miles as far as the eye can see right up to the Cambridge border!
At the CHK near the end of the Chalk Path it was soon established that the Trail was going to go up for the first (but not the last) time that morning. Soon the Pods embarked on the long steady climb up the grassy chalk hill, Flying Solo was now having to tutor one of the girls on how to use cycle gears on the way up the area of SSI.
Fliptop was in now in ‘Heath Conservation’ mood, taking on the Hash’s Greta Thunberg role & shouting out warnings that seemed to be aimed at Sludge about cutting across the top of the Nature Reserve grassland to prevent him ‘Sludging’ from back over to the sou-sou-westward path that Zing-along-a-max was on, “Stick to the paths, no Short Cutting to avoid ground nesting birds!” was Fliptop’s call, this appeared to work as Milf & My Lil’ followed Sludge on the path over to the top of Lankester Hill, where the next CHK was found.
Loud F#cker was soon gaining ground on Pod 1 after going awry, Pod 2 made their way along to the CHK, & soon following on behind the FRBs as they briefly checked it out toward Briary Lane & the associated Farm of the same name. Zing-a-long-a-max was soon on to the Trail as it led down the slight dip above the old ‘Rifle Butts’ in the green valley below.
Built in 1855, the crescent shaped Rifle ranges were cut in to part of the chalk wall, they were built for summer use by the Hertford Militia, they finally went out of use in 1982 for Safety Reasons, of the firing positions between 100 to 700 Yard only the 150 Yards Iron marker remains, luckily the Trail didn’t down go near this trip hazard for TBT OBE sake.
The Dust led on up the opposite side of the horseshoe shaped dip & into the end of the wood. The Pack would now embark on the series of up & downs, these were pretty steep in places as the path runs up & down the aptly named Two Hills, or as the RA called them the ‘Murderhorn’ & ‘Kin’2’ as he made completed the double steep 15 metre climbs.
Flying Solo & the girls would soon find that on this section coming down on a bike would be only for the brave of heart & the steep climb up the other side was a case of finding out why pushbikes get their name! Actually the first bicycles were pushed along & had no peddles or a chain drive, as a young Sparky is demonstrating in full stride on the left with this 1817 Laufmaschine (Running machine) image, & so Flying Solo grasped the handle bars of one machine to haul it up the slope.
This section of woodland was also a potential trip hazard as well, plenty of old roots exposed on the tops of the twin hills. With no Sparky back on the Hash yet, all concerns revolved around TBT OBE staying upright, which he did, so far, so good!
The direction of the Trail had now turned from southbound to northward, after 200Yards the trial followed the inside edge of the wooded ridge as it turned to the west. Yet another steep drop down had to be negotiated, in the bottom of this wooded dell a CHK was found.
The First Pod now started to get away from the other Pods, as they found the Trail leading up to the edge of the local Golf Course, rumour has it that this course has a high incidents of Heart attacks? The Trail now move along a reasonably even trot for 230 Yards against the southern edge of the Golf course, then turning northwest through the woodland & sensibly keeping the Pack away from the Buntingford Brewery down away to the south!
While Pod1 started to move out of sight, Mr X became stuck behind a civilian out walking, once the path was out of the woodland it changed from a wide route to a single file in places, however, it was flatter ground to run along here & eventually he managed to get by her after taking to the Trail on the path within the wooded edge but eventually it would come back out onto the Golf Course again.
The pace dropped back to a walk as the south-western bound gravel path was used by walkers & golfers alike, with covid distancing being obeyed while rounding by a tee & then back out of this bottle-neck to a westward run toward the Therfield Road. On the plus side the Trail didn’t lose too much altitude as it followed the curved contour of golf course as it looks out over the Coombes, down to the north was a splendid panorama of miles of flat land!
The path meandered over to the Therfield road, emerging by the two dirt roadside pull-ins on top of the ridge that were filled up with cars. After a dash between the cars the Trail now continued westward into Jubilee Wood around to the southwest, this area of beech trees is dedicated to Queen Elizabeth’s silver jubilee back in 1977, the carved stone has a plaque on it about the wood being planted by Mr & Mrs W H Darling of Greys, supported by Hertfordshire Society & the Naturalist Trust! [That’s Naturalist Pebbledash, not Naturist! – Ed]
Beyond this the Dust appeared to lead into Fox Covert, but there seemed to be some other kind of Trail going on within the woodland, for the lots of the trees had chalk markings on them, they were more concentrated here than further back on the Hash Trail. This explained why all of the kids were going around the woodland following the chalk drawings of ducks, birds, bees & other wildlife on trunks, branches & logs, all must have been associated with a nature Trail.
When Mr X arrived at Fox Covert he found Zing-a-long-a-max & Canny Cant wandering aimlessly around in search of Trail, Canny Cant said that the rest had followed Sludge, not to be seen again! Meanwhile TBT OBE, My Lil’, Tent Packer, Loud F#cker, Milf & Sludge had vanished from sight after a photo shoot, & could no longer be heard, not a peep out of them if they had picked up any Trail? [Technically we aren’t supposed to call out, but when in the middle of nowhere & no one around then perhaps just one call would have helped? – Ed] The rest of Pod1 had all carried on down the hillside on a short cut & picked up the Trail far away at the bottom of the ridge. While writing up this report the Scribe noticed that TBT OBE, the ever giving gift to any RA, had posted the whole route of his Trail on Farcebook & this clearly shows a red line that proves that Pod1 didn’t cut back as the Trail intended them too. [Hopefully the RA will remember this for 6 weeks’ time when the Hash Circle will resume! – Ed]
Anyhow, Mr X dismissed going to look back out on the golf course, Canny Cant had already checked that, so it was back toward the Jubilee plantation where Dust was found running southbound through the beech trees. The path had been made wider with the removal of a line of trees, but these low stumps & the odd protruding old knob [Steady Pebbledash! - Ed] of old removed sapling to the left were another potential TBT OBE trip hazard, so it was lucky that he had short-cutted & avoided this route of pitfalls & trips.
Many of the coppiced tree trunks & branches had been stacked up like wigwams to form shelters around established trees, the Trail now dropped down the wooded hill side of Fordham’s Wood, between Jubilee wood to the bottom of Fox Covert nature reserve it would be a long drop of some 135 feet. The rest of the Pods now caught up with 3D, Slug, Paxo & Kylie on the descent, while Flying Solo, Elizabeth & Isabelle were not that far ahead of them but had gone wrong at the CHK in the bottom of the wood as they were found scaling the opposite steep slope of the ridge some 390 feet above sea-level.
Slug called them back, so it was a turnaround & a slow descent from half way to the summit, all of which included the bikes! The Trail reached the bottom of the where the Dust led out to the path around the bottom of the rotund Church hill. Slug now reckoned that Pod1 had gone wrong back where the boys had set possibly the only Falsie of the entire Trail where all the tree trunks had chalk markings scribbled on them, which would explain a lot.
There were two options, the low level path around the valley floor, or the climb up the chalky fine grassy Church Hill, which had a far steeper gradient on the 130 foot climb, this was not for bikes nor senior Hashers, fortunately the Trail went around the bottom of the hill before turning northward to run by the Devils Hopscotch
The Hopscotch gets its name as it’s a series of rectangular strips that were once farm enclosures in the shelter of the valley floor, beyond this the Trail followed the wide track out to the bottom of the Golf Course at its west end, with one hole situated in the Hopscotch.
Here Mr X pointed out to Canny Cant the rising fairways that do account for heart attacks, the Hash were not going to get away without going up the Pen Hills either, fortunately it was to the north side & had a slightly less intense climb compared to the Golfers.
A CHK was found before the long straight & steady rise up the first ridge, heading away from the Kings Gallops, where Horses are trained. Zing-a-long-a-max now made good progress, leaving Pod 2 behind as he made up lost ground on Pod 1, who were now just dots climbing on the second of the ridges. At least Zing-along-a-max was out of earshot when Canny Cant called him Sparky! Mr X corrected Canny Can’t, there are defences between the two, the main one being is that Sparky will & does eat just about anything, in or out of date! Whereas Zing-along-a-max is vegan, except for the Ales.
There were yellow Cowslips dotted about the chalk hill to brighten the green slope, other rarer wild flowers grow here as well. It was on this 500 Yards stretch that Flying Solo & the girls caught up with Mr X as they headed eastward on the distinctive chalk path.
Halfway along between the ridges & the Hash the lower car park on the Therfield Road, ahead was the last long stretch up over the ride of Therfield Heath, Mr X pointed out the Tumuli high up on the ridge, you’d have to be someone of importance to be buried high up there, overlooking all of the flat ground (you could Hash over) to the north! There has been human activity in these parts from the Neolithic, Iron Age, Roman to today, especially as the Icknield Way passes through the heath, the ancient Britons route through to the Peddar’s Way & Grime Graves, a Trail for Specialist Flints to be moved around.
The Trail ran for another it was a long 900 Yards, or 1K in other Measuring systems that are available to reach the peak, where they could see Five Hills, named after the Barrows upon here! This stretch certainly spread the Pods out, especially as there were no short cuts on the Trail, if you don’t count TBT OBE’s one he posted on Socail Media!
Finally there was a short drop down the white chalky path, descending back to the car park. It was a nice run, may not have been long as it was a shade under 4 miles, but it was certainly hilly which may have made it longer in time than expected. The area certainly has some interesting history, including the Royston Prisoner of War Camp where the Heath Club sits.
Down at the far marquee & there were free tables up for grabs, which wasn’t surprising as the temperature had dropped with the wind whipping through the open sided tents, it was enough to take Mr X’s skin temperature down by 5 degrees when he scanned it with the IR Thermometer! At east no rain had arrived.
Sis & Flanders were found at one table, while Zing-a-long, My Lil’ & Loud F#cker were in the queue to the service hatch for Ales! Mr X grabbed a table, as Rose & Waragi arrived carrying appeasing Hot Chocolate drinks with marshmallows, apparently they started the Trail late but then had trouble following the white flour on a chalky background, the kids’ chalk markings on the trees also added to the confusion, so a hot chocolate was the order of the day as some compensation!
The Family Slug all departed early, not staying to hear how good the Trail was! Milf crept in, laden down with lots of baggage, one wit said she looked like a ‘bag-lady’ but she had the last laugh as her ‘bag-lady baggage’ had blankets within & she would need them to wrap up in, & for Kylie (the mad cat lady) when he arrived.Even the hardiest of the Hash could brave the cold wind for a two pint duration before making