February 29 : Leap Year weekend part IV

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

Bridge Inn

Bridge Inn

And finally for the Leap weekend extravaganza – a cacher’s meet, at lunchtime on Leap Year’s Day, February 29th, to gain another geocacing souvenir. By now, I was looking forward to a pint … We returned to the Bridge Inn, the starting point for our caching trip that morning. By now, the car park was far from empty. A steady stream of cachers were crowding around the first cache we visited just three hours earlier, then turning aside to file into the pub.

Leap Year Day geocaching souvenir

Leap Year Day geocaching souvenir

Once inside, we soon recognised JJEF, the organiser of the cacher’s meeting, said our hellos and signed the log for the meet. The pub gradually filled with caching faces, both familiar and unfamiliar. The bar staff weren’t expecting this many people. They were overwhelmed. We ordered food and a drink each. Mr Hg137 got his drink, but my pint (that one I had been looking forward to with such eagerness) was not available immediately.



We sat down and got into conversation with other cachers. Quite a few were going from cacher’s meeting … to cacher’s meeting … to cacher’s meeting. (We hadn’t thought to do that.) Most extreme of these multiple event cachers was Molemon, a slightly shell-shocked looking young couple, who appeared in the pub for a few minutes, and then moved on to caches new – their plan was to visit as many meetings as possible (I think they got to 11) and to visit as many different cache types (they managed 9) as possible in 24 hours. It was just after midday when we saw them, they had started at a few minutes past midnight, and it looked as if the pace was beginning to tell.

Molemon's trackable teddy

Molemon’s trackable teddy

My pint still hadn’t appeared. I went to ask for it. It wasn’t ready yet. Ho hum. More conversation with geocachers and their friends – the impeccably behaved Crumpit, a small white terrier, and then a reviewer, La Lunatica, who described how caches are reviewed and who handed us a free trackable.

Our food arrived, and not long after, my long-awaited pint. My Thai curry was very good indeed, packing a good bit of spice. And that pint was especially welcome!


May 4 – Star Wars Day

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

It was Star Wars Day – may the fourth be with you (get it???), and a geocaching event was taking place in nearby Yateley to honour the occasion. It seemed too good an opportunity to miss, so we bought some light sabres and started practising; best not to show ourselves up when amongst the other Jedi … I can’t do better than to quote the itinerary for the event from the geocaching website http://www.geocaching.com

11:45 – 11:58 am
Wait patiently in your car or stroll around the area.
STAY AWAY from ground zero and act like a muggle as much as you can!

11:59 am
Make your way towards the event coordinates.

12:00 NOON exactly
Take out your lightsabres and start a duel with another nearby cacher using the Force within you to defeat the dark side!

12:10 pm
We will gather and take a group photo of everyone and their lightsabres.

12:15 pm
The event area will be evacuated without a trace.

We turned up early, about 11:15, found a church micro at the adjacent St Peter’s Church, and then sat on a bench overlooking the green, and inconspicuously (we hoped) watched the world go by. As time passed, there seemed to be more people just sort of hanging around the area than would be expected by chance alone … that middle-aged couple, portable chair bags over their shoulders, intently perusing a shop window … those two families, spending a very long time over a short conversation … that man, sitting outside the pub with his dog … that person, wandering up and down on the other side of the road …

Then the appointed hour arrived … folk erupted from cars, brandishing light sabres, that harmless window-browsing couple turned, drew their sabres from the chair bags and joined the fray, and Jedi, many in full costume, swarmed from all directions to join the full blooded light sabre fight. Passing motorists were bemused, as was that muggle man, sitting outside the pub with his muggle dog. Much fighting and chatting and picture taking took place … then it was 12:15, and we all melted away. Great event!

Here are links to pictures of the event, taken by others, from the logs of the event on the geocaching website.

March 29 – Geocacher’s flash mob … and a swing bridge

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here again.

Time for something different: a geocacher’s flash mob.  The location was described on the event cache (a sort of time-limited geocache) with the hint  ‘Look for the big brick thing over the canal.’   And so we arrived in Church Crookham, at Poulter’s Bridge over the Basingstoke Canal, where a motley bunch of geocachers and geodogs were assembling.  We stood around for a chat in the warm spring sunshine – soooo different to yesterday – and talked to friends old and new; we’ve met up with quite a few other geocachers now in various places and ways (in the field, in the pub, via email etc) and it’s always good to put a face to a name.   Then it was time to sign the log, take part in the group photo, and to spread out into the surrounding area to claim some local geocaches.


Inventive cache container

Inventive cache container

A short series of five new and unusual geocaches had been released especially for this event and we found them all.  It wasn’t that hard, really, as there was a sort of extended crocodile of geocachers making their way from the flash mob around the circuit.  Many plaudits must go to ‘The Mad Cacher 007’ for such an inventive set of caches.  After finishing the circuit, we walked back along the towpath towards the geocar, arriving at a swing bridge over the canal.

The swing bridge

The swing bridge

Well, we already knew about this swing bridge because we knew that there was a geocache right underneath it, but it is very hard to reach, difficulty 4.5 out of 5.  The approved method is to approach in a boat, though the more agile get to the cache by climbing under the bridge, suspended above the water.  We didn’t have a boat and we didn’t fancy the climb … but I did have a key, which had been languishing on my keyring since the days when I did a lot of walking along canal towpaths … and it opened the padlock on the bridge.  We were thinking about what to do next – bridges are heavy – when a posse of other geocachers came into view.   A unanimous decision was made to go for the cache. The bridge was manhandled open and swung round.

Another discussion followed about where exactly the cache container might be and how to get to it (thanks to ‘Fay, R+R’) and then Mr Hg137 and others crawled underneath, emerging some little while later with the cache and quite a bit of the towpath mud. Log signed, cache replaced, and bridge swung back and locked again.

Job well done. Smiles all round. Teamwork!

PS Mr Hg137 was NOT allowed back into the geocar in his muddy state.  He was required to partially disrobe before entering the car!

December 29 – Arcus



Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

At the cacher’s gathering in Imber, there was the usual box where trackables could be deposited and swapped. We took the Arcus trackable from the box – actually a Cadbury’s Roses tin – and we will help it on its mission, which was to start in France, visit Rennes, and then move on to see the rest of the world.

Tin for trackables ... slightly overflowing ...

Tin for trackables … slightly overflowing

December 29 Day 362 Caches Found 5, Cacher’s Meet 1 Cumulative Total 422 (+1 bonus, +4 cachers’ meets)

St Giles, Imber

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

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

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 ?!

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!

Footnote :
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 ?

Dec 18 Berkshire Cacher’s Meet

Many counties run a ‘monthly’ cacher’s meet generally in a pub, moving around the county throughout the year.

We’ve often looked at the regular cacher’s meets and a combination of distance to travel or other engagements meant that this was only the second monthly meet we’d been able to get to.

A wild stormy night, and a short trip to the Green Man in Bracknell and we were there. As were about 20 other cachers. As we discovered at the other meet we attended, many trackables were passed around – indeed we took one called ‘movie collector’. The highlight was when one cacher turned up with a 1 foot go kart tyre as a trackable!

The event was run by ‘colinsmudger’ who has set various puzzle caches in the Bracknell area. He was swamped by the other attendees wanting hints and tips as to solve his puzzles. As we had not yet looked at his puzzles, we felt it a bit of a cheat to ask for help for something we hadn’t looked at.

We decided to look at his puzzles after the meet… we may well be contacting him soon!!!

June 26 Day 177 Caches Found 0 Cumulative Total 205 (+1 bonus, +1 cacher’s meet)

… we attended a Cacher’s Meet !

Many counties near us have a ‘Monthly Meet’, generally in a pub in the evening, and tonight we attended the Monthly Surrey Cachers Meet in Farnham.

The organiser, Kitey, had arranged with the pub, the Shepherd and Flock, that the cachers would use the garden area. When we arrived there were several people in the garden area, everyone chatting to each other. It was not obvious to us who were cachers !

Eventually we joined a group of cachers, and we joined in the discussion of caches found, and caches set. Many people produced trackables, and most of the other cachers spent time recording the cache number of the dozens of trackables on the tables. We left ‘Percy and his Fan Club’ and replaced it with ‘The Penguin of Death’ and ‘Whiskers the Ginger Nut’.

Over time we met several other cachers, and there was a real mix of people there. Many were in their twenties, but there were people present who were probably in their Seventies!

It was very interesting that no-one gave their real names just their caching identity.. so as well as Kitey we met Spooney15, BaSHful, RiddleMeBis, PoisonParis, fredsdad, bassetthound14, DTJM and bleachedwestie to name but a few.

The meeting counts as a ‘found cache’ on the http://www.geocaching.com statistics. We will list such meetings separately so our ‘caches found’ total are ‘actual caches’.

PS For the roundabout geeks who read this blog – the Shepherd and Flock is in the middle of the largest inhabited roundabout in Europe (10 acres) featuring several houses, a pub and some allotments.