BBC, JJEF and FF40

24 04 2017

Once my trip to the Isle of Man and England was known to zelger, he suggested an outing close to his home with a group that he is involved in: WKMU3A. U3A is the abbreviation for University of the third age and is for active people who have retired. WKM is for Wokingham where most live. I am still working but my younger brother and his wife who form “zelger” are both retired. Go figure.

I was given a list of potential walking loops of about 5 km that ended at suitable eating and drinking establishements. One that caught my eye was north of Reading and was a series of 40 mystery caches. I looked at them and found about half to be doable. The rest I just gave up on. That meant I had a list of around twenty caches in nice woodland. However, mysteries are not something that zelger or the WKMU3A group are keen on so the idea was parked.

We arrived at Gatwick after an uneventful flight from Ronaldsway airport on the Isle of Man and took the direct train from Gatwick to Wokingham. It’s very convenient as it completely misses out on having to go into London. zelger had some things to sort out in the afternoon so he sent me off out on the BBC trail. Now, for me BBC stands for British Broadcasting Corporation, but in this case it meant Binfield Bridal Bicycle Circuit and consisted of a mixture of twenty six traditional, mystery and letterbox hybrid caches. zelger thought it was too complicated for them so they had parked it. I thought it was great fun. In the first two caches BBC#1 and #2 were laminated cards that gave the coordinates of BBC#3 and #4 which were mystery caches. Got it? All along the trail new coordinates were given so you are forced to follow the series in numerical order.

Spring had really arrived and it was great walking along the country lanes and bridal paths that the caches were placed along.

Country lane on BBC trail

I managed to get to BBC#8 which was a letterbox/hybrid cache before my time was up and I had to meet up with my brother again for the evening activities. In the middle of the trail were a couple of JJEF caches, The ATM cache and Bobbing Pot. Our plan for the following day was that with zelger and WKMU3A we would attempt a series of JJEF caches in the morning ending with lunch and that zelger (both members of the team) and I would do a further series in the afternoon.

We met up with three of the potential fourteen members of WKMU3A (not counting zelger who are also members) and started off for Rampant Rhododendron. When we got to GZ it looked as though a tornado had passed through the forest. Not a rhododendron in sight!

Now where is that rhododendron?

We had better luck at Opposites Attract which Bernie was keen to find.

Bernie – Gone fishing

From there we moved on to The Green Hill No. 2 which was a block of wood hung up in a tree with a cable lock on it. There were letters carved on the wood that translated into the code for the lock. The look on everyones faces when they cracked the number at the first attempt was priceless.

Neat construction

The Green Hill No. 3 was equally well constructed. This was a wooden box with a similar kind of lock and a block of wood with numbers on it. It was necessary to divide a huge number with a smaller number to get the code for the lock. I was just pulling up my smartphone in order to work out the answer when one of the U3A team whisked up a calculator out of their bag. A calculator! I haven’t seen one for years!

Locked box

Still dazed by the sight of the calculator we moved on to the remaining caches in the series and The Green Hill No. 4 was even better than the previous three caches that we had found. A padlocked birdbox hanging in a tree had a nearby plastic tube containing the key. I won’t spoil the game by telling you how to get hold of the key but everyone was really wound up by the caches we had found. This was much better than a film canister in an ivy covered tree.

Cache hanging upper right, lock lower centre

We carried on and found a couple more caches by the same owner and DNF’d two more. Can you spot the last cache the group found?

Can you see the cache?

There was a lot of talk over lunch about the experience from the morning and how much fun it had been. So, after lunch both halves of zelger and I set off on the six caches that comrpised the Fifield Frolic series. The trail passed along open and not so open paths in the area. Again, there were no two caches that looked or functioned in same way and all were well made. They were placed four years ago and a lot of growth of the vegetation had occured making some of them a little more well hidden than they would have been when placed.

Overgrown paths

After a full day of JJEF caches we had a quiet evening and spent the Friday morning sorting out the TB’s and geocoins we had found before moving off north towards Sonning Common and FamousEccles Favourite Forty mystery caches!

Typical FF40 beechwood cache

The puzzles I could solve were fun and the caches were located in a beech forest which luckily was still in it’s winter overcoat with little undergrowth. It will be a different story in a few weeks time. As we followed the paths an animal jumped across the path ahead of us. Was it a deer? Or a dog? It ran over to another of it’s kind and I learnt then that it was a muntjac. It’s an Indian deer that is proliferating at a great rate in England and is now quite a pest. I took a photo but it’s not worth publishing.

We also saw other wild animals including this golden pheasant and a rabbit. They didn’t seem to mind each others company.

Golden Pheasant and rabbit

So the day ended with a visit to my brothers daughter and grandson on the way to catching a train to Heathrow and the flight home. The following days were spent logging over a hundred caches and a dozen or more TB’s plus updating my blog. Phew!

END

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JJEF circuits

24 04 2015

Spring is here and a visit to England was on the cards. I was last there in April 2014 and discovered a number of highly creative caches close to where my brother lives in Berkshire, a county lying to the west of London. So once again team “zelger”, (my brother and his wife) and I went out into the nearby countryside to pick up som more JJEF caches.

We started off mid-morning on a bright and sunny day by following the small circuit trail Shurlock Stroll, where zelger had already visited the five caches in the series. They had a good chuckle watching me struggle with the first cache. When they did it there was no water in the stream. I had to hang over the water and not fall in. Three of the remaining caches had been “reboxed” so it was a new experience for them to find the caches again after their initial finds last year.

We took a clockwise walk around Shurlock Stroll starting at the question mark

We took a clockwise walk around Shurlock Stroll starting at the question mark

Part of the path with flowering hawthorn all over the place

Part of the path with flowering hawthorn all over the place

Wild primroses

Wild primroses

We decided to eat lunch before going on to Hogoak Lane and this where England beats Sweden every time. We ate a simple yet tasty lunch together with a glass of real ale sitting in the garden of the pub situated in Shurlock Row.

Lunch. I had eaten half before I decided to take the photo

Lunch. I had eaten half before I decided to take the photo

The pub in Shurlock Row

The pub in Shurlock Row

The caches on Hogoak Lane are spread over a walk of two or three kilomters of lovely undulating fields and woodland surroundings with good views of the countryside.

We made an anti-clockwise circuit of Hogoak Lane

We made an anti-clockwise circuit of Hogoak Lane

The woods were full of bluebells

The woods were full of bluebells


In addition to the caches on Hogoak Lane there were a few other caches by JJEF and other cachers on our route. Without identifying them individually here are a couple of examples.

A box with a fun locking solution

A box with a fun locking solution

Solve the code and open the lock

Solve the code and open the lock

You hid it where?

You hid it where?

Natural camoflague

Natural camoflague

I will replicate a couple of the boxes and place them on my Hemlingby Trail series but probably not using wood as it tends to swell and distort when exposed to weather over a long period. I have started to use marine plywood but have heard that there is some man-made decking material that is a better alternative.

The day after our stroll half of team zelger and I paid a trip to Bletchley Park, on which the film “The Imitation Game” was based.





Creative caches

9 04 2014

I spent a long weekend in England visiting my brothers and their families. It’s been quite a time since I got over from Sweden but I finally made it. As there are thousands of caches to choose from some kind of filtering was needed in order to get a good geocaching experience for both them and for me. One family geocaches, the other doesn’t but willingly take me out to places of interest that I can combine with geocaching.

Half of Team “zelger”, the ones interested in geocaching, had proposed that we went for quality rather than quantity and arrived at roughly the same list of traditional caches with lots of favourite points that I did. I also noted that there were a few earthcaches and letterbox hybrids that I found interesting. For a number of reasons we settled on a Friday morning out with just one cacher’s caches on our list. They were all close to Wokingham and all had a good number of favourite points. The hider was “JJEF” and the caches were all innovative. Normally I don’t limit my caching in this way so today was a good exception. The caches are listed below in the order we did them but the photographs are mixed up. JJEF is quite happy with me showing them as they don’t point to each specific cache.

Twin Lanes Trail W1
Twin Lanes Trail W2
Twin Lanes Trail W3
Twin Lanes Trail N2
Twin Lanes Trail N3
Twin Lanes Trail N4
Twin Lanes Trail N1
Folly At The Ford
Kerplunk
Magnetic Attraction
WriggleStick

These are the JJEF caches we found.

These are the JJEF caches we found.

I can definitely say that this was an exceptionally good geocaching experience and would recommend these caches to anyone who is in the area. Our afternoon was quite different as the theme changed to letterbox hybrids.

Nope, try again. Not in this hole so where is it?

Nope, try again. Not in this hole so where is it?

A tool on each side to wiggle the cache out of the tube

A tool on each side to wiggle the cache out of the tube

Lots of dowels and a cache in a tube.

Lots of dowels and a cache in a tube.

Balance an air pump and yourself over the fetid water and hope for the best.

Balance an air pump and yourself over the fetid water and hope for the best.

zelger would never have done this but I thought it was great!

zelger would never have done this but I thought it was great!

Guide this rod up a tube.

Guide this rod up a tube.

Pinball! Three of us had fast enough reactions to grab the cache as it popped up.

Pinball! Three of us had fast enough reactions to grab the cache as it popped up.

A neat way to keep little fingers out. A screw is needed to remove the block.

A neat way to keep little fingers out. A screw is needed to remove the block.

Wind the handle and the cache appears like magic

Wind the handle and the cache appears like magic








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