December 9 : Yateley

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

On a frosty, crisp, sunny winter’s morning, we decided to get out into the fresh air and do a spot of caching. Mr Hg137 had spotted six caches, close together, a short drive away that all appeared to be well thought of by previous finders. (Editor’s note: you can award a ‘favourite’ point to a cache that you especially enjoy – for the location, for the cache container, or for any especially fun aspect of the cache. )

Having parked the geocar, we set off up Cricket Hill Lane for our first cache, ‘Pond View’. Both of us have driven along this road many times and have both failed to spot the little wildlife pond and the wooden carvings of various animals and plants. Geocaching does take you to new places … or makes you see familiar ones in a new light … The cache was nearby, in a container made from natural materials that blended well into the background.

Turning off the main road onto a narrow lane, we were immediately past the edge of Yateley and into countryside, and soon reached our next target, ‘Leap Of Faith’. We weren’t sure what that might imply, but it turned out to involve a large tree, lots of roots, many fallen leaves, and a bit of scrambling up and down a bank. After lots of searching, the cache was uncovered in a spot that both of us had already searched. Oh well. A little further on was ‘Outpost’, a cache with a hint that said (‘title should do it”). So we searched every conceivable object that could possibly be the place, but without success. (Editor’s note: the cache had gone missing and has subsequently been replaced.)

Can't find that cache!

Can’t find that cache!

Next up was ‘Long Forgotten St Barnabas’. Until 1980 a corrugated iron chapel (aka ‘Tin Tabernacle’) stood near here, and the cache name commemorates this. (Editor’s note: my – limited – local knowledge has just expanded a little.) Anyway, the actual cache wasn’t made of tin, but was another of those clever items built out of natural materials that blend seamlessly into the area around them. More rootling in trees and bushes, and we found it.

We crossed the road and set off up Prior’s Lane. Most of the roads around here seem to be called ‘Lane’ regardless of how large or small, busy or quiet they are! This one was both small and quiet, a narrow road that passed a few houses, became a track and then a footpath. Along here were our last two caches of the day. The first, ‘Crossword’ was somewhere outside a scout hut, where all the clues were in the puzzle supplied in the cache description. We arrived at the destination and surveyed various likely items. One kept catching my eye. It just looked … overconstructed … for what it needed to be. I prodded it and felt it and tried to find loose bits, and eventually something moved, and there was the cache. Well done to the cache setter – we’ve never seen one quite like that before.
(Editor’s note: it’s hard to describe caches without spoiling it for future finders! There is much, much more that I could have said here.)
(Editor’s note 2: a picture of this cache will very likely appear in our end of year post ‘Caches of the Year’ where we show some of the most interesting, exciting, unusual, or just plain daft caches that we have come across.)

Then it was time to find our last cache of the day, ‘Old Man Dawson’ (no, we don’t know who he was!). We had to determine some numbers – we had done the research on that beforehand – and then use those to open the cache. We arrived at the appointed place. I searched briefly and unsuccessfully at the foot of a tree. Mr Hg137 fell about laughing, and pointed to an item at about chest height. Doh! The cache was right there in plain view. And then it was just a matter of applying those numbers and opening the cache, simple enough, except that it was quite stiff and I broke a nail while opening it. Doh again!

And that was it for the morning. Five out of six caches found and time for a late lunch.

Here are some of the caches we found:


August 19 : Farley Forage

Our plans today were the Farley Forage series and a couple of other caches on route. The caches were ‘squeezed’ between two other series we had completed recently – the Hampshire Drive By, and the Cache-as-Cache-can series in Farley Hill.

Passports at the ready!

The Farley Forage series was wholly in Berkshire, but due to quirkiness of the roads – and a troublesome (vehicle) ford crossing of the River Blackwater, we parked in Hampshire. Indeed this closeness of the county boundary was celebrated by our first cache of the day called County (Re) Boundary. This cache was a replacement for a previous one, and we suspect hidden in the same place. In a tree bole, 6 feet above a muddy bank.
Mr Hg137 scrambled up, located the cache and passed it down for Mrs Hg137 to sign the log and retrieve 2 trackables : Monkey Magic and a World Geocoin. What a good start to the day!

Farley Ford, standing in Berkshire, looking into Hampshire

We then started on the Farley Forage route, crossing the River Blackwater not by the ford but via a small concrete bridge and arriving very quickly at Farley Forage #1. We had read that the previous finder had reported the cache container was broken so we had taken along a film canister to provide a further layer of protection. It wasn’t needed as the cache owner had been out and fixed the cache before 9 o’clock!

The cache owner, Twinkandco, places small caches, generally nano sized, sometimes a film container, but nearly always connected to a piece of rural camouflage. Sometimes the container is inside some bark, or a log, sometimes with a ‘tail’ inside a tube.. but always great fun!

All of the caches are easy (ish) to find, but sometimes a bit of bank scrambling is needed for retrieval.

This series had been advertised as ” … very wet and boggy in places after rainy weather and WELLYS ARE HIGHLY RECOMMENDED“. We had worn walking boots, and we were grateful we had, as shortly after cache 4 came the mud. Two hundred yards of it. The path was one giant mudslide. We picked our way between the soft, squelchy mud, the really slippery mud and the much-easier-to-walk-on shaly mud. In fact while we were traversing the mud we almost forget to see how close the next cache was, and nearly walked by it.

Mud, mud..glorious mud!

The Farley Forage series consisted of 16 caches and we had two others to find on our 4 mile walk. The County (Re) Boundary was one, and we were soon at the other, Sandpit Lane. We had several host trees to search here, and it was only after a few minutes that we managed to find the cache.

The Farley Forage series contained one multi, and due to some over-zealous navigation on Mr Hg137’s part we approached the first part from the wrong direction thus meaning we had to retrace our steps for the final find.

We had walked uphill, away from the river and the paths were much, much drier.

Except at cache 7.

We had rounded a blind corner on the footpath, and discovered the cache was hidden behind a tree the other side of a large stretch of mud.

(We knew the cache was there, as a plethora of muddy bootprints pointed towards the tree!).

Mrs Hg137 ventured across, and retrieved the cache at the second attempt. It was just as the log was being signed when 2 people came round the blind corner.

We’d been rumbled!

But no! They were cachers too. Penwood Plodders – another husband and wife team. We made sure they endured the mud by asking them to replace the cache! We walked on with them for a cache or two, chatting about the Devon Mega, the mud and caching in general. It became apparent that their walking pace, and cache administration, was quicker then us, so we allowed them to speed ahead. Nice meeting you!

(Ed: in case you are wondering why it takes longer to write ‘hg137’ on a log rather than ‘Penwood Plodders’, its because we scribble down a brief note about each cache, our experience at it, as well as taking a photo for this blog).

That’s better… a bit drier here !

The next section of the route was relatively uneventful, the cache containers maintained their uniqueness. As we re-approached the River Blackwater we crossed a few stiles (always good hiding places) and well as a cache hidden deep in a nettle bush.

Somewhere.. near to this stile’s signage .. may be a cache!

Several times we thought we were catching up with Penwood Plodders, but every time they were returning to the footpath having left it to find a cache.

Penwood Plodders in the distance

For much of the day we could hear the sound of farm machinery, and as discovered caches 12-14 we were walking alongside the farmer’s field. What he thought of two pairs of ‘ramblers’ walking along the footpath and both pairs stopping mid-field, in the same spot, we shall never know.

I wonder whether he spotted us…

We were expecting more mud on this section as the river was only feet away, but the paths were dry and meant the mud layer on our boots was quickly being walked off.

We found all the caches on route – a very enjoyable 4 mile walk – full of interesting finds and varied countryside. If you are in the areas of Farley Hill.. we recommend the series to you!

Other Caches we found included :

August 5 : UK Mega 2017, Devon – Day 2, Bicton Park

Note : the following blog contains many pictures of people. If you are identifiable in a picture, and want to be removed from the blog/picture, please request this in the comments section.

The 2017 Mega had arrived.

Actually the UK Mega event had been going on all week. Many hundreds of geocachers had camped at Bicton College, just outside of Otterton, for many days and had taken part on a variety of activities including letter-boxing on Dartmoor, and early morning swim and lots of local trips and excursions.

Bicton College

But Saturday was the big day. The day, when people like us, would attend for one day only. And nearly 2000 people did too!

Lots of cachers!

A giant convoy slowly drove into Bicton College passing the huge camping site. Lots of large tents, small tents, campervans. Somehow we squeezed into a car park space and walked, to the main building. Without really trying, and despite arriving at 9:50, we found ourselves pretty close to the front as the Mega doors opened. A local towncrier pronounced the event ‘Open’ and with that Signal the Frog welcomed everyone.

From Town Crier…

…to Signal the Frog

Inside the Bicton Park building were a variety of stall holders, and we were first at the Garmin stand to find out what went wrong the previous day. It seems that may have been a ‘duff’ cache which caused the problem, but with over 70 caches loaded its difficult to work out which it was.

Other exhibitors included Aberdeen Geocachers selling wares for their Mega in 2019, various stands selling geocache containers and trackables, a demonstration of and also UK Cache Mag.

UK Cache Mag

UK Cache Mag

Buy your caches here!

Buy your caches here!

We’ve met Adam, the editor, a few times, and he asked us to take a few photos for the magazine. We were able to help him, and we were really pleased that several of our photos appeared in the latest issue.

Outside there was also a hive of activity. 10 lab caches had been set up.

These were short ‘games’ – perhaps solving a mini-jigsaw, decoding a series of flags, hanging up some ‘washing’ or tipping water into pipes with a large number of drainage holes. As each activity was completed the name of a previous Mega location was spelt out. (Or at least spelt, similar to, a Mega location. Many of the Os had become zeroes, many of the Is had become 1s, many of the Ls had become (s. ). To claim the lab cache one had to enter the answer online. We solved 9 out 10, failing only on the puzzle which required a QR code reader which we did not have on our phone. Great fun!

Keep pouring!

Washing Day!

Piecing it together!

A marquee on the campsite had activities going on in the day, including lock-picking!
With hindsight we should have taken a look in the marquee, but somehow it slipped off our radar.

We instead undertook some of the geocaches laid out near the site. Many of these had been undertaken by those camping all week, but it gave a set of close-by caches for the day visitors too.

2 series caught our eye : an Animal series and a Roadside Rubbish series. Between them they formed a circular trip of just under 20 caches.

Where have all the cachers gone ?

Caching at a Mega event is easy. Stand roughly near a cache site, and someone will soon arrive and find the cache with you. Surprisingly though we did have several caches to find and replace on our own. Some times we struggled and another cacher would appear from nowhere, stick their hand in a bush and retrieve the cache seemingly without trying.

At one cache, “Lizard”, probably 20 cachers were gently fondling tree roots desperately trying to find an elusive toy. (As it turned out, the toy Lizard had been replaced by a Tupperware container).

Where’s the Lizard ?

The caches in both the Roadside Rubbish and Animal series were imaginative. Toys were predominantly used for the Animal series – though the porcelain cat was a scary exception.

The ‘rubbish’ containers were cats’eyes (how they were acquired we still don’t know), number plates, plastic bottles and most unexpectedly a small plastic dustbin!

The only exception to the Rubbish and Animal series was a wooden box (similar to, if not made by, local Berkshire cacher, JJEF). We arrived at this cache with another pair of cachers who performed the appropriate magnetic trick with a coin.

We found all the caches we attempted on the circuit and arrived back at Bicton College as the closing ceremony approached. Drum Majorettes were performing, a presentation to the next UK Mega (Yorkshire 2018) took place, and the Geocaching awards took place in the evening. We were really pleased to see that Washknight – See blogroll left for his blog – won in the Special Caching Achievement Award category.

Well done to him, and well done to all the organisers of the Devon Mega – a truly fantastic event.

June 24 : Farley Hill

We have often remarked on this blog that we play Scrabble and that Mr Hg137 gives talks to various clubs and societies. One of these is Sandhurst Horticultural Society of which we are members. Twice a year, as with many such clubs, they hold a flower show. We normally enter something, but rarely trouble the judges.

Show day though is a big time stealer, as by the time one has taken one’s items for show, displayed them, and gone away during the judging hours, and then return later, rarely do we do anything satisfactorily.

Today would be different. We were only entering some photos (our sweet peas, roses, herbs, new potatoes really weren’t that good) so we arrived early, mounted our photos and left to go… geocaching.

Farley hill

The quiet countryside around Farley Hill

We had chosen a series in Farley Hill about 5 miles away. Farley Hill is an odd place – mentioned on maps, has a church and a cricket pitch but very few houses. The rural roads were wide enough for two cars, but there was barely any traffic. A play area with a large grass area was devoid of children. A classic ‘ghost town’.
Farley Hill

Empty Roads

We parked near the play area, and walked to the Church. We had cached in Farley Hill before and as we walked we looked at some nearby woodland remarking that we couldn’t find a cache there … we hoped that we would be more successful this time around.

The now-disused Church (“The Chapel of St John the Evangelist”) was a very simple multi and we discovered we had walked past the cache to get to the Church. Very cunningly hidden in a ….. (sorry you’ve got to find it yourself!). A great start to the day.

The cache series (‘Cache-as-cache-can’) appeared to have been placed in a random order. It wasn’t quite a true circuit, and there were several ‘cul-de-sac’ caches. We completed the caches in the order 8,4.12,5,11,3,7,9,2,6,10 which begs the question where was cache 1 ? (Re-reading the cache description, cache 1 was the Church Micro!)

All the caches were of a high quality. In general the container holding the paper log WAS a film canister, or smaller. However what the cache owner, twinkandco, had done was to attach the film pot to a ‘semi-natural’ object.

We found caches in plastic bricks, in large antler-like branches, attached to half-logs as well as attached to street furniture and gates. One such cache was IN the gate mechanism. A super hide!

The roads were quiet, except of course when we were at a Ground Zero (how does this happen?) On one occasion a horse and three cars went by during a longer-than-average search. We were plagued for about a third of our route by a nearby tannoy system. There was a show-jumping event about 2 miles away, and the loudspeaker system was set to quite LOUD VOLUME!

Farley Hill

Quiet footpath and road

Having completed the cache-as-cache-can series we had three more caches to find. These had been set by cache owner, AmayaTom, who specialises in tree climbs. We were grateful his three caches were all at ground level as our tree climbing skills are almost non-existent!

As we finished the walk cricketers were arriving to start an afternoon’s match, and we settled down to eat our lunch in the still-deserted play area.

We arrived back home in time to log the caches and then discover what prizes we had won in the show. Suffice to say, we maintained our usual standards. Nevertheless a good day’s caching was had!

August 6 : Ascot and Cranbourne

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

Sandy Lane, Ascot

Sandy Lane, Ascot

On a beautiful, hot Saturday afternoon, perfect for caching, what were our plans? To visit some private gardens, which were open for charity, to raise money for St Peter’s Church, Cranbourne. One of those gardens belongs to someone we know, so we went along to provide support, and also to visit some of the other gardens. Well, every one was pristine – we spotted one owner removing a miniscule feather from his immaculate lawn. And there was a lot to see, including llamas, waterfalls, astroturf and endless statues. What with all of that, it was well after 4pm when we finished our fifth garden visit. As thay are all private gardens, we haven’t got photos – sorry.

With the heat of the day just beginning to wane, we had sorted out a handful of caches to do in the area. The first was the intriguingly named ‘TGP1 – Gold Cup / Cranbourne Tower’. The cache was placed to commemorate two nearby pubs which are now no more – and TGP=”time, gentlemen, please”. The cache was a small micro on a busy roadside, hidden close to the building site that has replaced the Gold Cup pub.

Our remaining four caches were all hidden along Sandy Lane, a wooded track that can be used as a short cut between Bracknell and Ascot. These caches were all set by JJEF, one of our favourite setters. His caches are all different, never ordinary, often made of wood, and just – different. They are usually fairly easy to find, but that’s just the first part of the challenge – having located the cache, you then have to get into it to retrieve the log … and that is often just as hard. FYI – JJEF has started a little business making and selling those clever caches and his website is at

We had a pleasant walk along the track, and back, in welcome shade, and an equally pleasant time searching for, finding, and opening the four bespoke caches. To say much more would spoil the fun.

And what of St Peter’s Church, which was the focus for our afternoon out? It has a Church Micro, but it’s a relatively complicated multicache, and we hadn’t got it on our list as we knew we wouldn’t have time to solve it. One for another day!

May 7 : Cul-de-Sac Caching in Hurst…

… in which Mr Hg137 is befriended by Shetland ponies as well as a hen party… (good job Mrs Hg137 was with him!)

A fine, old oak tree

A fine, old oak tree

Hurst is a small Berkshire village between Wokingham and Twyford. The sort of village you drive through, take a passing look at the village pond, avoid the parked cars by the village shop and suddenly its gone! We’ve driven through it numerous times (well Mr Hg137 has) and never noticed the footpath signs either side of the road.

Today was the day to explore them! It was a gloriously hot day (probably THE DAY of Summer of 2016) and we chose caches off those footpaths. Our route wasn’t circular, and had three cul-de-sacs to walk both there and back. This had the one advantage we could attempt any DNF’s on our return trip !

Our first cache was the most innovative we have seen in a long while.

Can you hear the cache ?

Can you hear the cache ?

Entitled “Deaf as a Post and Thick as a Plank” it was a multi-cache. The first part involved finding a ‘sound device’ affixed to a post. We eventually found it, but it took several attempts to make it work! Eventually we generated an audible sound, and we had seconds to trace the object it was hidden in (hint.. read the cache title). Our job was not over then, as contained therein were various letters which needed unscrambling. Fortunately we noticed a pattern early on, and unscrambled the message quite quickly. Now we had to find the object alluded to in the message ! Phew! After all that hard work, the final container was just a money-bag with a log inside. Although the container was a disappointing one, the thrill and excitement of the multi parts made this cache very memorable.

Our first cul-de-sac was complete, so we returned to the geo-car and headed off in the opposite direction. Our next cache was a disaster! We failed to find it! We even found ourselves the wrong of a ditch and fence boundary which would have put us in a better Ground Zero! Still let’s park that for the journey back shall we ?

Onward to our first ‘normal’ find of the day. A simple container in the roots of a tree. But, and this is a big but, we had to clamber through barbed wire to reach it! Aargh! Fortunately while we finding this cache we noticed the footpath we should have taken to attempt our previous DNF.

Our third find of the day was the easiest – it was fully exposed at a footpath junction in the bole of a tree! We hid it better and then decided which of our remaining two cul-de-sacs we would attempt first.

We headed to a large copse and entered it though a small cacher’s path. Now, where was the cache! Our GPS went wild ! The tree cover played havoc with our signal. One minute we were 4 feet away, then 40 , then 20 then 25..and all without moving from a single spot. Perhaps the hot weather was causing the GPS to mis-behave. Anyway we couldn’t find it! Previous cachers had mentioned ‘magnetic’ and ‘found on the floor’ or ‘shoulder high’ … all too confusing.

We left the copse and re-joined the main path. We’d walked a few yards and we were aware of a large party behind us. Twenty young ladies!

Their leader asked us to confirm their whereabouts and we let them pass. (The path was just a wee bit muddy, and we could learn from their slipping and sliding!) In fact many of them didn’t have walking boots, some wore very light (ballet?) shoes. We asked the ‘Tail End Charley’ which group they were from. We were expecting answer like “The Berkshire Belles Walking Group’.. but no… it was a hen party and the ‘Tail End Charley’ was the bride-to-be. It was good to see so many young ladies enjoying the British countryside, rather than a raucous weekend in a foreign land!

Shetland Ponies and a Hen Party

Shetland Ponies and a Hen Party

Mr Hg137 has some new friends

Mr Hg137 has some new friends

We followed them and suddenly we were in a field with beautiful white Shetland Ponies. At last our target was in sight – a huge oak tree. This must have been over 300 years old and a really fine specimen and an easy find too! Back we went through the pony-field, to the small copse, to attempt the ‘magnetic tree’ cache again. This time, we took a good bearing of where we wanted to be before we entered the copse… and found the cache almost immediately. It was magnetic too!

A Magnetic Tree Cache

A Magnetic Tree Cache

And so we returned to one final cul-de-sac. Two caches to find, but the first one we failed to find! Our third DNF of the day… still there’s always the return journey to have another go! Our last cache was a simple cache by a stile, so what remained was the walk back to the car via two previous DNFs. Could we find them ? No ! Searching high and low we found neither!

We don’t like to finish on 2 DNF’s so we made a quick diversion to one of Hurst’s pubs – “The Elephant and Castle”. Sadly it was lunchtime and the pub garden was full, and every customer was staring at where we believed GZ to be. We had a quick look, but with so many muggle-eyes, we had to pass. So we walked to another cache… we really must find one more cache to finish on a high! Overlooked by gardens, we were a little concerned about access again, but we found it quickly! Phew!

A rather hot, bitty morning – a few too many DNFs but some interesting moments.. its not every day you HEAR a cache, find a magnetic in a tree, see a Hen Party and Shetland Ponies!

September 4: farewell to the South Downs: a day by the sea in Worthing

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

Worthing Pier

Worthing Pier

Our mini-break in the South Downs National Park in Sussex was already over and we were going home. But not immediately. September 4th is an important date for us; it’s our wedding anniversary, and we generally try to do something slightly out of the usual run of things – so we had planned a day at the seaside before going home to everyday life. The nearest bit of seaside to where we were staying was Worthing … so that was our destination.

But first, we knew there was a cache just outside where we had stayed. (We had used it as a waypoint to find our destination on arrival when we did a sort of death spiral to arrive at our destination.) We hadn’t had time to search for it before, but we had time now, and a short search found us the first cache for the day (we hoped).

First cache of the day

First cache of the day

On to the main event for the day, and we drove down to the seafront at Worthing. There are many, many caches along the front, and we had loaded a selection, and would find as many as time allowed. Free parking was available at the western end of the promenade and we parked the geocar and set off towards the pier. The caches came steadily, and we found them steadily; all the caches were hidden differently and inventively, in signs, in flowerbeds, palm trees and walls, under beach huts, behind boxes; one was an especially clever hide, where the cache was hidden on a stick (think firework / rocket) pushed into a flowerbed. We stopped for lunch on the pier, having forgotten to load the cache that was there (oops). As we ate, an aircraft wheeled overhead, in and out of the clouds, and people looked up. It was a Spitfire, the second we had seen in the week.
Unusual cache fixing!

Unusual cache fixing!

Moving on to the east, past the pier, we took in a few more caches. One of them came from the ‘Fine Pair’ series, where a post box and a telephone box are within sight of each other; the final cache was ‘hidden’ (actually we could see it from some distance away) under a seat, and we took care to tuck it back well out of sight. The caches went on to both the east and west, but there were only so many we could do, and eventually we turned back along the promenade, towards and beyond the geocar, to pick up just a few more caches. It was getting cloudier and cooler, and we returned to the geocar to end our holiday and set off home into the Friday rush hour.
There's a cache somewhere in here!

There’s a cache somewhere in here!

But first … the ceremonial anniversary activity … we took off our shoes, rolled up our trousers and went for a paddle. We haven’t done that for a bit … and the water was clear, but cold and a bit seaweedy. We stuck it out for about 15 minutes before retreating to the shore.

(PS Worthing and its surrounding areas are absolutely stuffed with caches. If you want to spend a few days on a caching break, this is the place to go!)

Here are a few of the caches and cache sites we came across: