June 22 : Sandhurst (Gloucs) to Sandhurst : Lechlade to Badbury Clump

Old Father Thames

When we decided to walk between the Sandhursts (and this included the Sandhurst (Berks) to Sandhurst (Kent) route we undertook last year), we wanted to avoid, as much as possible footpaths we had walked previously. We ‘broke’ this rule a couple of times of the Berks-Kent section as we had to walk on footpaths near our home. Today was the first time on the Gloucs-Berks section we were to repeat a route.

The first mile was on the Thames Path. A long distance path we walked back in 2015. Today we started at St John’s Lock, Lechlade which we visited back in March 2015. Then the lock-keeper was busy painting the locks for the Easter season, today there was no sign of the lock-keeper – instead a couple of boat owners using the lock. Old Father Thames looked on as always. The Head of Navigation is only a couple of miles upstream so this is one of the least used locks on the river – and yet at 10 o’clock on a warm Friday morning we saw three boats!

A rare event … a boat leaving St John’s Lock !

Our route took us downstream along the river to Buscot. The route, and caches, hadn’t changed much in 3 years so we had nothing new to find.

We reminisced about our walk in 2015, as we crossed an ever-so-slightly-too-large bridge, examined in detail a WW2 pill-box guarding the river, and tried to remember a couple of the hiding places where we found caches.

At Buscot Weir we crossed to the south side of the river for our first cache of the day. An camouflaged tube hidden in ivy. Now, like many cachers, we struggled with ivy… and this morning was no exception. After 20 minutes fruitless searching we left with the cache unfound. (Interestingly, preceding our visit there were a series of DNFs, followed by 2 logged finds, by people with less than 50 finds each, and after us a further 3 DNFs. So is the cache actually there ?)

Before entering the National Trust village of Buscot we turned off onto a footpath (least ways, we missed the footpath at first and then returned to it once we realised our error). Here we quickly came across our first find of the day – a tube wedged in an old, hollow tree-trunk.

The caching is easy…but the footpath is hard work!

From then the finds were relatively straightforward. Sometimes the caches were ‘hanging’ from a wire fence, sometimes a false rock between posts. On another occasion, underneath some very prickly brambles. The footpath had taken us away from the river and towards the busy A417 (another cache under some heavy concrete). At this point we turned away from the road and headed, at an acute angle, back to the river.

We crossed a newly-mown hay field with a barely distinct footpath through it. As we crossed through the field, we noticed two ramblers walking AROUND the field boundary. Should we have done that? Were they cachers ? We arrived at our exit point of the field and looked back. We had missed the footpath by 10 feet (whoops!) and the ramblers…were genuine ramblers as they made no effort to find our previous find.

A couple more caches followed (more brambles) and then a highlight cache of the walk. An ammo can. Most large ammo cans we have found have been placed on the ground, but this one had the hint of ‘chest high on a fallen branch’. And it was! Covered with stickoflage, but hidden wedged in tree branches. It’s not often one finds an ammo can, especially on a newish series (just over 3 years old).

The hiding place and caches had been straightforward but different. It is all too easy to place a film canister under a stone behind a tree, but Mashcast, the cache owner of the Buscot Bunker Bimble (BBB) series, had given thought to different hiding places, and hidden appropriate and different containers.

Our last three finds were under some pipes, another wire dangler, another wedged in a hedge.

Before our path took as back the A417, we had lunch overlooking the river. A varied few minutes as we munched our sandwiches. A few ramblers went by, a couple of planes took off noisily from nearby Fairford Airfield, and then – just as we were about to leave – two kingfishers appeared. We think it was a parent feeding a youngster, but within seconds both birds had disappeared. We readied our cameras and waited to see if they would reappear – sadly, our wait was in vain.

Moo-ve along now, moo-ve on..


Our last 2-3 miles of the day had just one cache on the route, near our car at Badbury Clump. And, of all the sections of our Sandhurst Trail, this was one of the least interesting. We were walking the d’Arcy Dalton Way, names after Colonel d’Arcy Dalton who campaigned for and preserved rights of way in Oxfordshire. This trail links two long distance paths in North Oxfordshire (Oxford Canal Walk, Oxfordshire Way) with two paths in the South of the county (the Thames Path and the Ridgeway). The section consisted of relentless tarmac leading up to two farms.

Part of the d’Arcy Dalton Way


As we walked through the second of the farmyards we were greeted in Orwellian tones with ‘We are watching you, we are watching you, we are watching you’ – we had set off the security cameras! The farmer, though, was out in the fields, spraying crops, and we paused to ensure we weren’t sprayed too, as we started our ascent up Badbury Clump.

Many paths criss-cross the Clump and we wanted to make sure we took the correct one. Fortunately for us a rambler appeared from nowhere as we approached a junction of paths. He started to descend, we got chatting, and he realised he shouldn’t have gone downhill to meet us! We though had gleaned where a contouring footpath was, and walked the 300 yards to the cache.

Imagine our surprise to find…another ammo can! Our second of the day ! We have never found two ammo cans in the same day! Whoop! Whoop!

Another ammo can…and a very useful Womble!


Inside though amongst the goodies and swaps, was a Womble. (We then realised the cache owner was The Wombles).
The Womble had some coordinates attached…it was the Westing Co-ordinates for the Wombles Signature Cache. we had the Northing Co-ordinates from another Womble as it is in our own cache, in Berry Bank Copse! We had all the information for find the Signature Cache! Wowser!

We took loads of photos, and wrote the co-ordinates in triplicate. We really didn’t want to lose these magic numbers.

Surveying the view from Badbury Clump

Then a short walk followed over the crest of Badbury Clump to the car park. Badbury Clump, a former Iron Age Hill fort, has fine views over the Oxfordshire landscape and is allegedly where King Arthur defeated the Anglo-Saxons!

We had no fighting today – just good memories of a double-ammo-can day !

Caches we found included :

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May 22 : Fearless Traveler !

During our second visit to Chester we discovered this delightful trackable ‘Fearless Traveler! ‘

Fearless Traveler!

As you may guess from the title, it emanates from America. It started its journey in Illinois back in April 2015 and quickly galloped to the Western side of Canada based in and around Vancouver. It also visited caches not too far from the American border, before heading to Ottawa where it pranced for some time from cache to cache. Interestingly the trackable never made it back into America, but instead headed for the UK.

The first British cache it was placed in, was one we had found back in March 2015 when we walked the Thames Path. It had been placed in a cache called ‘Mosaic Trail – Fishes’ at Newbridge. (Interestingly the cache, if our memory is correct, is a 35mm film canister..so how the horse got into its British Stable, we are not sure).

Thereafter its British journey headed North West to the Chester area where we found it!

We will release it when we find a suitably large cache for it to enjoy the British Countryside!

December 31 – Review of the Year – Cache highlights

About three-quarters of the caches we found during 2015 were on our walk along the Thames Path. (The majority of the remainder were found on short walks around Surrey and the Isle of Wight).

Here in no particular order are some of the best Thames caches we found. Enjoy!


Thank you for reading our blogs during 2015 – we hope you enjoyed them. We’ve been asked what our next challenge is, at the moment we are undecided. But our biggest challenge is what to do with this blog… as we’ve loaded it so full of pictures we’re nearing 90% full !

Have a great caching 2016!

December 29 Thames Path : Canary Wharf to the Thames Barrier

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

Mission accomplished! Thames Path walk complete! Apologies in advance for quite a long post.

Thames Barrier

Thames Barrier


With Christmas gone and 2016 approaching fast, we had just a few days left to complete the Thames Path before our self-imposed deadline of December 31st; we had been keeping an eye on both our social diary and the weather forecast and had decided that December 29th was the day for the final section of the walk.

So we arrived bright and early at Canary Wharf station and exited the Jubilee Line into … a sharp shower of rain. Oh dear! That wasn’t in the plan. But it cleared within 5 minutes, leaving clear air and winter sunshine.

We turned south onto the Thames Path and set off past the skyscrapers and oh-so-expensive apartments overlooking the river. We had lots of caches loaded, but didn’t have high hopes of the first few, as they hadn’t been found for a while. And so it proved. We couldn’t find them either, though our cache searching gave us a chance to inspect various bits of dockland hardware, such as the chains and hydraulic ram at Millwall Old Dock.

By now we were in the Isle of Dogs, and a sudden change in feel; the houses were smaller, the people weren’t all business folk rushing about; London is very curious for this: completely different areas can be just a few yards from each other, or on opposite banks of the Thames. But – we had started finding caches at last. Our first success was cunningly concealed under a post box, and the next was at another unusual feature on the riverside – a ‘park’ made out of planks. Reading the cache notes and the noticeboard, we discovered that this was where IK Brunel had built the Great Eastern, then, and for some time, the biggest ship in the world https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Great_Eastern . It seemed an odd spot to have chosen, very close to some tight bends in the river and without much space around it – but we’re not brilliant inventors.

We found another couple of caches as we walked through Tower Hamlets, though we had to abandon the search for another as a traffic policeman stopped nearby. Oh dear, we really couldn’t risk being stopped by the police twice in three weeks! Then suddenly we entered a small park with a panoramic view across the river to the Cutty Sark and to the old Royal Naval College at Greenwich. Here, too, is the end of the northern bank section of the Thames Path. (Three and a quarter miles to the barrier, said a sign.) The rest of it is on the south bank, though it is not at all a straight line to the finish!

Thames pedestrian tunnel

Thames pedestrian tunnel


The way to the south bank of the Thames is through a 1,215 foot long pedestrian tunnel under the river, and this is also a virtual geocache, one of only 193 left in the UK. Down the stairs, through the tunnel, and up in the lift we went, both of us separately counting away at geocache clues as we went; luckily, our answers matched. It was a well-used walk under the river, but a slightly odd and eerie place; I wouldn’t really want to be down there alone, and it is said that it’s haunted. And all of a sudden we were back out in the light, only yards away from the Cutty Sark and surrounded by crowds of tourists. (Three and a half miles to the barrier, said the next sign; curious, we should be getting closer.) We set off along the Thames Path again, pausing to eat our lunchtime sandwiches on a seat in the sun overlooking the river, looking back at Canary Wharf and watching the tide rushing in.
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After lunch we set off again down the south bank of the Thames. As soon as we had cleared the naval college the crowds melted away and we were almost alone once more, amongst wharves and industrial areas. (Four miles to the barrier, said the third sign; this really didn’t seem right as we knew we were going in the right direction, though fortunately the distances dropped after that!) Every so often we passed an old pub – the Trafalgar, the Cutty Sark, the Anchor and Hope – but, cache-wise, there was little to stop for as almost all the caches between Greenwich and the Thames Barrier are challenge caches, and we haven’t qualified for any of them. So on and on we walked, following a big loop north and then south around the Greenwich Peninsula, better known to most as the home of the O2, formerly the Dome, and where we went to watch the gymnastics during the 2012 Olympics. It was just a little dispiriting to look back across the Thames to Canary Wharf and to realise that we were now only about a mile from where we had started that morning… Part way around the loop in the river we reached a sign telling us that we were now on the Greenwich meridian; we had to check that, so out came the GPS; that was correct, so the rest of our journey would be in a whole new hemisphere! As we rounded a bend in the river and passed under the cable car, the Thames Barrier came into view and in not many more minutes, we were there. Journey’s end!
Greenwich Meridian

Greenwich Meridian


Appropriately, there’s an earthcache, the Tide Lord, to mark the spot. I think our cache log says it well enough:
“ We did it!!! Finally at the Thames Barrier … and an earthcache to puzzle over. The item that forms the puzzle gave us the chance to reflect on our whole journey … which has been very varied indeed … including multiple tree climbs, paddling through icy water, being stopped by the police … and so much more. “

But we weren’t finished yet; we needed to return to Canary Wharf to catch a train, and we had some more caches planned for the return leg. A bus back to the Cutty Sark, transferring to the Docklands Light Railway and back under the Thames, and we were almost there. We stopped part way back to find a picture puzzle cache, ‘1 Canada Square’ The idea is simple, the finding less so; the cache description is a panoramic view of Canary Wharf, and the cache is located ‘within 20 metres of where the picture was taken’. Again, I’ll let our cache log tell the tale:

”Our Thames Path mission complete, we were making our way back from the Thames Barrier to Canary Wharf station and we thought this should be somewhere on the way. (Well, Mrs Hg137 thought it should be, as she had spent hours … and hours … and hours inspecting assorted electronic views of the area to come to a likely location).

And so we pitched up in the likely place in the gathering gloom. A short search found us this cache. Woo hoo! “

Canary Wharf at night

Canary Wharf at night


Just one more cache to do now, and it was pretty dark by now. On our last caching mission/walk we had tried, and failed, to find a Church Micro based on the floating church in Canary Wharf. But we didn’t give up. A short message session with the cache owner and a slight readjustment of coordinates suggested we had been close, but not that close. So back we went, and ten minutes searching in the dark behind concrete pillars and underneath railway lines found us the cache. The last cache of the year, and a warm sense of achievement at getting this one. Unusually for an urban cache, this one contained a trackable, ‘Dick’. It has an interesting mission but that’s a topic for another blog.

Apart from the satisfaction of completing the Thames Path, today was another landmark caching day: only the second time that we had found five cache types in one day: a traditional, puzzle, earth, virtual, and multi cache. A good note on which to round off our caching for 2015, and time to wish all our long-suffering readers best wishes for the year ahead.

Here are some of the caches we found :
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Thames Path statistics :
Route length : 6.75 miles
Total distance walked : 184.75 miles
Caches found : 8
Total caches found : 337

December 19 Thames Path : Cannon Street Railway Bridge to Canary Wharf.

We had about 10-11 miles left of our journey down the Thames, and we decided rather than have one long section and poor light to contend with, we would break the last few miles into 2 sections. The first would take us to Canary Wharf, with its gleaming skyscraper office blocks.

Our Destination.. Canary Wharf

Our Destination.. Canary Wharf

Most of the walk would be on the Northern bank, picking up caches from a series entitled “From the Swan to the Canary” a reference to Swan Pier where the series starts and Canary Wharf where the series ends.
We would omit some of the caches in the series as we wanted to attempt some of the Southern bank caches as well.

But first we returned to where we finished our previous walk.

We were UNDER Cannon Street Railway Bridge on the Thames Foreshore.
Hidden against the various chains and holes in a brick wall was a magnetic 35mm container. About 12 foot up! Now, neither of us are giants, but having checked various photos on http://www.geocaching.com we had a likely plan to reach this difficulty 4, terrain 4.5 cache. Just under the cache was a concrete footing, with a 5ft iron pipe rising from it. If one could stand on the pipe – the cache would be within reach…

Heave, heave, pull, pull

Heave, heave, pull, pull


There are two ways to reach the top of the pipe. The first was to ‘crawl around a wall corner’ with a 6 foot drop beneath or to haul oneself up onto the pipe using a chain fixed to a wall. Mr HG137 tried the latter and after 10 minutes gave up. His arms were still weak from his bone-break, and the iron pole was still wet and slippery from the tide. We could have spent some time trying to access the pole top, but with the full day’s walk ahead of us we moved on.
So a slightly disappointing start, but we feared as much so it didn’t seem that bad.

Our first real cache was the first in the Swan to Canary series. The hint alluded to a sign, which we could see, but we couldn’t see the cache! We looked further afield and eventually found the small magnetic film container attached to a gate. Phew!

Then over the river to an unusual cache – a sidetracked Earthcache. Sidetracked caches are part of a National series where the caches are in or near Railway Stations. This one was near London Bridge Station. However what made it special was the Earthcache qualities. At Ground Zero were 2 lumps of granite, from the London Bridge demolished in the late 1960s. These lumps of granite were mined at Haytor in Devon (we have stayed with http://www.hfholidfays.co.uk half a mile from the mine!) so we felt we had a connection with the cache. Being an Earthcache we had to undertake various scientific analysis of the stones and report our findings to claim the cache find.

Granite from the Previous London Bridge

Granite from the Previous London Bridge

Further along the Southern bank we came to HMS Belfast. Here you can see three great London landmarks together : HMS Belfast, The Tower of London and Tower Bridge. And it’s full of tourists. Lots of them. We thought this would make the next cache hard to find, but given a very accurate hint, and an Oscar-winning ‘tourist impression’ (taking lots of pictures!) the cache was retrieved, signed and replaced before we drew suspicion.

3 London Icons

3 London Icons

We returned to the Northern bank over the tourist filled Tower Bridge, pausing to admire the ‘Girl with a Dolphin’ statue – now showing its age a little, and making sure that the Dickens Inn was where we remembered it to be. (We didn’t go in, but we did frequent it on one of our early dates many years ago!).

Girl with a Dolphin

Girl with a Dolphin


Dickens Inn

Dickens Inn

Our next cache was a little away from the Thames Path, but being part of the Swan/Canary series we thought it would be worth attempting. Sadly GZ was on/near/under a number of concrete bridges, and our GPS never gave us an accurate location. The cache hint gave some idea, but we never really got close. Disappointing as we had drifted a little away from our route to attempt the cache!

Thames Barges, the Shard and Tower Bridge

Thames Barges, the Shard and Tower Bridge

The Northern Bank route took us in a zigzag route from the river, to the streets (Wapping High St) going in front of city apartments and behind wharves closed down many years ago. Eventually we arrived at Wapping Old Steps which led down to the Foreshore. Here, another cache awaited us, a very tightly screwed nano which took both us to unscrew. As we remarked in our previous log, the foreshore is very, very quiet and provides a completely different London atmosphere to the London streets just a few yards away. (Wapping Old Stairs and its foreshore still evoke a different era and appeared as a film location in the 2015 Christmas Edition of “Call the Midwife” – we’re quite sure its appeared in many other films and TV episodes).

Wapping Old Stairs

Wapping Old Stairs

Onward we went with Canary Wharf getting larger with every step we took. Our next cache, was a small nano in a seat. But from the seat we could see a hangman’s noose! We were next to one of London’s oldest pubs The Prospect of Whitby, and outside on the foreshore is a mock-noose celebrating the pub being the hostelry of choice for “hanging” Judge Jeffreys.

Don't hang around too long here!

Don’t hang around too long here!

Our next cache in a small London park was far more tranquil… but the next found us in a tricky predicament. The cache was under a small wooden footbridge which had enough wriggle room to go underneath. We had three futile attempts at wriggling underneath avoiding ‘muggle traffic’ before we found the cache, and foolishly we didn’t take the clip-lock box away from GZ to sign the log. (We like to move a few yards away to deflect interest). We had the cache open, signing the log, with all the trinkets on display when we asked by a small (5 year old?) girl, what we doing. Fortunately her mother appeared and we explained about geocaching. The girl wanted many of the trinkets but we settled on a small pink notebook. Fingers crossed she doesn’t tell others of the ‘treasure hidden beneath the bridge’.

The Swan/Canary series took us to many varied locations including a statue celebrating the work of ropemakers as well some very swanky metal-work (where the cache could only be found by looking in one very specific location).

Celebrating the Ropemakers of London

Celebrating the Ropemakers of London

Eventually the towers of the Canary Wharf complex were above us, and we had one more cache to find.. a Church Micro. This Church micro, newly published, was based on St Peter’s Barge, London’s only floating Church. We found the answers to the clues near the church and walked to the final Ground Zero. Concrete pillars, overhead railway lines meant our GPS couldn’t get us close to the location and we gave up! A slightly poor end to an eventful day’s caching.

St Peter's Barge, London's Floating Church

St Peter’s Barge, London’s Floating Church


Here are some of the caches we found :

Thames Path statistics :

Route length : 3.75 miles
Total distance walked : 178 miles

Caches found : 9
Total caches found : 329

December 4 Thames Path : Vauxhall Bridge to Cannon Street Railway Bridge

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

Allo, allo, allo … we were rumbled!
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On a bright December morning we resumed our walk down the Thames Path.  It had been so long … assorted commitments had kept us from our Thames Path mission for a whole month … but we were back.

Getting quickly under way with two caches around Vauxhall Bridge and Station, we joined the Thames Path, soon arriving at a small patch of grass, with some seats, overlooking the Thames.  There was a cache here somewhere; but the GPS wouldn’t settle and we spent quite a few minutes searching in, on, and under various likely locations.  We were on the point of giving up when …”Excuse me Sir, what are you doing?”  Oops! We’d been stopped by the police … two of them, a policeman and policewoman.  The geocache description had told us what to do if this should happen …

“This cache is located within an area frequently patrolled by Police & Security. Avoid acting suspiciously when searching, if challenged, explain about Geocaching”

Helping with our enquiries!

Helping with our enquiries!

… so we explained … and then they offered to help us in our search for the cache!  An unexpected outcome, we’d been thinking that a caution was coming!  With so many eyes and hands searching, the cache was soon found.

Westminster Bridge: busy, busy busy

Westminster Bridge: busy, busy busy

Westminster Bridge: security concious

Westminster Bridge: security concious

Towards Westminster, the path became busier and busier with throngs of tourists, so busy that we didn’t manage to find the next two caches.  Turning onto Westminster Bridge, there was a HUGE security presence – this was a couple of days after the government decision to take military action in the Middle East.   We turned away from the Houses of Parliament and all those police and roadblocks to set off along the north bank of the Thames.  A little way ahead were red phone boxes; we knew there was a cache inside one of them, but what was happening outside?  A camera was being fixed to a tree, a presenter was doing a piece to another camera, and filming chaos was in progress.  Diversionary activity was called for (from us), so Mr Hg137 engaged the film crew in conversation (it turned out to be a shoot for a fashion blog) while I slipped into the phone box and retrieved and replaced the cache.

Geocache - or fashion shoot?

Geocache – or fashion shoot?

Looking across at the London Eye – we’ve had good times on that before – we strolled on a little way to Cleopatra’s Needle, site of another cache and of an earthcache too.  Once again, this made us look much closer at a monument we’d seen many times before; quite a bit of the questions posed for this cache centre on a bomb which exploded very close to the base of the monument, and caused some damage.   Answers calculated, we paused for lunch in the nearby Embankment Gardens; there was a multicache here, too, but we couldn’t even attempt it as the statue (of a camel) which would have provided the answers had been boarded up to protect it from a nearby Christmas event; there was just the camel’s nose showing above the hoarding; with hindsight, we could have done the research beforehand and not needed the statue.

Spot the camel!

Spot the camel!

After lunch, we crossed back over the river at Waterloo Bridge.  There were caches both sides of the river, but there were two on the south bank that we especially wanted to attempt. They were down on the foreshore, so only accessible at low tide, using metal steps to get down to the shore. We’d checked the tide tables and knew we would be OK (always best to check; there’s a big tidal range on the Thames and the tide comes in – and goes out – at a ferocious speed).  The first was another earthcache, involving “things” to do with rocks on the foreshore, and the second was a conventional cache, but hidden away well below the high tide mark, lashed securely to the bank.  Both were easy to do, but neither of us had anticipated how different it would feel when down on the shore.  The noise of traffic and people dies away, so it is surprisingly quiet … and there is sand!  We weren’t expecting sand.
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Back up on the Queen’s Walk and back with the crowds and the noise, we walked on till we reached Tate Modern, with an iconic (and protected) view of St Paul’s Cathedral across the Millenium Bridge.  There was a cache near here, appropriately called ‘Wobbly Bridge’ – the bridge gained that nickname just after it opened, when it swayed rather too much, and had to be speedily closed for strengthening.   We walked across the bridge – it didn’t wobble – as there was a virtual cache just the other side of the bridge, or more correctly, just under the other side of the bridge.  Here was another place we wouldn’t have known about had it not been for geocaching, a new piece of sculpture with at least one item on it that is of interest to geocachers – and that’s the answer to the cache, so no spoilers here!  And that was our last success of the day; we tried, and failed to find a few more caches, ending up once again, in the gathering gloom, on the Thames foreshore very close to Cannon Street Railway Bridge; more about this in the next post; we came back to try again!
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Here, in no particular order, are some of the caches we found:
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It seemed like much longer, but it was just three miles!

Thames Path statistics :

Route length : 3 miles
Total distance walked : 174.25 miles

Caches found : 13
Total caches found : 320

October 30 Thames Path : Battersea Railway Bridge to Vauxhall Bridge

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

Autumn had well and truly arrived and the plan for this section of the Thames Path geocaching odyssey was to walk downstream towards Westminster, allowing for the usual geocaching diversions, and to see how far we got before weather, dusk or tiredness called an end to the day.

Barbara Hepworth sculpture in Battersea Park

Barbara Hepworth sculpture in Battersea Park


Rejoining the river at Barnes railway bridge, we soon reached our first caching target of the day, Power Station view, which had a good view of the disused Lots Road power station across the river, which used to power the London Undergound. And, admiring the view from just where we wanted to be, was a muggle. We sat down on the nearest bench we could find, and waited … and waited … and finally he picked up his shopping bag and strolled off. Then we moved across to this viewing place and had a very thorough search around before finding the cache thoroughly concealed, just where the muggle had sat!
IMG_0996 paintFurther along the towpath, we came to Battersea Park. Having never been there before, I’d imagined it would be just a big flat piece of grass, maybe a bit soggy as it was next to the river. But it is much, much better that that. Yes, there are open areas of grass, but also tree-lined paths, nature areas, a petting zoo, lakes, cafes, boating, statues, the whole lot. There were a few caches of various sizes dotted around the park; some we found, and some we didn’t; this wasn’t a huge surprise, as some of them had been missing for a while, but we felt we had to try …
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And there was one other cache in the park. The starting point was the other side of the river, and the idea was that, if a projectile was fired with a particular velocity, direction, and angle, it would land at GZ. We decided to ‘reverse engineer’ this, and work out the correct location from a reverse bearing and from careful study of previous logs and pictures. It was a good idea, badly carried out; we did a sort of death spiral round the park, taking about an hour, gradually narrowing in on the cache, and doing rather more than one circuit as we did so. It kept us well occupied – what a great idea for a cache!
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Rejoining the towpath where we had entered the park, just two hours after we went in – honour says that we can’t miss out bits of the Thames Path – we set off again, passing between Battersea Park and the Thames on a wide promenade, and pausing in front of a large pagoda. Pagoda??? A little bit of research later told us that it’s one of about 80 around the world, and was offered to London in 1984 by an order of Buddhist monks. ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/articles/2008/09/25/battersea_pagoda_feature.shtml )
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There was just one more cache to find before leaving the park. It should have been hidden in the wall that separates promenade from riverbank. it wasn’t. We found it on the ground and in the open. Oops – not sure how it could have moved there by itself; we replaced it where it should have been and made sure it was well wedged.

We emerged into the noise and bustle of Chelsea Bridge Road. Immediately ahead, on this south side of the river, was Battersea Power Station, and the Thames Path makes a fairly big diversion around that, so much of the Thames Path down to Vauxhall Bridge isn’t actually by the river; and there aren’t many caches either. Therefore, our plan was to cross the river, to walk along the north side of the river, and then cross back at Vauxhall. Across Chelsea Bridge we went, turning right to walk along Grosvenor Road, with occasional glimpses of the river over a wall. I can’t really say that this was the best half-mile of the walk so far … We paused part way along to grab a Church Micro, Pimlico St Saviour, hidden along the railings of one of those typical London Squares.

As we approached Vauxhall Bridge, we were entering spy territory; the security services are based around here, and many of the caches hereabouts include

“This cache is located within an area frequently patrolled by Police & Security. Avoid acting suspiciously when searching, if challenged, explain about Geocaching”

in their description. So ‘Carry on Spying’, another from the series inspired by the Carry On films, was most appropriate. And we probably looked a bit suspicious while we were searching. The GPS just would not come up with a fixed location (other cachers have wondered if something ‘odd’ happens to GPS signals around here) and we spent a while feeling behind likely objects, before finding the cache within an arm’s length of where the hint said it should be.

To finish the day, we crossed back over the river and made for Vauxhall station, diverting just once more onto the Thames towpath to find ‘Traditional Cache I Spy (A 5th London Landmark)’ As with the first cache today, the last cache also had a muggle, standing just where the cache was likely to be. We decamped to a seat a little way off where we could keep an eye on him from a distance. Eventually he went away and we swooped on the cache.
A good, though not outstanding, day’s caching – and a splendid park.

As usual, here, in no particular order, are some of the caches we found this time:
IMG_0989 paintIMG_0997 paintIMG_1003 paint

Thames Path statistics :

Route length : 3.75 miles
Total distance walked : 171.25 miles

Caches found : 8
Total caches found : 307