Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.
In the four years we’ve been geocaching, we’ve found just 26 caches in November. Well, that month had now come around again and it seemed a good idea to increase that total.
We’d selected a route not too far away, Farnham Rally Ramble, a 34-cache, 8-mile route. A read through of the descriptions suggested that this series would require collecting clues, solving puzzles (and sums), use of tools and other cunning stuff if we were going to find those geocaches, so we decided to split the route into sections and to make this a kind of ‘winter caching project’.
We duly assembled the equipment needed – here is the list as given :
– 2 litres of water (or the means to collect that quantity from local water sources).
– A weedling tool to get the logs out of small caches.
– Some Tape – Gaffer or Duct or PVC Electrical Insulating tape will do
– A few feet of String
– A piece of stiff wire, about 9” long, capable of being bent to form a hook.
– A print out of this cache page is recommended
– A Farnham area OS map would be very useful
(Editor’s note: at least it didn’t mention canoes or climbing equipment – phew!)
Parking near the busy A325 on the outskirts of Farnham, the first cache was almost within touching distance, quickly found, and contained a handy clue for later. So far, so good. But … we needed to find a nearby object with a number on it for us to use later, and we couldn’t find it. Not so good. It turned out that, with a bit of thought, we could derive the numbers. So no problem after all.
A track led away from the road, and almost immediately we were in open fields, close to the River Wey. Stopping to work out some numbers, and solve a bit of code, we used that information to find the site of the next cache, in a large old oak tree next to the river. We couldn’t find the cache, though, but as a large chunk of the tree had fallen off quite recently, we thought that the cache might have disappeared either then or in the subsequent clear up.
Our next mission was to cross the A31 to reach Bishop’s Meadow, heading towards Farnham. Crossing dual carriageways with fast traffic is never on my list of favourite things to do but it was OK and we picked up the riverside path again on the other side of the road.
Another cache was retrieved from a tree, some more numbers, for future use, were noted from a small sign, and we walked on, with the river not far away on one side, and the A31 not far away on the other. We diverged slightly to find another cache, the third of four attempted, stuck with a magnet to the side of a metal footbridge over the A31. And here things began to unravel…
Our next target was supposed to be hidden in a fence, somewhere, but we couldn’t find it (hindsight says that we got the right spot, at least once, but couldn’t work out what we needed to do). Time passed while we wandered fruitlessly up and down, giving up after a while and crossing the river and a side channel to arrive in Bishop’s Meadow ( http://www.bishopsmeadowtrust.org/ ) There were more numerical clues to be found here, somewhere in, on, or under the bridge, and another chance for us to not find them. More unavailing searching went on here, and we got very frustrated, as we couldn’t proceed much further without knowing those numbers to use to find the next cache. Mr Hg137 descended to river level to look for the clues, couldn’t find them, couldn’t get back up the slippery bank, and had to be hauled back up to the path. It was not going so well now.
Having found an intermediate stage for the next cache, which gave us a clue, but still without those numbers that would supply the coordinates, we tried to work out roughly were the cache ‘could’ be – somewhere along the edges and hedges of the meadow, and then tried a number of locations without success. The most likely location was by a large, rotting log, but the only thing we unearthed was a medium-sized rat, which scuttled off.
Once again, we gave up – it really wasn’t going so well now – and moved on to our next target. This time we had a location, which was in one of several large willow trees by a ditch and surrounded by … very large and very angry nettles. We tried several approaches, but couldn’t face the pain for long enough to get to the area, let alone search lots of trees. We returned to the other side of the ditch, and realised that we could see the cache, in view in a tree on … the other side of the ditch. Oh well – into the ditch we went, up the bank on the other side, and the cache was retrieved.
Seven caches attempted, four found, and three hours had gone by. The wind was getting up, and we were getting fed up. We decided to abandon our quest, as we were missing quite a bit of the information we needed to proceed further. We returned home, logged the caches, then contacted the owner, Kitey, to seek more help with the caches and clues we hadn’t found. He got back to us the next day, and it was not good news for our ‘winter caching project’. This cache series isn’t attempted very often, and a number of the caches and clues have gone missing. Kitey has decided to archive the series, and has suggested that we try another one of his series, also based around Farnham but starting in a slightly different place.
A new quest beckons!