November 3: Trackable : Great Britain Rocks

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

Great Britain Rocks

Great Britain Rocks


The fifth of the five trackables (FIVE! They are like buses, they come along in groups!) that we found on our caching trip around Lightwater was Great Britain Rocks.

This is an old and well travelled trackable. It has been around since April 2011 and has travelled 36,000 miles – that’s one and a half times round the earth – there was a very brief trip to California, early on, but the rest has been in Europe, including the fringes of the continent such as Finland and Cyprus, and also including musical events, like a Linkin Park concert.

Here’s why this trackable was sent out to travel:
I was inspired to release this patriotic guitar as a travel bug after finding The Tin Pan Alley cache in Denmark Street London – GC2C1NN if you’re caching in London, its a must do! This travel bug would like to visit as many caches and places with a musical connection as possible.

Tin Pan Alley cache

Tin Pan Alley cache


We’ve visited the Tin Pan Alley cache, back in December 2014 https://sandhurstgeocachers.wordpress.com/2014/12/28/december-28-paddington-bear-part-2/
It’s one of the caches we’ve visited with the most favourite points – over 1,000. The logbook for the cache was hidden on a noticeboard where hopeful musicians pinned up notices to say what kind of instruments they could play. Our cache logs says I signed up to be 2nd violin, while Mr Hg137 wanted to be the manager! Sadly, the cache was archived in mid-2015 as building work in the area had made it inaccessible.

November 3: Trackable : I’m GROOT!!!

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

I'm GROOT!!!

I’m GROOT!!!

Im Groot!!!!
Groot!!!
Travel around the world!!!

The fourth of the five trackables that we found on our caching trip around Lightwater was I’m GROOT!!!

GROOT hasn’t been travelling very long at all, only since May 2019. And we were only the fourth cachers, after his owners, to look after him. He set off from Spain and was almost immediately taken to England, starting his journeys there in late May. Since then, he has toured around south and southwest England, visiting London, Bath, and Exeter, travelling just over 1000 miles in that time.

For those who haven’t come across GROOT before, here is a short biography:
He is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, and first appeared in Tales to Astonish #13 (November 1960). An extraterrestrial, sentient tree-like creature, he is a flora colossus from Planet X. Groot went on to star in the film series Guardians of the Galaxy and its sequels, voiced by Vin Diesel. Since his film premiere and animated series debut, Groot has become a pop culture icon, with his repeated line “I am Groot” becoming an Internet meme.

And a final thought: geocaching is an ideal opportunity for GROOT as it gives him the chance to travel the world, meeting other trees like himself!

November 3: Trackable : Maman Souris

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

On our caching trip around Lightwater, we found FIVE trackables. The third of these was Maman Souris.

Maman Souris

Maman Souris


This is one of a trio, Maman Souris, Fils Souris, and Papa Souris. All three are in a race, and the idea is that the all end up back in France. All three were released on Monday 8th May 2017.

Papa Souris went around with the owners for a bit, releasing it at their own event about a month later It’s travelled 10,000 miles and is currently in Bavaria, Germany.

Fils Souris stayed with his owners until early September 2017 before being placed in a cache in journey. 17,000 miles have passed by until now and the trackable is now in Finland.

Famille Souris

Famille Souris


And Maman Souris … also stayed with her owners, travelling round France, before being released at an event in mid-August 2017. She did some more travelling round France, then ‘did’ Belgium, and briefly went to Germany. In June 2019 Maman Souris arrived in England, being placed in a travel bug (TB) hotel on the borders of Kent and Sussex. Since then, she has visited Portsmouth, and London, and finally ended up with us.

And who is truly winning the race? No idea – none of the trackables are in France, and they are all supposed to visit the USA before returning home (none have, yet) so no-one is winning there. Mileage-wise, Maman Souris is in third place, with 9000 miles travelled, with Papa Souris in second place on 10000 miles and Fils Souris way ahead on 17000 miles. But – Fils Souris has been stationary since July 2018 and Papa Souris has been resting since August 2019; meanwhile, Maman Souris is still active and moving, so she is catching all of them up!

November 3 : Trackable : Sir Legalot

The second trackable we found on our trip around Lightwater was a cheeky looking Lego character, Sir Legalot. Even his name made us smile!

Sir Legalot

Like his probable ‘namesake’, Sir Legalot was on a quest.

To reach Legoland in Denmark before two other trackables : R2-LeGo and Leghost.

The quest started way back in May 2005 from San Jose on the far Western Side of America. After visiting a few caches there it arrived in Australia…missing out Denmark completely!

After visiting a few Sydney caches, Sir Legalot was transported into Europe, notably visting the Netherlands and Germany (then more caches in Australia and America before returning to Europe and visiting Legoland in Germany).
Several caches later, Sir Legalot completed his quest and reached Legoland in Denmark. Its not clear whether Sir Legalot won the race, but the journey was completed in 2012 – seven years after the adventure started.

Where to next ? Many European countries were visited, including Austria and Switzerland, but in September 2019 it arrived in the UK for the first time. It was placed in the Lightwater cache where we found it a few weeks later. Lightwater is about 15 miles from Legoland UK in Windsor, so we will endeavour to place it nearer to this location.

Many trackables seem to have a short life before getting lost, but Sir Legalot has travelled the world for over 14 years, and accumulated nearly 80,000 miles. Well done!

November 3 : Trackable – Keys!

Our short caching trip around Lightwater yielded 5 trackables. The first was Keys!

Keys!

This is one the heaviest and possibly largest trackables we have ever found.

It weighs just under 1 Lb, (420g) and is about 3.5 inch round and contains at least 40 metal keys. Some the keys are small (perhaps briefcase keys), others old door keys. Some of the keys reflect the trackable’s journey. There are German keys, Australian keys and one from the Geocaching Association of Great Britain. The trackable started in Los Angeles in May 2007 with just 4 keys attached so it has grown a lot since then.

It is quite remarkable that the trackable still continues to be moved, but in general every few weeks or months the current holder finds a new cache for it to visit. Until about a year ago, when it was placed in a cache on the Oxfordshire/Berkshire border.
Unfortunately the current owner at the time placed it on one cache, but electronically logged it into another.

Keys! were picked up shortly after, but not logged by another cacher, so the journey stopped.

About a month ago, the keys ‘appeared’ in the Lightwater cache, but it is not clear who moved it. We will never know…but what we do know is we have a challenge to find a cache big enough and strong enough to place Keys! in.

Wish us luck!

November 3: Trackables – so many trackables!

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

On our caching trip around Lightwater, we found five (yes, FIVE!) trackables. They are a varied collection: from the 500g / 1 pound bunch of keys to a tiny little Lego man.

Trackables by the trayful!

Trackables by the trayful!


Welcome to Keys!, Sir Legalot, Great Britain Rocks, I’m GROOT, and Maman Souris. Five trackables with varying ages and missions, and each one will get a post over the next few days.

November 3 : Lightwater

The 2019 Autumn is fast becoming a damp squib, every day seems to have rain forecast, or if not sullen grey skies. Planning a geocaching trip is like playing poker with the weather – and frequently being on the losing side.

Today though we were lucky. We were in Lightwater, a small town in Northern Surrey. It is surrounded by the M3 on one side, a busy dual-carriageway on a second side and a cut-through fast single carriage-way on a third. The fourth side is the edge of MOD Army Ranges. With all these outside influences, we were very surprised how quiet the village is.

We planned on attempting 9 caches, and we parked near the first – a Travel Bug Hotel. We were lucky with our parking, as there were spaces for just 6 cars – we were the fifth – and before we had even left the car two more cars arrived which overfilled the car park.

Most of our route was on pavements but the first half mile or so, was in a bridleway (get the mud out of the way at the beginning). Not unsurprisingly, given the cars in the car park, this bridleway was busy. Dog walkers and toddler walkers all out for a welcome walk in the sunshine. Three dog walkers stood and chatted near to the first cache. We swiftly picked the container from behind a tree and walked on to a side path.

Where have all the dog walkers gone ?


It was a travelbug hotel, but the geocaching website, said there were no trackables inside. This was borne out by an empty large plastic container, marked ‘TBs’ inside the cache. But there was something else in the cache that caught our eye – in fairness we couldn’t miss it. A giant morass of keys! Was this a ‘key cache’ where finders were expected to ‘add a key to the ring’ ? We mused on this for a minute or two, until we noticed that the giant key ring was a trackable!

Cache with keys!


We decided to remove it from the cache and take it on our travels. Unusually we didn’t have a haversack with us, so rather than carry the 1lb key ring on our 3 mile walk, Mr Hg137 returned to the car and left it there.

We continued on the bridlepath, the November sun picking out the Autumn leaf colours. At the far end of the path, there was another cache – part of the National Postcode series. This was cache 89, for the GU18 post area. A quick find, once we saw the hint object, and negotiated a holly tree sapling!

The rest of walk followed a clockwise pavement walk around Lightwater. Our next cache has been marked with a DNF by the previous cacher. We were therefore pleasantly surprised to see the cache in silhouette behind some street furniture yards before arriving at GZ. (We later discovered that the previous cacher had found just 1 cache, so presumably was expecting something more exciting that the magnetic nano).

One of the many copses in Lightwater


Up to now the caches had been easy, but the fourth cache led us a merry dance. Called ‘The Truth is a Lemon Meringue’ it was hidden in one of the many end-of-road corner copses we saw on our walk. The GPS wouldn’t settle and we assumed it would be in the middle of this copse. Fighting our way through branches and rubbish, we couldn’t see the hint item at all (‘Tri-Tree’). Mrs Hg137 left the copse and tried to get an accurate distance and bearing with Mr Hg137 battling his way trying to match Mrs Hg137’s outstretched hand. Still nothing. Then Mr Hg137 saw the tree, on the outside of the copse yards from where Mrs Hg137 was standing ! She managed to retrieve the cache before Mr Hg137 had left the copse! So much for believing it would be hidden deep in the woods!

We were deep in Lightwater’s housing estates now, and the bright Sunday morning had brought several people out busying themselves in their gardens. A surprising number were cutting and trimming trees and hedges.

Our next cache was in a tree – or so we thought. ‘Ivy covered tree’ as the hint, and two trees to search (one each). We groaned. Ivy hides are hard. Mr Hg137 got lucky as the cache was hidden not in the ivy, but close to his tree. Inside … our second trackable of the day – a Lego Man! Considerably smaller than the trackable keys, so we were able to place in a pocket.

Lightwater is criss-crossed by streams


We had a long-ish walk to the centre of the town. Or should that be village ? Because Lightwater has a beautiful village sign (number 1493 in the National Series). Nearby were two seats, and our next cache was under one of them. This should have taken no time at all, but somehow it took two circuits of the seats to find the cache!

All Saints Church, Lightwater


Our only failure of the day was at the nearby All Saints Church. Unusually for a cache in the Church Micro series, it was a standard cache, rather than a multi based on service times or gravestone dates. Yet, we couldn’t find the cache. We read that this cache does have a chequered history as it seems to got missing more often than it is available to be found. It has been replaced twice in the last 2 months ! Reluctantly we moved on to our final caches of the day.

As we did so, we noted that the brilliant sunshine of earlier had been replaced by ever-darkening clouds. Fortunately we were headed towards our car. Our penultimate cache was in another roadside copse. Lots of trees, and a familiar story, of taking far too long to find the tell-tale ‘stickoflage’. It was so well hidden Mr Hg137 stood within a yard of the cache and didn’t notice it!

Cache containing 3 Trackables


A pleasant surprise awaited us … there were three trackables inside. We had found 7 caches, and 5 trackables. What a haul!

The imminent threat of rain had eased slightly but even so we hurried to our last find of the morning – this time hidden behind a road sign. In fact it was so well wedged in the roadsign, Mrs Hg137 used her trusty penknife to release it, and remove the log from the tiny container.

A short walk back the car, laden with trackables, and we drove off. Not a moment too soon as raindrops appeared on the windscreen as we reached the centre of Lightwater. We looked at Village Sign one last time, and noticed by the roadside, waiting to cross the road, in broad daylight was a fox. Great to see …and so unusual to see in the middle of the day. A fantastic end to a morning’s caching in Lightwater.

Some of the caches we found :