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.
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 …
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 …
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.