Catch-Up 3 – PugWash go to Aylesbury

This is the third and final quick catch-up article that will lay the OCD pixies to rest and allow me to move on and get back to caching blogging properly again.

On 27 October we joined forces with our friends Geoff and Melissa and pug dog Smokey to, once again, embark on a PugWash caching adventure. It was back to the Aylesbury Ring to tackle another section, this one going by the name of Mallard and comprising 20 caches.

It has to be said that the top legs of the Aylesbury ring are not set in the most inspiring of locations and that the linear walk was predominantly through farm fields with a couple of country lanes thrown in for good measure. I reckon if you do them on your own it would be pretty dull and uneventful. Thankfully we were not alone and the unsurprising cache locations, in the borders between fields, became incidental to the fine quality of the company in the form of our friends. Lots of good conversation and laughs made the caches pass by in the blink of an eye or two.

Geoff Mel Smokey and Shar all stand on the path searching for the cache

Not the best of starts – A cache that Geoff had already found previously eluded us for a full 10 minutes!

Worthy of a mention was not so much the caches but the challenging and sometimes bizarre pieces of footpath furniture that Buckinghamshire County Council had seen fit to provide as a means of traversing between the many fields we negotiated on our route. From the basic, but rickety, stile to the single plank across a ditch, there was something for everyone. There was the stile, plank, stile combination at one field boundary which took a certain amount of coordination and cooperation to get everyone across safely. Then there was the plank with a hand rail that was slightly easier to cross than the mere plank. Even the basic stiles were challenging in that some of them had become half embedded in the surrounding growth which required a certain amount of sticking your bum in a bramble bush in order to “get your leg over” as it were. With the occasional farmers gate and maybe even a kissing gate thrown in too, the whole walk resembled less of a caching trail and more of an episode of the Krypton Factor.
Geoff extracts a cache from under a plank bridge. Mel stands on the far side and Sam on the near side of the bridge along with Shar who looks on.

Plank Bridge – Tricky to cross blind and not to mention there was also a cache somewhere under it too.

I think the most difficult section for me personally was the large ploughed field that we had to cross. The path did go right through the middle of it but the recent ploughing made it quite difficult to stay on the narrow flat bit. I failed so utterly – bracing for a ridge only to find I was in a dip and expecting to walk through a low patch only to trip up on a ridge. An endless stilted procession of jarring and tripping incidents. I must have cut a very strange figure as I staggered like some sort of drunk thunderbird puppet through the field at a ridiculously snail-like pace. To add to the bizarreness of it all, half way through the field, my phone rang and I got to “do my bit” and act as a PAF for another friend who was trying to find a cache that we had recently logged.

The unusually mild weather of the previous week continued and after lunch the sun was out and beating down strong, causing most of the group to shed coats and jumpers for the remainder of the walk. Only a couple of the caches gave us any trouble and even those we managed to find in the end. One was almost buried in thick mud that had accumulated around a post and the other was…. well it was just there even though 15 minutes of us all searching didn’t manage to uncover it. It was only when Geoff got on the phone to another friend in hope of some advice, that my fingertips blindly brushed against it and I managed to pluck it painfully from its thorny hiding place.

One Golden Sheep can be seen amongst a small flock

Sheep Bling!

By the time we got back to one of the cars, everyone was thoroughly knackered and more than ready for a piece of Melissa’s yummy cake, the thought of which had definitely kept me going for the last couple of caches. Despite the somewhat mundane scenery and predictable hides, the fact that it was a PugWash adventure meant that we all ended the day with smiles on our faces not to mention slightly sticky fingers.
Paul and Sam Selfie

Happy Days!

The good ship PugWash sailed on this adventure on October 27th, 2015 and the crew landed 20 finds taking our total to 1361.

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Catch-up 2 – Aldenham with Mum

Previously on Washknight – Geocaching Blind… I was being crap at writing my blog entries and am therefore posting a few “speed” catch-ups to correct the anomaly in the space-time continuum. This is the second.

A couple of days after our GeoDate in Ashley Green, I got the chance to write one of those logs that I see so often … “The car was in for a service today and therefore snagged this one as I had a couple of hours to kill.” It being central Watford we were spoilt for choice as the whole town is flooded with urban Football Focus caches. Nothing remarkable but it meant I could colour in a square on our grid.

On the following Monday, The 26th, we went out for the day with my mum who was down from Norfolk for a short visit. Whilst it wasn’t a full on caching day, we did take the opportunity to slip in a few including Sam’s Church Micro in Aldenham which I hadn’t even logged yet! Is it cheating to log my own son’s geocache seeing as I helped him place it? To be fair I have waited almost a year before logging it by which time the little unfound cache symbol on the map was seriously starting to bug me.

After that we walked through Aldenham and gave mum the tour of a couple of our Wall Hall caches, which allowed us to do a bit of maintenance on the way too. It also afforded us the opportunity to catch sight of some Red Kites soaring above which was a particular treat for mum as she is a keen birder and all round naturist… no wait, not that… naturalist? better. *shudder*

The distinctive forked tail of a red kite can be clearly seen

Red Kite above Aldenham

A carvery lunch at a nearby pub was followed by a nice walk around the reservoir at Aldenham. Mum grew up in and around this area and the memories came flooding back as we walked through the pretty woods that surround the water. It was tinged with a little sadness though, as it appears there are plans afoot to close the country park at Aldenham as the council cannot afford to carry out the necessary repair works to the dam holding back the reservoir. This country park played a part in my upbringing too as I remember visiting on a number of occasions and have brought both my sons here many times since.
Sam and Nanni Sandra look out over the reservoir

Sam and Nanni Sandra look out over the reservoir

With a possible closure on the cards, there was also an urgency in claiming the few caches that lay inside the bounds of the park as they might become inaccessible soon and most likely be archived altogether. There were two puzzles and a trad there and we managed to find 2 out of the 3, which wasn’t bad. I hope we will get a chance to return to collect the last, but even if we don’t I am glad we got to visit again with mum and grab a few photos for the memory album.
On the Bridge by the Dam

On the Bridge by the Dam

Ducks enjoying the reservoir as the sun goes down on Aldenham country park

Ducks enjoying the reservoir as the sun goes down on Aldenham country park

This geocaching memoir squinted back at October 26th and bumped out total up to 1341.

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Catch Up 1 – Ashley Green

This is the one where I start with something like, “It’s been a busy time lately and I am behind with my entries”. Then you roll your eyes, pretend that you have never read an apology like this before and forgive me because basically I am a nice guy and you enjoy reading my blog. Stop smirking and let me get on with it

OK, so it has been a busy time lately with visits from my mum from Norfolk and more amazingly, Shar’s Dad from New Zealand who she hadn’t seen for 12 years. On top of that I became a granddad at the tender age of 44, which is a relief because I can now, finally, wear the slippers and cardy with a sense of entitlement and pride, even though I have been actually wearing them for about 15 years. Not the same ones continuously you understand…. ewwww that would be gross. So you see it HAS been a busy time and although we have managed to do a little caching here and there, I have been a tad rubbish at blogging about it. I could just ignore it and carry on as if they hadn’t happened, but that would be a disservice to you dear reader and quite frankly would have the OCD pixies keeping me up at nights. I will instead be offering an apology and a couple of short “catch-up articles” to get us back on the same page as quickly and effortlessly (on my part) as possible. I know what you are thinking… “Why is he waffling on about it so much, why doesn’t he just get on with it?” … quite right too!

But first….

Newborn Baby Mikey

My first Grandchild, Mikey

… Sorry, couldn’t resist Normal geocaching service will now be resumed.
On October 20th Shar and I set off for one of our
GeoDates to Ashley Green in Buckinghamshire. This is a small cluster of CaptainJack caches and when I strung them together and started looking at logs I got a bit worried as they didn’t seem to get visited very often. My fear was that they would be either missing or in such poor condition as to make them practically geolitter, but I needn’t have worried. Aside from the very first cache which we could not find, all the others were there and most of them were in a pretty good state. The walk itself was a pleasant and blissfully quiet stroll along tree lined paths around the edge of farm fields.
Paul sits on a low extending Tree limb that resembles a seat. He is hugging the tree trunk to his right.

Tree Hugger

We even found one right in the middle of the walk that had eluded a number of previous cachers and hadn’t been found for over a year. To be fair we were just about to give up on it, but Shar just spotted it out of the corner of her eye and the smug grins started to appear on our faces almost immediately.
This view across farm fields is bathed in warm light from the sun giving the impression of a spring day although it was mid October

October Sunny English Countryside

The weather was amazing on that day… it was unseasonably warm for mid-October and as we walked up the side of a farm field in the bright sunshine, it could have been a warm day in May if it hadn’t been for the colours of the leaves on the trees. Even now, in Mid-November, it is remarkable how mild it is for the time of year although the cold is forecast to arrive soon. :(

We saw just a single person on the whole of our walk and with the complete absence of road noise for most of the route, we relished in the tranquillity. Happy Days.

Shar squints slightly as she poses for the camera at a crossing of footpaths with farm fields in the background.

Peaceful Solitude

This geocaching speed date refers back to the 20th October and resulted in our total cache count rising to 1337.

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North Mymms Circle

As mentioned in a previous entry, there was a plan to go geocaching twice during the week of my birthday. The first time it was just Shar and I and you can read about that at Shocking pre-birthday caching in Hyde Heath. Our second outing was two days later when Sam joined us to tackle a relatively new series called North Mymms Circle.

We have already cached in the Brookman’s Park / North Mymms area a couple of times this year and this return visit gave us the opportunity to try and locate a cache that we had failed to find on a previous outing. In addition to this we noticed a couple of other caches that were near to the North Mymms Circle, so added these in too. We decided that these extras were located a bit further away than we wanted to walk…I Know, I know, don’t look at me like that…, so our plan was to do a couple of stops in the car on the way to the main series.

Our first was at a coal post and as we arrived at GZ, I was surprised to discover that we had been here before. On our previous outing to tackle the PB Stroll, we had tacked on an earth cache and as part of that we had been at this very spot to collect some information about flood defences. I was astonished that I hadn’t spotted this coal post on the map when planning the earth cache. Some OCD alarm bells rang in my head at how freaked out I was that I had missed this when planning. The actual find was made quickly and then we took a short walk, crossing over the busy A1M road, to get to our other odd cache of the day.

Au Revoir Jacob (GC61754) was hidden recently for a very specific and rather unusual reason. The Jacob mentioned in the title refers to Jacob’s Moving Cache #1 (GCA87C). Au Revoir Jacob is a tribute to the last known resting place of the moving cache which we were lucky enough to find back in 2014 (see The Cache With Ants in its Pants). The manner in which it disappeared is quite a long and controversial story which I will attempt to summarise briefly – don’t roll your eyes, I know brevity is not my best skill but I am doing my best *pout*.
For many years Jacob’s moving cache happily travelled around the UK even though its owner was in Utah in the states. Some people didn’t like the way the cache often got passed from hand to hand or hidden specifically for others to find without making the coordinates public as per the rules. Eventually the CO decided that he wanted to relaunch the cache and so disabled it for a period and then put out a new container in the states and updated the coordinates of the cache to be in Utah, stranding the old container in the UK. This ticked a lot of people off, especially those in England who had been following it around trying, unsuccessfully, to get their hands on it. The last person to have it in the UK created this new cache as a tribute to the last hiding place of Jacob before it was hijacked back to America. Lots of discussions and arguments followed in the cache logs and on forums until finally it was flagged up to Groundspeak who identified that the CO had breached the guidelines and they decided to archive it altogether. It is a shame that it was archived as you can no longer create new moving caches; I expect that this will be the only one of its type we ever log.

Au Revoir Jacob was a nice easy find in a treeline not far from the A1 and I awarded an FP for the memory of Jacob and also because the container was a really cool metal tin in the shape of a slice of cake… who doesn’t love cake?

After this it was back to the car and a short drive to try and vanquish our previous DNF, 15 BP Stroll (GC5X3D8). There are different types of DNFs, a subject that I plan to blog about soon, and this one could be described as follows. We had previously searched for a long time at GZ and eventually gave up but with no obvious idea where the cache should have been but also no reason to suggest that it was missing. Then over the course of the next couple of months I watched with growing irritation and frustration as every cacher after us managed to find the cache with almost no problem at all. It was with a sense of determination tinged with an undercurrent of desperation that we returned to the GZ to try and prove ourselves worthy of the mantle of geocachers.

After ten minutes of searching, Sam and I on one side of the quiet country lane and Shar on the other, all we had to show for our efforts was a whole lot of nothing and the rather surprising discovery of a wild chicken clucking around in the bushes. I was starting to feel a foreboding sense of failure when Shar crossed over to our side and commenced searching all those places that Sam and I had just searched. Obviously this was a waste of time seeing that Sam and I had already searched these places and it was with no small amount of irony and inevitability that Shar plucked the cache from its prickly hiding place after just a few moments. *sigh* I tried to be annoyed but instead felt a wave of relief and joy that we had actually found the cache and I could once again wear my “I use billion dollar Satellites to find tupperware in the woods” badge without feeling like a fraud.

Now that the “Add-ons” had been dealt with we drove over to a nearby church to take on the 10 caches in the North Mymms Circle. As we arrived the bell ringers were just leaving and once they had departed we got down to collecting the information we needed for the second cache in the series which was a multi. The first had just been disabled, suspected missing, so the church proved to be a good starting and ending place for us. With the numbers collected and crunched we set off along a quiet lane to pick up the final.

The series is a straightforward enough circular walk along footpaths and the caches all pretty much standard and easy hides so I won’t be detailing them all . The walk was surprisingly muggly though causing us to have to loiter with intent on a number of occasions waiting for dog walkers or other unhelpful members of the public to pass. I think the worse occurrence of this was at around number 6 where there was a whole family sitting on the grass to the side of the path no more than 20 feet from the pole we needed to search. Shar and I acted as a human shield while Sam retrieved the cache and with a well-practised air of nonchalance we signed and replaced the cache and headed off to the next one in the series. The trick is to just act like what you are doing is the most normal thing in the world ever and to not even give the muggles a second glance.

Sam and Shar stand on a path posing for the camera

Always time for a quick Picture

Our toughest search was at the next cache where the GZ consisted of a massive oak tree covered in ivy with winding, protruding roots and bushes all around where our target turned out to be a tiny Beer bottle cap pushed into the ground with a nano tube on the end of it. This one took us quite a while and even though it was me that finally managed to find it, purely by touch, in amongst the roots of the tree, I felt a small sense of frustration at what a waste of a decent hiding place this was… you could have quite easily hidden a regular container there… but I spose that was the irony of it all..*harrumph*.

The rest of the series was found without too much problem and aside from it being a little noisy at times as we walked next to the busy A1, it was generally an enjoyable walk. Unfortunately number 10 in the series ended up being a DNF for us even though we all searched for about 20 minutes. Seeing as we would be returning to pick up number 1 when it is re-enabled, having 2 instead of 1 to collect when we came back was not so bad. A slightly nervy but thankfully uneventful walk through a field that was meant to contain a bull but didn’t, and we were back at the car supping a welcome cup of hot chocolate.

An enjoyable few hours out and the nice feeling of putting to bed a previous DNF, even though we then racked up another one. Happy Days.

This geocaching adventure took place on October 17th 2015 and took our total cache count to 1328.

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Showcasing the GeoBlogosphere #2

So what has been happening in the GeoBlogosphere during October? Well it is funny you should ask. By a sheer coincidence you will find below a selection of caching articles that have caught my attention in the last month. After you have perused these don’t forget to check out my full list of geocaching blogs.

geo-Mumma Kel travels west – Aussie Kel tells of some of the milestones and exciting finds she made on her recent family roadtrip taking in Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide. This article is packed with cool pics, clever caches and even penguins… in Australia… who knew?

The Muminator and her bestie go in search of FLAB – Krista and her best friend G head out to Maidenhead for a good old natter and to find some FLAB caches. A great, punchy article with a good selection of pics that sums up their day.

Advice on Attending events from the Caching Bag – Elisa raves about her local caching group in Michigan and pulls together advice from lots of other cachers how to survive your first event. I have been to a few events and I still picked up a couple of good tips from this one.

Covert Caching on – Lee gets down right sneaky with tech so that he can still grab a few smilies on a family “NO GEOCACHING” day out.

The Geocaching Junkie goes on a caching pilgrimage – Sarah leaves Ireland and travels to the U.S. to visit the location where the first geocache was placed back in 2000.

HoneyRobbInn’s Big Adventure!RobbInn tells the story of the multi cache adventure they had recently with their 6 year old grand daughter. A delightful and heart warming tale that gives you hope for the future of geocaching and reminds you that it is most definitely not always about the numbers.

Muddy Mum gets muddy in Cambridge – Clare and friend take a nibble out of the 166 cache Cambs Cacheathon series. Take a GPS with mising caches and dodgy batteries, strategically placed ditches, freshly ploughed fields and only 3 hours before school pick up time and you have all the ingrediants of a hilarious blog article.

Remember, these are just a selection of some of the great geocaching blogs out there, so what are you waiting for?

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Holy Heart Attack!!

Today a new power trail has gone live about 40k north of us on the Bedfordshire Cambridgeshire border. 479 caches make up the Hatley Heart Attack (GC5GACQ). Yes, you read that right… 479… four hundred and seventy nine geocaches. It has set the Facebook groups alight with chatter and the local, and not so local, FTFers are twitching mightily. I won’t be rushing out for the FTFs, but plans are already afoot to tackle this monster, or at least some of it, next year!

The Hatley Heart Attack

The Hatley Heart Attack

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Shocking Pre-Birthday Geocaches in Hyde Heath

There would be no geocaching on the 16th of October, my birthday… boo! But there would be caching on the 15th… hooray. And there would be caching on the 17th too.. double hooray! Normally the suggestion that we go out caching on both Thursday and Saturday in the same week, would be met with much grumbling. But there were to be no grumblings this week, because it was my birthday week. I find that generally the celebrations and relaxing of chores etc. lasts about 2 or 3 days when it comes to my birthday. Is that a fairly average thing?

My choice for the pre-birthday geocaching was to go to Hyde Heath in Buckinghamshire. Placed here in amongst the farms and woodland are nestled 15 caches that are all owned by CaptainJack. Being terribly efficient this week, I had loaded up the phones well in advance and even put out a message on the Beds, Bucks & Herts Geocachers Facebook group to see if anyone had any suggestions for parking locations. I got 4 answers, some more helpful than others but the net result was that we found ourselves a good place to park just opposite the Plough pub.

We took a slightly longer than necessary route to the first cache, travelling around the common to enter the woods, only then to find a footpath that ran straight across the common. But our detour did allow us to see a rather strange sight of a shed half buried in the woods with ivy growing gall around it. It doesn’t appear to be attached to any property as such and I found myself wondering if it was a huge geocache. How cool would that be.

A shed is hidden in the woods almost completely covered in ivy and looks like it could be a nice large geocache.

Shed Cache?

Our first cache, Utility (GC3EA7K), was right on the edge of the woods and spotting a concrete water hydrant marker at the side of the path I quickly got down to searching. It was only after turning up nothing that I enquired of Shar what size it was, to which she replied that it was a regular! Well, that will teach us to read the cache page as there was no way in hell that you could hide a cache of that size on the sign. We shifted our attention to a tree just beyond it and after fighting off a few branches that seemed determined to attack me, the nice size container was retrieved. Being such a good size and not far from a road I took the opportunity to drop off a TB that I had been holding onto for a while.

We were off to a good start. The weather was … cooperating and the further we got into the woods the more peaceful and pleasant the walk became. Our route took us through a narrow tree-lined path that was almost like a tunnel it was that dense. A couple of horses galloping along the edge of the field to our left gave me a start for a moment, although I confess that my reactions were not sufficiently quick enough to have saved either myself or Shar should the horses actually have been on the path and heading straight for us.

Spotting the cache at the GZ of The End (GC3EA7D) didn’t prove to be a problem at all though as it was clearly visible, to Shar at least, as we approached. At some point a very large tree must have fallen across the narrow path and to clear the way, a section of it had been cut out of it leaving part of the tree on either side. On One of the remaining tree parts there was a very neat hole positioned at about chest height which was big enough to neatly hold a small geocache. The container was perched right at the front of the hole when we found it and I was surprised that it hadn’t been muggled, being so clearly visible. As we were signing the log, I got a chance to test my reflexes again as a couple of cyclists came along the path with their lights brightly shining. As before my cat like reactions kicked in and Sharlene only had to tell me 3 times to stand to one side before I clocked on. I found myself wondering, for the briefest of moments, about how anyone could get pleasure from huffing and puffing on a bike up a hill through the woods. Then I realised that what we were doing was basically walking in the woods picking up old plastic containers out of trees, bushes and other weird places and trying not to get stung, bitten or covered in mud or something worse… who was I to call the cyclists weird?

Having replaced the cache, pushing it a lot further back this time, we continued along the path making a quick find at The Pile (GC3E16Z), although retrieving it from its holly prison was a little painful. Yet still further along we found Just log it (GC3EA6E), hidden in a custom made hide that had been fashioned out of a 10 inch long 3 inch diameter log. Even though we both knew what we were looking for, this one took us a little while to actually find. Despite the extra time on this cache we were making great progress, having found 4 caches in just over half an hour.

Shar stands side on to teh camera looking at her phone. She is standing in thick autmn woods.

I’m not playing Candy Crush, you know!

Our route took us out of the trees now and a short distance along a fairly busy road, that thankfully had wide verges, and then back onto another footpath to the GZ of In Plain View (GC3EABW). As the name suggested, we knew that wherever the cache was, it should be obvious. At GZ there was a farm gate, two fences perpendicular to each other and a stile to cross into the field where the path continued. Obviously our focus was on the fences and gate. As I stepped up to start the search Sharlene warned me not to touch the fence beyond the stile as it was electrified. This was good advice which I immediately failed to follow, reaching my hand through the fence in front of me and touching the electrified fence beyond. A sensation akin to getting a jumbo static shock off your car door just after you have been rubbing 20 balloons on your head, is the only way I can describe it. It wasn’t painful as such but wasn’t something I felt I needed to experience again. It astonished me therefore to find that immediately after getting the shock and realising what it was that I found myself wondering if I should touch it again just to get a clear feeling of what it was like so I could describe it. Yes dear reader, I was tempted to intentionally give myself an electric shock just so I could explain to you what it was like…. all in the name of art, darling! Common sense prevailed and instead I stepped back and snagged my arm on some barbed wire.

Meanwhile, back in the world inhabited by sensible people, Sharlene had spotted the jumbo bolt cache that was screwed through the gate and was undoing it to get access to the log. I stood stock still, a respectful distance from everything and waited patiently for her to finish.

The distance to the next cache was considerably further than those we had found so far because there was a farm in the way. Our route appeared to be through the middle of the farm, something that we would have felt very uncomfortable indeed about doing when we started caching a couple of years ago. It still feels a little odd to be trundling right through the middle of someone’s farm buildings but if there is a marked footpath on the map then it doesn’t bother us much these days. Into the field we went and to pass the time we discussed our choices for meals next week. If we cache on Thursdays then we often talk about what sort of meals we want to eat the following week as Sharlene goes shopping on the Friday. As I may have mentioned before I use a digital voice recorder to make notes on the caches we find when we are out and it isn’t unusual on playing it back sometimes to hear this sort of thing.

“err. Hyde Heath – in plain view was a bolt cache. Shar found it. I touched an electric fence and got my first ever shock (laughter in the background from Shar). time is …err… it 10.55. Moroccan Meatballs, Roast Chicken and cottage pie.”

On this occasion we had done the full meals list by the time we reached the other side of the field and discovered there was no way to get out. Despite there being a footpath running through the middle of it there seemed, according to Shar, to be no way to get out. There was a waist high fence and I was about to vault over it like an Olympic gymnast when Shar remarked that it, too, was electrified. We could see the farm buildings and a track through them just a short distance beyond the fence but with no way to reach them we were forced to return the way we had come. Back over the stile and this time we walked along the side of the field where there wasn’t a path as such but a route was clearly visible. On reaching the farm, again we found there was no way through but as the fence was not electrified this time, we hopped over and continued on down the track. As we reached the farm buildings, Shar glanced right and spotted the stile that would have allowed us to exit the field that we had got stuck in. Apparently the field with no way of getting out of it, had a way of getting out of it… and I am the blind one. All of a sudden, I felt slightly less stupid about giving myself an electric shock.

Eventually we made it through the farm and to the GZ of Hawthorn Farm (GC3EABH), where we failed completely to find the cache for 10 minutes. There was only two wooden posts and a cross bar to search and yet we couldn’t find anything. We paused and had some Minnesota nut roll and then Shar found the cache in one of the places we had searched before. It was the first cache I have seen hidden in an old shotgun shell, although I believe that these are not strictly permitted under Groundspeak guidelines. The first four caches of the day had taken us 35 minutes and this one had taken us a full 45 minutes to travel to and find. We were still smiling… although, in my case, that could have been a muscular side effect of the electric shock.

Although the route to the next cache, No Gate (GC3EAB9), was straightforward and I didn’t manage to further injure myself in any way, we struck out in an even worse fashion at GZ. We couldn’t find the cache!. despite crawling almost entirely into a bush of thorns, the little blighter completely eluded us. Grumpy and bleeding in one or two places, we gave up and made our way along the wide easy path to Flintlock (GC3EAB1), where thankfully we made a quick find, plucking the cache from under a huge piece of flint at the base of a tree.

After Two more relatively easy finds at Post a field note (GC3EAAK) and Hedgerow(GC3EAAB), which were along a path that took us down the edge of a ploughed field, the wind whipping through the valley and right into our faces, we decided it was time to find a sheltered place to throw down the groundsheet and have a spot of lunch. After refuelling and resting we set off again across some fields that would be a lot harder to traverse during the summer months but having recently been harvested were effectively just scrub. A short stretch along another road and then back into the woods on the other side of the fields for the last stretch of our walk that would take us back up to the car.
Shar walks away from the camera through fields.
The next two caches were relatively straight forward hides. Half way house(GC3EA9W) was easily located once we had found the right stump, at the second attempt and then it was On Stony Ground (GC3EA9Q). The thing about a lot of CaptainJack caches is that the title often serves as the hint… Post a field note is always at a post, stumped is in a stump, just a tree is.. well just a tree etc. So finding on Stoney ground was just about finding the right stone to reveal the cache. Even armed with this knowledge it still took us a little while to find it with a number of failed attempts on either side of the narrow path

As we set off to Behind (GC3EA8V) we startled a pheasant out of the trees which took to the sky in a flap of wings and a shower of autumn leaves. As we continued on a second pheasant hopped from its hiding place and stood regarding us from a distance. Then another came out and another. We left them to it and focussed on scaling the hill that now lay before us. As we huffed our way up, another family of pheasant suddenly sprinted across the open field to the right of us and disappeared into the woodland beyond. It seems we may have arrived in the height of the pheasant festival in Hyde Heath. Once we had made it to the top of the hill and caught our breath we made a quick find of the cache hidden “behind” a fallen tree to the side of the path.

Then came Fallen (GC3EA8H) which was also located behind a fallen tree at the side of the path… hmm bit of confusion there – “Behind” was behind a fallen tree and “Fallen” was behind a fallen tree. First of all though we had to get past a pack of doggy muggles one of which was barking rather too loudly and aggressively for my liking. Why is it that dog owners always laugh and joke when their dog confronts you. “It’s his way of being friendly”, “he won’t bite”, “oh you obviously aren’t dog owners”… just sod off and get your big arse scary dog under control.

Our last cache of the day was stumped (GC3EA87). No prizes for guessing where this one was hidden. As Sharlene was putting a couple of TBs in the cache, up a small bank, who should reappear but annoying doggy muggles and their owners again. They had barely past us about 3 minutes before and now they had turned tail and were heading back the other way catching Sharlene in a rather compromising position up the bank. My technique in these cases is to do nothing, offer nothing, act as if nothing is weird. Very few people and especially those that live within shelling range of London will stop to ask what on earth you are doing. Maybe out in the arse-end of nowhere the locals are a tad more inquisitive and happy to start a conversation with total strangers but not round these parts. At least they don’t normally do that to me, so it might just be me giving off some sort of weird “don’t mess with me” vibe. Most likely it is a blind thing. I am unable to make eye contact with people unless they stay still and keep talking, and seeing as many such confrontations would start with a flash of eye contact, we never get past the first hurdle.

Our route had brought us back to within a couple of hundred metres of the car so we made our way across the common and enjoyed a nice cup of hot chocolate before setting off. Except we didn’t because Shar hadn’t made any hot chocolate. And it was so very nearly a very perfect pre birthday geocaching day but nonetheless it was pretty dam good to be out in the country searching for bits of old plastic with my, very much, better half. Happy days.

This geocaching adventure took place on Thursday 15th October 2015 and took our total cache count to 1317

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