Run No. 1937
Sunday 22nd August
Venue: Chez Flanders et Sludge
Beers: London Pride, Tent Packer’s Home Brew
Location: St Evenage
Hash Hounds: 1
Membership: Hippo Bidet to Sludge!
For some there would be a walk from Stevenage Station to the venue, which is around 20 minutes, but with a ‘spoons on the way & some vouchers to be drunk before October 2021, it would have been rude not to have popped in. This was all fine & dandy until the Ales on offer were perused, with the middle hand-pump displaying a badge for the Exmoor Beast! There was no other choice but to go for this dark, rich 6.6% classic Ale.
The effects of said Ale could be felt by a couple of the trio as they walked the second section to Chez Sludge. Once they approached the underpass beneath Martins Way, Noisy F#, My Lil’ & Mr X found a T then on to a CHK Point on the opposite north side of the subway. As this route had been walked only a few months earlier, they made their way up a series of alleys that had Trail on it right back to Chez Sludge.
This week saw two Virgins arrive with Flying Solo, they were Theo & Damian, who in the absence of the girls was today’s single Scooter rider, Flying Solo had already checked with the Hare that the Trail would be ‘Scooter Friendly’. This Trail also saw the return of Amanda, after being crocked for an age.
The time came around to eleven & the Circle was called out in the cul-de-sac, with the Hare explaining just a part of the Trail markings to our Newbies before he dropped the bombshell that he was not going to go around the Trail again, for he’d been out setting it this morning after the overnight stormy downpour. So, he handed bits of plasterboard to Flying Solo, Mr X & My Lil’ to mark the Trail in his absence.
Without further ado the Hash were sent off out of the cul-de-sac & on to Chancellors Road, where just a few yards to the west a CHK was found, just far away enough not to annoy My Lil’! But as he had seen the next two CHKs this wasn’t going to bother him, he hung back to allow the rest to check out Trail.
Some were tempted to look on the cut-through to Boswell Gardens, but “On!” was called from the alleyway a bit further along, this southbound back passage [Yes I thought I’d get it in early Pebbledash! – Ed] would lead on between the backs of the homes, then on over Boswell Gardens to continue on a long stretch of 170 Yards to emerge out on to Rectory Lane, there the Second CHK was found. The Trail was soon picked up by Milf, over the east where there was another footpath heading south & Milf spotted its green fingerpost sign.
On the way Mr X said to No Eye Deer that when he was awoken in the early hours by some thunderclaps & then the proceeding deluge, he thought to himself “Is this a No Eye Deer Trail today?” he then realised it wasn’t & could relax [Phew! – Ed]
After a further 80 yards the Tarmac alleyway, a footpath that predates the buildings around it by a couple of hundred years, the Hash came out to a CHK on the northwest corner of a small park area, some wondered if Sludge would have gone off to the east & thought the wet, tall wild grass to set Trail? Amanda headed out this way but there was no Trail to find over there.
Noisy F# now followed on down the tarmac path but then stopped & came back, which astonished Mr X & My Lil’ as all three had walked up this way from the ‘spoons & had seen the CHK by Martins Way underpass. Noisy F# was turned back to join Milf, Fliptop Sparerib, Fliptop, Flying Solo, with our Newbies off to the south for around 200 yards before reaching the CHK before the underpass.
On the opposite side of the wide main road there were Ts to the west & the east, so the only option was to the west before the road & here the arrows were found heading northward up Burymead. As the Keenies took to this urban street, Skip, Little Hole, Sparky, Sis & Teddy took to a different route further westward along the bottom of the oval Burymead, this was the last time the two groups would be together.
The main body of the Hash ran northward, then followed the arrows up around to the west & then on through to the edge of North Road, crossing directly over to take to Witney Drive. The Trail weaved its way around this convoluted estate & over to the A602 Hitchin Road, virtually opposite the Herts Fire & Rescue Services.
By the time Mr X had caught up, having gone under the underpass earlier & got caught out by the second T, he now saw Kylie & My Lil’ heading away northward on the eastern side of the dual carriageways, even though the arrows pointed southward! He then noticed that Milf, Fliptop, Amanda, Sparerib, No Eye Deer then Flying Solo & the Newbies, then finally Whatevershesays were all on the western side of the road & heading northward by the John Henry Newman School, they had all followed the Trail southward & then under the Gunnelswood & Martins way roundabout to reach the west side.
After 400 Yards those off Trail reached the Corey’s Mill roundabout, there they could pass underneath to reach the west side, No Eye Deer commented on Mr X taking a Short Cut on the eastern side! At least he had his ‘Get out of jail card’ in the shape of the plasterboard Sludge had handed him & he claimed he had used to mark this route for any late comers!
The Trail continued up the Hitchin Road, passing by one footpath into the small Ingleside estate to the west, named after the farm that once occupied the area. Then just before the Sainsbury’s Store Fliptop, Milf, Amanda & Sparerib all turned off to a southwest bound footpath through a cut of strip of Whitney Wood along the top of a small estate. It would take 330 Yards, crossing a backstreet about half way along, to reach a railway bridge, here the FRBs were found & the back markers assumed it was a CHK point.
There was no CHK here, instead Milf & Co were assisting an old guy who had taken a trip & fallen over while out walking his dog, the slightly bewildered old chap was helped up & then a couple walking their dogs said that they knew where he lived & would help him back to his nearby house. Mr X then offered them £20 to take Sparky & TBT OBE, are resident Hash Fallers, but the Couple flatly refused to accept £10 a piece for each of them, so it looks like we are lumbered with those two for a bit longer!
Back to the Trail & the Hash were taken over a bridge spanning the four lines of the Mainline to Kings Cross, the southbound footpath led the way through a sparsely wooded area, with the Trail cutting through the tree line before coming out through to the northern tip of a park area of Fishers Green which was once home to a Brickworks .
Along a wide hard-capped track through the centre of the greenspace, then it turned from southwest to northwest to take to a path up the steps to run along the edge of the Fishers Green Road & then over the bridge crossing the A1(M) to the almost village like area of Todds Green, though for how much longer some wondered at the sight of the site of the cleared earth area to the south of the lane?
On the way into Todds Green there was a point where the Hash had to stop, due to a large long puddle running along the side of the road they were on, any oncoming traffic would splash the rain water a fair distance if the car was going fast enough!
Once beyond the water hazard, the road had turned northward a CHK was found off of the roundabout to a small spur road to the east, this was checked out by Amanda, Milf & Sparerib were coming back from this as “On!” was called by My Lil’ & Fliptop who had searched further northward, the others made up lost ground & soon over took these two to head up toward the end of Todds Green, suddenly they all stopped & came back after finding a Bar CHK!
Mr X was the benefactor of the good fortune of not being with the FRBs as he then followed on as they came back to the footpath fingerpost sign that had been passed by, sure enough there was Trail down this footpath between two large properties to Margaret’s’ Wood behind, a CHK was found by the fork in the footpath by a fenced off area of the local Stud.
It was here that the Keenies briefly stopped, Sparerib now let slip that so far on this Trail Amanda had gone wrong at every CHK. With only two options here, would she finally get it correct? Off she went to search the left option, while Mr X fancied searching the right-hand path, as he ran along by the chain-link fencing for the Stud he picked up the Trail on the edge of Margaret’s Woo.
“On!” was called as this route ran down to the tip of the woodland, then up the steep concrete steps to cross the mainline Railway once again. While crossing the bridge, a couple of trains sped along underneath, Fliptop now commented on how the Fast Cambridge Train Service now have half Thameslink & half Red Coaches, sadly for Kylie, by the time he arrived here there were no Trains to be seen.
Having come down the steps on the other side of the tracks, those behind Mr X now found that he was loitering by one of the low branches over the path, this had a large pile of flour sitting on it & he was poised to knock it over on to those who would have to duck underneath.
No Eye Deer, My Lil’, Flying Solo, Damien & Theo all got by unfloured, however when Kylie arrived the RA’s hand managed to accidently slip & flour was sent flying down the back of Kylie’s black Herts Hash T-shirt, but there was more Flour up ahead on the next overhang, Kylie had spotted this & it now looked like Mr X was going to be treated to some of his own medicine. However, Mr X was too quick & got away on one of the least walked paths in this area.
The Trail turned through a couple of counter right-hand turns around the outside of Spoil Bank wood, those around the RA were comforted by the words “Don’t worry, nettles don’t sting this time of year!” as the path became encroached with urtica dioica.
The Trail may not be the most used, but this didn’t stop someone from taking an Asda trolley all the way down this distant route to abandon it, something that makes the mind boggle. The footpath now made its way between two enclosed fields & the A1(M), eventually coming out at the end of the northbound slip-road exit on the Stevenage North Junction.
Care was taken in following the Trail over four of the approach roads, passing under the A1(M) Mr X said that it would be handy if the lights at each junction had a small set of lights so pedestrians could easily see the sequence the lights were heading to. Having stop started four times, the Hash came around to a footpath just off of the start of the Gravely Road junction, this rose up to the northeast in an area of a wooded bank, then once out upon the level it turned nor-nor-eastward to head a long 500 yards on a hard-capped path between the crop fields.
The long trot would come in to Graveley up by the Ashwell Common end, now in amongst the houses that sit up away from the High Street, the arrows would lead by the local school to a CHK at the start of Ashwell Close. The CHK was not marked & there was no calling from those up ahead, so when Fliptop, Mr X & My Lil’ arrived they had to search.
The favoured option was being to the end of this dead-end road, sure enough the Trail was down here, a friendly local pointed the way to an alleyway the FRBS had headed off down. The CHK was marked for those behind as they began to descend the ridge.
The Trail now came out by the village Pond, complete with obligatory waterfowl, that is hidden away from the High Street, a sharp turn to the right for the Hash as the Trail took to a narrow footpath crossing the Ash brook, this turned to bring the Pack out between the Waggon & Horse & the George & Dragon, it was tempting for some to stop off for a pint, but they knew they were a long way off from completing the Trail & it was already gone Noon!
Arrows pointed the way beyond the George & Dragon in a southward direction out of the High street, passing by the old milestone that claims its 33 Miles to London, by now the clouds were becoming grey & it looked like there could be rain on the horizon, were the RA’s powers waning?
Crossing the end of the High Street brought the Hash over to a siding with a section for some kind of ballast. Up through the hedgerow for the Pack to begin the final leg of the Trail, a CHK was found by the long grass in the corner on the opposite side of the hedge, Milf, Amanda, Noisy F# & Spare rib had all gone through this & were on Trail to the south, on a route along the edge of the large cropped stubble of the recently harvested wheat fields, there was a huge golden rectangle made up of stacked of hay bales. [At least there would be plenty of veggie food available later? – Ed]
the RA staggered along through the edge of the field, he spotted Flying Solo,
Damien & Theo through a gap in the hedge as they were on the tarmac roadside
path, Flying Solo was quick to get in with the
excuse fact that Sludge
had recommended that they take this option as they has to deal with the scooter.
A CHK was found near to the zig-zagging line of pine trees up through the arable hillside, this headed eastward up over the gentle crest towards Rooks Nest, as Mr X & My Lil’ arrived at this point they found Amanda was coming back from yet another Falsie, with Milf, Sparerib & Noisy F# in tow, on the way back from Bridleway 105 that runs up behind the homes off of Granby Road. Noisy F# now claimed that Mr X was looking like he was feeling the effect of the beast, but as it was a long Trail he had worked the pint of Exmoor Beast out of his system!
The Trail stuck with the wheat field, not using the footpath that runs inside the pine trees, this route kept to the contour of the trees until reaching the point where there’s a gap to allow a wide footpath to pass through, this path that comes down from Ten Acre Planation runs all the way down to the bridleway behind Sludge’s abode!
In the distance up ahead, Mr X could see Amanda was now leading the way back under the power lines to Chez Sludge, he said “At last she’s got a CHK right, even if it is the last one!” However he was deceived, for when he got to the junction with the path over to the houses he was in for a surprise, as there was no CHK there, just an arrow pointing the way, of course this meant that Amanda had kept up her 100% record of falling for all the Falsies today!
On the way Inn Mr X was now hopeful that he’d catch the distinctive aroma of Barbeque in the air as he approached the houses, My Lil’ then pointed out that Fliptop was supposed to be doing the cooking on the Barbeque today & that he was behind them, Mr X looked around & sure enough Fliptop was back there!
The footpath passed between two of the Homes to come out on to the Brambles, then it was a walk out of this cul-de-sac to Granby Road & then left & left again to the On Inn. The Pack came back & settled down into the garden, with shelter being provided by a large gazebo when the drizzle started, thankfully this was brief & everyone could fit under the canopy.
As Mr X stumbled around to Chez Sludge, he was passed by Tent Packers Yacht, he dropped anchor, then he & Mrs Mallet disembarked to join the Hash. He had brought some Haberdashery along & awards for numbered Runs. Tent Packer wasn’t falling for the “It’s not a long Trail, you’ll be around in 40 minutes now the Checks are marked!” from a knackered Mr X!
Already back at base, with their feet already under the tables were Skip, Little Hole, Flying Solo, Theo, Damien & Paxo. Not to mention our hosts of Flanders & Sludge who were putting out snacks, while Sis had taken Teddy Home.
The food was excellent, Flanders had made a great Veggie dish that the meat eaters had tuck into some of, as there were No Vegans, Veggies or Faketerians present today. At least there was no waste as we had Sparky present & he was happy to gnaw at the old chicken wings left on plates! However he did bring some in date Toblerones, tough the packaging may have been broken to reduce the price?
Amanda would now witness her first Hash Circle, as all her other Hashes have been during lockdown restrictions where we didn’t hold a circle! [A treat to behold, or a complete & utter shower? – Ed]
The Hare was awarded for his first, then we had Manda for getting every CHK wrong! Sparerib & Noisy F# were out for to collect their 10th Herts Hash Run bum-bags [That’s a ‘fanny-pack’ for our American Cousins! (Steady Pebbledash!) – Ed] Finally (after a lot of prompting from the RA) Mr X & Paxo were called out by our erstwhile honorary GM for setting the last couple of Trails when there was no Circle afterwards.
The Pack slowly went their merry way, for two of the Hash as they reached the High Street the rain started, it began as a drizzle just as they passed the Rump & Wade, named after English Parliament, & thankfully it was just a door or two down to the spoons, safely inside, & sheltering with the Exmoor Beast, the heavens opened!