Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.
Today was the day we had chosen to find our 1000th geocache. Oxford was chosen for this auspicious achievement as it was the place where we had our first date, 15 years ago. (Well, most of our first date took place in Oxford, but somehow there was also an unplanned boat trip where we ended up in Abingdon … and a return visit three years ago involving a punt on a flooded River Cherwell … so doing watery things in and around Oxford seemed appropriate…)
We only had 2 caches to find to reach the milestone, but we had loaded lots of caches into the GPS, just in case. Our first tasks were to find some clues for a multi-cache, ‘Oxford’s City Gates’, then it was on to the first actual find of the day, just outside the Botanic Gardens; this one held a trackable, which we weren’t expecting. Then it was east and north along the wonderfully named Mesopotamia Walk towards the Oxford University Parks (the name means ‘between two rivers’ as the path lies between two streams of the Cherwell).
Part way along this verdant path we came to a bridge, where was hidden … CACHE NO 1000!!! The honour went to ‘A bridge. Too far? (Geolympix FTFrenzy-7)’ After some whooping, and high-fiving we moved on before we attracted (too much) attention to ourselves. Of the next two caches, one was found, one not – the muggle on a smoking break simply wouldn’t move away – and we emerged into the streets around the university.
Our next find, ‘Wreck this Logbook*’ was a good one, not for the container or the location but for the logbook. The cache description says…
‘Forget everything you have learned about the use of books. This logbook is going to demand your entire attention. Wreck it – alone or with friends, eye for eye, page for page, scratch for dog-ear. Caress or torture it, use your gross and fine motor skills deliberately. But take your time! Invite it for a coffee, take it to a lecture, a festival or a boxing match. Use accessories from your handbag or search for tools in the city. Release your motivations and frustrations. Be creative, destructive, innovative. Now!’
… so we did as requested, as have 300 others before us. The pictures are just a flavour of the contents!
After one more cache at Mansfield College (you can go into the grounds) it was time for a picnic outside the University Museum. To claim the virtual cache here, answer the question ‘Who or what left its mark across the grass outside?’ We now know, but you have to go and look for yourselves!
After lunch we lost the plot for a little while, with two DNFs in succession, so we regrouped and headed back towards the centre of the city past the fire-damaged Randolph Hotel to find ‘Oxford’s Sunken Cathedral’ – this is actually a cache near the memorial to the Oxford Martyrs but a tale told to tourists is that this is the site of a cathedral, with only the spire showing. Hmmm! Just around the corner is another virtual cache, marking the actual spot where the martyrs met their end.
Tiring now, we collected more clues for the multicache we started early that morning (Oxford had lots of city gates) As we turned a corner near the Bridge of Sighs we almost trod on … Michael Portillo.
He was filming a documentary on the Great War, or so we were told by the porter of the college he was visiting. By now we knew the location of the multicache; Mr Hg137 rushed off to find it, but couldn’t get closer than 100 feet and wandered up and down grumbling at the GPS; I took it from him, gently strolled to within 20 feet, and pointed out the location; more grumbling from him!
It was time to make our way towards the Thames, but first we found another two caches close to the Wareham stream, one of the Thames’ side channels. After eight miles of walking we finally made it onto the Thames Path at Osney Bridge. The path was busy with walkers and cyclists and the river was full of ducks, geese, swans, rowers, canoeists, and boats, both moored and moving, which gave plenty to look at as we walked just under three miles of river path, before backtracking to the Redbridge Park and Ride. Oh, and there was one final cache to be found here, too, almost next to the waiting geocar.
Summary for the day: 11.5 miles walked, 13 caches found, 4 DNFs, another little bit of the Thames Path, and that 1000 cache Milestone !!!
Thames Path statistics : Route length : 2.8 miles Total distance walked : 55.8 miles Caches found : 13 Total caches found : 108