The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Seeking Lunchboxes

There was a bit of a strung-out sequence of events that led to today’s activities. The first link in the chain was that at the end of February last year I registered on I can’t remember exactly what prompted me to do so, but I would guess that, as I was at home without a car at the time, and getting bored of endless repetitions of the same routes, I had it in mind that it would give an objective to my walks.

I also seem to recall using the search facility and finding some vaguely local caches and having the thought in my mind that I may take a stroll to find them.

A couple of weeks later I found myself back in employment and the geocaches got forgotten.

The next link in the chain was that a few days ago, whilst clearing out my emails, I came across the registration email, which reminded me that it existed and that I had registered, but didn’t prompt me to pay the site a visit.

The following day, I plotted a new local route, that used a number of paths that we walk regularly, but extended the circuit out a bit further to the north.

Then, just a day later the next link arose, when Ken over at Where The Fatdog Walks posted an entry about a geocaching outing he had taken. It’s not unusual for Ken to go out seeking caches, but this time I was prompted to go and revisit the geocaching website.

And what should I find there (once I’d figured that searching based on my postcode didn’t give accurate results at all), but that with only two minor diversions there were nine caches hidden on the route that I had the day before devised.

This afternoon we set out on this extended version of our ‘shuffle around the block’, armed with a marked up map and a list of grid-references.

The first cache was located two-miles into our walk and was easily found, as was the second:


Crossing the next field, heading towards an attractive farmhouse, I marvelled at the fact that we had never walked this way before. Admittedly, the clear blue sky, and the frozen mud probably contributed to my assessment of the area as being ‘quite lovely’, but the farmland is well-kept and it has been remiss of us not previously to have paid it a visit.


Then we put in a bit of a nonsensical loop, which I had plotted purely to add a bit of extra distance. It was a loop that made us feel a bit silly as it involved us passing through the same farmyard twice within ten minutes (passing the same farmer twice), and also saw us catch-up with another couple out walking – who we had ten minutes earlier passed as we headed in the opposite direction.

IMG_0483 The smallest of many cows in the sheds in the farmyard

Our pace slowed considerably as we caught up with the couple, as knowing that we were about to dive off into a hedgerow to seek another plastic tub, we didn’t really want to get ahead of them.

With the third cache found, we had nearly caught them again when we got to the location of the fourth cache, where we failed in our mission. A good ferret around was had (including moving things it was clear that other people had moved in the recent past), but we had to concede defeat.

Onwards we went though, and shortly after passing a shooting party, we passed the church which I so often photograph from a distance from the southwest. Today I snapped it close-up from the north-east, which meant that the sun was behind it, giving a silhouette shot:

IMG_0486 The fifth cache of the day was easily found and I managed to log our visit on the scroll of paper in between other people passing (of which there were lots at this cross-roads of little lanes).

Back on the estate, the next box was secreted behind a tree, within two feet of where we pass almost on a weekly basis. This was where we needed to deviate from our route a bit, and with the options of taking an out-and-back route via Rights of Way or indulging in a bit of trespass, we opted to trespass.

That led us to the seventh and eighth of the day, and to the conclusion that seeking out plastic tubs did give an unexpectedly pleasing objective to the walk.

With just one cache left to find we suddenly found ourselves in the midst of a hundred dog walkers (always seems to be the case in this location about an hour before sun-down), but we soon shook them off as we headed into one of the juvenile National Forest plantations. Unfortunately, inside of the plantation turned out not to be where we needed to be; we needed to be just the other side of the far boundary, which left us bashing through the undergrowth trying to find a way back out of the enclosure.

We couldn’t sign the log of the last one, as it was a container so tiny that it didn’t contain a writing implement (and we hadn’t got a pen or pencil between us), but we were happy to have found it.

We opted to take the short route home from there, rather than the intended long route (it gave us the opportunity to have a look at progress on an oak-framed house in the village that has been under construction for a long time).

The stats for the day were 6.5 miles walked, with 450 feet of ascent (steady on there!), and eight out of nine geocaches found.



  1. Like you I looked at Geocaching on the Internet some time ago but never went to locate any caches, but it seems a good idea to liven up local walks. I live in an AONB and never tire of, or take for granted, my good fortune to be in such a location, but I do know every footpath for miles around. I found identifying and visiting all the trig points on my local OS sheet, and then the adjacent sheets, took me to places I would otherwise not have visited, and quite often with interesting and surprising discoveries – I can recommend this activity, especially in winter when I at least seem a bit reluctant to stray too far from home. Thanks for the reminder about Geocaching and I may well see what is going on locally.

  2. Hi guys...I first have to offer my apologies - amazingly I have somehow managed not to find your excellent blog up until now. Don't know quite how. I am however very guilty of forgetting places I have been if I don't immediately thump an RSS feed on a web site(which I have now done).

    It's an irritating little bug geocaching. Next you'll be planning walking routes in an attempt to find the maximum number of caches in one go.

    Great for the winter - geocaches tend to be easier to find when the nettles are down and bramble patches easier to negotiate. I think some cache setters hide caches in winter forgetting that the triffids appear in summer!

    I started because I was bored just dog walking the same routes. You do find out fascinating things and discover places you might never have found (as you mention above). There are quite a few on our hillwalking routes - so we'll be after them come the spring. Hope the clue "under rock" isn't used. That could be a real b****r on the likes of Schiehallion!

    Many thanks for the link back!!!

  3. Hi Gayle -welcome to the wierd world of geocaching. We quickly became hooked as it gave us a purpose to our walks and also took us to new places locally that we hadn't found before.
    I've followed your blog for some time now and am looking forward to reading about the K2CW walk as we originally hail from Kent (close to the Saxon Way.
    Good luck.
    PS What is your geocaching name?

  4. Conrad - I like your trig-point bagging objective, but not sure that it would work so well in our immediate area (you know, I'm going to have to go and pull the local map off the shelf now to see how many/few trigs there are around here).

    Ken - Thanks for your kind words. You're right about the caches being easier to find in winter - one in particular had me crawling under a hawthorn, which would have been a bit of a 'mare later in the year.

    I fear that you may also be correct in the addictiveness of the pursuit; immediately on getting home I looked up the local area again and found that there are at least two more caches on a route that I have plotted for next week. We'll likely also then revisit the one that we failed on yesterday (two more people found it today, so it must be there!).

    As for trying to find the maximum number of caches in one walk, surely we can't better yesterday's nine in 6.5 miles?! Have we peaked too soon?

    Karon - I see that your last blogged trip was in Egginton, which is not too far away from us at all, although based on your reports of the difficulty in finding local paths, I'm not sure whether we should head up there to make the paths better trodden or to steer clear in favour of better paths elsewhere!

    I'm on as Gayle E Bird, but I've not logged any of our finds yesterday, so there's nothing interesting to see on my profile.

  5. I was bought a GPS a few years ago and having read an article about Geocaching I thought it a good idea to do a bit of geocaching using the device, so that I could work out how to use it.

    As stated here it's great at geting into new areas in old stamping grounds. There's bit of Richmond Park that I've visited that I wouldnt have done so without hunting for a tupperware container. BTW there's one near Kew Bridge and a few along the Thames if you fancy bagging some on your K2CW :)

  6. Very interesting, Gayle.
    Having tried Orienteering recently, Geocaching is now on my list. I wonder how many there are around Timperley? Will soon find out! I bet this is something the Pie Man may have a go at as well.

  7. Gayle, Surprisingly we set off for a walk today and half way round our caching route, I spotted a familiar blog name. I also recognised the photos once we got back. It was a smashing walk although a bit slippery underfoot today.

  8. Baz - somehow I don't think that we'll be seeking any out during our K2CW, but we did stumble upon two by accident during out LEJOG. One in particular was well hidden in a forest so it was a bit of a surprise to find it.

    Martin - A quick search would suggest that there are a few hundred within a ten mile radius of Timperley. Should keep you busy for a while...

    Karon - How coincidental! Did you find No. 8 in the series? That was the one that we couldn't find.

  9. I know you'll pass several on the west London section of the Thames Path, depending on what side of the river you plan to walk. That said you'll be far too pre-occupied dodging joggers and cyclists to worry about hunting for film canisters stuck in railings, etc!

  10. It gets people out in the countryside walking. Got to be a good thing. I like reading Kens efforts to find them and it strikes me it could be addictive fun. That silhouette shot is very good by the way.

  11. Yes we did find no 8 - it involved climbing off the bridge and rummaging, to the sound of lots of dogs barking!

  12. Hi Martin - I think you could be right about it being addictive. I'm stunned about how many caches there are out there and it seems that wherever I plan a walk, there will be caches there. I'm sure that they'll keep me entertained for a good while yet (got four to find on a walk I have planned for tomorrow...).

    Karon - Strangely, the dogs (which were very much in evidence) were completely silent when we were there. We will return on our walk tomorrow and see if we have any more luck. At least now I know that we were on the right lines.

  13. This has renewed my interest in caching; I'm just off out with Ben to 'hunt treasure'.

    And I've been using my GPS to measure how far I walk Harry (and to gauge my training for the Challnege).