Two days of feasting, family and festivities were at an end. We needed exercise!
What better than a small geocaching trip followed by a walk around RHS Gardens at Wisley?
West End Common
Over the years we had found all the caches near to Wisley so we ventured a little further afield to a relatively new series (October 2016) placed in West End Common. Many of the these caches had already attracted lots of favourite points so we knew it would be special!
There are 10 caches in the series, and one much, much older cache, Leviathan, planted in 2001!
Normally we like to start caching at 930/1000 ish, but today we started late morning so we could arrive at Wisley to see the Christmas Glow light festival at dusk. Late morning though is not the time to arrive at a smallish car park, the morning dog walkers had not yet finished and the car park was full! We managed, just, to fit the geo-car in the last remaining space and set off.
Cache 1 in this series, is, we believe, a tree climb. Leastways, the comments, the hints, and the difficulty/terrain rating all allude to it being a tree climb. But our GPS would not settle and bounced between 2-3 likely (and unlikely) candidates. We could not see a cache, and in most cases how to even get started on a climb. So we left this cache unattempted.
Cache 2 required a ‘nearby tool’. What could this mean ? Our GPS again took us to three different locations. The first a multi-trunk tree… nothing there. Then a pair of silver birches…nothing there. Then another larger tree… not much happening there. Our investigations had been noticed by a passer-by.
“Are you looking for a lens cap ?” . They had clearly found one on the path 20 meters away.
“No, thanks”. We replied. We paused while they walked away.
We re-read the logs, and discovered someone mentioned ‘height’. We had been concentrating on looking low, and suddenly we looked up…straight at the cache. Twenty feet in the air! The cache was attached to a retractable dog lead, the dog lead itself firmly fixed to the tree-trunk. We needed to find a long (sorry, very long,15 foot) branch and attach it to the dog-lead handle and pull. Waving a 15 foot branch in the air, and trying to hook the end through a hole the size of a wrist isn’t easy. But after several attempts we managed it, and pulled the cache to ground. Here we held onto it tightly as we signed the log, and then let go of the branch … watching the cache rise higher and higher. A fun, if tiring, cache!
Don’t Let Go!
Log signed – ready to replace!
Safely back – 20 feet higher!
We followed the paths to cache 3. We assumed that we were following paths, as the Autumn leaves were still thick on the ground, and it was sometimes tricky to know whether we were on paths or grass.
On the way to cache 3
Cache 3 was much, much easier to find than cache 2. Hidden in a stump by a yew tree. An easy find, yet it still took us two attempts to locate the well concealed pine cone.
We were near a BMX track, and sat on one of the ramps and ate lunch. Three caches attempted and each had taken a fair chunk of time. We reviewed the number of caches and time left and decided to shorten our caching trip at about halfway. Even at 1 o’clock the light levels were not good, so with even poorer light, we wouldn’t stand a chance!
Our route to cache 4 can best be described as problematic. Mr HG137 thought the footpath would circle around to the cache, even though the GPS was in the opposite direction. The true path, involved walking a fair way back to cache 2, which for some reason we ignored. Instead we followed the BMX track, then a muddy half track, jumping across a stream, avoiding more mud, climbimg a steepish slope, and arriving somehow at GZ.
Well not quite at GZ.
A trcky bridge to reach cache 4!
GZ was the other side of a slippery, branch bridge! We both tentatively crossed as we needed 2 sets of hand at the cache… a floater! We’ve never done of these successfully, and today we wanted to change that! Armed with our 2 litres of water Mrs HG137 poured it into the top of the cache. Mr HG137’s hand was firmly wedged at the bottom preventing liquid egress. Slowly, slowly the cache rose. A futile grab by Mrs HG137, and more water was needed. Second time lucky! We would have liked to have taken pictures of our slightly comical manoeuvres but, with all hands busy…even a selfie stick wouldn’t have helped! Log signed, cache replaced and then the slippery bridge to cross. Phew! High fives all round!
Replacing the floater
Our intention was to undertake two more caches, number 5 in the West End Series, and the old Leviathan cache. When we arrived at cache 5 we decided against retrieval. It required climbing/walking across some branches half-submerged in the River Mole! Not for us!
The footpath continued along the river. Sometimes dry, other times so wet a boardwalk had been erected. It was near to one of these boardwalks we saw a middle-aged man slip right over as he descended from the boards onto the muddy path. How we remained clean as we hauled him up we will never know!
Boardwalk and the River Mole
Leviathan by name and by nature. It was hidden under an immense tree trunk and was an immense size.. an ammo can! We don’t see too many of these and it was great to see such fabulous old container. Inside were ALL the logs going back to 2001. In those days people wrote about their exploits, the weather, in the log book. A far cry from today’s “sign it, date it”.
Leviathan and all its log books
Leviathan and a log from long ago
The light levels were fading fast and our decision to abandon our caching trip proved correct, as we arrived at Wisley at dusk, seemingly with thousands of others, to marvel at Christmas Glow trail around the grounds. A great end to a great day’s caching.
Wisley – Christmas Glow
Wisley – Christmas Glow
Wisley – Christmas Glow