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 :


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February 15 : Trackable Smiler

Our walk around Weston Patrick took us to Erika’s Treasure Chest, about a quarter of a mile from our car and a quick find. Inside the sizeable container, was a trackable. a plastic shark, called Smiler.

Smiler

Smiler


Originally Smiler was an aluminium shark released in the UK with the intention of seeking out coastal locations to terrorise. (The plastic shark features an uneaten human leg!). Smiler did indeed travel the world visiting several caches in Peru and Brazil as well as major cities in Australia. Its journey to Australia was via Korea and one of the most famous stations in that country – Gangnam. The cache it visited is, of course, “Gangnam Style” where finders are invited to pose in front of signboard showing associated dance moves! It is not clear whether Smiler took part in this activity!

Sadly the Aluminium Shark was retrieved from a cache ion Poltimore, Devon in 2016 and never put back in the wild.
After 2 years out of a cache, the original owner. Bizkitman, replaced it with a plastic variant to resume its quest of coastal locations.

We are not visiting the coast soon, but we will move it on, into a suitable container, at the earliest opportunity!.

February 6 : Keltic Kankine

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

We found two trackables while caching in the woods near Ottershaw. This was the second, found in our final cache of the day.

Keltic Kankine

Keltic Kankine


It’s owned by Hothfield Hillbillys, who released it while on holiday in Cornwall in October 2015, with the hope that it would travel round the British Isles, then return to Kent.

Apart from a very brief visit to Italy and Spain, it has done exactly that, travelling around the southern half of the Britich Isles, from Cornwall, to Wales, to the Midlands, and is now south-west of London, so it is getting (slowly) nearer to Kent. We’ll move it a little further on its way.

February 6 : Trackable : Fly Little Bug Fly

During our walk around Ottershaw we found 2 trackables.

The first was this cloth badge with a German motif. Clearly from Borussia Munchen Gladbach it was also tagged ‘Miami’. We’ve seen many travel bugs over the years, but this has been our first cloth badge.

The trackable has visited both Germany and Miami in its 5 year history. On its European travels the badge has visited caches on Austria, Luxembourg, France, Liechtenstein, Croatia, the Channel Islands. It has criss-crossed the southern UK reaching no further North than Birmingham.

It has traversed the USA too, from Seattle in the West, Las Vegas, Denver, Philadelphia and of course Miami in the East. We’re not sure we can take it to such exciting locations.. but we’ll try!

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 4 : PT Le pays du Der

This trackable – found in our cache during a maintenance visit – is named after an area of France in the Champagne region, and wishes to visit lots of countries. So far, since June 2017 it has visited France, Switzerland, Poland, Germany, Spain (Canary Islands), Ecuador, Canada and Britain. It has travelled over 47,000 miles and visited nearly 2400 caches… not bad for 18 months travelling!

Many of those caches were accrued in undertaking a large series that the trackable is named after ‘Le Pays du Der’. This is a series of 1300 caches (predominantly drive-bys) set out as a series of figures of eights centred around Longeville-sur-la-Laines.
The series seems to be a ‘rite of passage’ and reading some of the logs, cachers come from all over Europe to undertake the full 1300 caches in 3-5 days ! Phew!

We don’t have such large series in this country, but we will try to place the trackable in a series rather than an isolated cache miles from nowhere!