We fancied a long day’s walk and long day’s caching and noticed a series called “Simply ‘Ampshire” just South of Alresford in Hampshire. (The ‘H’ has been dropped as apparently that’s what the locals do when they pronounce Hampshire).
25 caches in the series over 10 miles, plus a mini-series of Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and its bonus cache, 2 Church micros and a small number of others along the way. A long day needed a good weather window, and one was (sort of) forecast. “Early morning showers will make way for cloudy skies later”. Seemed reasonable enough – may get slightly wet for the first couple of caches but otherwise dry. Let’s go!
Our route was to take us in a broad circle from the South of Alresford to the village of Tichborne, then to Cheriton before returning to Alresford.
We started brightly, finding our first cache, by a bridge near a golf course, very quickly. The second cache was some distance away as we had to cross the golf course. Once there we took a bit of time finding the cache – lots of stinging nettles and no obvious way in – but found it we did. Then on to one of the ABC caches. Inside would be a clue for a number which we would have to use to find the bonus. We’d read the logs and knew that the clue was not simple so we thought the bonus would be beyond us. Here’s the clue :
Back to the main trail and our only DNF of the day. With a clue of “Base of ivy covered tree” and lots of Ivy covered trees to search – a GPS that wouldn’t settle in the woodland we gave up after 10 minutes. The long walk ahead of us meant we didn’t have much time for extensive searching.
The next few caches were relatively straightforward finds – mainly 35mm film containers placed within another watertight container. The skies though were getting a bit darker…
The route took us over the delightful River Itchen (a genuine, and rare, chalk river) and then a steady hill climb to “The Claimant”.
At this point it started to rain. Heavily. We got wet. Very Wet. We’d set out with light summer protection, not full cagoule attire.
We found “The Claimant” – a relatively old cache as it was first hidden in February 2002, and a simple log-stump find and decided to head for Tichborne Church for shelter.
The Church did indeed provide a place of shelter – and a great place to eat lunch while we pondered our predicament. Wet through and a third of the way around the circuit, and although the Church was dry, it was cold…we chewed quietly and contemplatively.
We decided to complete the Church micro associated with the Church, and then after completing Tichborne’s “Fine Pair” head back to the car abandoning the route.
Completing the Church micro meant walking down a path with knee high wet grass, so we now had really cold, wet legs for our return.
Only 12 caches completed (1 DNF), a lot less miles walked and 2 sets of very wet clothes. Aargh!