March 28 – Hamphire Baker’s Round – more mud

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

After a few days decorating, we were both ready for some geocaching. We chose the ‘Hampshire Bakers Round, which is a short circuit starting near Bentley in Hampshire. Almost exactly a year ago we had done the adjacent Milk Round series by the same setter, so it seemed a good time to revisit the area.

We parked the geocar at the start of the trail and set off across a squelchy field towards Bentley station. As we approached the station the rain began to fall. Worse, the third cache on our route was (supposedly) near the gate to the station platform but we couldn’t find it … we took refuge in the passenger shelter on the platform, had a cup of coffee, watched the trains go by, and waited for the shower to pass. As the sun came out we had another look for the cache (failed again, though someone has found it since), gave up, and moved on.

Next we followed a short section of a newly created long-distance path, The Shipwrights Way, http://www3.hants.gov.uk/countryside/countryside-development/shipwrightsway , which starts at Bentley, ends in Portsmouth, following the route that oaks grown in nearby Alice Holt forest would have taken to reach shipyards on the south coast. It also contains 20 stone sculptures along the trail, reflecting things of interest in the area around. We saw the first, a butterfly, which showcased Bentley butterfly meadows. Note to self: another long-distance path to do.

Shipwrights Way

Shipwrights Way

We left this path and went a little way off track to look for another cache ‘Aelfsige’s Allure’ – great name, this. Aelfsige’s Holt was a forest owned by Aelfsige, Bishop of Winchester, and the name gradually changed from Aelsige’s Holt to Alice Holt. Great cache, too: a large ammo box that has been around for 10 years, where we dropped off the ‘Georgina’ travel bug.

Mud!

Mud!

Back on the Bakers Round we left the forest and emerged into some marshy farmland. More geocaches were found, more rain fell, and more mud was slithered through. We arrived at a cache which had been marked as missing by recent searchers. We found the location and the fixings but not the cache, so replaced it with a temporary container we’d brought with us; it’s since been found a little way away and replaced. Then it was just a couple more caches, some gymnastic cache retrieval from Mr Hg137, and back to the geocar to head home.

A good, if muddy walk, 16 caches found, and a lot of mud to wash off!

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