South Coast

I often thought that when my husband fully retired from work, we would probably spend two or three days a week geocaching, venturing further and further afield as we put smilies on the map.

How wrong I was !!   It seems that now he doesn’t work (I also sold my business a couple of years ago – so I am officially ‘retired’ as well)  we are busier than ever.  But I’m not quite sure what with.  Ok, I know we are beach bums in the good weather and we spend much of our summers on the Isle of Wight enjoying the company of good friends and the good services of our local Wonky beach cafe, but we seem to be doing less and less geocaching.

Not that we don’t want to, but life is so different and we are enjoying it so much,  but I am determined to make 2016 a year of finding some lovely new caches in various locations.  It’s not a race to see how many smilies we get, nor are we competing with anyone, but geocaching is still one of our favourite hobbies;  cooking being my most favourite !!!

Back in December, we took an unscheduled few days away down the South Coast; an area I have loved all my life.  It came about as I had booked a B & B for mid-February as we have been invited to a party on the South Coast and we thought it would be rather nice to spend a few days away rather than just an overnight trip.   I felt like an idiot when I realized that the B & B was a good few miles distant from where we were supposed to be, so I persuaded Cockrobbinn that it would be really pleasant to spend a few days mid-December before the hustle and bustle of Christmas and we could do some geocaching.  Thankfully, the B & B changed the booking.

The morning we left dawned grey, damp, drizzly and cold – not an auspicious start – but at we crossed the South Downs the sky broke and by the time we reached the lovely village of Bosham, it was a beautiful blue sky if not a bit chilly.  I love Bosham with its tidal road and after enjoying lunch in the quaint arts and craft centre we walked the tidal road towards our first cache.

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The tidal road at Bosham

The cache was called Valentine’s Day and although the co-ordinates were quite a bit out, we guessed where the container was and soon had the log in hand.

It wasn’t planned, but we had timed our outing perfectly as the next two caches were tide dependent and thankfully it was low tide although I wish we had thought to put on our wellies !   Sea Dog proved an exciting find among the rocks and Cockrobbinn excitedly pulled an ammo can from its hiding place.

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Ammo Can along the shore at Bosham

I’m not sure what it is with ammo cans, but we are always thrilled to find them.  They usually hold lots of goodies and this was no exception.  After replacing it carefully we made our way to the third cache along the shore,  Taking Nerys to Water which was named after the wonderful Nerys Hughes of Liver Birds fame.  For youngsters, this was a comedy in the early 70s.    It was a lovely walk, if a little lot muddy with both of us holding onto overhanging trees to try and stop from slipping and sliding on the muddy shore.   Unbelievably, Cockrobbinn had his ordinary black shoes on whilst I was wearing knee-high leather heeled boots.  Will we never learn !!!!   At last we found the cache which was in an enormous camo-bag well hidden behind a leaning tree.    Log signed I turned around to make my way back when I heard a strangled cry and Cockrobbinn had slid into the mud whilst trying to return the bag to its hiding place.

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A muddy Cockrobbinn !

It was such a lovely sunny afternoon that he didn’t stay cross for long and we made our way slowly back along the shoreline and to dry ground.    With the three caches found we decided to try and find our B & B which was a few miles back on the South Downs and the reviews had stated that quite a few visitors had difficulty finding the place.  It was situated in a place called Walderton and the area really was beautiful.  The house was difficult to find but we stopped off at the local pub to ask directions (even the sat-nav didn’t help) and eventually found the gates to the house which needed a code to open them – rather majestic!  The pub, The Barley Mow, seemed to be in the middle of no-where but we returned that evening to sit beside a roaring fire and eat our evening meal.  It was so good, we returned the following evening as well.

Not related to geocaching, but we had an interesting experience with our B & B.  I had booked a ‘very‘ nice place to stay – AA 4* with extremely good reviews.  The house was absolutely stunning and set in beautiful countryside but 4* it was not.  Without going into too much detail, it was “tacky”, needed a thorough overhaul and various bits and pieces put right.  From when it was booked until we arrived, the rating had dropped from a 9 to 7 so it wasn’t just us.  In the middle of one night (I couldn’t sleep) I decided to email the Automobile Association and ask how a hotel/B&B gained its stars and explained that we were far from satisfied with the rating.  I was amazed to receive a reply at 7.03am the very next morning asking for all the details, our stay etc.  Once home I sent all the information they wanted and the next day I received back an extremely informative email detailing what the area representative would do – visiting the property as a guest to see for himself the standard of the rooms.  It seems the AA take their ‘stars’ very seriously and I was impressed with their very prompt response to what was basically a query.  Needless-to-say, we won’t be staying at that particular place again.  I won’t name and shame on this blog as I have done the necessary and left factual feedback on various sites.

The next day dawned really frosty but dry so we decided to head towards Worthing – somewhere I hadn’t been for years and years.   We parked at Ferring, overlooking the sea and ventured out into a gale.  This time we were suitably dressed, gloved and hatted and we slowly made our way towards Worthing along the promenade collecting caches as we went.   There are loads and loads of caches all the way along the promenade, every few hundred meters, so we decided to stay on firm ground in case the weather got worse.  As it was, the sky cleared after about an hour and although very windy and cold, we ended up with a perfectly blue sky and found 14 caches before ending up at The Burlington Hotel for a very late lunch.

Once fully repleted, we decided to stop caching and walk to the pier.  It was an absolutely glorious afternoon and we strolled to the end where we had tea in the Southern Pavilion overlooking the water.  A piano was playing in the background and there were only two other people in the Pavilion – perfect.   We could have stayed there for hours.

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Along Worthing Pier

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View from the Pier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was very impressed with the Burlington Hotel – a refurbished seafront hotel in the Victorian style – that unbeknown to Cockrobbinn I booked a couple of nights stay there for later in January as it’s his birthday.  There is method in my madness as I thought we could continue our sortie along the promenade and find the rest of the caches, especially the one at the end of the pier.    Just hoping for good weather next week!

The following day we drove to one of my most favourite pubs of all time – The Crown and Anchor at Dell Quay.  Although I spent the day showing Cockrobbinn a lot of my old haunts, we managed to fit in some geocaching at the same time – partly because the pub wasn’t open until 11am.  We parked in their car park and followed the footpath along the Fishbourne Channel and managed to retieve six caches in The Return series.

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One of the caches in The Return series

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Chichester Cathedral in the distance – The Return series

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lipchis Canal Wander

We were so lucky with the weather – cold but sunny.   We collected a couple more caches on the way out of Dell Quay and headed just a short way towards the Witterings before we stopped by the Canal to collect three caches in the Lipchis Canal Wander.   Deciding that was enough caching for the day, I took Cockrobbinn down to East Wittering to show him where I used to stay.

 

 

A few of the caches found along the promenade at Worthing.

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Various caches along the promenade at Worthing

This outing took place on 7th, 8th and 9th December 2015 and took our cache total up to 487.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Bosham, Caching, Geocaching, Worthing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Not a blog, but a question to mobile phone techies

I’m bemused.

Is there a techie out there who can fill me in?

I use an iPhone for geocaching.  I have what is probably a standard contract with EE which gives me 2GB of data per month and so many calls and texts.  I never, ever, use up my limit of data, calls or texts so I’m quite happy with everything.  Rarely does my monthly bill change unless I phone abroad from the UK, or vice versa or send loads of pictures out of wifi’s reach.

When I started geocaching I read up on using the iPhone and was warned to be careful when overseas (further than the Isle of Wight – haha).  The data would soon be eaten up and extra charges incurred.  I even telephoned EE’s customer service department and was told the same thing.

By the way, I’m totally unorganized and don’t download any caches to the iPhone – just turn on and see what is close by and follow the signal !!

I have just returned from ten days in Lanzarote where I used my phone quite a bit for geocaching;  anyone reading my earlier blog will realize that I had more DNFs than finds but the phone was used a lot with Cockrobbinn and I following the compass through the app.  Whilst abroad, I turned off data roaming until we wanted to go geocaching then just switched it back on again.

Having been home a few days I thought I would check my account with EE to see how much extra I had spent and was amazed to see that my data allowance remains at 2GB and nothing has been used.   Nothing at all !!!   I have a slight payment due out of usual which I can see was when I checked my answerphone a few times.

How can this be?   I have been led to believe that using the GPS/Geocaching App used data yet my data hasn’t been used (it’s due to renew in 2 days time and it’s still at 2GB).  I was lucky (or unlucky) enough to have been in Paris in January and similar happened;  I also went to Kentucky in February and expected a huge bill for geocaching out there but my charges were about £5 more and on checking, these were all phone calls en route.

The question is – does Geocaching with your iPhone use your data allowance?   It appears that it doesn’t as my data allowance never seems to diminish even when we cache in the UK frequently.    I’m quite puzzled by this.  Any comments appreciated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Geocaching, iPhone | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

How NOT to go Geocaching………..

It wasn’t a place on my ‘want to visit’ list; I had heard some really negative reports on Lanza-grotty;  the windy isle;  so when some good friends on the Island (Isle of Wight) told us that they went every November and to the same hotel year after year, Cockrobbinn and I were intrigued as our friends were very discerning people and we fancied a holiday in the sun before Christmas was upon us.   As you’re only young once (hahaha – I’m nearer 70 than 60!!!) we booked ten days at the recommended hotel and were so pleased with it, that we plan to return for a fortnight next November.

I’ve always said you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and how true this is.  Mind you, there are parts of most holiday destinations that we wouldn’t choose to visit.  If, like us, you want sun, sea, good food, good hotel and above all peace and quiet, don’t book in the centre of a noisy resort.  What we hadn’t planned on was how hot it would be (almost 30°C all week) and absolutely no breeze at all. Two lagoon style swimming pools (one salt water) plus a whirlpool overlooking the sea and so beautifully quiet that quite often we were the only ones swimming although the hotel was almost full.  Cannot wait to go back.

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Cockrobbinn showing off in the pool!

Doing a pocket query on a 10 mile radius from our home location brings up caches way in excess of 1000. Similarly, the Isle of Wight (almost our second home) is home to around 250 Caches.  I did a pocket query for Playa Blanca where we were staying and it showed up just 53 caches and some of these were over the water in Fuerteventura and Lobos.   As there were a few near our hotel we were optimistic of finding some whilst away.   However, we didn’t take into account our bad preparations, or perhaps I should say lack of preparations.

I have only recently made some comments on how we don’t particularly prepare before going out geocaching;  just spot some caches or perhaps a series and off we go and hope for the best.  Up until now, this has worked well but we came to a very hot and sticky end in Lanzarote and really wished we had taken more time to check out some of the caches before attempting them.

On the morning of our first full day on the Island, we decided to have a very quiet time and just chill out by the pool with the odd burst of energy resulting in swimming a few lengths (slowly) of the salt-water pool;  refreshing ourselves with numerous bottles of water and delicious iced coffee delivered to us by the very obliging waiters.  Absolute bliss.  After a rather tasty lunch, I decided a stroll was in order and as there was a little paved promenade between our hotel and the beach AND a cache was only just over 800m away along this promenade, I persuaded Cockrobbinn that it would do us good to stretch our legs (I don’t think he was too keen but he came along).

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Along the promenade, around the corner was the supposed cache

As I mentioned GC3AGA6 – U.L.I. was only a short walk away along a very quiet promenade which was between our hotel and the beach and our hotel had a keyed gateway on to  the walk.  So off we went; admiring the little sandy and rocky bays as we walked.   Being a volcanic island, nearly everything is made from lava rocks and as we approached ground zero we realized that the cache was hidden on the beach side of the wall of the promenade, where there was an outlet for the run-off from the mountain if it ever rained.

I am not sure how long we spent searching every nook and cranny for the cache but I left Cockrobbinn poking in every hole with a stick whilst I went off to find a convenient hotel to answer a rather urgent call of nature!!   Lanzarote is a very barren Island and there were no suitable bushes around!!!   I then bumped into two people I had sat next to on the plane, and spent rather a long time chatting to them so when I eventually returned, I found a rather hot, stroppy Cockrobbinn cursing the sun, the heat, the difficulty of climbing over lava rocks on his own with still no sign of the cache.    It was only then that I decided to check the activity on the cache on my iPhone and saw to my horror that the previous few logs were DNF’s.  Why, oh why had I not looked at this before starting out.   I don’t think Cockrobbinn was too pleased but he soon cheered up when we found a promenade-side café and refreshed ourselves with a cup of coffee.    It may have been under a kilometer from our hotel, but boy was it a hot walk and we couldn’t wait to get back into the pool as there was absolutely no breeze coming off the sea and the clouds seemed to sit over the mountains and come nowhere near us.  I love the sun and the heat but not too keen on it for walking.  Lesson learned here – check activity on a cache before going !!!!

One interesting feature of the beaches here2015-11-11_141922000_7614E_iOS was that overnight these little structures appeared.   The picture above was taken on a Tuesday, and about two days later,  the beach looked like this  ——>>>>

We saw these little buildings on many of the beaches on Lanzarote;  they have probably got a name but we don’t know what it is.

 

Our next ‘how not to find a cache’ event took place a couple of evenings later.  It didn’t get dark until about 7 to 7.30pm and we were all poshed-up one evening quite early;  I was wearing a lovely long dress and high heels and Cockrobbinn looked eminently eloquent in dark trousers and a white shirt.  We could have dinner anytime up until 9.30pm at our hotel so we decided to have a short walk beforehand.  I had previously noticed that there was a very local cache – not far from the entrance of the hotel and only about 380m away.  What I didn’t take into account was that our hotel was situated at the bottom of a mountain volcano and the GPS took us up the lava flow.  We reached the bottom slope quite easily but lava is not the easiest rock to climb over and most definitely not in high heels and a long dress.  We soon gave up and promised to return at a later date suitably dressed.   Again, in hindsight, had I read the previous activity, I would have known that it was a difficult climb as were the other caches on this particular mountain.

A few days later, we decided to visit the little town of Playa Blanca with its pretty harbour and there was a cache right at the end of the harbour wall/pier.  Surely we could find that one.  Third time lucky ?   I would have thought that by now I had learned my lesson and checked the activity before attempting it?   It was a lovely walk along the harbour, passing the huge ferry to/from Fuerterventura.

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Cockrobbinn deciding whether to climb down for the cache

At the end of the harbour wall was not a lighthouse as such, but some sort of navigation point.  The GPS was telling us that the cache was about 12m further on which meant quite a dangerous scramble down the rocks towards the water.  Cockrobbinn was willing to try but to be honest I didn’t feel like a visit to the local hospital should he slip and break an ankle, or worse.  It looked decidedly difficult so I suggested we leave this one and so we walked around the harbour to find a café and yet more refreshment.  We were sitting directly opposite the beacon, across the harbour, when we spotted two possible geocachers clambering down the rocks.  I spent a while watching them through my camera lens and saw them give up after a few minutes.   Unbelievably, had I read the activity on this cache, I would have realized that it hadn’t been found for quite a long time (there were about 8 DNFs logged) and shortly after our visit, it was disabled.  We live and learn —- just wish I could learn a bit quicker !!!!

After suitably refreshing ourselves, and having a look around the lovely little town, we decided to walk back to our hotel along the promenade which ran all along the coastline.  There were two more caches on route – we were just hoping we could break our spell of bad luck bad preparation and find just one little cache.

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Determined to find this one

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At last….our first cache on Lanzarote

GC28Y95 Playa Blanca – El Jorge was actually hidden along the promenade so we were hoping we could find this fairly easily.  Our signal took us straight to GZ and Cockrobbinn lithely hopped over the little wall and within a few minutes he proudly presented me with the container.  Although there was a travel bug in the cache, we left it where it was as it wanted to travel to Rio and we weren’t going in that direction!

It is surprising how finding a cache lifts the spirits and we determinedly marched along the promenade as there was one more on the way back.  We reached GC3877F Gunners Nest in record time, considering how warm it was AND I had developed a blister on my toe as stupidly I was wearing beach shoes and not trainers.

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Gunners Nest

All along the coast are the remains of outlooks and this one was in quite good repair whilst others are falling into the sea.  However, once there our GPS was all over the place even though we were out in the open.   I checked the hint on the cache only to find it wouldn’t ‘open’ on my iPhone.  Unbelievable !!!!   We checked every nook and cranny around the ‘nest’ but eventually came to the realization that we were not going to find it that day.   Hot, tired and frustrated, we headed back to our hotel for a cooling swim, determined to return the next day.    Once we read the hint, we walked straight up to cache the following day making our total finds on the island TWO.

I don’t really get annoyed or frustrated but this holiday has shown me that preparation is the key and I will probably start planning our expeditions with a little more care in future.  To be fair, we didn’t plan on doing a lot of caching in Lanzarote as I have often said before, we are beach bums when the weather is good and we had really hit lucky in the weather stakes this time as it was even hotter than normal for the time of year.

We had one more cache we wanted to try for and this time I checked out all the information I could before we headed out.   U.L.I. 2 was a couple of kilometres along the promenade to the lighthouse Faro Pechiguera, and every evening, we could see the most beautiful sunset which occurred behind the lighthouse.   We only had one day which was slightly overcast although very warm and so we decided to attempt this cache on that day.  It was a very pleasant walk along the coastline and the promenade took us to within easy reach of the lighthouse.  The cache was hidden among the lava rocks on the far side of the lighthouse and the hint (which thankfully I had looked at before we left the hotel) was a picture of a group of rocks.  On reaching ground zero, I tried to check the picture hint but it was having none of it and wouldn’t open.   One group of rocks looks awfully similar to the next group of rocks but eventually I spotted a clump which seemed familiar.   As I wound my way down in front of the rocks I could see something blue hidden deep underneath one of the rocks.  Cockrobbinn soon clambered up and cheerfully reached in and grabbed the container.  I sometimes wonder whether he ever thinks that there might be something creepy and crawly, or even slithery lurking in the rocks but it doesn’t seem to worry him – but I bet he’d jump a mile if something touched his hand!! 

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Hope there is nothing creepy or crawly in there!

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A jubilant Cockrobbinn

 

 
Our third and final cache on Lanzarote.  We never did get around to climbing the volcano to find the ones in the cave and on the lava flow but as we loved the holiday so much we plan to return for a fortnight next November and will definitely go much better prepared.  If nothing else, this caching experience has taught me to do my homework!

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Lighthouse Faro Pechiguera

This caching experience took place between 2nd and 12th November bringing our caching total up to 461.  My BodRobbinn Travel Charger has now travelled 10459 miles.

 

Posted in DNFs, Geocaching, Lanzarote | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Showcasing the GeoBlogosphere #2

Washknight - Geocaching Blind

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…

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Just one Cornetto ……………………..

Last week, we spotted a travel bug which wanted to get to Swindon.  Thinking that we could help it on its way, we retrieved it only to find that the best laid plans can go awry, and we now needed to pop it into a cache as soon as possible so that someone else could help out.

Not having much time this week, we located a promising-looking cache on the Basingstoke Canal not far from our home.  Isn’t it strange, that when you want to find a decent sized cache, all the ones you first look at are for micros and won’t take a TB !!   Megan’s Place looked to be ideal as the description stated:  The cache is a clip top small green box which contains a log book and children’s item’s, it can be reached by a short walk from the Basingstoke Canal Visitor Centre or Frimley Lodge Park.

We knew exactly where Basingstoke Canal Visitor Centre was so why, oh why, did we take all the wrong roads to find it.  In our defense, there are quite a few small roads in the area with a little humped-back bridge over which lay the little lane leading to the Canal Centre.  After going down a number of these roads, we eventually found the correct one and parked as near as we could to the tow path.   Please don’t ask why we didn’t check the map on my iPhone !!!     Earlier this year, we had parked in the very same spot and turned left on to   the towpath and cycled for quite a few miles, collecting caches as we went along, but we hadn’t as yet turned right.   Megan’s Place was the first cache along the towpath to the right and it was a lovely day for a walk.

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Moored for the winter?

We spotted quite a few canal boats supposedly moored for the winter as they were well-wrapped up with tarpaulins over many of them.  The one above reminded me of a fantastic week’s holiday my ex-husband and I were given by our two sons for our silver wedding anniversary way back in 1995.  We went on the River Wey at that time and took our two golden retrievers with us who thoroughly enjoyed the trip once they got used to the boat (unfortunately though, Goldies love the water and so we lived with wet-dog smell for most of the week).

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Megan’s Place

As it was only a few hundred metres along the towpath we quickly came to Megan’s Place which turned out to be a seat crafted of railway sleepers;  a place to remember Megan who was sadly born asleep in 2009.

We hadn’t read all of the description of this cache before we started, and it wasn’t until we arrived at the seat did we realize why the cache was there.  It really was a lovely tranquil place with fresh flowers in the tree and hanging hearts and it was quite moving to be sitting there, made all the more so when I realized that Megan would have been six now, and my own grand-daughter had just turned six a couple of days previously.

 

We sat a while before turning our attention to finding the cache.   Our GPS took us behind the seat a few metres but we could find nothing.  Eventually we spotted the likely hiding place, quite a distance away, and hidden under some rather obvious sticks, was a nice little clip-top box into which our Travel Bug fitted nicely.   We camouflaged the box a little better and made a hasty retreat as suddenly we were surrounded by children (half-term holidays!!)

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Beautiful, tranquil view from Megan’s Place

We soon found our way back to the Canal Centre 2015-10-27_133835046_1B1DA_iOSwhere we bumped into a rather scary figure 😱💀

As it was such a beautiful sunny afternoon, we decided to refresh ourselves with just one Cornetto,  Magnum Ice cream whilst deciding that we really must visit here again, with our bikes, and continue along the towpath after Megan’s Place to collect the caches available.   The towpath is a super place to bring our bikes;  no traffic to worry about – apart from pesky pedestrians, and the odd dog or two 🚲🚲

 

This stroll took place on 27th October 2015 taking our total finds up to 458, and our BodRobbinn Charger has now travelled 8766 miles.

 

 

 

Posted in Basingstoke Canal, Geocaching, towpath, Travel Bug | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Acorns Keep Falling on my Head, Tra La, La La La

I LOVE Autumn.   I love Spring with the new growth and the promise of what is to come; I love Summer for the sun, sea and sand; I even like winter – the crisp cold days when everything is sparkling and long dark nights tucked up safe and sound indoors listening to the wind howling (don’t like the rain!) but Autumn is my very favourite time of year.

Can you honestly beat England on a dry Autumn day when the sun is out, the trees are all shades of red, orange, yellow and green and the smell – yes the smell of Autumn is wonderful.    There is something very special about it.  I know I’m a bit crazy but I just love Autumn and this Autumn is really good as we’ve had very little rain.

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Beautiful Autumn

We went out geocaching, but I took so many photographs of the landscape, season, fruits that it was like Autumn Watch.   Out of the blue we decided to attempt a series of caches around Finchampstead, FU Finchampstead Undulations – 19 caches along a roughly 5km walk along the footpaths around – you’ve guessed it  – Finchampstead, which is under 5 miles away from our home.

I read quite a few blogs, my Twitter feed and Facebook and realize that many geocachers go out much more prepared than we do.  They’ve checked the map, decided where to park, organized the route they are going to take, the caches they can attempt, where to cross fields, footpaths etc.  and everything in-between whereas Cockrobbinn and I see a series of caches on the map and just head happily off in that direction – perhaps I should say I see them on the map, decide, and Cockrobbinn gamely follows.  The only thing I do before we go is to download the area and caches to his Garmin and usually decide which cache to do first.  I hate to admit it but we have sometimes gone out in a different direction and the caches are not on Cockrobbinn’s Garmin but I am teaching him to use his iPhone in emergencies!  Personally, I love the iPhone as I don’t download anything – just tap the icon and all the nearby caches show up.  Strangely enough, in everything else I am extremely organized.  Nevermind, that is the beauty of geocaching – do it however you want to.

The nearest cache to our home was surprisingly not one of the FU series but Welcome to Wokingham which was only a few metres from where I decided to park, on a grass verge at the side of the road.   I’d pulled up to see if we were close to the series as I guessed we should be, picked up this cache quickly and found a footpath which led to FUXtra2 An Alternative Start to the FU Series.    It was an amazing spot to start our walk as it was right by a working quarry and I was fascinated watching the diggers and moving gravel and was really pleased when I saw that our route took us along the beautiful lakes created by the digging.

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The Quarry at the ‘Alternative’ Start of the FU Series

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Specimen bottle

I am not going to bore everyone with list of all the caches we found but the majority of the containers were ‘specimen’ bottles mostly wrapped in black tape (unused, of course).

These little containers really kept the contents dry – well, I suppose they are ‘water’ tight !!!!!   I’ve carried a full one in my handbag before now just praying that it didn’t leak……… and it never has done!

 

Following the route, we quickly found another FUXtra and then just a few hundred metres on came to FU7.  It was here that we could choose either to turn left, or right.  Either count up, or count down as the series was a loop.  We decided to count up and headed left towards FU8.   On seeing that FU7 was called Big Oak, and FU8 was Three Oaks it didn’t take us long to realize that we were surrounded by oak trees and many of the caches were placed in or around large oaks.   As we walked on in the glorious sunshine we suddenly realized that it was getting quite difficult to avoid being hit by falling acorns.  I don’t think I have ever seen so much autumn fruit as I have seen this year.

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The holly bears a berry ……

Finchampstead is a place we hadn’t visited before and we were pleasantly surprised to come across a wonderful horse farm very reminiscent of where my son lives in Kentucky, except they always have white fence posts.  KY is real horse country with mile upon mile of rolling paddocks surrounded by white fencing as far as the eye can see and the most superb horses imaginable.  Oh well, back to good old England.

Shortly after the horse farm we emerged onto a very small road looking for a beech tree of all things.  It was here we decided we really needed hard hats as the acorns, conkers and sweet chestnuts were falling all around and the noise was something to hear.  It was like gunfire.  I think the heat of the sun (it really was warm) was the final touch to make all the fruit decide it was time to leave its parent tree.

This is a lovely easy series with caches placed between 250m and 350m all the way along.  We were rattling around it and soon came to FU16.5.   I was so pleased there was no-one around as I let rip with excitement when we eventually found the cache –  to see it was an AMMO CAN.  My very first Ammo Can and there was even a spade hidden with it.  I danced a dance of sheer joy – how sad am I???

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My very first Ammo Can

I am not unused to Ammo cans as I grew up with them but I have so often read about other geocachers finding one hidden in the woods that I have been quite envious.

At last I had found one and was only a tad disappointed that there was no travel bug inside.  It was really well hidden and we left a badge that we had found on the ground earlier in the series.

 

A short while later, at a crossroads of footpaths we decided to take a very brief detour of about 50m to find Take a Seat which was located at nearly the highest point in Finchampstead.   As you can probably guess from the name, this was a bench in the middle of a country footpath with the most lovely view, and it was here that we saw our first and only Muggle of the day.   She was jogging along holding onto a long, long lead and a few seconds later a dog came into sight looking as if to say, hurry up.

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The bench at Take a Seat

Absolutely typical, the photograph I took of the view didn’t come out but the name-plate on the bench did.  I thought it was a lovely inscription and we sat a while admiring the stunning views.

It really was a very warm and sunny day and perfect for this stroll.

By now I knew Cockrobbinn was starting to get hungry and I had left our flask and food in the car.  I encouraged him along by mentioning that soon we would be finding a cache at the local church and very often there was a pub close by, and I wasn’t wrong.   But before that, we had some more excitement.

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The Queens Oak – more like a chestnut

As we walked along the footpath, which gave way to a small track we could see the Church in the distance and this beautiful tree in the drive up to the church.

We were looking for a cache called The Queens Oak and I kept looking at this tree saying it wasn’t an oak, which of course it wasn’t.

Then we looked at the hint ‘No Exit from Here’ and twigged (oh dear, with all the trees about – the joke just slipped in) that it was near an exit sign.  Couldn’t find anything on the sign then Cockrobbinn scrambled about in the undergrowth and came up with our second enormous AMMO CAN.  Our delight knew no bounds.

 

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Our second Ammo Can of the day

I grabbed the can and we sat in the sunshine to discover what treasures were within.

This time I was lucky and found a Hippy Van travel bug which wanted to get near to Swindon so we retrieved it and will help it on its way.  Cockrobbinn was still hungry and so we replaced the cache carefully and strolled out of the churchyard to find what really was The Queens Oak.

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The real Queen’s Oak

It was about 2.30pm and we really hoped they were still serving food – which they were until 3pm – so Cockrobbinn and I enjoyed a really pleasant hour reviving ourselves on a rather nice cafetière of fresh coffee and a bowl of the best chips we have tasted in ages (naughty us).  Delightful pub – almost empty except for one ‘old’ regular who was probably a bit deaf as he talked so loudly everyone could hear him, and every time his phone rang he jumped a mile.

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St. James’ Church, Finchampstead

Almost at the end of our route, we walked through the churchyard once again to find the cache at St. James’ Church which happened not to be on the church grounds but onwards down a little footpath heading towards the sports fields.

We collected up a further three in the FU series and were nearly back at our car when we saw that we could easily get Broadmoor Siren at Finchampstead Allotments.  Strangely enough, this cache was the only one of the day which we nearly gave up on as we just couldn’t find it.  Our GPS kept pointing us to a large oak tree overhanging a stream but we eventually found the cache some 20m away in a hollow branch.

Our car was now in sight and it wasn’t until we got home that we realized that we had MISSED two of the series.  Perhaps, with planning, I would have known there were two more but we will collect these another day.

This little adventure took place on Tuesday, 20th October 2015 when we found a total of 24 caches.

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Look at the size of these toadstools!

 

 

 

Posted in Caching, Finchampstead, Geocaching, iPhone, Travel Bug | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Coincidence or What ?

We rarely go to Guildford, although it is only about 8 miles from us, but on Sunday we were invited to a birthday lunch for our little grand-daughter who goes by the geocaching name of Honeyrobbinn when she is with us.

Being us, Cockrobbinn and I arrived early.  I am early for absolutely everything……   All dressed up and no-where to go (not quite but…..) I decided to look at my phone to see if, by chance, there was a geocache nearby.   EUREKA  ……… only 350 metres away was a Church micro and it was the only traditional cache in the nearby vicinity.  Off we went with high hopes as we could see the roof of the church over the tops of nearby houses.

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St. Mary’s Church, Guildford

Church Micro 100 – Guildford St. Marys – a straight-forward micro – was at the church in Quarry Street which is the oldest surviving building in Guildford and is almost certainly the original church of the town.   The Saxon settlers in the area became Christians during the 7th century AD and would at first have built a wooden church, very probably on the present site. The present stone tower was built between 950 and 1100.  

 

The first two gates we came across were still 80m 2015-10-18_112335128_CCB09_iOSfrom ground zero so we wandered around to a little back street and came across a small rear entrance to the church with a metal gate.

Craftily hidden beneath the gate by an attached magnet was the cache.  OK – just an ordinary little black pot but when we opened it to find the log, out fell a small polythene bag with two little mementos from New Zealand – the NZ flag for a keyring and an origami crane bird (White Faced Heron to be precise).    Anyone who reads my blogs may remember that my little grand-daughter, Honeyrobbinn, is half Kiwi !!!!!

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Souvenir from New Zealand

Needless-to-say, we were amazed at the coincidence of finding a New Zealand souvenir on our way to meet our little Kiwi grand-daughter for her birthday lunch.

As we hadn’t planned to do any geocaching, we didn’t have our geobag with us full of exciting goodies for swapping but I delved deep in my handbag and came up with a couple of small items that would fit into the film case so that I could make the swap.

Honeyrobbinn loved the flag and origami crane bird and also the story of how we found it moments earlier.

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Honeyrobbinn with the New Zealand souvenir

This geocaching adventure took place on Sunday, 18th October 2015.

Posted in Church Micro, Geocaching, Guildford, New Zealand, Souvenir | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments