Isaac has been asking about making a start on this epic series for a while now, so with the clocks going forward the other week and longer caching days, we thought it was about time to start.
We’d seen from other logs that people were taking between 9 and 12 hours (or more) on the northern leg, so set ourselves a target of 9 hours for the ring. As there was around 72 caches, this meant we had a handy yardstick of 2 caches every 15 minutes or 8 an hour to measure our progress by.
With such a long trail, we realised we needed an early start and as it’s a 3.5 hour drive from home, we booked into a hotel on the other side of Basingstoke, not too far from the caches on Friday night.
We set off after tea on Friday night and had intended to grab a couple of caches on the way, but ended up going straight to the hotel.
The next morning, suitably fortified by breakfast, we headed off to the start point of the walk: the layby in between caches 005 and 006. We parked up and got kitted up for the walk.
There are too many caches to go into detail here, but some of the highlights of the walk were:
- Getting very close to the approach lights at RAF Odiham (really close in fact, as one of the caches was hidden right next to them).
- Seeing some deer in the distance across the field from one cache.
- Odiham Castle and it’s beautiful setting.
- A swan on it’s nest by the old Basingstoke canal.
- Watching motorised gliders swoop and swirl overhead during most parts of the walk.
- Seeing an unexpected thatched pagoda near to one of the caches.
- The walking and scenery in general. The terrain is very easy and the cache finds in general were too – we’ve never seen so many really obvious tell tale piles of sticks! Is this common in the south? We don’t know as this is the first time we’ve cached down here but it doesn’t half make for easy caching (which is a good thing in our books as caching is more about the walk and the locations to us).
- Stopping for lunch not far from Byway and siting in the lovely sun relaxing, before tackling the next section of the walk.
- Not really a highlight, but worthy of note: Totally missing the PF sign about half way round the trail and doing a reasonable diversion the other side of a river through a Nature Reserve to get back on track. It cost us 2 caches in time (15 minutes) but was worth it as we got to see the Nature Reserve.
- Another not really a highlight, but worthy of note: Running out of drinking water about 2/3 of the way round. It was really dull and dreary when we set off so only took one large bottle of water with us. The sun soon came out and remained so all day so we ended up drinking more water than we expected. Boy were we glad to get back to the Jeep for more cool water at the end of the walk.
All too soon the village we’d parked in was in sight and we were back at the Jeep. Just time for a couple more caches on the way home.
Isaac had a few in mind and directed me to one on the road from Basingstoke to Newbury. A nice quick find. We then continued on the main road and diverted off to another one by a lovely stream in a village. A very nicely engineered, unexpected hide was soon in hand – a great bonus at the end of the day.
Last cache was to be in a park in Newbury, just before we got on a fast road northbound. We were thwarted though as the cache was missing. Luckily Isaac had spotted there was a Sidetracked cache just round the corner so we went and found that instead (not before going to the totally wrong side of the station and seeing the GPSr’s pointing over the other side of the tracks – doh!).
Many thanks to Lord Cacher (we think we know who you are ) for all the time, trouble and money you have put into setting up the series. We hope to be back for the southern loop very soon.
72 finds for the day. Very satisfying!