February 26 : Wood

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

“Wood” is in the description for this trackable, but it doesn’t entirely describe what we found. The description reads:

“I once heard someone say that if you want a trackable to survive, you need to attach the tag to a rock or something else that nobody would want to keep. I, along with most cachers have experienced having a trackable item be stolen, or go missing. I’m testing my hypothesis that this trackable will last longer than others simply because it’s boring and ugly”

We lost the first trackable we placed, because we didn’t realise it would fare better if attached to a larger object, so we quite understand the above comments. And, it’s true, we found a trackable attached to a lump of wood. But it was also attached to something else – a model helicopter. This was very appropriate for the place we found the trackable, which was approximately opposite the gates of the RAF memorial above the River Thames at Runnymede.

And on to the journey of this trackable: it started its life in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in April 2016, with a goal of returning home. It was dropped off in Hong Kong, China, in May, and within a month had been picked up, shown off at a cacher’s meet, and transported to London, arriving in July. It moved to the Midlands, and was unlucky enough to get stuck, twice, in rarely visited caches. By September 2017 it was off to Scotland … where it had another wait, till August 2018, when it was found and taken to the Yorkshire Mega event. It was picked up by one of the organisers of the 2017 Mega, in Devon, and taken back there. After a brief trip round Devon, it went back to north-west England, attended some more caching events, and finally made a trip to Berkshire, which is where we found it.

That’s quite an adventure, and quite a lot of events: we suspect this is because of the size of the objects the trackable is attached to, which would limit the number of caches it could be placed in. Most simply aren’t that big! But we will take it along with us and will place it in the first cache it will fit inside and maybe it will get closer to its home in Canada.

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February 26 : Englefield Green

Englefield Green is a large village sandwiched between Windsor Great Park, Egham and Staines-upon-Thames.

We attempted 10 caches in three separate locations within the village; these locations were over a mile apart so we moved our car between each.

St Judes, Englefield Green

Our first location, centred around the village centre, involved finding 3 Church Micros. The first two, were combined as a Church Micro Twin. The two churches (St Andrews, a Greek Orthodox Church and St Judes, Church of England) each had three waypoints to find – with degrees of overlap between them. We walked between the waypoints, and wrote down numbers making sure we kept the two sets apart.

St Andrew’s, Englefield Green

However when we undertook the two calculations we realised we’d gone wrong! We’d misinterpreted our findings from the Greek Church, so we re-calculated and arrived at two more plausible locations.

We were still unsure of our calculations, so we proceeded to the nearest location, and after a but of rummaging found the cache. Inside the Tupperware box, was a beautiful and apt log holder.

This gave us confidence walk to the location of the second cache. It was hidden some distance from the Churches, passing by a residential area on the outskirts of the village. A quick find meant we could head for our third Church Micro (the Church of the Assumption of our Lady, Catholic).

The Church of the Assumption of Our Lady, Englefield Green

Here we looked for 2 adjacent benches to acquire some dates. However one of the benches had been moved, and it took us a few minutes to find it. The benches did give a good opportunity for an early lunch, and a good spot to work out the final cache co-ordinates. An easy find at what was a very apposite spot for a Church Micro.

Open countryside

We returned to the car and moved it to the Village Green area of Englefield Green. Here we would undertake a 1-2 mile walk in the countryside attempting to locate 6 caches. These were all standard caches – no multi calculations to undertake. This walk was very pleasurable, at times the traffic noise from the A30 and M25 were inaudible. Few, if any houses, were in view – we could have been far out in the country, instead of the extreme outskirts of London.

A ‘Little Bridge’ – but where is the cache?

The caches were, on the whole, fairly straightforward finds. The easiest was by a stile, completely uncovered.

Three were hidden in woodland, where on each occasion our GPS wobbled and we walked around in a several spirals until we arrived at the appropriate hiding place. The remaining two are best described as being attached to ‘poles and pipes’ ! All six caches were fairly standard cache containers… with one exception…a mouse!

Our last cache, was another short drive away. It was hidden just outside the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede. We didn’t have time to visit the Memorial itself (it lists all 20000 members of the air Services lost during WWII) but we did pause to remember the fallen by the entrance gates. (Our pause was slightly enforced, as two large lorries were vying for road-space in a relatively narrow lane, near where we were standing!).

Air Forces Memorial, Runnymede

The cache yielded an interesting trackable, Wood. There was an object connected to Wood – a helicopter. We weren’t sure whether to take the trackable or not (since it was in an apt location), but we did and we will blog about its adventures shortly.

So 10 caches attempted and 10 found. Three church micros undertaken and a pleasant walk in the country too.

Here are some of the caches we found :


February 15 : Trackable Smiler

Our walk around Weston Patrick took us to Erika’s Treasure Chest, about a quarter of a mile from our car and a quick find. Inside the sizeable container, was a trackable. a plastic shark, called Smiler.

Smiler

Smiler


Originally Smiler was an aluminium shark released in the UK with the intention of seeking out coastal locations to terrorise. (The plastic shark features an uneaten human leg!). Smiler did indeed travel the world visiting several caches in Peru and Brazil as well as major cities in Australia. Its journey to Australia was via Korea and one of the most famous stations in that country – Gangnam. The cache it visited is, of course, “Gangnam Style” where finders are invited to pose in front of signboard showing associated dance moves! It is not clear whether Smiler took part in this activity!

Sadly the Aluminium Shark was retrieved from a cache ion Poltimore, Devon in 2016 and never put back in the wild.
After 2 years out of a cache, the original owner. Bizkitman, replaced it with a plastic variant to resume its quest of coastal locations.

We are not visiting the coast soon, but we will move it on, into a suitable container, at the earliest opportunity!.

February 15 : Weston Patrick – the return – a warm day in Hampshire

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

On the first Saturday in of 2019, we attempted a caching walk round Weston Patrick, south of Basingstoke. It was cold, very cold, and bleak, very bleak, with a damp wind that gradually seeped into the bones. We gave up halfway round, cold and miserable.

Six weeks later, we parked in the same place as before and started to retrace our steps, in reverse order, around the second half of the Weston Patrick (WP) series. But weren’t we in a different season? The sky was blue, not grey, the sun was warm, though there was still frost in the shadows, and there was a gentle, soft breeze, not a biting, cold wind. We set off to enjoy the walk, in sparkling, early spring sunshine, with skylarks singing overhead.




We skirted Weston Patrick village/hamlet on paths and a sunken lane, then walked gently uphill on a track between freshly cut hedges. When the track ran out the path continued along a field edge, then into woods. As we went, we paused to rummage in prickly hedges, behind trees, under stones, searching for geocaches, and mostly finding them. There were some interesting caches here, some hanging, some camouflaged, some attached by magnets, with a variety of containers and log books and a couple with ‘oooh’ Halloween-ish frissons.

I bite!

I bite!


The frost was all gone by now, and it was nicely warm. After bypassing a large tree, fallen across the path, we stopped for coffee. Nearby was – umm – a dead pigeon wedged into the cleft of a branch, probably a future meal for a local bird of prey. Mr Hg137 said that I should search it for a cache. I declined …
Blocked path ...

Blocked path …


By late morning, we’d reached the ‘last’ cache in the series (last for us, we’d now attempted all the others). It was hidden somewhere in grown-up hazel coppicing. Could we find it? No! One tree looks very much like another and we gave up after searching what seemed like the while plantation. (Editor’s note: no one else has found it since us, perhaps it has gone missing.)
So many trees, all alike ...

So many trees, all alike …


Next was a diversion to find a single cache, ‘Baymans Lane’, not part of any series. The best route seemed to be along some tracks, that didn’t appear on our map. It turns out that these are private service roads for the Humbly Grove oilfield. But no-one spotted us …

After a picnic lunch, we debated on the best route back to the geocar. Should we retrace our way back round the first half of the WP series, looking for any caches we missed on our first visit? Or should we head back on a bridleway through the woods to find another solitary cache? We decided on the second of these, as it would mean searching for a different cache, not a re-search of somewhere we’d been earlier. This was a nice idea, and a very pleasant walk in the sunshine through more woods and fields, but it had two flaws: First flaw: we couldn’t find the cache (it’s quite old, seldom visited, left over from a caching event) : Second flaw: we didn’t realise, but we might have bumped into other cachers if we had chosen the other way.

On our return to the geocar, there was now a second car parked alongside it. It’s a tiny lay-by, out in the country – hmm – more cachers? Our hunch was correct as we logged the caches and read our logs interspersed with those from biscuit_girl. She was much more dedicated than us, completing the whole series, starting in daylight and finishing as it got dark. Here is her review of the series, which sums it up better than I can:

What a wonderful series! We have thoroughly enjoyed our walk round this afternoon and we only logged 5 DNFs. I think this might be my best day of caching yet! The weather was lovely and the scenery picture postcard perfect of the English countryside. We even got to see the moon as we made our way back to the car. Today I’ve managed to lose a hat, break my sunglasses, seen a dead pigeon (frankly this was very spooky and put me off the search at that GZ!) and my feet are a little sore! But I’ve had the most wonderful day … It was so peaceful and I enjoyed all the well thought out and interesting hides and containers. Thank you so much to the CO for setting out and maintaining this lovely series, a favourite point given ❤️ … don’t think I’ve walked that far in ages!

Here are some of the caches we found. Some of the others will appear in our ‘caches of the year’ post later on.

February 9 : Brainwork needed for National Series caches in Bagshot

Bagshot is only a few miles from home, we’d never cached there and with Storm Erik due to blow in bad weather later, it seemed the ideal place to go.

St Anne’s Church, Bagshot


We were attempting 6 caches and all of them (unusually) were part of National Series :

– 2 were Church Micro caches (numbers 186 and 1326)
– 1 was a War Memorial cache (number 618)
– 1 was a Postcode cache (number 90)
– 1 was a Drinking Fountain/Trough (number 26)

The Centre of Bagshot

Of the six caches only one was a standard cache (the post code cache). The coordinates for this were very exact, and – apart from being in a very public space,opposite a supermarket on a Saturday morning (!) – should have been a straightforward find. It did though take us two attempts to find the magnetic nano hidden under some street furniture.

Where is this ?


Two of the other caches were mystery caches. One (the Drinking Fountain) involved finding a Drinking Fountain/Trough in Bagshot – from a picture, and then finding a cache nearby. Mr Hg137 has driven by the Trough on many occasions, but had never seen it! (Probably concentrating on his driving … is his excuse!)

The other mystery cache was one of the Church Micros. The only information we had, was that the cache was within 100 metres of the supplied coordinates. We both walked 100 metres in opposite directions searching any appropriate hiding place. When we met up minutes later, we hadn’t found the cache. Mrs Hg137 had then read a few logs, and this sparked Mr Hg137’s brain into overdrive as suddenly the hint became clear. Disappointingly Mr Hg137 had been very close to the cache minutes before.. and while Mrs Hg137 was still mentioning other logs, Mr Hg137 purposefully strode to the cache!

A pleasant change from pavements!


The three other caches were multis. Two were very simple – visit one location transcribe a few numbers, calculate a new set of coordinates.

Bagshot’s War Memorial

Simple! Well, simple for one cache… as it led down a small footpath to a quick find.

St Anne’s Chapel


As for the other simple cache…our maths was correct…but our transcription was wrong. We misread a digit from a gravestone and walked half a mile looking for a non-existent cache. We tried a simple correction, without re-visiting the graveyard, but this yielded nothing, so in the end we walked back the graveyard and discovered the true correction to our error. Grr!

The cache is definitely NOT here!


The remaining multi cache (the Village Hall) was a six stage multi. We were able to see from the geocache waypoint map, where many of the stages were, and this enabled us to combine the stages with two other caches. We did cheat a bit with the six stage multi, as we never looked for stage 1 (!). It required extracting two dates, but because the cache owner had provided a handy checksum we could make an educated guess for the final hiding place. We were right!

St Anne’s Village Hall, Bagshot

So a brain-achy morning in Bagshot – lots of calculations, lots of ‘where would we hide a cache’, and all complete before Storm Erik blew through!

Three of the caches we found were :

February 6 : Keltic Kankine

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

We found two trackables while caching in the woods near Ottershaw. This was the second, found in our final cache of the day.

Keltic Kankine

Keltic Kankine


It’s owned by Hothfield Hillbillys, who released it while on holiday in Cornwall in October 2015, with the hope that it would travel round the British Isles, then return to Kent.

Apart from a very brief visit to Italy and Spain, it has done exactly that, travelling around the southern half of the Britich Isles, from Cornwall, to Wales, to the Midlands, and is now south-west of London, so it is getting (slowly) nearer to Kent. We’ll move it a little further on its way.

February 6 : Trackable : Fly Little Bug Fly

During our walk around Ottershaw we found 2 trackables.

The first was this cloth badge with a German motif. Clearly from Borussia Munchen Gladbach it was also tagged ‘Miami’. We’ve seen many travel bugs over the years, but this has been our first cloth badge.

The trackable has visited both Germany and Miami in its 5 year history. On its European travels the badge has visited caches on Austria, Luxembourg, France, Liechtenstein, Croatia, the Channel Islands. It has criss-crossed the southern UK reaching no further North than Birmingham.

It has traversed the USA too, from Seattle in the West, Las Vegas, Denver, Philadelphia and of course Miami in the East. We’re not sure we can take it to such exciting locations.. but we’ll try!