September was drawing on and our caching had been light. We had also not visited RHS Wisley recently and its annual 5-week sculpture trail was coming to an end! We needed to fit them all in !
We arrived at Wisley and looked at the 60+ sculptures, many were very sinuous or etheral and perhaps aimed at the corporate market. However this year there seemed to be more ‘garden art’ and these three provided us with the most pleasure : a door to nowhere, a pig and a woodpecker!
The flowers at Wisley were still holding onto their summer resplendency but with a cache trail to undertake we didn’t look at every flower or vegetable!
We had cached all the trails near to Wisley, so we drove to an area North West of Woking and undertook part of the HG Ring series. The cache owners, Woking Wonders, named the HG series after Horsell Common and Goldsworth Park which the trail linked. HG, in the context of Woking, could also have meant HG Wells who lived there, as well as his novel ‘The War of the Worlds’ which he set there too.
Of course to us, who cache as HG137, the cache series had an entirely different meaning!
The HG Ring consists of 20 caches in a figure of 8, we undertook 12 caches on the Western loop, and deliberately left a couple of connecter caches to make the Eastern half more cache-heavy for a future visit.
We started at Goldsworth Park at cache 5A. Nearby two games of hockey were being played, and spectators, if they looked behind, would have seen us, peering at every tree we could find. Although there was only a couple of trees meeting the exact hint, the preceding cacher had hidden the cache extremely well, and we only found it after a 15 minute search.
Onto cache 6. Another long search. Several good candidate trees, but not much else. We searched long and hard. We were about to give up when two events happened simultaneously. Mrs HG137 noticed the tree bark was much, much smoother in one area and we were accosted by a muggle.
“What are you looking for?”. We explained. Fortunately as we were explaining, Mrs HG137’s eyes were drawn back to the smooth bark, and there hanging was the tiny cache. We showed it to our muggle acquaintance, rehung it, and moved on. Two very long searches.
Our next cache was almost as long, but here we managed to find the appropriate mossy log after only 5 minutes. We had left Goldsworth Park and for the rest of the walk barely saw anyone else on our journey. A few people washing cars, and children playing, but no-one to interrupt our (sometimes inept) searching.
We prayed for a quick find at our next location, but here too it took us ages. In fairness, tree cover caused the GPS to wobble, but 4 caches down and every one we had spent far too long at each location.
Many of the cache containers were film containers and the next few were easily found (thank goodness!) near stiles, under posts, in tree roots.
The route had taken us from a recreational ground, through woodland to an small open field. Here, as we walked along one edge of the field, a kestrel hovered on the far side. We marvelled at its ability to remain in flight with so little effort.
We arrived at a road, and no obvious footpath to follow. Left ? Right ? We guessed wrong! Then after consulting our OS Map, we corrected ourselves and walked through the worst footpath of the day. Stinging nettles and thistles snapped at our ankles and every pace we took was accompanied by a wince and a groan.
Two farmers watched our movements, each driving a tractor or JCB. They had flattened 2 electric fences, and drove off as we approached. This was useful as we had a cache to find – this time hidden under a bridge. Not only did we find the cache, but 2 trackables too. (A beautiful geocoin fish, and business card to the 2018 Yorkshire Mega).
We were turning for home, and a bit more tricky navigation, first through a farmyard, and second through woodland. We were not totally sure we followed the best (legal) route through Horsell Common, but we arrived at, and found each cache in turn. Many cache owners place caches at significant changes of direction – it was unclear to us why this hadn’t been done on this route.
Three caches from the end was an unexpected location. The cache was hidden in a small tree, right in the middle of the path. We were so astounded by this, our initial search had been at the larger tree at the side of the path! How this cache has remained in place without being muggled, is a testament to the good-folk of Woking no doubt.
A couple more road crossings, and we returned back into Goldsworth Park. Yet more games of hockey were being played. Fortunately our last cache was a quick find (reaching 6 foot up to a bole in a tree) and our route was complete. After a slow start we found all 12 caches we attempted !