Ten days into 2016 and we hadn’t been caching!
The gloriously wet weather had kept us in, and we were going stir crazy.
Wildmoor Heath (http://www.bbowt.org.uk/reserves/wildmoor-heath) is not renowned for its dryness, we’ve walked there several times before, but the terrain is quite sandy and around part of its perimeter is a boardwalk keeping the footpath above the mud and water.
There are six caches to be found on Wildmoor Heath, 5 set by South Berkshire District Scouts and the sixth seemed a large enough cache for us to drop off the ‘Famous Five Dick’ trackable.
So we set off on a reasonably fine day, setting out to dodge the mud as much as possible. We shortly arrived at the first cache, which according to the hint, was hidden in a silver birch. Well we have such a tree in our garden and there really are no hiding places in silver birches . Well those scouts had found a silver birch WITH a hiding place. And very clever it was too!
Our next cache was the only non-Scout cache and we made a naïve cacher’s mistake heading to it. We strayed away from a curving footpath and headed cross-country following a tiny track wending its way through tufts of heather. Fortunately the sandy nature of the Heath here, meant it wasn’t too muddy, but we did surprise a couple of muggle dog-walkers when we appeared on the main track from between gorse bushes!
We soon found the cache, but never have we seen such a wet cache! A great container, but somehow water had got in and there was over an inch of water deep inside! We decided not to leave the trackable here as ‘Famous Five Dick’ was an electric torch and we thought water and electric really didn’t mix.
Up to now we had avoided most of the mud, but our journey to the third cache (a cul-de-sac off the Heath’s circuit route) involved mud and puddles. Lots of them. We passed lots of really muddy dogs, and lots of people with muddy wellies with a good session of dog-cleaning when they returned home.
The third cache, a very simple find contained, much to our surprise, THREE trackables. We swapped ‘Dick’ with those three trackables.
Back through the mud we arrived back on our main circuit – finding our fourth cache (wedged in a tree, seen from some yards away) and our first encounter with the Wildmoor Heath Boardwalk.
The boardwalk took us around the Eastern Heath bypassing much of ponds and muddy water. Sadly the Southern edge of the Heath is a the base of a slope, and is the muddiest part … and has no boardwalk! We gingerly picked our way along, sometimes using temporary stick bridges, other times clinging to a decidedly unwieldy wire fence.
Once we were clear of this muddy section our final two caches were straightforward finds, in a holly tree and under a rotting log.
So six caches attempted, six found, leaving us one short of 1300 finds.
We finished the walk, surprisingly clean given the adverse conditions, but happy to be caching again after a few days stuck inside watching the rain. Roll on 2016 and please, please be drier!
Total caches found : 6
Year to date total : 6
Other caches we found included :