St Giles, Imber
A quiet, deserted village on Salisbury Plain.
Wrong! Wrong ! Wrong !
Imber was a healthy village on the Salisbury Plain until WWII, when the Army commandeered the Plain and the village, and ordered the village evacuation. The Army still own the land and the villagers have never returned. For about 50 days a year the Army allow access (Christmas, Easter, some Summer Days, Remembrance Sunday) otherwise the village is out of bounds.
Today, 29 December was probably one of the busiest in the last 70 years of the village’s history as 5 separate groups converged on the lost village. A quiet, deserted village it was not!
Our caching plan was to drive down early, visit three caches before heading to the cacher’s meet in Imber. Two of these early caches were part of a series called ‘Ridgeway’.. although we think this is the Wiltshire Ridgeway as it some miles from the Ridgeway Long Distance path which we walked in 2012. The third of our early caches was a puzzle cache, which technically should have meant us visiting Imber first. However with a bit of internet searching, the puzzle was solved and the co-ordinates were derived and visited.
We sat in the car near this cache and drank some coffee before heading to Imber. Just as were about to leave two cars drew up. They were cachers too. We exchanged greetings with Candleford and WalkingWood and expected to see them again at Imber. (We didn’t but our paths did spookily cross).
Peaceful scenes on Salisbury Plain
Onto Imber. Already quite busy at 10:20 and we just managed to squeeze a Mondeo into the parking space of a mini. First cache was a ‘virtual’ where we had to take a ‘selfie’ and answer a question (posted to the cache owner after the event) to prove we were there.
Next up, signing the cacher’s meet attendance log. We were about the 24th on the list … we believe the actual number was approximately 250. (Some of these groups were one person, others were groups of 2 like us, others families of 4). It is therefore likely there were well over 500 cachers present!
Our last cache was a church micro based on the village Church, St Giles. Sadly our GPS didn’t store enough information for us to solve the clues. We joined up with spooney15 and we resolved the clues together. Sadly our arithmetic was poor, and our answers were verified by another team! The actual GZ was about 3 miles away, not in the village.
Inside the church
We left the church and were confronted by a very busy road. Loads of cachers had arrived, 85 runners were road racing, some vintage motor bikes roared through, then an off-road cycle race were headed in the opposite direction (how there weren’t any accidents on what was a narrow road is beyond us). Then some off-road motor-bikers turned up. There were also ornithologists and ‘muggles’ just visiting this quiet, deserted village! We estimate 800-1000 must have visited that day!
A quiet village scene ?!
We had a picnic lunch, awaited the raffle draw (didn’t win) and then headed off to find the GZ for the St Giles Church. SO DID EVERYBODY ELSE !
The road was single track and the village of West Lavington didn’t know what had hit it! We had no problem finding the cache as when we arrived it was being passed from cacher to cacher!
A fantastic day out to end a fantastic year’s caching!
At the event there were well over 150 trackables deposited in a large tin. We placed our two trackables ‘Movie Collector’ and “Huhnergott” there for other cachers to take. As we left the Church we took the last remaining trackable,”Arcus”
When we checked afterwards…. “Arcus” had been deposited by WalkingWood and “Huhnergott” had been taken by the other cacher team we saw prior to Imber – Candleford. Spooky eh ?