February 26 : Wood

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

“Wood” is in the description for this trackable, but it doesn’t entirely describe what we found. The description reads:

“I once heard someone say that if you want a trackable to survive, you need to attach the tag to a rock or something else that nobody would want to keep. I, along with most cachers have experienced having a trackable item be stolen, or go missing. I’m testing my hypothesis that this trackable will last longer than others simply because it’s boring and ugly”

We lost the first trackable we placed, because we didn’t realise it would fare better if attached to a larger object, so we quite understand the above comments. And, it’s true, we found a trackable attached to a lump of wood. But it was also attached to something else – a model helicopter. This was very appropriate for the place we found the trackable, which was approximately opposite the gates of the RAF memorial above the River Thames at Runnymede.

And on to the journey of this trackable: it started its life in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in April 2016, with a goal of returning home. It was dropped off in Hong Kong, China, in May, and within a month had been picked up, shown off at a cacher’s meet, and transported to London, arriving in July. It moved to the Midlands, and was unlucky enough to get stuck, twice, in rarely visited caches. By September 2017 it was off to Scotland … where it had another wait, till August 2018, when it was found and taken to the Yorkshire Mega event. It was picked up by one of the organisers of the 2017 Mega, in Devon, and taken back there. After a brief trip round Devon, it went back to north-west England, attended some more caching events, and finally made a trip to Berkshire, which is where we found it.

That’s quite an adventure, and quite a lot of events: we suspect this is because of the size of the objects the trackable is attached to, which would limit the number of caches it could be placed in. Most simply aren’t that big! But we will take it along with us and will place it in the first cache it will fit inside and maybe it will get closer to its home in Canada.

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February 26 : Englefield Green

Englefield Green is a large village sandwiched between Windsor Great Park, Egham and Staines-upon-Thames.

We attempted 10 caches in three separate locations within the village; these locations were over a mile apart so we moved our car between each.

St Judes, Englefield Green

Our first location, centred around the village centre, involved finding 3 Church Micros. The first two, were combined as a Church Micro Twin. The two churches (St Andrews, a Greek Orthodox Church and St Judes, Church of England) each had three waypoints to find – with degrees of overlap between them. We walked between the waypoints, and wrote down numbers making sure we kept the two sets apart.

St Andrew’s, Englefield Green

However when we undertook the two calculations we realised we’d gone wrong! We’d misinterpreted our findings from the Greek Church, so we re-calculated and arrived at two more plausible locations.

We were still unsure of our calculations, so we proceeded to the nearest location, and after a but of rummaging found the cache. Inside the Tupperware box, was a beautiful and apt log holder.

This gave us confidence walk to the location of the second cache. It was hidden some distance from the Churches, passing by a residential area on the outskirts of the village. A quick find meant we could head for our third Church Micro (the Church of the Assumption of our Lady, Catholic).

The Church of the Assumption of Our Lady, Englefield Green

Here we looked for 2 adjacent benches to acquire some dates. However one of the benches had been moved, and it took us a few minutes to find it. The benches did give a good opportunity for an early lunch, and a good spot to work out the final cache co-ordinates. An easy find at what was a very apposite spot for a Church Micro.

Open countryside

We returned to the car and moved it to the Village Green area of Englefield Green. Here we would undertake a 1-2 mile walk in the countryside attempting to locate 6 caches. These were all standard caches – no multi calculations to undertake. This walk was very pleasurable, at times the traffic noise from the A30 and M25 were inaudible. Few, if any houses, were in view – we could have been far out in the country, instead of the extreme outskirts of London.

A ‘Little Bridge’ – but where is the cache?

The caches were, on the whole, fairly straightforward finds. The easiest was by a stile, completely uncovered.

Three were hidden in woodland, where on each occasion our GPS wobbled and we walked around in a several spirals until we arrived at the appropriate hiding place. The remaining two are best described as being attached to ‘poles and pipes’ ! All six caches were fairly standard cache containers… with one exception…a mouse!

Our last cache, was another short drive away. It was hidden just outside the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede. We didn’t have time to visit the Memorial itself (it lists all 20000 members of the air Services lost during WWII) but we did pause to remember the fallen by the entrance gates. (Our pause was slightly enforced, as two large lorries were vying for road-space in a relatively narrow lane, near where we were standing!).

Air Forces Memorial, Runnymede

The cache yielded an interesting trackable, Wood. There was an object connected to Wood – a helicopter. We weren’t sure whether to take the trackable or not (since it was in an apt location), but we did and we will blog about its adventures shortly.

So 10 caches attempted and 10 found. Three church micros undertaken and a pleasant walk in the country too.

Here are some of the caches we found :


February 9 : Brainwork needed for National Series caches in Bagshot

Bagshot is only a few miles from home, we’d never cached there and with Storm Erik due to blow in bad weather later, it seemed the ideal place to go.

St Anne’s Church, Bagshot


We were attempting 6 caches and all of them (unusually) were part of National Series :

– 2 were Church Micro caches (numbers 186 and 1326)
– 1 was a War Memorial cache (number 618)
– 1 was a Postcode cache (number 90)
– 1 was a Drinking Fountain/Trough (number 26)

The Centre of Bagshot

Of the six caches only one was a standard cache (the post code cache). The coordinates for this were very exact, and – apart from being in a very public space,opposite a supermarket on a Saturday morning (!) – should have been a straightforward find. It did though take us two attempts to find the magnetic nano hidden under some street furniture.

Where is this ?


Two of the other caches were mystery caches. One (the Drinking Fountain) involved finding a Drinking Fountain/Trough in Bagshot – from a picture, and then finding a cache nearby. Mr Hg137 has driven by the Trough on many occasions, but had never seen it! (Probably concentrating on his driving … is his excuse!)

The other mystery cache was one of the Church Micros. The only information we had, was that the cache was within 100 metres of the supplied coordinates. We both walked 100 metres in opposite directions searching any appropriate hiding place. When we met up minutes later, we hadn’t found the cache. Mrs Hg137 had then read a few logs, and this sparked Mr Hg137’s brain into overdrive as suddenly the hint became clear. Disappointingly Mr Hg137 had been very close to the cache minutes before.. and while Mrs Hg137 was still mentioning other logs, Mr Hg137 purposefully strode to the cache!

A pleasant change from pavements!


The three other caches were multis. Two were very simple – visit one location transcribe a few numbers, calculate a new set of coordinates.

Bagshot’s War Memorial

Simple! Well, simple for one cache… as it led down a small footpath to a quick find.

St Anne’s Chapel


As for the other simple cache…our maths was correct…but our transcription was wrong. We misread a digit from a gravestone and walked half a mile looking for a non-existent cache. We tried a simple correction, without re-visiting the graveyard, but this yielded nothing, so in the end we walked back the graveyard and discovered the true correction to our error. Grr!

The cache is definitely NOT here!


The remaining multi cache (the Village Hall) was a six stage multi. We were able to see from the geocache waypoint map, where many of the stages were, and this enabled us to combine the stages with two other caches. We did cheat a bit with the six stage multi, as we never looked for stage 1 (!). It required extracting two dates, but because the cache owner had provided a handy checksum we could make an educated guess for the final hiding place. We were right!

St Anne’s Village Hall, Bagshot

So a brain-achy morning in Bagshot – lots of calculations, lots of ‘where would we hide a cache’, and all complete before Storm Erik blew through!

Three of the caches we found were :

February 6 : Ottershaw, part 2: tigers, otters, and dogs

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

We’d been to see the Lego animals at Wisley, and very good they were too.



Afterwards, on our way home, we stopped at Ottershaw to finish off the cache series that we had started in mid-January, planning to find the caches in the northern half of the series, around Ether Hill and Queenswood. Our first cache was close to the car park; we found it very quickly, though it won’t be that simple come the spring, when the vegetation starts to grow, and afterwards sat unobtrusively on a nearby seat to sign the log and watch the many, many dogs enjoying the open space, some fast some slow, all waggy (and that’s just the dogs!), who were accompanied, of course, by their owners.

There were just as many dogs in the woods. We had to resort to the ‘make a fictitious phone call’ trick so that we didn’t look suspicious while a dog-walking muggle and friends moved out of sight. My, these woods are dog heaven! It was worth waiting, as we then found a trackable lurking in a large cache. We carried on through the trees, choosing a random route, and finding an ammo can (even bigger!), then a small cache at the edge of a golf course. Everywhere, everywhere, were dogs and dog walkers; just how many dogs live around here? A final cache lay just over the A319 in Ottershaw Chase. For a moment, there were no dogs, and no muggles, and we had a chance to search uninterrupted. It paid off, as we found another cache and another trackable.

An, on the way back, we passed a lady excercising SEVEN dogs …

Five caches and two trackables was a successful haul for a short caching trip. And so, so many happy dogs …

January 18 : BlueLamb Geocoin

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.
While finding caches in the woods near Ottershaw, we came upon this tiny little thing:

Mr Hg137 said it couldn’t possibly be a trackable, it was too small and didn’t look right, but it had all the right words and numbers on it, so we took it home with us. Arriving back at home, I did a little research on what we’d found and what it had done in the past.

The first anomaly was that it shouldn’t have been where we found it … its last recorded location was three weeks and six miles away, in Lightwater. No matter, the last cacher who had it must have failed to record that it had been moved.

Having sorted out the ‘where’ and the ‘when’, it was on to the ‘what’. It turns out that this little scrap of laminated card is a proxy for a trackable called the ‘BlueLamb Geocoin’. The owner has chosen to send out a proxy for the trackable, rather than the original, as lots of trackables go missing (we know, it’s happened to us too). We come across theses before, though the others we’ve come across have been pictures of the original trackable. And here is what the original looks like:

The geocoin, or its representative, started off in Alabama, has travelled to all corners of the main part of the USA, then crossed the Atlantic to travel round France and Germany, and has now hopped over the English Channel where it has visited Worthing, on the south coast, before moving to the area south-west of London. We’re not sure where we will take it. Hampshire, maybe, or the Isle of Wight?

January 18 : Ottershaw

Ottershaw is a village on the outskirts of Chertsey and Woking, just minutes away from the M25.
More importantly, from our perspective, Ottershaw is on our route home from RHS Wisley.

So, on a cold-ish Friday morning we set off for a quick visit to Wisley (we were hoping to see the big Lego exhibition – but we were a week early – doh!) and then find a few caches on the return journey.

Wisley provided us with some winter colour with snowdrops and colourful Alpines in the warm greenhouses. So, with no Lego to see, we headed off to find some caches.

We had loaded 12 caches, 8 of which were part of a series called “Eli’s Walk”.

Our first three caches, though, were not part of this series. Instead we started with a very simple church micro (no graves to find, no numbers to calculate, no waypoints to enter into the GPS). This was number 60 in the Church Micro Series – the cache was placed in March 2008. The Church itself, Christ Church, was built in the mid-19th Century and became the Parish Church for the (then) scattered villages between Woking and Chertsey. It was designed in the studio of Gilbert Scott – and his Gothic Revival style is clear to see on the Church.

Christ Church, Ottershaw

Our next two caches could be described as “Cheesy”. One was called “Say Cheese” and the other “Ottershaw Supreme”. Both were hidden just off tracks in woodland. This is a photo of one of the caches…but we recommend finding the other..just for the fun of retrieving the log!

“Who ordered the pizza?”

And so onto Eli’s Walk. We crossed the busy A320 and started the series at cache 3.

We reached a crossroads on an unmade road, the GPS pointed in one direction towards a 5-barred gate. Blocking the route was a van. We asked the driver whether there was a footpath beyond the gate, and he informed us that it was ‘just houses’. We needed another path!

We walked on slightly concerned that the GPS was still pointing away from our route and our map didn’t indicate another path. A lady dog-walker approached. We enquired how we could get to ‘Ottershaw Park’. This was the name of the track that the cache was on.

‘Ottershaw Park ?
No, you can’t go there.
That’s a private estate.
The back entrance is down there but you’re not allowed in’

We were now mightily confused.

We walked on further and looked back. Both the van driver and dog walker had disappeared. We decided to investigate the track that no-one wanted us to walk along.

Ottershaw Chase


As we did so, we saw a swing gate and noticeboard side onto the path. This reassured us, as, to our limited knowledge, not many private estates have such features. In fact there were no houses to see! The noticeboard stated we were in ‘Ottershaw Chase’ not ‘Ottershaw Park’ which was the name shown on the geocaching map.

We were in woodland! And the cache was only 300 feet away!

Our GPS wobbled. A lot. We searched 3 trees before laying claim to our fourth find of the day, a small Tupperware container.

We walked on, accompanied by the sound of woodpeckers thrumming bark, and magpies swooping in and out of branches. An occasional squirrel scampered up a tree as we approached.

As we arrived at our next cache (number 5 in the series) we finally understood the dog-walker’s words. There WAS a private estate of houses, and we couldn’t enter. Nearby though was a cache hidden under a log pile. The GPS was out about 40 feet here, and we walked past the log-pile before widening our search area.

We paused for lunch. It had been a long morning. And a nearby, super-large, stile was just big enough for both of us to sit on without encroaching upon the private housing estate of Ottershaw Park.

We decided at lunch to use this stile as our furthest point of the day. We would have two more caches to find as we returned to the car, and it would leave 5 Ottershaw caches to find when we next visited Wisley.

Our penultimate cache was ‘magnetic’. For some reason we conjectured about the type of magnetic container before we arrived, and of course guessed wrong. Our search was hindered by a Southern Water Van parked nearby with its driver watching us as he chomped on his lunchtime sandwiches. We searched gates, fences, several padlocks, a nearby Southern Water building, more gates, drain covers… all to no avail. Then on our third search of a particular area we found the cache. Very well camouflaged, yet hidden in plain sight.

“Base of tree” – sigh.


Our final cache, like many others, seemed to be a little-bit-out GPS-wise. The hint ‘base of tree’ didn’t help much as we were on the edge of woodland with trees surrounding us. As we searched a number of light aircraft were landing and taking off from the nearby Brooklands Airfield, causing us to look up periodically rather than looking down for caches. After our tenth failed tree search, we saw the host, and the cache neatly hidden.

So, after a slightly false visit to Wisley we found 7 caches out of 7 and left ourselves some more caches to find on another visit!

Here are a couple of the caches we found :

December 28 : Guildford – The Chantries

The excesses of Christmas needed to be walked off and the Chantries seemed an ideal circuit.

The Chantries (or Chantry Wood) to give it is proper title is situated a few miles South East of Guildford and comprises 78 hectares of mixed woodland. It is also an Area of High Ecological Value within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The North Downs Way runs in its Northern boundary.

There are lots of paths (mainly running West/East) and plenty of hiding places for geocaches. Indeed there are just under 20 geocaches in the area, we chose to attempt 14 of them. We omitted a couple of terrain 4/5 tree climbs, a couple of puzzle caches we couldn’t solve and two quite detailed Earthcaches.

This left us a Compass series set by ===sgb (8 caches had been placed at strategic compass points around the wood) and 6 caches placed by The Perkins Family.

The wood is served by a smallish free car park, and at 9am it was already half-full. Our first cache (NORTHWEST) was hidden in a small hollow just off the main path. In order to get to the cache we had to walk past it on the path, and then pick up a small track and walk back. This was a recurring feature of our walk : get a good fix on the location, and then find the sometimes indistinct cacher’s path a short distance away.

We hadn’t got into this routine at cache 2 (WEST) as the GPS pointed straight up a steep bank. Armed with geopole, Mrs Hg137 hauled herself up the bank, grabbing tree after tree as she climbed. Meanwhile Mr Hg137 scoured the footpath just in case the GPS was wrong. It wasn’t .. and soon the ‘Found it !” cry was heard. This gave Mr Hg137 the opportunity to see if there was an easier route to descend. There was ! A few yards further on, a set of steps yielded easy access to the cache site.

Our next cache was our first failure of the day. Located in a wooden Den.
We lifted every log we could. We sat in the Den looking up, down, left, right. We walked around the Den but all to no avail. A great place for a cache, but clearly too clever for us.

The Den


Somewhat frustrated we walked on and were grateful for an easy find (SOUTHWEST). Then a longish walk leaving the wood to find SOUTH (stopping only to admire three roe deer as they ran within yards of us).

We didn’t find SOUTH.

It was hidden close to a stile, now very unused as it was surrounded by brambles and branches. The hint made little sense (‘Raccoon’) and after 10 minutes of being attacked by thorns we left defeated.

Five caches attempted, and only three finds. Several cuts and grazes accumulated. Time for a coffee, on one of the few seats we saw all day.

A fine view from a rare seat

Our next caches, set by the Perkins Family, were on ‘An Impassable Path’. Over time an official path had become very overgrown. This did not stop the Perkins Family placing three caches on its route, with a view that if cachers walked the path, the brambles, nettles would be cleared and the footpath usable again. This plan had worked as the path was very clear and not impassable at all. Our only problem was locating the start of it, but once we found the middle, we went up and down it quite quickly collecting three caches.

The Impassable Path


We returned then to the Compass series and found SOUTHEAST. Initially our GPS swung from tree to tree but we found it lodged between stones. Broken and with a gnawed logbook. We reported as needs maintenance, but this cache has had several such comments since August 2018. (Ed : It is always slightly disappointing if cache owners don’t respond to ‘needs maintenance’ requests – even adding a note stating when the maintenance will happen at least proves the maintenance request has been noted).

We were at the furthest point from the car park and this meant there were fewer people. In fact we probably went 45 minutes or so without seeing anyone. Our solitude was broken as we headed to EAST (straightforward once the cacher’s path was located), and then onto NORTHEAST.

Here we the cache was seemingly placed between two footpaths. We, of course, took the wrong one and had to walk back and find the cache (easily) from the other direction. Our last cache in the Compass series involved another longish walk to NORTH found under a very heavy log, which needed one of us to lift as the other grabbed the cache.

We then had a couple more Perkins Family caches to attempt.

The first was just off the North Downs Way. Up a slope. A fearsome slope. The tree cover caused the GPS to wobble. We precariously went up and down the slope, searching trees and logs until the GPS finally settled. The distance dropped from 24 feet (a major achievement after 10 minutes searching) to 20 feet, to 16 feet..to 12 to 10. We were there! Phew!

One cache left, and our longest and hardest walk yet.

The Chantries is riddled with dry river valleys. Several of these valleys are the subject of one of the Earthcaches we decided against so we were slightly annoyed at having to climb up a valley slope, down to the valley bottom and re-climb again to reach our final cache.

Exhausted we made our way back to the car. We’d found 12 out of 14 caches, walked nearly 4 miles and climbed 750 feet. Not bad for a post-Christmas workout.

Many of the caches were 1 or 2 litre food containers… two notable exceptions will appear in our ‘caches of the year’ which will be published in a day or so.