I couldn’t believe how the sound of distant gun fire would bring back memories. Cockrobbinn and I decided to start caching in Knaphill today following the series of caches entitled C & S Walk set by Copski and his son Spaniel2001; the first being called “Ouch”.
We parked just off the A322 and the first thing I heard were the shots from the NRA, or as it is now known The National Shooting Centre at Bisley. How it brought back memories of my very young days as my father was a marksman and I was constantly at Bisley (and The Guardian Rifle Club in Westfield, Woking) from a very young age. I was jokingly told that they changed my nappy using gun-oil !! As soon as I was big enough, my father taught me to shoot and I remember having a .22 rifle with the stock specially shortened.
I think Cockrobbin and I were a bit over-optimistic as we originally planned to try and locate sixteen caches along the C & S Walk but neither of us realized how cold it was, nor how wet underfoot and after two hours, we had only tried for six caches; finding four and regrettably having 2 DNFs.
Just 9km from home, and probably the same from where I was born (Horsell) and I have never walked across this Nature Reserve until today.
A well-hidden first cache of the day.
Our next cache was entitled ‘Can you Handle It’ and our GPS took us straight to within a couple of feet of the name of the cache although the cache itself is not hidden here so we still had to search for it. I love the excellent names given to caches and also some of the hints to get you digging deep into the old grey matter.
We weren’t so lucky with our third cache called ‘Last Orders’. After spending more than thirty minutes searching the area for this well-hidden cache, we eventually gave up and promised to return when not so cold and muddy. Looking at the log, others had fared the same as us so we look forward to trying again when it is a bit dryer and a bit warmer.
Just as we were approaching our fourth cache of the day, we noticed a little group of people where we thought the cache was hidden. It turned out to be the Palmer family on their very first day of Geocaching!! This ‘7-o’clock’ cache at Stafford Lake was only the second one they had searched for and their two boys were thoroughly enjoying the experience as well as enjoying the puddles and mud along the way. The Palmers spotted the cache and we all signed it. After a lovely chat and exchanging tidbits of information, we went our separate ways.
The Princess Christian Homes at Stafford Lake, on the edge of Bisley Common, were established in 1900 as a convalescent home for troops returning from the Boer War. They are named after Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, Queen Victoria’s sixth child, who lost a son in the Boer War, as did Field Marshal Lord Roberts, C-in-C of the British Forces in South Africa. Together, realizing that something had to be done for men returning disabled from the war, they set up the Soldiers and Sailors Help Society in 1899 (now part of SSAFA Forces Help). The land for the homes was donated by Lord Pirbright and the buildings were constructed as a gift from the Building Trades Federation of England.
We found our next cache quite easily although were watched very intently by a huge horse
The next cache proved to be our downfall as we spent too long searching for it and became very cold and damp. Nevermind, we had spent a delightful two hours walking through a Nature Reserve we had never seen and met some lovely people. There is always tomorrow!