Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.
The Counting Vowels geocache series started out in November 2017 and now comprises around 60 caches, and it’s growing all the time. To solve the caches, you need to visit a number of waypoints and note certain words on signs; after a few locations you have a selection of words e.g. ‘weighbridge’, ‘public’, ‘giraffe’ (OK, we haven’t found one of those, yet!), and then add up the vowels in the words, come up with a total for each of A/E/I/O/U and use those numbers to come up with the coordinates of the cache container.
Wildmoor Heath, between Sandhurst and Crowthorne, is the location for three of the Counting Vowels caches, and we thought they would be a good choice for a Saturday morning caching trip. Each had four or five stages over about a mile, plus a walk to the final location, and were described as requiring 45-60 minutes each to complete.
All three caches start from the car park at Wildmoor Heath, then go in different directions and our GPS showed a plethora of waypoints, all mixed up together as the GPS orders them by distance. We decided to solve the caches in numerical order, #34 first, then #35, and finally #57. First was the Wellington Nature Trail (#34), which skirts the edge of Wellington College and heads off westwards along the Three Castles Path https://www.ldwa.org.uk/ldp/members/show_path.php?path_name=Three+Castles+Path+%28England%29 Off we went from the car park, pausing briefly to note the information for one of the stages of a later cache (More about this later …)
We went through woodland, then out onto open heath. Just as we had collected the last bit of information, and had reached open, treeless ground, the sky darkened, the wind rose, and a squall of rain / snow / sleet rattled through; we backtracked, and sheltered behind the largest tree we could find, and worked out the coordinates for the cache. It passed by after about 15 minutes, leaving blue skies and sunshine, and it was as if it had never happened. We came out from behind the tree and set off for the cache location, finding it very quickly.
Back at the car park, we grabbed a cup of coffee from the thermos we had stashed in the geocar, then set off again for the second cache, the Three Castles Path (Counting Vowels #35). This was the first ever long distance path we walked, back in 2010, and it was good to revisit familiar territory on such a sparkling bright morning. This time round, it didn’t seem to take very long to visit all the required ‘things with words’, to count the vowels, and to find the cache. So far so good …
Just one cache to go, Wildmoor Heath (South), a newish cache placed only a few weeks ago, and number 57 in the Counting Vowels series. We had already noted down the first clue for this cache earlier on, and we decided we would take a short cut to the second waypoint. All proceeded steadily, and we soon had a set of coordinates for the final cache. The coordinates looked plausible and we set off towards them. We arrived at the road, and we still hadn’t arrived at the cache. Oh dear, something wasn’t right. Never mind, maybe the cache was over the road. We crossed, and investigated the boundary of Eagle House School. But we still weren’t quite at the right place, which looked to be on private school land, in the middle of the cricket pitch. This just wasn’t right … we checked our calculations, then checked them again, but couldn’t work out where we had gone wrong. By now, lunchtime was passing by, and we were hungry and grumpy. We had failed. We stumped gloomily up the road and back to the car park, and did a re-check on that first waypoint we had noted down at the start of the day. AND WE HAD WRITTEN IT DOWN WRONGLY! Rats! We re-did our calculations, which gave us a new location … 600 metres away. By now, hunger had overcome our desire to walk an extra 1200m there and back so we returned home for a very late lunch.
But we weren’t giving up …
Happily, the cache owner had been in touch the previous day to confirm that our revised coordinates were correct. Next morning, we returned to Wildmoor Heath. As there was a 5k and 10k Muddy Welly race taking place close to the Wildmoor Heath car park, we parked elsewhere and walked through woods and across boardwalks to reach the final waypoint for this cache. This time the GPS led us to a place that matched the hint, and, after a short search, the nice new cache was unearthed. The moral is to read (and more importantly, correctly transcribe) what is written on the noticeboards; it went wrong for us because we didn’t.
How do we know that the Counting Vowels series started in November 2017? We were the First to Find (FTF) on the very first cache in the series and spent a morning wandering hither and thither around Wokingham to find it. https://sandhurstgeocachers.wordpress.com/2017/11/10/november-10-ftf-wokingham-chestnut-avenue/