Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Long Weekend in Portsmouth

We have been wanting to take a trip to Portsmouth for quite some time, we were last in the area in 2013 but didn't have time to visit Portsmouth city itself.  Now we live much further North it's a lot further to travel to get here meaning an ordinary weekend isn't really long enough.  So we planned a trip for the May Bank Holiday weekend.
Oil seed as far as the eye can see

We've had a few DNFs recently on some of our own caches back where we used to live so we decided to break the journey and stop off on the way to do a spot of maintenance.  It was really strange being back in an area I lived for over 30 years and I will admit that I shed a tear or two, I knew it would be emotional re-visiting after 2 years away, I kept on reminding myself of the new places we've been able to explore since moving and the places yet to discover and who knows what the future may hold.  You can't really dwell on the past, times change and life moves on I suppose.

The oilseed rape was in full flower, I've missed having this on our doorstep, the smell was intoxicating, we don't really see any where we live, not sure if it's just not really grown in our area or we just haven't been walking in the areas that it's grown, most of our walks at the moment are up in the Lake District or on the nearby West Pennine moors.

We realised we'd be passing near to Wolverton on the way back to the motorway so we couldn't resist detouring to do jimjink's Wherigo there. It was a lovely mild evening.  I can't remember the last day we had back home where it didn't rain.  I attempted to put the washing on the line for the second time this year this morning and by the time I'd pegged out the 3rd item it started to spit with rain!  Thank goodness for the heated airer....😃
A quick walk around the harbour before bed

We carried on all the way then to Portsmouth without any stops and arrived about 10pm.

SATURDAY

The plan for today was to spend the day cycling around Portsmouth finding caches along the way.

We were up bright and early and the sun was already getting warm, it looked like we might be in for a scorcher.

Seemed really strange being in shorts and T-shirts after it being cold for so long.  This is the first time this year I've been out without first grabbing my coat.  I burn easily so made sure I applied lots of suncream, it was windy so I knew I'd burn if I didn't.


Portsmouth was really cycle friendly so getting around on the bikes was no problem.  We found a few Earthcaches along the way which were good fun, although I haven't been able to walk past an old building since without stopping to check for fossils.
As the weather was so beautiful we'd stopped reguarly to sit and enjoy the warm sunshine, we lost track of time and we were much later getting to the dockyard than we'd planned.  It was close to closing so we only had time to quickly do the virtual at HMS Victory.  It would've been nice to have a look around but just seeing it up close was amazing!
I'd read about the folding Brompton bike hire on Twitter a while ago, what a great idea, it's located right next to the station.

We stayed on a fantastic little campsite, the facilities were great, very clean, run by people that reallly cared about the place and it was reasonably priced too, would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to stay in the area, it was one of the best sites we've stayed on and over the years we've stayed at a lot.





Books, games, maps, tourist info
Cheers

SUNDAY

After breakfast and an invigorating shower in the heated shower block, we set off back into the centre of Portsmouth to do a few more caches which we ran out of time to do yesterday


We worked our way back up the peninsular to Curry Micro Wherigo. Yes, you did read that right! Obviously inspired by the phenomenally successful Church Micro caches, Curry Micros show cachers local Indian takeaways etc..It was a nice enough Wherigo though.

All this time we were keeping an eye on the time as we'd planned to do tiwep Virtual.


After a bit of prior research, we'd identified a suitable place to launch our inflatable kayak and we aimed to launch one hour before high tide to give us ample depth of water and so the return leg would be easier.

We parked up, unloaded the kayak and proceeded to inflate it. By this time, a group of locals appeared from the direction of the water with kayaks and asked if we'd kayaked there before. When we said we hadn't they pointed out the best spot to launch in order to avoid sharp submerged rock. What a stroke of luck! We've had the kayak a few years now but this was our first time out since finding  Special-Ops - Leama in September 2015.  It was great fun and I can't wait to take the kayak out again.  There are a couple of boat-only caches in the Lakes I've got my eye on





Here's a very short video that I've put together:



We'd worked up quite an appetite by the time we got back to the campervan so relocated to Portchester Castle to cook up something to eat before exploring the area. It's amazing just how old this castle is.
Church Micro 6574 - Portchester


MONDAY

Today’s plan was head east to LQ:West Sussex then head back west picking up a few Wherigos before heading home stopping for LQ: Hants on the way.

I'd noticed that the LQ West Sussex cache page said it was cyclable. We don't need telling twice and once we'd parked up and had a cup of tea, we were off peddling up the road.





OK, admittedly it was a gloriously sunny day but I'm sure this place would be just as amazing in any weather. The cache location is at the top of a rise where the views across the fields of yellow rape-seed and woodland were fabulous.

After a while we decided to press on, whizzed back down this hill to the van and on towards the first Wherigo of the day stopping off to do a Church Micro Multi on the way.



The park where the Wherigo is has a Pay and Display carpark so we decided to check out an alternative parking spot round the other side. Being on our bikes, the extra distance didn't really make much difference. We rode towards the main carpark and it was absolutely heaving. People were queuing to park, queuing to use the toilets, queuing for the shop and even queueing for the Pay and Display ticket machine. We were thankful that the Wherigo soon took us away from the masses and into the relative peace of the woodland.


 


Soon we were back at the campervan heading West to do a handful more Wherigos then we reluctantly decided it was time to head home but not before detouring for LQ Hants on the way of course! We arrived home at about 22:30.  A fantastic weekend.

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