Saturday, 12 March 2011

Caching in West London



80 caches + 4 extra on a 21 mile circular bike ride

The Water to Follow series is a series of caches set along the Rivers and canals in West London

We have been wanting to do this series since they were first published back in 2008. Steven and Beth were away with Explorer Scouts for the weekend so we took the opportunity to have a day cycling by ourselves in West London.

We'd contacted Rodz last November asking where would be the best place to leave the car but decided to wait until the longer days so we could complete the series in daylight.

Arrived at parking in Perivale Road (N51 31.930 W000 19.600) at about 09:30 and set off on our bikes. Mark had had a brief look at the route and decided we should go clockwise giving us a possible opt-out point about four miles from the end if we had run out of daylight.

To save time looking up hints etc we'd printed off and laminated a sheet with hints to all the WTF caches listed in the order in which we'd be doing them.

First cache WTF: Tube? That'll be Underground no problems here although my new handlebar mount for the Oregon meant it was tricky to see the screen in the bright sunlight!  The next three caches were no problem but then had out first DNF at WTF: rodz last? go out on a high. It was obvious where the cache should have been but we certainly couldn't find it.  Luckily the next two were quick finds and then we were off the roads and following the River Brent. Two more easy finds and then we reached WTF: Metal (jin).  Mark was keen to find this one because the 5/3 D/T rating was one we needed for the D/T grid. Unfortunately, it's a 5* difficulty for a reason and, although we could see the cache easily enough, it is not easy to reach without being pre-prepared.  Great idea for a cache though and we hope to return in the future with our specialist equipment.

Next one was easy, then WTF: FTF ? Not while you're in Scotland... required some stretching.

Easy Peasy ;)

After having an early lunch (we had had breakfast hours ago after all) we did the nice little Multi WTF: Breaking Principles ? We'll do our best which took us through a very pleasant park with lots of daffodils just coming into flower.  Then we passed under the Wharncliffe Viaduct and continued on to H is for Hospital

Path a little wet.
We had to cross over the road as the path was flooded under the road.  Just as we stopped the bikes we spotted a family of mice crossing the path, they were very sleepy and walking very slowly.


As we approached I is for Inclined we spotted some people with Oregons and they introduced themselves as cachers Heffelump007 and Joss, we enjoyed a brief geo-chat before going our separate ways, we continued South onto the canal and down as far as WTF: Big Piles? Oooer, misses! before turning round and heading back northwards

We spent ages looking for WTF: rodz ? well not ere before giving up and moving onto the next one. Only then did we realise that we, had read the wrong clue and whizzed back for an easy find!

No problems with the next few caches until we got to WTF: TA.  No luck here! A jogger stopped and asked if we were OK, we said we were fine and so we carried on searching, the area smelt pretty unpleasant and after a couple of rats ran past we decided to leave this one.

After this point we had nearly as many DNFs as finds - at some of the locations it was not possible to search due to the high number of muggles so not true DNFs.

WTF: Magnets? You'll find doors and kitchens is the closest point to the car (about half a mile) but about four miles from the end of the circuit, so when we got there we decided wether to opt out or continue. After a moment's deliberation we decided to continue but restrict search time to a minute at the most.

We hadn't realised that Curse of the WTF Greater London #10 was not actually part of the series had a quick look but decided to leave it and double back to WTF: Brown? Flush it down before cutting straight through to WTF: WTF's de-fence ? Yes, its mean and green (another DNF).

Away from the canal now and along the busy road and to a muggle rich area, arrived at WTF: Tell Tale and searched for a minute or two in what looked like the obvious place, we were getting tired and light was fading, just about to DNF it when Mark had a brainwave and spotted the extremely clever hide, this was our favourite of the series until we arrived at WTF: Mines a Footlong, we spent quite some time walking up and down by the subway, tried the 'where would we hide it?' method and still nothing, then Mark had a brainwave (yep two in one day) and spotted it, very clever indeed and our new favourite of the series.  Really like this type of hide, very sneaky indeed and the many passing vehicles probably didn't even give us a second thought.  What a pity we can't give anything away but if you do it then I think you'll agree it's a good one.

After 9 hours we were back at the car, what a brilliant series and great fun by bike, we were really lucky with the weather too, the sun shone all day!  We had a record number of DNFs (16) but this was partly down to not being able to search due to muggles or time constraints so we were limiting our searching time, towards the end we were only having a look for a minute or two.  Some of the hides were extremely tricky but once found very rewarding.  Then it was off to the drive-thru McDonalds just off Hanger Lane for a well earnt tea!

We would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys caching by bike.

Check out our Everytrail to see the route and photos that we took along the way.

WTF Series - West London

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