December 31 : Caches of the Year

We found well over 400 caches this year – here are some of the best, the ones that made us smile or those that meant something to us when we were out and about… we hope you’ve enjoyed your caching in 2017, we have and we wish you some great finds in 2018!



December 31 : Caches of the Year 2016

Here are some of our caches of the year including dinosaurs, crocodiles and kangaroos ! Some of the pictures you may have seen before, some we have deliberately held back. Thanks for following our blog during 2016 – and happy caching in 2017!

October 23 – Bracknell Industrial Estate

Some geocaching adventures are in really scenic places.

Some places are scenic all year round – for others seasonal colour makes the place attractive.

And yet, Bracknell – a 1960s/70s New Town, with an industrial area right next to the Domestic Refuse Site (“The Tip”), should not have been scenic… and shouldn’t have yielded good caches… and yet, surprisingly, it did!

Bracknell, Pond

Bracknell’s Lake in an Industrial Estate


Firstly we had good reasons for being in the area, as we were visiting a local DIY emporium. (Trying to get what we wanted from the shop is a different story completely and worthy of at least three blog entries).

Secondly there were five caches all within a short distance of each other.

The weather was fine, and being a late Sunday afternoon, no-one was around.

We parked next to a surprisingly large, attractive fishing pond/lake and headed towards our first cache. (Ed : what is the difference between a ‘pond’ and a ‘lake’ in an industrial setting?)

We passed the local tip, some over-protective fencing and arrived at a narrow footpath (another one of those footpaths we didn’t know existed).

Bracknell

Between a high fence and a railway line

On one side an industrial unit, on the other the London-Reading railway line.
Partway along, in one of the easiest finds ever, was a broken clay pipe, and shining like a beacon was the geocache.

Bracknell, geocache

An easy find

We retraced our steps back to the car – but we passed another cache on the way back. We had speculated about its location as walked on our outbound journey … “I bet its a nano hidden behind that road-sign”, “No, look there’s a roadside cabinet it’ll be there”. Of course it was in neither!

We had noticed the tiny copse nearby, but not noticed the small footpath running alongside it. Following the GPS led us straight to the cache in the roots/bole of the tree ! (In an industrial estate remember!)

We arrived back at the lake and started our circumnavigation around it. Hidden partway round, behind an object only found near water (hint … “its ring shaped”) we found our next target.

Cache, Lake, Trees, Industrial Estate

Cache, Lake, Trees, Industrial Estate

All three caches so far had been surprisingly big – we were expecting nanos, and each one could comfortably hold a little swag. A fisherman was just packing up as we walked passed, and then we walked through a ‘private car park’. During the working week this might have been difficult, but on a Sunday afternoon the 200 yards were troublefree. Ahead was our fourth cache this time hidden more on a cycle path than footpath. It was hidden well over 6 foot high, so as always, we sent our shortest team member (Mrs Hg137) in to retrieve. The retrieve went well until the falling cache landed on Mrs Hg137’s head! Whoops! It was decided that Mr Hg137 should replace it!

"I think we're going to need a bigger cache"

“I think we’re going to need a bigger cache”

So one cache left and a longish walk, back through the ‘private car park’, around the rest of the lake, and then a further quarter of a mile to a solicitor’s office. It looked like private land. But the cache owner had said it wasn’t, and the solicitors knew about the cache. Given it was a Sunday afternoon no-one was around so we could undertake a really good search. The cache was called “LegalBeagles” – and next to the solicitor’s office were a few ‘doggy’ items. We are not going to tell you where the cache was hidden, suffice to say a third of the finders give the cache a favourite point. We did too!

So five surprisingly good caches, in what should have been a dour landscape. It wasn’t for us…so fellow cachers, don’t ignore the bleak locations near you as they may just contain hidden jewels!

January 10 – Connie the Crab and friend

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

We don’t find many trackables – and then three come along at once!

Connie the Crab and friend

Connie the Crab and friend


The third of the three trackables we found in a cache on Wildmoor Heath was ‘Connie the Crab and friend’. Connie is a red metal crab, accompanied by a brown plastic/rubber crabby friend. She set off from Texas in February 2015, but went ‘walkabout’ for over three months in the summer. She was picked up from a cache in Texas in early June, and next appeared on the last day of September in a cache near Havant in southern England. As the trackable log says,

” Well this little fella has pitched up in a cache in the UK, who knows how it got here from Texas.”

How indeed?

Connie likes beaches, so we plan to drop her off somewhere near the coast on a trip we have planned in the next few weeks.

PS I thought I’d include some instructions (in a separate post) on how to log a trackable, as this has been missed several times for more than one of the trackables we found.

January 10 – Travel Pirate Geocoin

Pirate Geocoin

Pirate Geocoin


“Aha There me ‘earties !

Listen to what treasure we found in a cache recently!

A pirate geocoin!

Made from semi-precious plastic its an angry looking pirate waving a cutlass. A cutlass, lads! Who carries a cutlass these days eh! Cutlasses are for wimps.

I was able to find out about the pirate. It, like us, is on a mission. Whilst we like to plunder gold and silver and doubloons and jewels it wants to travel the world and head back for its owner’s 18th birthday in Poland in 2021. Poland! How many pirates come from Poland ?

Anyway me ‘earties I’ve decided our Polish friend can come with us for a few weeks, see the rough and tumble of real-live pirates.

All those who agree shout “Ay” ”

“Ay-ay Captain”

January 10 – Set Sail

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

We don’t find many trackables – and then three come along at once!

We went to a cache on Wildmoor Heath, Crowthorne, and, on opening up the cache container, found it stuffed with three trackables. We grabbed all of them. Greedy, maybe, but it gives them a chance of a write-up in this blog … Once clear of the cache, we had a good look at our booty. There was a definite maritime theme, with a ship, a pirate and a crab. This post is about the oldest and biggest of the three, ‘Set Sail’.

Set Sail

Set Sail


It’s a biggish, thick, heavy lump of metal with, on one side, Signal the Frog in Viking kit, in a longboat piled high with plunder and flying the Danish flag as a sail. (Editor’s note: Signal the Frog is a geocaching mascot – see our post on August 3 2014 https://sandhurstgeocachers.wordpress.com/2013/08/03/august-3-day-215-caches-found-0-cumulative-total-243-1-bonus-2cachers-meet/ ) The other side is a Viking horned helmet bearing the inscriptions “Denmark 2006 Oct 1 – Oct 31” and “Signal the Frog – Denmark – World Geocaching Series 1”. So this trackable has been out there for over nine years – wow!

Signal’s mission is : to get to water (lakes/rivers/oceans) : to see boats, ships, and other water craft : and to learn about seafaring. He’s travelled over 7000 miles around Europe and has visited many places that fit his mission.

The trackable was nearly lost: it spent FOUR years in a six-stage multicache on the Belgian coast and was only rediscovered in 2011 when the cache owner was clearing up some archived caches and found the trackable inside. There’s a lesson here: don’t put trackables in the final part of a complex, many stage geocache, as not many people will visit it! However, the trackable was eventually found and is still travelling, so we will try to move it to a location befitting its mission.

January 10 : Wildmoor Heath

Ten days into 2016 and we hadn’t been caching!

The gloriously wet weather had kept us in, and we were going stir crazy.

Wildmoor Heath (http://www.bbowt.org.uk/reserves/wildmoor-heath) is not renowned for its dryness, we’ve walked there several times before, but the terrain is quite sandy and around part of its perimeter is a boardwalk keeping the footpath above the mud and water.

The wet terrain of Wildmoor Heath

The wet terrain of Wildmoor Heath

There are six caches to be found on Wildmoor Heath, 5 set by South Berkshire District Scouts and the sixth seemed a large enough cache for us to drop off the ‘Famous Five Dick’ trackable.

So we set off on a reasonably fine day, setting out to dodge the mud as much as possible. We shortly arrived at the first cache, which according to the hint, was hidden in a silver birch. Well we have such a tree in our garden and there really are no hiding places in silver birches . Well those scouts had found a silver birch WITH a hiding place. And very clever it was too!

First cache of the year!

First cache of the year!


Our next cache was the only non-Scout cache and we made a naïve cacher’s mistake heading to it. We strayed away from a curving footpath and headed cross-country following a tiny track wending its way through tufts of heather. Fortunately the sandy nature of the Heath here, meant it wasn’t too muddy, but we did surprise a couple of muggle dog-walkers when we appeared on the main track from between gorse bushes!

We soon found the cache, but never have we seen such a wet cache! A great container, but somehow water had got in and there was over an inch of water deep inside! We decided not to leave the trackable here as ‘Famous Five Dick’ was an electric torch and we thought water and electric really didn’t mix.

Mud and puddles

Mud and puddles


Up to now we had avoided most of the mud, but our journey to the third cache (a cul-de-sac off the Heath’s circuit route) involved mud and puddles. Lots of them. We passed lots of really muddy dogs, and lots of people with muddy wellies with a good session of dog-cleaning when they returned home.

The third cache, a very simple find contained, much to our surprise, THREE trackables. We swapped ‘Dick’ with those three trackables.

Famous 5 Dick swaps places with 3 Trackables : Set Sail, Travel Pirate and Connie the Crab

Famous 5 Dick swaps places with 3 Trackables : Set Sail, Travel Pirate and Connie the Crab


Back through the mud we arrived back on our main circuit – finding our fourth cache (wedged in a tree, seen from some yards away) and our first encounter with the Wildmoor Heath Boardwalk.
The Boardwalk

The Boardwalk

The boardwalk took us around the Eastern Heath bypassing much of ponds and muddy water. Sadly the Southern edge of the Heath is a the base of a slope, and is the muddiest part … and has no boardwalk! We gingerly picked our way along, sometimes using temporary stick bridges, other times clinging to a decidedly unwieldy wire fence.

Once we were clear of this muddy section our final two caches were straightforward finds, in a holly tree and under a rotting log.

So six caches attempted, six found, leaving us one short of 1300 finds.
We finished the walk, surprisingly clean given the adverse conditions, but happy to be caching again after a few days stuck inside watching the rain. Roll on 2016 and please, please be drier!

Total caches found : 6
Year to date total : 6

Other caches we found included :