February 13 – Isle of Wight – Rookley and Merstone

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

Friday 13th … but that doesn’t bother us especially, as we were both born on that day – same day, same month, different years – so we don’t regard it as unlucky at all.

As well as being geocachers, we both play Scrabble (competitively, for money!), and a tournament was taking place on the Isle of Wight over Valentine’s weekend.  Last year Mr Hg137 had won free hotel accommodation at this year’s event, so it was not to be missed.  And Mr Hg137 also had a delivery to make on the island, for his business, so there were even more reasons to be there.  But, along with all this other ‘stuff’, there was still room for a little caching.

We’d selected a number of caches in and around Rookley, the delivery destination, but the rain had begun to fall, hard and steady and cold, and we refined our list of caches to those that were on good, well surfaced paths; it would not look good if we turned up to the hotel/tournament bedraggled and mud-covered.

Isle of Wight - snowdrops near Pagham

Isle of Wight – snowdrops near Pagham

Our first cache was the ‘Pagham Cache & dash’, on a pleasant country track dotted with snowdrops (much further ahead than on the ‘cold northern’ mainland).  We found the cache quickly in the pouring rain, dropped off the West Yorkshire Flag trackable, then ate lunch while drying out a soggy cache log with the geocar heater.  We moved on to Merstone, where a disused railway now forms part of National Cycle Route 23 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Cycle_Route_23 and had a semi-successful (more later) search for a cache near the former Merstone station, before moving on to another cache further along the railway line.  By now the rain was falling at a 45-degree angle, driven on by the wind, and we turned tail and retreated back to the old station.  We still aren’t sure if we found what we searched for – at the cache location there were signs of recent grass/tree cutting and we didn’t find a cache container, BUT we did find a cache log, lying on the ground.  We’ve signed that, wrapped in in plastic, and hidden it where the description says it should be, but we are still uncertain if we actually found the cache, or if the log just got detached from everything else.   We have logged the cache, but are happy to de-log it if we didn’t find the real thing.
Isle of Wight - Merstone Station - sculpture

Isle of Wight – Merstone Station – sculpture

By now we were very wet and cold, and abandoned the idea of further caches.  Off we went to start playing Scrabble …


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