April 20 : Leicester

We were in Leicester attending a 10 game 2 day Scrabble event. Mrs Hg137 lived near Leicester for many years, and knew many of the Scrabblers at the tournament, so it was a good couple of days catching up with old friends as well as taxing our brains.

College Court Conference Centre

When the Scrabble had finished, and our brains were recovering from the hard work-out, we went geocaching before we drove home.

The College Court Conference Centre, was surrounded by lots of mid-20th houses so we were expecting deviously hidden nanos and micros. We were not disappointed!

We were though disappointed to get a DNF at our first cache!

Our brains must have been asleep. We couldn’t find the cache…there were two trees to check, several signposts, a green communications box and much, more besides. The cache site was on a corner of two streets with several houses overlooking our search area. Despite looking hard, we gave up after 15 minutes searching, and moved on.

Criss-crossing one of Leicester’s suburbs the next cache site was in an alleyway. One muggle came by, but otherwise the alley was quiet. Alleys are notoriously difficult to search as generally they are busy thoroughfares, with few sightlines of oncoming people, and of course are near to houses.

After inspecting the obvious host for several minutes, it was only once we had peered at the street furniture on hands and knees did we spot the hidey-hole.

Phew! Our brains were recovering!

The third cache was near the entrance to a park. We could hear a bowls match going on behind a hedge, the swings and slides in the park though were unused. (It was a very hot afternoon, so the lack of people was no surprise). The hiding place, well indicated by the hint, took some finding. Again we spent a few minutes of fruitless hunting, until we took a step back and noticed the cache from afar! Strategic placement of Mrs Hg137’s handbag made the retrieval unseen by a passing muggle. (Why do muggles always appear at the crucial moment?)

And so onto our final cache. It was named after a former Lido, sited nearby. (A shame, as it was such a hot day a Lido would have been very, very tempting). Here we discovered the estate’s roads were named after towns on the Isle of Wight. As we wandered along, watching the GPS distance dropping with every footstep, we thought about our various holidays on the Isle of Wight and what we had seen in each town.

A relatively quick find awaited us – fortunate as two men and four dogs appeared from nowhere while we were signing the log!

We’d found three caches out of four, but the journey home was a celebratory one as we had both done rather well in the preceding Scrabble tournament. Mr Hg137 had finished well above his start position in Division A, and Mrs Hg137 had finished 2nd in Division B. Only the one DNF spoiled our fun…so it will be a target for us if we return for the Scrabble tournament next year!

April 1 : Sandhurst to Sandhurst (Kent) : Horley to Crawley Down (aka ‘Under the Flightpath’)

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

We were back on our self-invented long distance walk from Sandhurst (Berkshire, home of the Sandhurst Military Academy) to Sandhurst (Kent, near Bodiam Castle). Starting from where we left off, we had a short walk through a suburban estate, with the smell of aviation fuel, the roar of jets taxiing, and low flying planes overhead. I don’t think I would like to live here! Crossing the railway line very close to Gatwick Station, we reached fields, though it was still just as noisy as we were walking parallel to the M23 spur leading to the airport.

Trains ...

Trains …

planes overhead...

planes overhead…

and automobiles too!

and automobiles too!

A mile or so on, we reached the first two caches of the day, around the perimeter of a field containing two horses. While retrieving these, there was a loud metallic clatter from the motorway, the horses galloped away in fear, and we looked up to see the traffic at a halt and people running up the hard shoulder to collect something from the carriageway. It looked as though something had fallen off a trailer, but there was no harm done except for a short traffic hold up.
Under the M23

Under the M23

and into the country

and into the country

At last we crossed under the M23 and started to walk away from it, and the road noise began to diminish … to be replaced by aeroplane noise. We were right underneath the flightpath for planes landing at Gatwick. They were low enough, and close enough, that we could read the airline names, the company identification (mostly FlyBe) and count the windows on the side of the planes. Emerging onto a small lane, we spent quite a few minutes looking for three more caches – one in plain view, if we had just looked in the right direction – one at full fingertip stretch up a road sign – and one under a bridge over a stream, which we declined as we didn’t fancy wading.

Our next destination was Burstow, a hamlet with a stone built church with a wooden belltower – apparently the tower moves when the bells are rung. A Church Micro accompanies the location, so we sat on a seat to eat our lunch and to work out the coordinates for the cache. It was peaceful but not quiet, as planes roared overhead every few minutes. Apart from the moving church tower, the church had a famous rector, who is buried in the chancel – he was John Flamsteed, first Astronomer Royal.

Burstow Church

Burstow Church

Further on we emerged onto a busy country road with grass verges, and dodged traffic while finding the next cache – I always feel a bit uneasy about caches in those sorts of places, as you need to keep an eye on both the object of the search and your own safety. The colourful cache was part of a series placed by ‘Toxic Pens’, whose mission
statement is as follows:
‘The Toxic Pens have been brightening up logs one cache at a time with their luminous script.
Known for their colourful stationary and vibrant pens….
Colourful caching.
Why be dull when you can be Toxic.’

Not long after, we turned off the busy road (phew!) and found/failed to find more colourful caches from the same series. They did add a splash of colour to the usual camouflaged caches that one finds, but some of them were a quite … visible … but a nice twist on the caching theme. And part way through the bright series – ‘Toxic Birch’ – we reached our 1800th cache, so a small celebration took place, unoverlooked, on a rural path.

Sussex Border Path

Sussex Border Path

By now it was quiet. We weren’t under the flightpath any more. We next walked down a quiet, empty country lane towards our next cache, another Church Micro based on the school chapel of a private school. There do seem to be a lot of private schools around here!
Worth Way

Worth Way

We had about two miles left to the end of the day’s walk to Crawley Down, and all had ‘Rowfant’ somewhere in the title. Rowfant House a nearby Tudor mansion https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1354912 At one time it even had its own railway station, though the line is now closed and forms part of the Worth Way https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worth_Way This is popular with walkers, dog walkers, and cyclists, and leads all the way into Crawley Down, the end of our route for the day.

(Editor’s note: I was promised a ‘shorter’ walk after the last two 11-mile ‘mudathons’. I was told that this was indeed a shorter walk – but it turned out to be 10 and a half miles. Oh well, I suppose it was shorter – slightly!)

Here are a few of the other caches we found:

March 11 : Sandhurst to Sandhurst (Kent) : Beare Green to Horley/Gatwick Airport

Newdigate Church

Newdigate Church

This year we have been fairly lucky with our caching. We have found nearly every cache we have attempted.

Today…well today..

…was DNF DAY !

It started badly and never really recovered.

The village of Beare Green, as we noted in our last Sandhurst to Sandhurst post, has several caches hidden in its boundaries. We attempted three and failed on each one !

A muddy path.. but will it lead to a cache ?

The first was a Sidetracked Multi. We had collected the information on our prior visit, and set off down a muddy footpath, and arrived at two likely hosts (and since the hint was ‘multi-trunked-tree’) we split up and searched both.

And searched.

And searched.

To no avail. This cache hadn’t been attempted since last October, so maybe the Autumn and Winter had been unkind to it. Sadly the cache would have contained the co-ordinates to another cache..so a double-DNF-whammy!

We moved our car to where we had parked previously on our walk and set off. Our last cache of that walk was ‘Mad Hatter’ and our next three caches were to be part of an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ series. Sadly our attempt to find ‘Caterpillar’ or the ‘Queen of Hearts’ resulted in DNFs. (Both have since been archived as they had both been DNFed by many cachers for the last 8 months!)

It was therefore with some trepidation that we arrived at Ground Zero for ‘White Rabbit’.

Hidden in a camo bag, in a pile of mud was indeed … A WHITE RABBIT. We pulled the rabbit out of the hat, sorry bag, and gratefully signed the log.

White Rabbit

White Rabbit

Our route then took us away from the ‘Alice’ series, and after walking through some very muddy woodland, jumping over a deep drainage ditch onto a lane, walking across a field and then realising the footpath we wanted wasn’t signposted, we somehow found ourselves on a farmyard track. (As well as failing to find caches, we were failing to find footpaths too!).

After a somewhat poor start, we decide to stop for coffee. Compose ourselves, and say..’caching can only get better’.

And it did.

Our next 3 finds were fortunately straightforward. These three caches were part of a 10 cache series between the villages of Newdigate and Capel. There is also a 10 cache series, using different paths back from Capel to Newdigate. What a great idea!

On a late Saturday morning, the village of Newdigate was quite busy. Farm vehicles sortied slowly up and down the main street; parked cars narrowed the road to single line traffic; people were scurrying about their business.

We had two targets in Newdigate. The first a simple Church Micro multi. We ascertained the final cache was on our route out of Newdigate, so went in search of the other cache – (hint : ‘magnetic’). Here the GPS gods decided not to play ball with us. The GPS led us to a metal sign, roadside, in a bush, next to the busy and congested highway. We searched, and failed to find. What we couldn’t see from our ill-chosen and dangerous position that behind a line of trees surrounding the bush was another metal host object which is where the cache was. We only discovered this on our return home.

Churches are great places for lunch. Normally there are seats outside, and here we ate lunch before finding (yes, really!) the Church Micro cache whose co-ordinates we had calculated a few minutes previously. We were grateful for the find, as we had about a mile and half walk before our next cluster of caches.

Newdigate Church

Newdigate Church Micro.. Found!

The mile and a half was predominately tarmac walking, mainly on small lanes. We passed modern barns, a variety of ponds, and a mobile home park before arriving at a grassy field. Here we were met by horses, so we paused while we were sniffed and checked all over.

Modern Barns along the way

No mud here…no caches either

We were eventually allowed to pass by, and we arrived our first (of four) Star Trek themed caches. We had mixed results at these caches as we found two quite easily, but the other two completed eluded us. The cache owner has subsequently told us what we missed, but with the DNF day we were having, we would have missed seeing a red-double-decker bus as well as the minute nanos hidden in both bridge and stile.

Somewhere on or near this stile is a cache! But we didn’t find it!

Charlwood was our last major town/village before the mass sprawl of Gatwick. Here there were plenty of caches for us to try. The first was a Church Micro multi. However the final coordinates, were half-a-mile back in the direction we had just come ! We both decided not to walk back! (More of a Did Not Attempt, rather than Did Not Find, but it still hurt our egos)

The next cache was a pleasant find, part of the ‘Poppies on Parade’ series where the cache was (just about) visible from the war memorial. We continued through Charlwood and then found a long distance footpath that would be the backbone for much of our remaining route to Sandhurst: The Sussex Border Path.

Martlets, Sussex

Martlets, the symbol for Sussex, mark the Sussex Border Path

The path broadly follows the Sussex county boundary, weaving in and out of adjacent counties on its journey of 111 miles. Charlwood is still in Surrey, our destination car was parked in Surrey, but the path would take us today on a short half-mile section into Sussex.

But first we had a few more Charlwood caches to find. The first on a footpath..in a tree, rather too close to a dog-poo bin for comfort. (Definitely a poor day, when caches are either DNFed or next to dog-poo bins.)

We passed on another Church Micro multi as yet again it led us away from our route. However as we left Charlwood we found two caches in the pudding series (we found ‘Mums Apple Pie’ and ‘Rhubarb Crumble’ !). One of which needed careful extrication from under a water trough and through a hedge.


Getting close to Gatwick!

Our last mile of walking took us close to the flight path of Gatwick Airport. Although the noise level had increased, we were pleasantly surprised to find the noise level was not too imposing.

Our last cache of the day was near the car. This was quite a sneaky hide, as the hint mentioned ‘tree roots’. There was a huge fallen tree with a large hole with roots showing. But no cache visible. Next to the fallen tree was a smaller bush, with intricate roots, and hidden amongst it was our final find of the day. We released the ‘Hamburg’ trackable here, as given its proximity to Gatwick Airport, it might get back to Germany quite quickly.

We covered well over 10 miles on our route, but probably just as many miles wandering the pathways looking for a myriad of DNF caches. Roll on next time… when hopefully we will fare a little better.

Surprisingly, given it was a DNF day… we did find these caches :

January 30 : Crocked in Camberley

One of the advantages of blogging about geocaching, is that our blogs are read, in the main, by geocachers and we in turn read their blogs.

Would this Swan help us to find a cache ?

Would this Swan help us to find a cache ?

We follow with interest the adventures of Robbinn (and CockRobin) whose blog you can link to at the side of this panel. Although we’ve never met them, we know that they live locally to us and when they blogged about a great new mini-series in Camberley – we knew we’d like it too!

The series CDW (Camberley Dog Walk) consists of 5 caches in a residential part of Camberley just north of the M3. We were expecting the M3’s noise to spoil the walk, but in fact it was barely audible at all.

We parked, as most people do, at CDW#1. The cache was hidden at a road junction, and the obvious hiding place was quickly scanned for the cache. We were expecting a small nano from the description warning “take tweezers” and thus is was a shock to eventually something much larger!

First cache of the day!

First cache of the day!

We walked on to CDW#2 passing some expensive looking houses arriving at a salt/sand bin, which given the warm winter is rather a superfluous piece of street furniture. The cache hint mentioned ‘sticky sand’, so we went looking for a stick near the sand bin. Lots of sticks lay in the nearby hedgerow. We picked each of them up, looked all over, trying to find the cache. Sadly we didn’t! The bin was close to several houses, and after 15 minutes searching we thought it best to move on, before suspicions were aroused. Clearly we missed the cache, but we’re sure on another day we’ll find it within seconds.

We then had a longish walk to CDW#3. The properties we passed were slightly less salubrious, but the wood and lake (Watchetts Pond) we arrived at were well worth the walk.

Surrounding the lake was a footpath and quite mature trees. There were two caches lakeside, one either side of the lake. The first CDW#3 was in a clearing. There was a fallen log/trunk, several trees with hidey-holes, several trees with no holes at all. There were also two concrete cubes which provided useful seating. (Most people we think sit on these cubes and feed the swans, which incidentally didn’t help us… I guess because we had nothing to feed them with!). We searched the trees, we searched the logs, we searched the cubes. Again to no avail. The clearing was not overlooked by houses, so we could search to our hearts-content.. poking here, prodding there, peeling bark here, lifting leaves there… where was this cache ? Eventually, and reluctantly, we gave up.

Watchetts Pond

Watchetts Pond

CDW#4 was a delight for several reasons – firstly we found it! Secondly the container was special. If you read RobbInn’s blog, and our title, and the cache hint, you know what to look for… but the moment the cache is found makes it very special. We, like RobbInn are not going to post a picture…you’ll have to wait for our end-of year caches for that!

We returned to CDW#3 and another look in the clearing. Had we missed anything ? After another 5 minutes fruitless searching we abandoned and headed for CDW#5.

CDW#5 should have been easy. It was in an alleyway in a bush. Quite straightforward. However, the bush was adjacent to a house and garden… and the lady of the house was gardening (in January ! Really! ) right next to GZ. No point searching – we moved on.

Last cache of the day!

Last cache of the day!

Our journey back to the car took us past the Camberley Cricket Club where another cache awaited us. Fortunately a quick find to raise our flagging spirits at the end of a disappointing morning’s caching trip. (3 of 6 caches found)

The only advantage, if there is one, to so many DNFs, is that we have a small cluster to come and re-attempt on another occasion.

That’s 2 poor caching trips in a row.. are we losing our caching skills or will February bring better luck. Lets hope so.

December 6th – Bamboozled in Basingstoke


Various titles have been given to Basingstoke in the past…
“Doughnut City” (Ed : roundabout, after roundabout, after roundabout)
“The jewel of North Hampshire” (Ed : not sure if this a beautiful sapphire or a rough diamond)
“The lost city of Basingstoke” (Ed: drive South down the M3 to understand this)

Add to it now..
“The place where cachers fail” !

A simple urban series (Bobs Bimble), 9 caches + one other… on streets, footpaths, around a couple of residential estates in Basingstoke. No mud, no rivers, a dry walk with 10 straightforward caches.

Oh dear! Oh dear ! Oh dear!

This newish series was so new there was still a FTF available (despite at least 3 cachers being ahead of us). We parked near this cache and had a quick look at its GZ first. Nothing. Not too disappointing as we’d read the Cache Owner was going to inspect it and maybe something might well have changed when we return later.

Somewhere around this frosty park are 3 geocaches.. can you see them?

Somewhere around this frosty park are 3 geocaches.. can you see them?

Onto cache 2.. near a recycling point. Obvious place to hide a cache, and we were fairly certain we looked there… clearly not..2 caches searched – 2 DNFs.

Onto cache 3.. somewhere between a tree and a bush. Next to someone’s garden, where there was work going on. We looked quickly, but then were interrupted by dog-walker after dog-walker after dog-walker. We searched a bit more before the dogs made it clear they wanted ‘home’ and so they returned past us. We gave up. 3 searches… 3 DNFs.

Onto cache 4 …hidden very close to a back garden. Not visible, and we didn’t feel like checking really, really, thoroughly. Aargh ! 4 DNFs in a row.

Give up ? go on ? We went on !

We found a cache! Yay! Marked as a trackable hotel, but with no trackables in it. We have never been so grateful to see an ivy log!
Our success continued with our next few caches too, with the last being near a major supermarket. Here for some reason we were imagining a smallish magnetic nano, but very surprisingly found a largish container. A real highlight today!

We rejoined the Bobs Bimble trail, and our luck deserted us (or was it our poor caching skills?) when we failed to find another on a close-boarded fence. That’s 5 DNFs out of 9, with only one more cache to go…

…”behind a tree near a bush” – wonderful hint, but when there 3 trees, and loads of bushes and your luck isn’t in.. its an enormous task. We looked long, and hard, and looked again.

“Have you found it ?”

A pair of passers-by approached. “Have you found it?” they repeated.

They were cachers too (8p4l and fishying … and Rufus the dog) and joined us in the search. A few more moments and the cache was in hand and jointly signed. We exchanged notes on our morning’s work.. they had been more successful than us and shared some of the hiding places (thanks!).

We headed back to where we started… the potential FTF. We now had 4 pairs of eyes, and a geohound… but again the cache eluded us.

However armed with the information about one of our previous failures, we headed off to acquire our 6th find of the day.

So we finished with 6 out of 10 caches, bamboozled in Basingstoke.

Editors footnote :
Since our escapade, we have noted 2 of our DNFs have either been moved or re-calibrated. This work was being undertaken WHILE we on the route, so it was no wonder we couldn’t find them! We feel a bit better now!

Here are 2 of the caches we did find…

February 2 – Catastrophic Caching in Crowthorne

Some days are good days, and they are easy to blog about.

Others are bad days, and it’s not so easy to share the pain….

The wet weather continues to make rural caching difficult so he headed to Crowthorne for 5 urban caches.

The first a micro, part of the Sidetracked station series, we couldn’t find. We thought we understood the hint provided, but clearly not. Either that or the cache has been muggled. (We did note there were 2 consecutive cachers before us not to find the cache so maybe its not there anymore).

The second, hidden near the entrance to Wellington College was supposed near to an oak tree (the hint for this was in Latin!). We gave a quick search, not easy as runners, cyclists and motorists went by, and yet again – no cache found. We had also note that this had had a few Did Not Finds (DNFs) recently so maybe this had also disappeared.

Cache Three, set in the style of JJEF, whose caches we admired when we found 6 of them last Autumn, was at/near/on/in a BT cabinet. We never found it despite it being “hidden in plain view”.

With a heavy heart we moved onto a church micro. Here we went around the churchyard collecting dates from gravestones and calculating the co-ordinates of the true cache location. We arrived at GZ and found it!! Hurray!


St John the Baptist

St John the Baptist

Then onto Cache Five – part of the Disappearing Berkshire series. Here we had to locate information about a former local car maker, Buckler’s Cars, and derive the co-ordinates for the true GZ.
Buckler's Cars Buckler’s Cars[/captionThis was in a surprisingly dry footpath with a thin hedge on one side (no obvious caches here), and a bank of roots and ivy on the other. We hate ivy! We couldn’t find the cache and with light fading we gave up!

Not one of our best afternoon’s caching with 1 cache found out of 5. Poor by anyone’s standards.

Footnote : after our unsuccessful attempt at the Wellington College cache we have been told we were looking in the right place, and indeed the cache has been found since.
Crowthorne – we’ll be back!

August 18 Day 230 – Update on Frimley Green cache

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

We didn’t find the last but one cache we searched for earlier today, ‘Frimley Green nano’, which wasn’t a huge surprise to us as it hadn’t been found for a while, and we had offered to check it for the cache owner. After a very thorough search we couldn’t find it and reported back to the cache owner, ‘figures’. He kindly offered to let us have the cache as a find anyway as we were checking it, and checking in the place where he knew it had been, but we haven’t done that as we didn’t actually find the cache.

Sadly, that cache has now been archived.