Sunday, 19 August 2012

Humble Hike

This post is probably going to be a multi-post as I think it will take us a while to complete this caching ring!

The Humble Hike is around 11 miles long and follows bridleways and footpaths around the River Mole, Polesden Lacey and Bocketts Farm via West Humble.  With S walking with us, I suspect it will become a 3 or 4 cache day event.

Today (19th August), the sun was out, the weather forecast was 30C and sunshine, sunshine, sunshine...

Off we went, small picnic in hand and headed off to some parking near #4 as I thought this was a nice point and we could chose which way we wanted to go round.  Parked up and away we went.  What is it about the beginning of ANY footpath that seems to be 'dog poo alley'?  There were adequate poop bins everywhere so it's really a poor show.   If you let your dog poo there, you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself!

Anyway, today was the day I was taking my new green spiderpodium out for the first time :)  Can you spot it?

Upon emerging from the poo, we turned left and decided it would be nice to walk up towards Bocketts Farm Park.  Our first cache of the day was to be #4, a nice quick find for S which hubby carried her to and from so she could avoid any stingy things.  One delighted little girl.

Being watched by Sheep
We got to near #3 and realised that we were on a parallel footpath to where the cache was. Rather than walking back and then 30m across to the other one, we aimed to pick it up on our way back.

#2 was a nice quick find for S.  As it was one of the larger containers on this route, I decided to leave a toy and a Travel Bug.  I was busy putting these things in on the main footpath when suddenly muggles appeared from everywhere!  Hubby had given a 'muggle' shout but it was too late, there was nowhere for me to go.  They peered at me crouched down by the pushchair stuffing the log back into the cache as they walked past.  "Morning" we all said and they carried on.  I wonder what they thought I was up to :)

We had to back-track slightly to get #1 and as this was an 'ivy covered tree' I sent hubby 'up' to find it.  This was totally unnecessary as it was just above my head and easy to reach but I wasn't going to tackle ivy today ;-)  A loud rumble was heard a way off.  Wonder what it could be?  A few horses and riders went past as we were admiring the landscape.  Gorgeous rolling hills and trees all around.

Shouts of hungry were going up so we stopped at #51 which was a small Memorial commemorating 50 years since the end of WWII.  It also provided a great little seat upon which to have our small picnic.  There was another rumble.  Thunder.  Looking back from where we had come, the sky had gone rather black and the rumbles were coming faster, along with the odd flash in the sky.  Picnic done, we aimed to walk down to Bocketts and have an ice cream en route to the next few caches we were planning to do today.  Plop!  A huge raindrop hit the ground.  We'd better move a bit quicker. Plop, plop!  Oh dear. No coats, only sun hats and 1 small umbrella.  We took a fairly quick walk down the hill and as we rounded the slight bend to Bocketts car park, the heavens opened.  It absolutely poured down as we ran for the cafe and some shelter. In we went, slightly wet, and sat down to have an ice cream inside while the rain hammered down outside.  Looks like we are going to get wet getting back to the car.  

After a 10 minute break, the rain almost stopped and we headed back out to try and see if we could find the footpath going 'through' part of Bocketts. Unfortunately we took a wrong turning and with the rain still splashing about a bit, decided to call it a day and head back just in case another downpour was imminent.  We picked up #50 as we went back up the road and headed back the way we had come to collect #3.

Taking the right footpath this time, #3 was soon found by S and signed.   

Back we walked to the car.  Hubby is off later this week so we are planning to do some more of this hike.  The paths seem good and wide and the views (so far) have been very nice indeed.

So, off we go on this trail again on 22nd August.  Parking up at the same spot, we headed off in the opposite direction.  As #5 is disabled at the moment (you can clearly see where it should be) we went straight for #6. A quick find and away we went, weaving around the horse poo with the pushchair ;-)

#7 was on the path heading up towards Polesden Lacey - an area we were beginning to know well now.  A nice quick find that hubby spotted but S made the retrieve/replace with daddy's help as it was up high. She was delighted with this. N was working her way through her puffs at this point (do you see a pattern here?).

Up the path we went to #8.  I was feeling a bit odd at this point. Kind of dizzy like I'd just got off a roundabout. Hubby suggested I have a cookie that we'd packed up as he wondered if my blood sugar was a bit low, although heaven knows why that would be.  I agreed and started munching on said snack whilst he headed off into the undergrowth.  Quite a number of suspects he explored but no cache to hand. Not suitable for S to look too, despite her protests, as she only had shorts and sandals on and there were a lot of nettles and brambles.  I was directing hubby but he seemed to be wandering around a bit as he just couldn't find it.  He decided that was enough time there (about 15 minutes had passed) and we should give up with that one. Hang on I said, I'd not even looked yet!  Off I wandered and found it, first place I'd looked.  Big up for the cache-mamma ;-)  Left a little toy and a TB to carry on it's journey and S took a tiny toy to play with.  N was now busy with her cookie. No shouts and complaints about being in the pushchair. Just munching away :)  We went past a field full of young calves which N and S both 'moo-d' at.

Up the hill we headed to #9.  S found this one all on her own at the side of a car park.  We had checked the area first I hasten to add as it's another of those places where dogs really didn't stray far to do their business. Shame.  Quick retrieve and replace just as another car was heading in.

I was feeling distinctly dodgy at this point and almost like I was about to pass out.  Other than the dizziness, I was fine. Really strange. Hubby was getting a bit panicky so we decided to walk past #10 and sit at the edge of the field and have something proper to eat from our picnic.  We spread the blanket and had a nice little lunch.  A few dogs came along with their owners and S decided to have a panic, despite the fact that they were just having a little sniff around and the owners had said they were quite friendly. Suddenly she started to scream so hubby picked her up quickly and then N started too.  Goodness me, how were we going to sort this out?  The ladies walking the dogs said they were off to round up the cows and calves we had just seen in the fields and would we like to watch.  I thought this would be great by S was near hysterical at this point so we thanked them and declined.  She calmed down once the dogs were gone but with me feeling ill and S's outburst again, hubby said we should call it a day. Wise idea.  I did just pop into the woods and get #10 before we left though ;-)  Well, we were right beside it.

23rd August and back we come. Today I'm feeling just fine and we're out early so hope we won't encounter too many dogs for S to deal with.  We parked up in the free car park we'd found yesterday when caching here and walked around the wheat field to get to #11.  The wheat was ready and a combine harvester was sitting at the edge about to start cutting it down.  The cache itself was a quick find for S so a good start.


A horse rider went past us with her dog running with them and S was just fine. In fact I don't think she even noticed the dog!  

Off through the woods we went in search of #12. This was another nice, easy find for S and she then declared that we had said we would come out and find 2 caches then go to the 'flower garden' (also known as RHS Wisley).  We said that was fine but we'd like to find a few more then go to the gardens for our picnic.  She reluctantly agreed.  To think we have to barter with a 3 1/2 year old!  I would say she adores Wisley as she loves the flowers and, more to the point, the fact that there are no dogs allowed.  She likes being able to run around on the fields there and roll down the hills - something we don't let her do normally as you can understand.  The worse she'll roll in at Wisley is a bit of duck or pigeon poo! ;-)

So, having convinced her that we were going around in a circle back to the car (ok, so it would be quite a big one) we headed off for #13.  Hubby headed in to start the search with S.  However, he couldn't find it.  I went and joined them, wheeling N so she could watch us.  No, nothing.  We stood back on the path after about 10 minutes and looked around. "Is that it?" I said to hubby.  "What?" he replied.  "That cache on the ground by the tree".  Oh yes. There it was, right in front of us, totally exposed. We took nothing but left a little toy and put it back covered up a bit more.  S wanted to know if we were going back to the car yet.  Yes, we were but this way, come on....

At #14 there was a bit of barbed wire so hubby did the initial scouting.   At the place it looked like it should be was a group of flints but nothing beneath. Had it gone? A little more looking around both ways and it was in hand.  S was allowed to do the retrieve carefully and put it back.  Down the slope we went to the next one. This was a gorgeous walk with lots of fields and woodland.

#15 was on the way up quite a long hill we were going to negotiate.  Hubby went for the cache and quickly located it but GZ seemed a bit out, probably due to tree coverage.  The hill had a gully in the middle, roots and lots of large pieces of flint which made pushing the pushchair a bit of hard work. Hubby took over and it took some lifting as well to get N up there.  It wasn't easy going at all, even with the big wheels our pushchair has.  S was asking about going to the gardens again so we looked at the map and realised we were back to the main road at the top of the hill going around Polesden Lacey. So, rather than carry on, we decided to call it a day and head back to the car by the easy route and come back another day to do yet more of this lovely ring.

As we walked past a field of cows and calves, I was surprised to see people walking through it.  For some reason I had always assumed that you should not walk through cows and calves together as the cows can get very protective and I've heard of someone being trampled to death.  I have to say, they were braver people than me, especially as the gate they were heading to near where we were was surrounded by animals.


We went back past the wheat field and the combine harvester was now in action cutting it all down which gave us an opportunity to talk to S about how it is cut, what it is all used for and what it's made into.  She was fascinated by this and is looking forward to seeing how the field looks next time we come up here.

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