Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.
Time for our second walk along the Thames Path. It was a crisp, frosty morning, there had been a little light snow, and it was a super morning for both walking and caching. We resumed our walk through Ashton Keynes, leaving the village via sports fields, then walking among a series of lakes, formed from old gravel workings. Much of the Thames Path until Cricklade, our destination, would be close to these lakes.
The path became wetter, and wetter, and then disappeared under water. Luckily there was a diversion a little way back that took us back to the Thames Path AND passed a puzzle cache that we had solved a few days previously; excellent! So far it was going well – we had found five caches and we were on course. Then … we came to another flooded part of the path. There was no easy diversion here, and the flooded area was longer and deeper than before, much deeper than our boots. What to do? If we couldn’t go round the flood, we had to go through it, and that meant paddling. Off came the boots and socks, trousers were rolled up, and we paddled through the water in bare feet. Oh crikey, was it cold! With boots replaced, we continued, only to arrive at another wet section. Off came the boots again. Handily, a nearby cache could only be reached by paddling, so it meant that another one could be added to our tally, one that we wouldn’t otherwise have attempted.
Eventually we came to a third flooded section, and off came the boots yet again. But this one turned out to be much longer than the others – about half a mile – and over a foot deep in icy water in places. We sploshed on; our feet and lower legs became numb; our trousers got wet, even though rolled up; at one point two fish swam by; it really was not fun, not at all. Oh, and somewhere in this section , we found our 900th cache. It was a fairly simple cache in a tree at the side of the path, but the horrendous paddle to reach it made it special, in entirely the wrong way! After this paddle, we replaced our boots, and didn’t take them off again, simply walking on regardless of the remaining floods; we were pretty soggy all over by then and we just couldn’t face another barefoot paddle. We decided to cut the walk short and head straight back to the geocar – the rest of the walk, around the old town walls of Cricklade, seemed to be flooded too – and we were cold and wet and unhappy cachers by now.
We will be back when the water recedes. But, as far as caching goes, we had found every single cache we had attempted (although we did paddle past one while on that long, flooded section), finding 16 caches, taking our all-time total to 904, and passing on the trackable that we had found on our first walk.
Here is a random selection of things encountered on our walk. Some are caches, or associated with caches, and some aren’t.
As before, they are in no particular order. Enjoy!
Thames Path statistics :
Route length : 3.8 miles Total distance walked : 11 miles
Caches found : 16 Total caches found : 32