A nibble in Cholesbury

Blessed with a child-free week, thanks to Sam spending some quality time with Nanny in Norfolk, Shar and I naturally decided to…. go geocaching.

Following our somewhat abortive attempt to hoover up some caches in the Cholesbury area a week or so before, we thought we would head back there and give it another go. We elected to have lunch at home first, that way we wouldn’t have to carry a picnic either, making it a super easy and stress free caching outing. We already had the caches in our phones, Shar had parking coordinates from the previous time, no picnic to carry, no child to organise… wow caching can be really spontaneous and easy sometimes 🙂

It had rained continually the day before but despite that, the weather on this day was just about perfect, partially cloudy and dry. Parking up in the now familiar spot, we booted up and headed down the lane towards our first cache. A quick scramble up a bank and a brief dance with a nettle protected tree and we were signing our first log of the day.

Back onto the lane for a short distance and then we were onto footpaths across farmland and heading towards our next cache which sadly was a DNF, although it not having been found for over a year gave us hope that it wasn’t just us being dim, but more likely that the cache was gone. It was nice to be out in the open although it was a little windy as you can hear from this audio note I took after finding the next cache on our walk.

As you can probably imagine, my log for that one was a little vague seeing as about the only word I could make out was “wall”.

We continued on through the farmland and then came to a cluster of houses on a quiet lane. The route through the field past the houses was flanked by two fences which were the boundaries of the properties on either side and as we walked along, the fences got slowly closer together. It was like something out of Alice in Wonderland, being able to walk side by side to start with, then single file and eventually having to squeeze around one section that would present more than a small problem for anyone who was a bit too fond of the pies. Finally I can see the real world benefit of the diet we have been on for the last few months!

Emerging at the far end of the alley we found ourselves normal sized and standing on a country lane that would lead to our next cache. This one was almost a DNF the hint being helpfully inaccurate stating that the cache was hidden behind a wall with a sign on it when in fact it was hidden behind a different wall on completely the opposite side of the road. I have seen some geocache drift in my time but that was stretching things a little too far.

A bit of road walking later and we then headed up a wide track to pick up a couple of out of the way ones that would require a short double back to return to our route. But we didn’t mind, the weather was fine, and we had little cares except possibly a rather urgent need for a bathroom break. It’s always the way, when you really need a comfort break there is barely a tree to be seen and then when you find one, there is an annoying family with an over inquisitive dog that they have precisely zero control over, to get in the way. Alas they were walking the same path as us which hampered not only our search for a suitable convenience but also our ability to find the next cache, although we did give it a dam good try.

Eventually we doubled back, lost sight of the family, found another cache and restored order in the universe by finding a secluded spot for a wilderness wee. It’s a funny thing, but it is truly the case that it is very difficult to be recognized as a truly dedicated geocacher without accepting the fact that at some point you are gonna have to slip behind a bush and expose yourself.

Our walk took us back onto farmland and past a new build that had been somewhat confusingly plopped right on top of the footpath. We skirted around the, still under construction, building and waded a little way through a field of crops before re-finding the path that took us to our next GZ, the hide of which we found easily but the actual cache eluded us completely.

On our way to the next cache we came across this friendly horse who was more than happy to make the acquaintance of Jimmy Talon which made for a great picture to submit for the Mountain Warehouse trackable competition. I fear that if Sharlene had taken just a little longer to take the photo then I might have lost the TB and possibly even my fingers to the hungry horse.

Paul stands in a field next to a horse holding his Jimmy Talon TB. The horse is just about to nibble the TB and possibly Paul's fingers.

Why the long face?

The GZ of the next cache was a death trap with over hanging holly, stingers, brambles and even a rogue length of barbed wire that was hanging around. It was like trying to break out of Colditz just trying to get close to where we thought the cache was going to be. After a few shrieks of pain and a fair bit of swearing, we then had to endure the torture of not actually finding the bloody thing!

As I come to write about our last cache which was also a DNF, being at the bottom of a very steep hill, deep in a bush and surrounded by, what Sharlene discovered was, angle deep swampland, I realise that we actually had a rather large number of DNFs on the day. In total we failed to find 5 caches, which was equal to the number that we actually did find. Somehow however neither of us was particularly upset about this. I think we had enjoyed our day out so much that the poor smiley conversion rate just didn’t matter. Even the steep and strangely muddy hill that we had to walk up to get back to the car didn’t really phase us either. Happy Days.
This geocaching adventure took place on the 3rd of August 2017 and took our total cache count up to 1733.

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