Another hot day. Too hot for a really long walk – but a short series of ten caches to be found before late morning would be ideal.
With this criterion in mind we found ourselves in Sherfield-on-Loddon to embark on the Little Hack series (plus one extra).
Sherfield-on-Loddon is a village north of Basingstoke with over 1600 inhabitants, a huge village green, a duck pond, a Church, and much more besides. Clearly the busy A33 used to run through the village, but the major road has now been re-routed and the idyllic quietness has returned.
We left the village, passing the duckpond (collecting our first cache nearby), through woodland (second cache) to arrive at a gate near to the A33.
This was the Ground Zero for Cache 3 (Gates End). The logs on http://www.geocaching.com indicated that we might have problems here, as the cache ‘kept going missing’. Indeed the cache had been replaced on the 5th of July but had been ‘DNF’ed on the 19th! We had just started our search when a car drew up. Apparently it was the landowner who informed us he had ‘removed the cache’. Apparently cachers had been wandering on his land, day and night, and causing damage to gardens/grass etc. We apologised on behalf of cachers and enquired whether he had given permission for the cache. He said he hadn’t. (To our non geocaching readers – geocaches can only be placed at the landowners permission).
We left apologetically (but on friendly terms) and later passed our findings onto the cache owner to sort out. (It is possible that permissions were (i) never sought, (ii) never granted, (iii) granted and then ‘conveniently’ forgotten or (iv) there had been a change of land owner.)
Still reeling from this, we arrived at St Leonard’s Church for cache 4. As were arrived (in our scruffy walking gear), there was lots going on. Cars were being marshalled into spaces, parishioners seemed VERY WELL dressed even for Church. Apparently a new Church extension was to be blessed by the Bishop hence the very smart looking clothes. Our route was through the Churchyard (slightly blocked by the cars), getting strange looks all the while and it was little wonder we nearly forgot to find the cache when we eventually left the Churchyard!
We hoped the next few caches would be less stressful than the last two.
Fortunately they were – with some easy 'under a pile stones' caches, and one to be extracted very gently from an ever-so-prickly hedge.
Cache 8 'Bus Stop' – was our next nemesis. An Ivy Covered Tree. We've remarked before … WE HATE IVE COVERED TREES. This one was in full view of muggles fixing bikes. We gave it a few minutes before retreating.
The remaining caches circumnavigated the village green and consisted of a mixture of easy and sneaky hides. This left us with just cache 8 as a ‘DNF’; so we decided to take a quick diversion and revisit GZ. With no muggles around, the cache was ours within seconds of our return.
10 caches found and despite all the problems at caches 3 and 4 – finished by lunchtime too!