July 15 : Hatchlands Park (and surrounding area)

Hatchlands Park

Hatchlands Park, East Clandon Surrey, is a National Trust property with extensive parkland set around a Georgian property. The parkland is open most days, but the Georgian house, with 6 rooms set out in the early Robert Adam style, has limited days opening. Today just the parkland was open, and with it a small circuit of 11 geocaches for us to find.

We’ve discovered before that geocaches on National Trust land are not so well maintained, as the geocaches serve as ‘introduction caches’ to non-geochers – consequently containers are not always as well hidden as they might be.
This has the knockon effect of being moved, picked up by someone else thinking the cache is litter. Hopefully this wouldn’t happen today!

Our first target though was a Church Micro in East Clandon. Unfortunately we drew a blank here, as the cache, we have subsequently found out, went missing. Cache 2001 would have wait!

East Clandon church


We didn’t have to wait long, as the first cache in Hatchlands Park was near to the entrance gate. A large tree, with copious tree roots. We grovelled around for a few minutes before finding the largish container full of goodies. The log book was a National Trust Hatchlands Park notebook. Very posh! Indeed many of the containers we found we similar large pots, each with a NT notebook inside.

Typical cache contents


Our second cache, again in tree roots, was visible from some distance away. Fortunately in a corner of the park rarely visited but we did our best to hide better.

The ‘wetter than we would have liked’ coffee spot


It was here we had our disaster of the day! We had paused for coffee, and we were using a brand new thermos flask. This had an added ‘feature’ of a lipped top to make pouring easier. We had also not verified the base of the thermos was fully tightened. And so it was, as we poured coffee using the lip, the base came apart and boiling hot coffee spilled over maps, pens, haversack and our clothing. We’ve also discovered the ‘lip’ meant coffee could escape from the thermos if the flask wasn’t upright! Our warning to you… a lip might look a good feature…but unless you can guarantee to keep a full flask absolutely upright, do not buy it!

Quiet paths


After much washing down we walked on around the parkland. The path took an oval circuit around paddocks, and grassland. As we walked on, of course the path became busier and busier – invariably as we neared a cache site.


Sometimes the caches were hidden in fallen logs, other times ‘rabbit holes’ and under seats. The most memorable was the last cache we found. A large box container 20 or so film canisters. But which one contained the log to sign? We set about opening a canister at a time, until – about 15 pots in – we found the one with the log! Great fun!

Where’s the log ?


The drizzle which had been with us on and off all day got slightly heavier, and we found with exceptional good fortune the covered picnic area just in time for lunch. A few people looked in on us, but most were exercising dogs and were on a route march to get back to the car without getting too wet.

Is here a good spot for lunch ?


We had one cache to find 500 feet away, again in tree roots. Sadly for us, this was our only DNF at Hatchlands Park. Three very obvious hosts to look at, but the container had gone AWOL. (Reading subsequently logs, someone had taken the cache back to the Picnic Area and left the cache near a tree some 500 feet from where it should have been!) No wonder we didn’t find it!

We left Hatchlands Park via a children’s play area, with fantastic wooden sculptures, a tree house, and a small animal area. This is a good idea, as, it means the ‘boring cultural’ visit can be traded against visiting the animals and play area.

Our caching day was not yet over, as just a couple of miles south of East Clandon we had two more caches to find. ‘A cache with a view’ did indeed have a view, sadly the light drizzle meant the towers of London were not that visible. A week later the ‘Ride London’ bike race would pass this spot, and as we searched for both this cache and a nearby puzzle cache we were aware that many enthusiasts were out training and learning the route.

A view.. sadly the cyclist can’t see it!

Good job we didn’t come a week later!

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July 1 : Elvetham

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

Elvetham Heath: nature reserve

Elvetham Heath: nature reserve


Our 2000-cache milestone was not far off, and we had a date planned/hoped for when we wanted to reach it, but we needed to get closer first. So we were out again, heading back close to Fleet again. On a warm, cloudy, muggy Saturday, we parked in the centre of Elvetham, a suburb of Fleet, unnoticed among the many shoppers. Our main objective was the ‘Nature Reserve’ series, placed in and around the many green spaces in Elvetham. But first, something different, neither green nor spacious, a cache from the ‘Off Yer Trolley’ series, which are based around supermarkets. We followed the GPS to the likely location, which was … somewhere in the recycling area. We poked around behind metal bins and fences, and eventually found the cache, while getting puzzled glances from the man emptying the clothes recycling container.
Our start point!

Our start point!


After that, it wasn’t far till we were off the roads and into the nature reserve, an area of trees and heathland, criss-crossed by good paths. There are about a dozen caches, plus a bonus, spread about the reserve and some of the suburban residential area. I’ll describe the bonus cache first (though we didn’t necessarily do it first, I’m just concealing its exact position!) It was a puzzle cache, with three cryptic clues. We had managed to solve two of the three, which left us with a not-too-big rectangular area to search. Luckily for us, just one path crossed this patch, and a detailed search by both of us all along the sides of the path eventually found the cache. We never have worked out what the third clue meant …

Now for the rest of the series. We set off past a small pond, with interesting carved picnic tables, through trees and along gravel paths and boardwalks over boggy areas. There were lots of muggles out and about, walking dogs, accompanying their scooter-riding children, and just taking the air. It was good to see it so well used, but it did make it harder to find an undisturbed moment to retrieve each cache as we arrived at it. After three successful finds, it all went wrong at the fourth cache, when we spent an unproductive few minutes furtling in the roots of birch trees and finding nothing.

Moving on, the next cache had the intriguing name ‘Doris the Destroyer’. Who or what, we wondered, was Doris, and should we worry? It turned out that storm Doris felled a tree, making a hiding place for a cache …

On again, we got closer to the M3, and it got noisier. The next cache was called ‘Puzzle Box’ and a LOT of other finders had marked it as a favourite, so we felt it must have something special. The other finders also said that the published co-ordinates were not quite right. Both of those comments were true: we spent another few minutes pootling about at the edge of some trees before finding – literally – a box which was a puzzle. After some false starts, sliding, and pressing, we finally made it to the inner place that held the log. Ho hum: if we had known this cache existed, we might have set it up to be our milestone 2000th cache.

We walked on, past the edge of the nature reserve, away from the motorway, and back into roads and houses. Another cache was found. A previous cacher’s log said it all: “Easy for us, invisible to muggles”. A little further on, we approached another cache, named ‘Vertically Challenged’. Perfectly named, no way could I reach that! Mr Hg137 was delegated to swarm up a fence, and then a pole. At a stretch he just, just reached the cache container.

Vertically challenged

Vertically challenged


As we had been walking in a circle (ish), we were getting back to our starting point and had only one more cache, Redwood, to attempt. We like Redwoods! Well Mr Hg137 does! He can barely walk by one without knuckle thumping it (do it, it’s different from other trees). Also SEQUOIA, its true name, is one of only a few 7 letter words which contain 5 different vowels. None of that helped us: all the possible hiding places on the tree were either empty or were twelve feet in the air. We used a couple of branches to try to ascertain if anything lurked within. Nope. Sadly for us it was a DNF (did not find) – especially as we wanted the ‘RED’ for a ‘snooker challenge’ cache. (Editor’s note: the cache was missing and has since been replaced.)

To sum up: it’s always sad to end on a failure, but overall this is an excellent little series with well-kept caches hidden in creative ways over surprisingly varied terrain, in yet another place close to where we live, but have never visited.

Here are some of the caches we found:

May 22 : Battle (of Hastings)

Hi,
As we mentioned on our previous blog, we were on a week’s holiday in Hastings.

Battle

Battle Abbey


There is one attraction high on every Hastings visitor’s list, and that is to see where the Battle of Hastings was fought. Interestingly it was not fought in Hastings. It was fought in, what is now a small town, called Battle – a few miles North of Hastings.

We arrived to visit Battle Castle, Battle Abbey, and the battleground itself. We arrived early, and in front of us, were over 100 French school children. The French invasion continues! (We think there is a French invasion every so often just to make sure we still say ‘William won’ and don’t conveniently announce ‘fake news’ that ‘Harold won’).

While we waited for the doors to open, we able to find our first cache of the day, in a red phone box. A quick easy find.

First cache of the day!


We mingled in the town square, as we had time to collect numbers for a multi-cache. The numbers were on plaques on the ground but the French students were constantly walking over them! We made a calculation, decided the direction and concluded…’save that cache for later’.

The doors were open, and the French students had disappeared.

Battle

Sussex Landscape from the top of the Castle

Battle

View of Battle from the Castle top!

Now it must be said here, we do castles thoroughly. Every room, much be checked. Every turret climbed. Every window looked out of. So after an hour or so, we ticked the Castle battlements of the list. We then saw a video explaining why there was a battle, and how William won.

Time for coffee, in a very well constructed play area. All the apparatus were mediaeval themed, it was a shame we were just a bit to big!

The walk circumnavigating the battlefield was just as interesting. Wooden sculptures kept interest high, as did the commentary and its conjecture that Harold could have won (don’t tell those French schoolchildren!).

Battle

The Battlefield, Harold at the top of the hill, William at the bottom

Finally we looked at the Abbey ruins. Erected as a ‘penance’ by William after the Battle, but destroyed by Henry VIII during the reformation. The abbey was surprisingly large, and one got a real feel for how monastic life took place.

By now we were shattered, and we still had caches to find in Battle.

The first a Church Micro a few yards away from the Abbey. We walked right passed the cache to start with, and then discovered our nemesis covering, ivy, was involved. It came therefore as a small shock that we found it relatively quickly.

Battle Church

Battle Church


We had two final caches to find. One was the multi we had calculated earlier, the other a puzzle cache which was a simple solve (it required knowledge of the EXACT date of the Battle – everyone knows its 1066, but what was the day and month ?). We discovered both caches were near each other, on the same path…so we headed in that direction hoping for two quick, easy finds….

Alas no!

The first we came to was the puzzle cache. We soon realised we could get no closer than 100 feet from the cache without going through dense undergrowth and fording a stream. Hmm – best review again after we’ve found the other cache.

A simple hint ‘fourth post after the pointer’. We counted, we searched. Nothing. We searched different posts. Nothing, We returned to the original and somehow dislodged the well hidden cache. Phew!

Back to the puzzle cache. Our first problem was fording the river. We saw a bridge, sadly it led us away from the cache…we decided the give up, and return to the car. But as were doing do, we saw a simpler way to ford the stream. It did involve walking back another 250 yards, and eureka there was the cache. Perched precariously in tree roots, in a slippery slope.

Last cache of the day !


Mr Hg137 retrieved the cache, but as he leant over to replace it, batteries fell out of his haversack. Somehow the top pocket was open and out spilled the contents! Grr! More slipping and sliding, batteries retrieved, safely stowed and all 4 caches found ! Success!

January 21 : Sandhurst to Sandhurst (Kent) : North Camp to Wanborough

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

Today we had the crisp, sunny winter’s day we had hoped for on our last day. It was a beautiful morning, but, my oh my it was cold!


Starting at North Camp station, we set off south along a diversion from the official Blackwater Valley path. We saw a notice on a post about unauthorised change of use of the land by the rivers, and have also heard (but can’t confirm) that the landowner closed the riverside path around then. Anyway, that meant a walk along a bumpy track, with many an icy puddle, sandwiched between the A331 and some gravel pits. Soon we returned to the river, and went to find out first cache, a puzzle cache called ‘Follow you, follow me’; luckily, we’d got the puzzle correct and were the first to find the cache since September 2016. Like us, most geocachers find fewer caches in the winter than the summer because the weather is darker, colder, and wetter.

The start of the walk - near North Camp

The start of the walk – near North Camp


We went on along the river, enjoying the sunlit morning, seeing mist rising from the river, and watching the local birdlife – ducks on the river and, once, a jay. We stopped to watch a heron – I was so engrossed in taking pictures that I failed to spot a cyclist coming along and nearly got run down… The next two caches were along the riverbank, among trees or a sign overlooking the river (just a bit of creaking from the fence as Mr Hg137 climbed up to collect it). Soon after we left the Blackwater path to climb up onto the Basingstoke Canal. At last our direction was altering, and more in line with our quest; thus far we had been going south, to skirt the nearby, off-limits, army ranges. Just as we reached the foot of the canal aqueduct there was a flash of turquoise, then another – a kingfisher! What a great farewell to the river!

Once up on the aqueduct, we turned aside a few yards to look for the first of three caches in the ‘Oddballs 1st Mission series’. We found it, but it was leaky and the log was frozen stiff, and we couldn’t remove it from the cache, let alone sign it. We did little better with the next two caches, also from the same series, which we couldn’t find at all – some TLC is needed for those caches methinks.
A new friend for Mr Hg137!

A new friend for Mr Hg137!


A coffee break was taken. It felt pleasantly warm in the bright sunshine, though the ground was still frozen and the canal icy. Almost immediately a robin appeared and took a fancy to Mr Hg137. I thought it was the red bobble hat which was the attraction … We succumbed to its blandishments and fed it part of our lunch. Leaving the canal soon after, we walked down through Ash, passing the striking church (why isn’t there a Church Micro cache here?) and eventually turned eastward along a green lane. At last we were heading in roughly the right direction! Along here, we came across three caches all from the same series – based on Italy – Rome/Venice/Pompeii – all very similar neat, tidy caches, mostly not found for a bit.
Basingstoke Canal

Basingstoke Canal


The path changed to a track, then to tarmac, and we were at ‘Christmas Pie’. A good name for a place! There was a puzzle cache here based on information to be found on the village sign. We worked out the puzzle but couldn’t find the cache. We’ve checked our results later, and they were correct, so maybe we’ll stop off for another try at the start of our next walk?


Wanborough station was a little further on, the end of the day’s walk. There was one more cache here, overlooking the railway line, from the ‘Sidetracked’ series (they are near stations). A short wait later, the train took us back to North Camp and the start of our walk. In a few minutes, we retraced a route which had taken us a few hours to travel on foot.

The end of the walk - Wanborough station

The end of the walk – Wanborough station


We found eight of the eleven caches we attempted. Here are some of them, along with our touring trackable:

November 5 : No fireworks in Farnham!

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.

Go geocaching and meet 'fun guys'!

Go geocaching and meet ‘fun guys’!


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.

Bishop's Meadow, Farnham

Bishop’s Meadow, Farnham, on a grey November day


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.

Into the ditch!

Into the ditch!


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!

PS Here are a couple of the other caches we found:

July 31 : Geolympix MEGA, Ashridge Estate

Bridgewater Monument, Ashridge Estate

Bridgewater Monument, Ashridge Estate

Caching Mega

Geolympix banner

Four years ago, the UK held its first Geolympix event in Oxford. That event was so successful that, this year, again coinciding with the Summer Olympic Games, the second Geolympix event was held.

Like the previous event this soon reached MEGA status with well over 500 cachers attending. The Ashridge estate near Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire is a large area (5000 acres) of woodland and open fields – ideal for geocaching. The estate is owned by the National Trust event and all the caches were placed with their consent.

Cachers gathering

Cachers gathering

Visitors from the USA

Visitors from the USA


A duck (on the back of bike) - yes really!

A duck (on the back of a bike) – yes really!

Cachers came from far and wide, including USA, Finland, Ireland, Cornwall and Yorkshire to our knowledge. Many of the cachers had t-shirts with trackable numbers on, others had bags and even plastic ducks with trackable numbers waiting to be discovered!

Lots of different events had been put on including caching exhibitors, a film festival, a talk on caching efficiency, National Geocaching Awards, and much besides. To give the event an ‘Olympic’ feel there were certain challenges that could be undertaken – could you find 26 caches in a day beginning with each letter of the alphabet, could you spell your caching name with the cache initials, could you find 11 caching types (icons) in 24 hours ? Reading the online logs after the event many people did undertake some of these challenges.

For sale :Quirky Caches aka JJEF caches

For sale :Quirky Caches aka JJEF caches

Adam Redshaw and his UK Cache Mag

Adam Redshaw and his UK Cache Mag

There were of course straightforward caches to be found and also some lab caches to undertake. Lab caches were a new concept to us, but primarily we visited a location, solved a simple puzzle to derive a code word, and then to claim the lab cache find enter the ‘code word’ into the lab cache website. We managed to find the code words hidden in a crossword, the underside of a rubber duck, locating and reading a QR code and solving a simple number substation code. All good fun but no actual caching container to find!

Many of the caches available to be found had been set out in the weeks preceding the event. We had loaded over 30 and we knew some more would be ‘released’ at midday. Our plan was to be alone in the woods at midday, and see if we could be the First-to-Find for one of these caches.

We starting caching at around 1015 and for the first few caches we didn’t need much geocaching skill. We were following the crowd! Every Ground Zero, had a cluster of cachers passing the log from person to person. As midday approached we did achieve our aim of being alone. We turned on our phone and tried for an internet connection. None. We tried again. Nope. And again.. our plans of attempting a First-to-Find were being thwarted by a poor broadband signal. In the end we gave up and continued our caching trail around the estate.

The next cache we found after this, was Britain’s Oldest Log. Apparently this was Britain’s second oldest cache, placed hours after Britain’s first cache back in 2001, but this cache was the first cache to be found – hence it has the oldest log!

Eventually the further we got from the Mega Hub, we saw fewer and fewer people. Caching was more relaxed, we could search in our own way, cursing the GPS signal, cursing the tree cover and generally having a relaxed walk finding caches.

Standing on a log, Mrs Hg137 just reaches this cache

Standing on a log, Mrs Hg137 just reaches this cache

There were three main series we attempted caches from : Cyclerama, Cyclerama Cross-Country and Home of the Fallen Trees. Of these the Home of the Fallen Trees had the more ingenious hides. Generally hidden in a fallen tree/log .. and lots of places to search!

Fallen tree location

Fallen tree location


We found two multicaches on route – both we made a bit of mistake with. Normally we transcribe the questions/formula for multi-caches so we can easily write down the answer. However we didn’t do it this time, and as a result were totally unprepared when we arrived at multi-cache. It was lucky that there cachers around at one of them, as we needed a phone to swipe a ‘yellow post’ to derive the final co-ordinates.
Ashridge Estate - lots of cache hiding places

Ashridge Estate – lots of cache hiding places

Ashridge Estate - lots of cache hiding places

Ashridge Estate – lots of cache hiding places


We finished our caching route about 330 ish and headed back to the hub. We hoping to meet with ‘Washknight’ You may have read his ‘Geocaching Blind’ blogs (see also left of this blog). He lives near to the site and had been nominated for one of the Geocaching awards. We sat on a log, drinking a well earned cup of coffee. Had we missed him ? We were wearing bright orange, sorry VERY BRIGHT ORANGE, T-shirts so we might be spotted. But we saw his party first. We had a great chat, and we wished him well for the Award Ceremony (sadly he didn’t win).. but it was great to meet someone whose adventures we have enjoyed reading
for the last year or so. (Ed : if you want to see how orange those T-shirts were, visit washknight’s blog).
Sam, Shar and Paul aka Washknight

Sam, Shar and Paul aka Washknight


We took a different route back to the car and found two more caches. One was almost a ‘gimme’ as we saw two cachers emerging from the bushes who told us the hint and where to look. We went over and found it… it was one of the caches released that day! So not exactly the first to find…but definitely in the top 20!
A very enjoyable, exhausting day. We walked about 7 miles, attended one event (the Mega), logged 4 lab caches, 2 multicaches and 19 standard caches. A great haul…but we discovered when we got home this made our total cache count..1599! If only we had attempted one more!

Some of the caches :

Footnote : We have subsequently read Washknight’s blog. They found a cache, which we found very early on in the morning. It wasn’t too hard to find (it was technically a puzzle cache), as it was behind large letters spelling the word “GEOCACHE” ! However the paper log had no reference as to what the cache number was so we couldn’t log it online. We now have that number, so we have logged the cache online giving us the magic 1600 caches. Woo hoo!

July 2 : Sunningdale

Many of our recent caching trips had been some distance from home. We realised we hadn’t found many caches within 10 miles of our house for some time! Today, with bad weather forecast, was the morning to put that right.

Sunningdale Church

Sunningdale Church


A small series in Sunningdale, Berkshire was our target and what a fine series it was. We loaded lots of other Sunningdale caches into our GPS thinking that if we were quick finders (Ed : wishful thinking !), or the rain held off (Ed : even more wishful thinking!) we would have plenty to do.

Our first target was a puzzle cache in the ‘Famous Berkshire Residents series’. We had solved the puzzle before setting out, and realised the co-ordinates were near a handy parking space yards from the Sunningdale circuit. We parked up, and searched. Read the hint. Searched some more. Re-read the hint. Searched again. Nothing. The advantage of parking so close to the mystery GZ, was that we could have another attempt later.

On route to Coworth Polo

On route to Coworth Polo


And so onto the ‘Sunningdale Circuit’. This was a very well thought out circuit in a predominantly semi-urban area. Most of the route was by roads mainly minor, but did include the notoriously busy A30! There were some footpaths too, most of which were very passable given the rain we had had recently.

The first cache was near a bowling club, and we just about got away with finding the cache while bowlers were arriving at their venue. Our slight problem here, was the cache was embedded in a road sign, we initially looked at the wrong one, and then it was ages before we found the cache in the correct location. (This series wasn’t going to be easy).

Our next WAS an easy find. The cache log was hidden within a very life-like brick. With a small amount of rubble around it, it was very well hidden. Then to a gate. Here again we started our search at the wrong end, but once we had swapped ends, the cache was easy. A disappointing feature of the whole series was the smallness of caches, no space for goodies or trackables.

The gate lead to a footpath, which soon opened out to the Coworth Park Polo fields. Very scenic and totally unexpected given the narrow lanes we had been on earlier. Here there were supposed to be 2 caches, but one had been disabled since 28/5/16 and has yet to be replaced. The other a very devilish bison hanging in a tree. These caches are always really easy to spot when you know where they are, but until you spot them, every branch needs close examination. We felt a bit exposed here, as there was a fete (or similar) being set up and lots of people busy with all the tasks that fetes entail.

Coworth Polo - Fete

Coworth Polo – Fete


We walked around the fete field, and arrived at a beautiful footpath with overhanging trees. This was the best view all day, and best of all there was a cache to find. In amongst tree roots, but so many of the trees had long roots leading into the sunken lane.

Sunningdale

Sunken lane in Sunningdale

The sunken lane led to the A30, and its roar got louder as we approached. Just as stepped out on the A30 pavement we felt rain. At first just a little and we were able to use the many overhanging trees as shelter. A short diversion to find a cache right on the Berkshire/Surrey border and then back to the A30.

Berkshire/Surrey border

Berkshire/Surrey border

Surrey border

Proud of the county history


A very wet A30!

A very wet A30!

Our next cache find was straightforward, but as we removed the cache from its hidey-hole, the heavens well and truly opened. A nearby rhododendron bush yards from the cache provided us with shelter for some 15 minutes. During that time we saw several wet walkers, some very wet dogs, and even wetter runners go by. Most didn’t see us at all, hiding from the intense rain. We decided that we could get to the car by finding just 2 more caches and eventually when the rain eased, we set off again.

Our last footpath of the day was now quite wet and muddy, but we found the next cache fairly easily. Our final cache of the day – one of those false stone caches – was hidden behind other stone objects near to a Sunningdale church.
Not surprisingly given our searching prowess, we yet again we failed to find it on our initial search.

We arrived at the car, and gave the ‘Berkshire Resident’ one final look. But our look was cut short, when a large back cloud came ominously into view.

So with the exception of the puzzle cache, we found all the Sunningdale Circuit caches we attempted, although by the end of the morning it felt more like the Rainingdale circuit!

Caches found included :