On Saturday, we spent quite a lot of time sitting in front of the TV watching the royal wedding of Harry and Meghan, the FA cup final between Chelsea and Manchester United, and a recording of The Bourne Supremacy. Therefore it was decided that, on Sunday, we needed to get out of the house and remind ourselves what people who are not royalty, footballers or movie stars do with their free time.
They go geocaching.
Well, most of them probably do.
At least, some of them might.
Anyway, whatever. We did!
We didn’t go far and it was one of those classic geocaching scenarios where you end up finding something unexpected right on your doorstep. Just the other side of Croxley Green is Rickmansworth and what we found there was a tiny little riverside paradise.
A short stroll from the convenient parking area, through a meadow, took us along a footpath that ran alongside a section of the river Chess. Gently sloping grassy banks fell away into the shallow waters and a handful of families had plotted up along its length to enjoy the warm weather and easily accessible river. As we made our way to our first of two caches, Cache for the birders (GC3GMJV), children happily laughed and squealed as they paddled and splashed about in the cool water. If only we had known about this place when Sam had been younger; it would have been a perfect place to while away a couple of hours every now and then.
After a brief pause to read an information board about the area in the warm sunshine, we made our way to our first GZ which was located on a tree covered section of path just beyond a small wooden bridge that crossed the river.
Ten minutes later we were still there and despite much searching in amongst many ivy covered stumps we still did not have cache in hand. I did have rather a lot of disturbed dust and dried plant matter up my nose causing some serious sneezes, but no geocache. We separated and started searching further afield but soon wandered back to the original spot and it was clear that we were all independently thinking it was about time to admit defeat.
And then a miracle! Well miracle might be overstating it just a tad. But Sharlene did find the cache which was a relief and did serve to lift our spirits once more.
We turned tail, and after a short stop to play a round of Pooh Sticks on the bridge, which I claim I won but Sam and Shar say I most certainly lost, we made our way back along the same path in search of our second cache of the day, Ahoy there landlubbers (GC24EE8).
Following the arrow and the guidance of the hint and some previous logs, we searched all the multi trunk trees in the indicated area extensively with no luck. With some skilful direction from Shar, I made my way a bit deeper into the trees and continued to seek out the cache, but still with no luck. We then started checking all the places that each other had already checked, a practice that generally happens in groups only after a certain amount of time has passed so as not to insult the searching abilities of the original searcher, and the cache was duly found by Shar in a place that both Sam and I had previously thoroughly examined. Sam’s excuse was that he had spotted the battered ice cream container on his initial search and had dismissed it merely as a piece of rubbish. My excuse was… well I don’t really need an excuse, I’m blind and I am happy to come out of the trees with only a couple of bruises and minimal scarring from my search. Actually being the one to find the geocache falls very much in the category of “Bertie Bonus” for me.
Even though the container was battered and had a small split in the bottom, the contents were in remarkably good condition. We signed the logged and re-hid the rubbish for the next geocacher to find and mentally chalked up another find to our cache counts.
With that done and dusted we ambled back across the meadow to the car. All told we were only out for somewhere in the region of 90 minutes but it was enough to allow us to connect again as a family and enjoy the great British summertime away from the distractions of Princes, balls and black ops agents with amnesia. Happy days!
This geocaching adventure took place on Sunday the 20th of May and lifted our total cache count up to 1869.