April 25 – Anzac Day

Geocaching around Milton Common and Langstone Harbour

Hello from 1066

I signed up for a geocaching challenge today. It is called “30 Days and 30 Nights Challenge” (or 720 hours) and the idea is to find 65 traditional, 20 Multis, 10 puzzles, and 5 Earth/Virtual/Wherigo or Letterbox caches. So at 10.02 am my 720 hours began. So a trip out geocaching was required to get off to a good start. Driving around Portsmouth is a bit of a nightmare though not as bad as Bristol and so we want to go somewhere that does not involve a lot of driving. About 2 km away is Milton Common and on the common, there are ten traditional caches.

On the way was St Alban’s church in Copnor. It was a puzzle cache which I had already worked out so that seemed like a good place to start. We got to the church but the cache was still 545 m away down a one way going the wrong way so we found the parallel road which was one way the right way and at the bottom found a walkway to the railway station. We found the cache quickly as the coordinates were spot on and the find could only mean one place. We had to be a little careful as three people decided that this was the moment they should walk past but I work on the principle of carrying on regardless and they probably will not take any notice and that seems to work most of the time. I am always careful taking and replacing the cache though as we do not want it being muggled.

We parked in a free car park by the sea overlooking Langstone harbour and walked to the common. Eight of the caches were put out by one person with two others in the middle by other cachers so we were able to get the caches in good order. The third cache took us to the People’s Memorial which is a lovely shingle area with trees, seats, dovecots and bird houses. The white doves were all sitting around in the trees and a whole group of pigeons took off just as Mike was taking a photograph of them. It certainly looks like they appreciate the area. Across the path was a flag pole with four flags flying from it.

Near the car park, there was a geocache but on our way past initially, we had been unable to find it. On our way back we approached it with renewed determination and this time I found it. The hint had mentioned a blue tunnel but the hiding place was under a row of tiles and these were in no way blue so that had thrown us off our game. It was a nice sneaky hide however and we were pleased to add it to our list of finds. Today while walking around the common we also found our 7200th find. Another milestone reached. I wonder if we could get to 7500 before we leave the UK. You never know.

The cache we enjoyed the most today was at the base of a tree. A very popular hiding place so Mike got down on his hands and knees and crawled under to look for the cache. There was nothing there and he was determined that it was missing. However, someone found it only a couple of days ago so it seemed extremely unlikely that it wasn’t there. He dove back under and this time quite quickly found it after putting his hand right on it and feeling something different. The cache container was a plastic sleeve only about 3 cm long which are very popular containers but this one had some fake long grass attached to it which make it almost invisible in the other long grass except that it was a slightly different colour to the real grass. A very sneaky hide and I had to give it a favourite point as it is the first of its sort that we have seen.

Our last cache of the day was on the drive home and was a church micro, always a popular choice. We collected the numbers for the multi, worked out our sums and walked the short distance to the final but that did not look right as it was outside suburban houses. We returned to the church worked out our multiplication again and came up with some better numbers but this time we just could not find the cache. Not the best way to finish our geocaching expedition but we found 11 traditional and 1 puzzle so that is a good start to our challenge. We need to complete it before 6th May when we leave Portsmouth otherwise we will not be able to go to the final. So we better get our skates on.