Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.
On the second day of our trip to the Isle of Wight to partake in the walking festival, we had chosen an afternoon walk, but first we planned to spend a morning geocaching nearby. We chose the Roke Mead circuit, a series of six caches, plus a bonus, to be located by collecting clues from the other caches.
Parking in a one-car sized layby opposite a duckpond, we set off across the fields into a howling wind (it’s not supposed to be this windy in May, surely, we read that there were gusts to 60mph!). The first cache was hidden amongst ivy, and we found it quite quickly in spite of us being rubbish at finding anything, anything at all, where ivy is involved. On we went, following part of the Nunwell Trail, which crosses the island from Sandown to Ryde. The second cache was also retrieved very smoothly, but, on unfolding the log, we spotted a familiar handle on the log … the last people to sign it, 4 days before, were Robb-Inn, geocachers who live only a few miles from us … were they still on the island, we wondered, and had they failed to find the first cache in the series? (Robb-Inn’s blog is in our blogroll, but here’s another link to it http://therobbinn.com/ )
We battled on into the gale, finding a third cache cunningly concealed in a stile, before turning aside to walk through a short belt of pine trees and collect the fourth cache in the series, where we dropped off the Suter’s pub crawl trackable and paused for refreshment. It was a brief pause indeed, the wind was very strong and those pine trees were moving around much more than we liked, so we didn’t linger just in case something fell on us! A short stroll took as through a smallholding and out to a lane, where the fifth cache of the series, the most conventional yet, was found close to the railway line. The sixth cache is temporarily unavailable, though the number clue is available elsewhere.
And by now we were almost back at the duckpond. We paused, did the sums from the numbers we had collected, and very close to our start point we found the bonus cache. And what great containers! It’s always good when a bonus cache is worthy of the effort put into solving the series. Both the inner cache and outer shell were worthy containers in their own right (neither is a simple plastic box!); one picture appears later in this blog, and one will be reserved for our end-of-year special cache roundup.
Lunch was taken by the duckpond. More strictly, lunch was taken while trying to fend off one of the ducks. What a splendid series – lovely views, pleasant countryside, inventive containers, and friendly (ducky) inhabitants.
The afternoon’s walk, chosen from the festival programme, was ‘Ashey Amble’, with about 20 festival walkers, ably led by Jamie and Gareth, two local wildlife rangers. They knew their subject and were enthusiastic and eloquent in communicating it; barely a tree was passed or a flower admired without an explanation on habitat, planting, or land management. One of them started the walk carrying a bucket. Why? Would we get hungry? But no, the contents weren’t for us, but for their four Hebridean sheep who came to visit us and claim their reward.
PS And what of local (to us) cachers Robb-Inn? We contacted them to say we’d spotted their logs – it turned out that they had done part of the series a few days before us, and part at another time. We’ve since seen that they’ve gone back for the bonus cache.