Sunday, 29 June 2014

Fiddle Sticks

My teen and I decided to collect a cache on the way home today.  We stopped just outside Maidenhead to collect one which was a super size (and great cache container) to pop a travel bug into (and collect one too) and then headed off for the original one we were going to try - Fiddle Stick.

Parking up in the pub car park, we initially took the wrong Public Footpath. What idiot decides that two should be next to each other?!  Really....   Having expanded the map and seeing we were on the wrong one which was a bit overgrown anyway, we headed for the right one. J soon spotted the cache and in she went. Not much room for two in here but I was determined to see it.  Fantastic.  The cache was a piece of genius by JJEF (as have been his other caches that we have tried).  A very well made, clever container that needed more than one thing done to obtain the log to sign.  It took us a while to figure out but we soon did.  Log signed, and J put it all back again.

Unfortunately she felt a bit itchy afterwards and as we got back to the pub, right outside their kitchen window with two chefs inside, she had a screaming, shouting fit as had spotted a spider on her hoodie. Suffice to say she does not like spiders.  One of the chaps even came out to see if we were ok she was making such a fuss. I have to confess I borrowed her brush to do my hair as I was itching a bit at this point.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Chesham has lots of hills

Me and my bestie caching away
Last weekend my friend and I headed off to do some caching together around Chesham. We found a  nice pub to meet at (well, the car park as the pub was shut when we arrived) and had plans to try and beat our 25 caches in one day best.  We were going to aim for some of  the Chiltern 100 and had plans to make this a 50 cache day if we could.

Well, we all know how plans turn out...

We changed from fitflops into walking boots and away we went.  Me in jeans, G in shorts.

Ch051 Chiltern 100 - Chartridge Pond was our first of the day.  Nice easy find.  I had remembered I'd swapped from handbag to rucksack and had no pen so fortunately I had picked up the pencil that was in my car before we set off. No problem regarding a pen, said G, she had one.  She rummaged in her handbag to no avail. She was sure at least two were in there. We didn't want to cache with just a pencil in case the tip broke or we wore it down!  Back she went to the car whilst I took a pic of the cache.  I spotted her walking back towards me when she stopped, turned around and disappeared back into the pub car park.  Back she came after a few minutes minus any of her pens except a rather nice, expensive one that was also digital.  Looks like it'll be a pencil then.  Away we went to get the next one.  Bit of an interesting start to the day.  It had only taken us around 20 minutes to get this far - about 150 yards!

Ch052 - Chartridge Church was next.  Umm..lots of nettles, prickles, holly, and generally nasty stingy things around. I look at G in her shorts. Guess I'm going in then ;-)  We got it though.

Bellingdon & Asheridge - Just a Post was next. Nice hide and a good camo'd container but it wasn't about to elude us.  We do enjoy CaptainJack caches.

B&A - Just a Tree next.  Trampled the brambles to get to the cache and soon had it in hand. G was regretting the shorts. We'd applied the sunscreen she had brought and that's when we realised I'd forgotten mine. Fortunately I did have water, apples and crisps.  That's when G remembered she'd left the water she was going to bring on her kitchen table. How disorganised were we?  We were also in our usual good old natter mode and kept walking past the caches and having to go back. Must remember to look at phone more...must remember to look at phone more...must remember....

B&A - The Low Down was in our sights. No prickles! No stingers! Yeah!  Easy find.

B&A - In Plain View was a tricky find.  I suspect the reason for the difficulty was half of it wasn't there any more. Just the top was still in the branches, no sign of log of bottom of the container. As I touched the top, it came away in my hand.  We debated. Do we claim this as a find?  We've have found it after all.  We took a photo of it and claimed it.  Can't sign log as it's not there so decided it was no different to a log that was too wet to sign.  We logged a Needs Maintenance for the owner too.

Bellingdon - Could a Squirrel Crack this one? was around the corner.  Easy spot when you know what you're looking for.  Seen this before and had to give it a favourite but my log reads like this:

"Owch...I'll head in for...owch....this I'm sure I can...owch....see it as I've seen these...owch...before....owch. Forgot the...owchy-owch-owch...pen! We got there in the end though. Great cache. Have a favourite here!"

Next was Bellingdon - Jump.  Easy, peasey, lemon, squeezy.  Time for a drink from the one person who'd remembered to bring some (tee-hee) as it was getting hot now.  I tempted G with an apple too and crunching along, away we went to Bellingdon - Just a Tree.  Log was pretty soggy here but we still just about managed to sign it.  Yes, you guessed it, we had no replacement logs with us either. Call ourselves cachers?!

Ch66 - Bloomfield Farm was next.  I did a substantial amount of shouting and saying "owch" getting this little bugger of a cache.  The sun and rain we've had has clearly delighted the stingers and pricklers.  Got there in the end though. Blimey it's getting hot.

Ch67 - Two Gates Lane was a gonna. The clue item wasn't around either.  House has clearly replaced a fence and gate with brand new stuff so no cache here. Put a NM on the log.  Our first DNF but not really our fault.  Ch68 - Bellingdon Farm was our turning point at the top of the circuit.  This was an easy find for us but you clearly need to be in the right spot to make the find.  On to the next one.  Ch69 - Bellingdon was another DNF.  Seems the clue item was gone.  Lots of holly to investigate but we'd decided that we were not about to head too far in as surely no-one would expect us to do that?  Anyway, a good look around the edge of the holly turned up nothing.  Off we went.

Ch70 - Hilltop Farm.  Decided to give this one a miss as the thought of trying to fight through holly again was too much to bear.  Who was the cacher laying these? Some kind of prickly masochist?  We walked past and as we were turning the corner to head to our next one, realised there was a path the other side of the holly. we went.  A nice quick find when we got to GZ. No prickles here apart from a bramble that took a shine to my hair and clearly didn't want to let me go.  I escaped though!  This was my 700th cache!

Ch71 - Huge Farm presented us with a horse cunningly disguised as a zebra.  I wonder why?  Whilst zebra-horse looked on, we searched.  We had both seemingly given up with looking at our phones and were randomly walking around hunting through all sorts of objects.  Finally we decided to give up after a good 15 minute search passing a bemused zebar-horse a few times opening and shutting the gate. I'm sure he thought we were going to let him out each time.  As we wandered towards our next cache, we spotted this one.  Clearly the hint object was gone (perhaps zebra-horse had hidden it) but there was the cache. Hooray.

Zebra Horse - a rubbish disguise
Ch72 - Johnson's Farm.  I was having problems with the photo I was uploading of zebra-horse to the cache page.  It seemed despite being higher up now, the signal was naff to say the least. I am not a patient woman (as my husband will tell you) and so I got the hump with the phone really quickly.  I decided to shut the app down which would kill the upload that was happening. I was distracted.  I had the hump.  I deleted the app.  I was cross.  I swore - a lot.  I waved my phone around trying to get a signal.  Not sure why I did this as I couldn't get a sodding signal 2 minutes ago!!  Wild banshee was me.  We found the cache though.  Android 0, iOS 1.

Ch72 - Savecroft Farm.  I am now going along waving my phone about above my head (like the signal may just be that extra 2 feet higher than me right?) and still grumbling like crazy.  We have some more of my drink and eat the bag of crisps between us. I'm not even that keen on prawn cocktail but it's all there was in the cupboard at home.  G points out that let's hope her phone carries on ok as otherwise we'd be lost.  Oh dear, she's right. Neither of us have any idea where we are or how to get back. Yes, we have a vague idea but we've weaved around a bit so we'd have to just try and aim for somewhere downhill and hope we get to civilisation.  On the bright side, I have tick-twisters I've just found in my bag so we'd be tick free and lost!  We got the cache.

Ch74 - Asheridge Views.  No nettles. Happy cachers. What happened to Ch73 then?  I'm still waving my phone around in the vain hope 5 bars will appear.  Even 1 would do. I've stopped swearing now though.

Ch75 - Captain's Wood. A bunch of young hikers/orienteer-ers (is that a real thing?) appeared on the horizon as we darted in to make the find.  I needed a tinkle too.  Oh dear.  G kept watch whilst I tried to avoid a stung bottom.  I must have made the world record for fastest tiddle ;-)  Off we went to Ch76 - Tile Farm View.  The hill nearly finished us both off!  Bloody hell that was steep.  To really rain on our parade, the cache was nowhere to be found. Suspect from previous logs that it's a gonner.  We didn't talk much walking up the hill for the second half of it as we were both adjusting to the altitude.

Ch77 - Valley View.  I've put my phone in my rucksack now. I'm not even waving it around any more.  We found the cache though.  Ch78 - Asheridge Road was a DNF.  We didn't hang around though as we've drunk all of our drink and are now gasping.  There is real determination in our stride now as the pub shuts at 4.30pm and there wasn't a village shop around so we have a purpose.  Ch79 - Tile's Farm was another DNF. No concrete anywhere.  Annoying.

Ch80 - Tile's Farm View was a quick find.  We are both getting a little fed up with these caches now as everything seems to be under a ton of holly, brambles or nettles.  It's just no fun.  Plus we are thirsty.  Ch81 - Caravan Park was a bit tricky.  We had a good search but nothing.  Read clue.  7' up. We looked up everywhere. Nothing. Then G made the spot, 7" from the ground. Clue bad or it's fallen out of where it should be. Couldn't see anything obvious to put it back so left it were it was.

Ch82 - Raymond's Cottage was a quick find.  Thank goodness for nothing stingy again. The pub is calling.  We spotted somewhere that sold ice cream. In we went. It was a house with a set of freezers and chillers for drinks.  An honesty tin was there. We bought two ice creams and were in heaven strolling along with them.

Ch50 - Westdean Lane.  Followed the cachers paths but nothing to be seen.  A good rummage around but not very nice as quite a bit of litter and waist high stingers!  About to leave when we spotted it.  This was not going to be easy....

We arrived at the pub at 4pm. Brilliant!  As we approached, the staff all came out and shut the door. Nooooo!!!!!  We looked at the sign. It shuts at 4pm.  Noooo!!!!  I pushed the door and it opened. In we went. Some locals were there watching TV.  We said do we have time to get a drink still. They said we did.  The landlady was on the phone.  The locals were chatting to us and said after a while to help ourselves to a drink and leave the money there for when she got off the phone. At that point she appeared and we ordered a pint each - mine was orange juice and lemonade and G's was coke.  We're ladies we'll have you know ;-)  I think I must have drunk my drink in about 2 minutes flat.  The landlady let us jump onto the WiFi and I downloaded the app again. Phew. I was back in the game!  We sat there until about 4.30pm then set off to get a few more as we'd had some DNFs.  We both had aching legs though as we'd been walking for 5 hours straight so we decided no more hills were in order. G looked at the map (yep, I had no signal the moment I came off the WiFi, 2-0 to iOS) and we opted for another route a bit further up the road.  We trotted off.

Life Begins at... was our first of this next bit.  A nice easy find.  We had eaten two bags of crisps each (G bought mine for me and said not to say she never buys me lunch when we go out, ha, ha) so had to work off those calories ;-)

B&A - Twixt Tree and Fence was next.  Took a bit of hunting here and we were both searching. I finally spotted it. Another one off the list.  B&A - Ivy was next.  Much unnecessary clambering around was done here before we got it.  I didn't want to head up another hill - I don't think G would have appreciated carrying me back to the car if we did, so we turned around and decided to walk a bit further down the road and do an odd few more.  Both our legs were seriously aching now and we were both commenting that our feet hurt too.

Ch56 - Ashotts Lane South was a quick find. We were chatting so much again now (fuelled by fizz and crisps clearly) that we overshot it.  Ch57 - Ashotts Lane Northing was a DNF.  Nothing anywhere that we could see.  We were flagging.  We made the executive decision to go back to the other side of the main road and do the last couple around there  - on the flat!

Ch55 - Capps Lane North we overshot and neither of us could bear to go back so we didn't. We carried on to Ch54 - Capps Lane.  This was a bit of a hunt but we got there in the end.  GPS pointing to the wrong place but our cache senses were still working.  Ch53 Cogdells Farm was a DNF. We couldn't even spot the clue item but we did see the cricket team were playing.

We were now beat.  The last one we could have got we honestly didn't even feel like walking too. I'm not sure if it was the heat still or the amount of walking we had done (another nearly 1 1/2 hours had passed).  I was developing a headache so knew I was getting dehydrated again. It had been lovely though and I don't think we've ever walked so many hills but boy am I looking forward to putting my feet up tonight.

We parted company and have decided to come back in another couple of months to do some more around this area as it is so full of caches. We may look for somewhere slightly flatter next time though ;-)