Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.
Autumn had well and truly arrived and the plan for this section of the Thames Path geocaching odyssey was to walk downstream towards Westminster, allowing for the usual geocaching diversions, and to see how far we got before weather, dusk or tiredness called an end to the day.
Rejoining the river at Barnes railway bridge, we soon reached our first caching target of the day, Power Station view, which had a good view of the disused Lots Road power station across the river, which used to power the London Undergound. And, admiring the view from just where we wanted to be, was a muggle. We sat down on the nearest bench we could find, and waited … and waited … and finally he picked up his shopping bag and strolled off. Then we moved across to this viewing place and had a very thorough search around before finding the cache thoroughly concealed, just where the muggle had sat!
Further along the towpath, we came to Battersea Park. Having never been there before, I’d imagined it would be just a big flat piece of grass, maybe a bit soggy as it was next to the river. But it is much, much better that that. Yes, there are open areas of grass, but also tree-lined paths, nature areas, a petting zoo, lakes, cafes, boating, statues, the whole lot. There were a few caches of various sizes dotted around the park; some we found, and some we didn’t; this wasn’t a huge surprise, as some of them had been missing for a while, but we felt we had to try …
And there was one other cache in the park. The starting point was the other side of the river, and the idea was that, if a projectile was fired with a particular velocity, direction, and angle, it would land at GZ. We decided to ‘reverse engineer’ this, and work out the correct location from a reverse bearing and from careful study of previous logs and pictures. It was a good idea, badly carried out; we did a sort of death spiral round the park, taking about an hour, gradually narrowing in on the cache, and doing rather more than one circuit as we did so. It kept us well occupied – what a great idea for a cache!
Rejoining the towpath where we had entered the park, just two hours after we went in – honour says that we can’t miss out bits of the Thames Path – we set off again, passing between Battersea Park and the Thames on a wide promenade, and pausing in front of a large pagoda. Pagoda??? A little bit of research later told us that it’s one of about 80 around the world, and was offered to London in 1984 by an order of Buddhist monks. ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/articles/2008/09/25/battersea_pagoda_feature.shtml )
There was just one more cache to find before leaving the park. It should have been hidden in the wall that separates promenade from riverbank. it wasn’t. We found it on the ground and in the open. Oops – not sure how it could have moved there by itself; we replaced it where it should have been and made sure it was well wedged.
We emerged into the noise and bustle of Chelsea Bridge Road. Immediately ahead, on this south side of the river, was Battersea Power Station, and the Thames Path makes a fairly big diversion around that, so much of the Thames Path down to Vauxhall Bridge isn’t actually by the river; and there aren’t many caches either. Therefore, our plan was to cross the river, to walk along the north side of the river, and then cross back at Vauxhall. Across Chelsea Bridge we went, turning right to walk along Grosvenor Road, with occasional glimpses of the river over a wall. I can’t really say that this was the best half-mile of the walk so far … We paused part way along to grab a Church Micro, Pimlico St Saviour, hidden along the railings of one of those typical London Squares.
As we approached Vauxhall Bridge, we were entering spy territory; the security services are based around here, and many of the caches hereabouts include
“This cache is located within an area frequently patrolled by Police & Security. Avoid acting suspiciously when searching, if challenged, explain about Geocaching”
in their description. So ‘Carry on Spying’, another from the series inspired by the Carry On films, was most appropriate. And we probably looked a bit suspicious while we were searching. The GPS just would not come up with a fixed location (other cachers have wondered if something ‘odd’ happens to GPS signals around here) and we spent a while feeling behind likely objects, before finding the cache within an arm’s length of where the hint said it should be.
To finish the day, we crossed back over the river and made for Vauxhall station, diverting just once more onto the Thames towpath to find ‘Traditional Cache I Spy (A 5th London Landmark)’ As with the first cache today, the last cache also had a muggle, standing just where the cache was likely to be. We decamped to a seat a little way off where we could keep an eye on him from a distance. Eventually he went away and we swooped on the cache.
A good, though not outstanding, day’s caching – and a splendid park.
Thames Path statistics :
Route length : 3.75 miles
Total distance walked : 171.25 miles
Caches found : 8
Total caches found : 307