In the Car Park

A sunny but windy Saturday in Milton Keynes. Must be a good day to indulge the new habit of Geocaching then. So we had a moderate to lazy morning and then packed up a picnic and headed off to Stony Stratford to strut around some of Wavvy’s Ouse Valley Walk series.

Stop #1 was in the car park round the back of the High Street, where we found this to be one area of MK where free parking still remains. So to the caching.

We deliberately parked where we did so we were close to target cache #1 – Stony Stratford – take a seat. We did find it, and it is both weird and full of history, and rather a surprising item to find just here. Actually, Kas spotted it from a distance while Kev was floundering close up. Before this though, we had the customary 10 minute wander in random direction while the iPhone tried to figure out where we were. We don’t look at all suspicious doing that…….

To the Ouse Valley Park

And so off into the Ouse Valley Park via the nearest entry point. Our plan was to initially walk to the south end to pick up Ouse Valley Walk – Stumpy, but as we were walking that way the iPhone couldn’t decide whether this had been retired or not. It eventually settled on “retired”, so we turned back around, especially seeing as we could also tell the distance up to the car park and the kids were starting to moan about it being lunchtime. So bum to that.

Next target was therefore Ouse Valley Walk – Stony sluice. As the name suggests this is by a sluice in the river. As per logs, the actual site and the hint are totally incompatible and the correct location is given by the coordinates, not the hint. This was a cunning little beggar that we came across in a few minutes (the iPhone was struggling). It was also muggle central as it was a very sunny day. They were loads of kids very safely clambering over the sluice. And then a bunch of park rangers politely advising them there might be better places to play. Don’t they know we’re trying to be stealthy ? Easy enough find, I guess, but quite tricky to keep secret, especially when the kids get over-excited about the find.

Lunch O’Clock

Just on from here is a big open flat area with a kids play park so we decided to break out the picnic. The area was also full of about 5 large muggle families having a birthday party. They seemed oblivious to the presence of anyone else, as evidenced by them playing football all around us, throwing frisbees around us and standing right next to us smoking. Now I don’t mind any of these activities in themselves, it’s just that this is a big open space and they feel the need to occupy the same bit as us, even though we’re eating. They also had brought music-generating devices with them, but apparently only the one track , Abba’s Honey Honey (being played over and over and over again).

Lunch involved a selection of cheese, wheat-based products and fruit, all of which were avoided by the daughters in favour of the crisps. Oh well! Also having spent the whole trip so far moaning they were hungry it was then amazing to see how they now weren’t hungry at all but wanted to play instead.

Milling Around

We had a nice long break. After 30-40 mins Kev grabbed the iPhone and tracked down the nearby Ouse Valley Walk – Mill Stream, which proved to be just where the hint said. On return, Kas was dispatched across the field to look for Ouse Valley Walk – Bridge to Passenham. This proved slightly more difficult but she eventually found it by using the Force. Where would I put it if it was me? That’ll be the one then….. Go have a look for yourself.

Next up was Ouse Valley Walk – Willow. For this one we got to roughly the right area and then gave Ami the hint to see if she could find it herself. Easy peasy. She was round the back of said item like a ferret up a drainpipe and came back quickly with clip box in hand. Well done. Signed log, swapped a few goodies and left some redundant European coinage and then moved on.

Northamptonshire, Maybe

Next up was Ouse Valley Walk – Flood Plain, which proved rather elusive. Tree identification issues mainly due to inherent inaccuracy in the iPhone. After 15 mins or so we signed it off as a bad job and moved on. Let’s come back on another day when we have a proper GPS device.

And so on to Ouse Valley Walk – Watling Street.  Kas popped this one practically before we got there, but then stuffed it back so Ami could find it as well. Bit of a quickie, but aren’t those magnetic nanos small ?

With the girls still going strong we decided to cross the road and try a couple more. Next in line was Ouse Valley Walk – Pipe dream. This one involves a bit of off-piste work and due to an excess of vegetation we were a bit lost. The old iPhone compass was doing a good impression of a helicopter. After 10 mins each we gave up and moved on.

Don’t Finish on a Failure

Time for one more before the iPhone finally runs out of juice? OK then. Can’t finish on a failure. So next in line was Ouse Valley Walk – A short pause. It is a little further off the path than the text suggests but we got there eventually. At which point the iPhone finally gave up the ghost and switched itself off. Good timing huh?

By this time though, we were a most of a mile from the car and the daughters were getting a bit hacked off. We tried a bit of double-dipping in the buggy with Izzy sitting in Ami’s lap, which meant we could make some progress out of the park and back to the main road. Then Ami jumped up and managed to walk all the way down Stony High Street and through the car park.

Is that a new curry house we haven’t been to yet?