January 24 Thames Path : Cricklade (revisited)

or perhaps subtitled :

A Snail, Two Socks, Four Wellingtons, and an Inability to use a GPS!

Last week we abandoned our walk along the Thames Path as our feet suffered as we waded through icy water. This week we were prepared … we took Wellington boots as well as Walking boots. Yay – no wet feet!

Of course the simplest thing to do, was to restart our caching adventures from where we had left off. This would have meant walking through the township of Cricklade and not undertaking any of the caches. Were we going to do that? Of course not !

And so we started with the St Sampson’s Church Micro. A quick walk around the churchyard, examining graves and benches, collecting dates and ages. We discovered a Second World War pilot who died aged 19, a prominent local High Bailiff and more besides. We worked out the final co-ordinates, and entered them into our GPS. The destination was some distance away, but we were expecting that. And knew we’d collect it later.

St Sampson's Church, Cricklade

St Sampson’s Church, Cricklade

Our next cache was called “Gary the Snail” and this was a really wonderful cache. Well hidden, and although we knew what we were expecting, it was very, very well created. We have not included a picture here as you really must find it for yourselves!

We then attempted three very urban caches. These three were connected unusually in that two were positioned in front gardens and two were contained in Walking Socks. Walking Socks ! Really ! We seriously thought if we had collected these caches last week, we’d have swapped our soaking cold wet socks for these cache containers!

"Sock it and See!"

“Sock it and See!”

And so to the Church Micro final destination.. we walked on… argued over how to get to GZ.. and then realised after 20 minutes we were walking out of Cricklade! Something was very wrong! We gave up and headed for the Thames Path.

We walked up an old railway line (used in former times to transport milk … hence its local name of “Milky Way”) collected a Puzzle cache we’d solved before we left and reached the Thames Path where we abandoned it last week.

The Flooded Fields from last week

The Flooded Fields from last week

The less Flooded Fields this week

The less Flooded Fields this week

The river looked less flooded and so we kept our walking boots on! Oh dear, oh dear! Within 10 minutes we were faced with a flooded footpath. On with the wellies! Then we were advised by other walkers, the water was 2 foot deep! Too deep for our wellies! The walkers told us of an alternative route, and how to reach the opposite bank. And so, with our Wellingtons we retraced our steps, and followed the Thames from the other bank. In all honesty we were trespassing, but given the well worn footpath, clearly we were not the first to do so!

The Thames Path is the "lake!" beyond the bush

The Thames Path is the “lake!” beyond the bush

Nor indeed were we the last! As we left the left the field we arrived at our first Thames Path cache of the day. It marked where the Berks(hire) and Wilts(hire) Canal connected the Thames to the Thames and Severn Canal many years ago. (It closed just after World War I). At the GZ, we met several people most of whom were struggling with the terrain or their maps. (One couple didn’t even realise they were standing on a bridge over the Thames!)

We did think about walking along the former Berks and Wilts canal, but time was pressing, and the path was really, really muddy. Another day perhaps.

Our remaining caches of the day followed the Thames through wettish and muddy-ish meadows including North Meadow famed for its Spring flowers (none of course in January!) until we arrived back on the outskirts of Cricklade at North Wall. This is where the Romans built their crossing across the Thames. We went past our geo-car, and collected a couple of other Thames caches, which will hopefully save us a few minutes on our next journey.

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Thames Path statistics :
Route length : 2.2 miles Total distance walked : 13.2 miles
Caches found : 12 Total caches found : 44

Some of the caches we found included (in no particular order) :

PS reverting back to the Church Micro, we noticed when we got home, we had mis-entered the co-ordinates into the GPS (what an idiot Mr HG137 is!).

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