March 1 – Hog’s Back reservoir – mud and the first day of spring

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

A crisp, bright March 1st meant it was the perfect day to be out geocaching. We set off early, planning to do a figure-of-eight walk from the Hog’s Back, near Guildford, to and from the nearby village of Compton. Many others were also out enjoying the spring sunshine, and we grabbed a couple of caches before stopping for a long talk with Cocoa, a chocolate labrador, and her chatty master, who told us about the many rock stars who live / were born / are performing nearby (Paul Weller, Brian May, Andy Fairweather Low, Eric Clapton).
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We slithered down a steep, chalky path, finding more geocaches, to join the North Downs Way. Part way along this track, another cache was said to be hidden some way up a gnarly oak tree. This one took some finding, and I felt rather exposed while clambering around in the tree; the cache was eventually spotted but I was too short and too nervous to reach it – over to Mr Hg137, who is somewhat taller than me.

On we went, heading towards Compton; we took rather too much time over finding/not finding some geocaches along the way and it was around an early lunchtime when we emerged onto the lane near the Watts Gallery ( ) We had planned to be finished by now, so it was a unanimous decision to head for the teashop.
The Watts Gallery tea room describes itself as ‘A delightful café in the old pottery on the North Down’s Way with a changing seasonal menu.’ It merits the description; on the day we visited it was an eclectic mixture of families out for the day, art lovers of every shape, size, and age, a celebration lunch party, lycra-clad cyclists … and two muddy geocachers (us!). A great place to visit, and the warm sausage sandwiches were superb. (And we plan to come back later to visit the gallery, and revisit the Watts Chapel.)

We tore ourselves away and set off on the return leg of our journey. We had just collected another cache when a group of people came into view … somehow they just looked like geocachers (maybe the way their GPS was swiftly hidden was a clue). It was ‘Martin the Meerkat’ and family, out for a walk and to collect previously missed caches.

We headed back to the Hogs Back, collecting more caches along the way, as well as two trackables, which we will move on soon. There were more clever and inventive geocaches, and one more embarrassing DNF (did not find), where we were both futilely climbing around on a steep bank, when a passing walker remarked “I know what you’re doing” …
A great day out, and some superb geocaching – thanks to Kirret who set out the series of very varied caches.

PS I’ve not mentioned how any of the geocaches were set. They were varied and creative and I don’t want to spoil it for others.

PPS The churchyard at the Watts Chapel has just (March 7th) got Grade II listed status

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