One of our first outings geocaching was on the Isle of Wight. We spotted some caches a couple of miles from where we stay on the Island and off we went with just my iPhone and a pen. It was the beginning of September 2014, very warm and very sunny.
We parked in a lay-by off the main road and soon had the first route showing to a cache. You must remember that neither I nor Cockrobbinn had done any sort of map-reading or tracking before, let alone followed a route by compass. We didn’t even understand some of the terminology; Ground Zero, Travel Bug, Hitchhiker and whatever was a Muggle? – I always thought this was a ‘joint’!!
It was a bit further than expected (we could have parked nearer if only we had looked on the map!) but we eventually came across the copse and despite the brambles and stinging nettles and the fact we were both wearing cut-offs, we found the cache and happily signed the log. On to the next cache – a bit further up the main road. This one was quite easy although the main road was busy and we had to walk on the narrow verge but the route to the next cache took us down a very tiny, winding little lane. By this time, Cockrobbinn was thirsty (and hungry, always hungry) so I promised we would stop as soon as we found a pub. On and on we went, finding a few caches on the way but no pub, no sign of habitation, absolutely nothing except the odd farm, a few cows in a field and a few broken-down tractors. By now hubby was grazing on the blackberries with a glazed look in his eye and even my tummy was rumbling.
It is unbelievable to think that we could get lost on the Isle of Wight. We had a iPhone with GPS for goodness sake but we seemed to be in the middle of a wilderness and we hadn’t seen a car or human being for at least a couple of hours. We found the most beautiful duck pond out in the middle of nowhere, but no village or pub. Eventually, four hours of walking brought us back to the main road and we found our car and headed for the nearest pub for a well-deserved coffee and meal. We were starving hungry, thirsty and covered in nettle stings and scratches. At the time I had a broken toe which held up remarkably well considering. I found my walking stick extremely useful to part nettles and brambles so now I often take my thumbstick with me. However, we were also exhilarated by the fact that we had found a few caches and we didn’t have any DNFs (Did Not Finds)
We are much more organized now (most of the time) and carry a small rucksack with most of the essentials: bottles of water, fruit, tweezers (some logs are very tiny and difficult to remove from their containers), spare polythene bags, pens, paper, small swapsies, and even some tissues in case of emergency!