Wombling Free

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Thursday 25th May 2023

I have been meaning to visit Wimbledon for a few series of mystery caches on the common for some time. This is also virgin OS161 territory and I can fill a few grid squares whilst I'm in these neck of the woods. The plan for today was an early train into Fenchurch, a quick detour in the City and then on the Northern tube going south to South Wimbledon.

My first call was for the 5/1 "Oh, to be in England" Counties CC that had been recenty published near Tower Hill. I was sure that I had met all the requirements but would just "write a note" this time.🤔 Apart from the coords putting the cache on the other side of the road, everything was fine here.

I travelled down to South Wimbledon and headed towards the 4/4 Large Hedgepiglet's Hoghouse Hospital Hide mystery. This one had taken me ages to solve and I eventually found the solution, encouraged along the way by the CO.👏 It was a great pleasure to get the key for the "Michael Miles " moment (look it up🤔).

I walked down towards the TRAM network and collected the CM Merton ~ St John the Devine multi on the way. On checking the route, I noted that I had missed a trad nearby so took a slight detour to the 4/2.5 The gap in the fence. This was cunning placed but a log photo was invaluable and I was soon marching down Morden Road to look for the TRAM ST trad of the same name. With this in the bag, I caught the tram down to Merton Junction to start hunting down the remaining ST caches on the Croydon tram network, I found this one and then quickly detoured for the 2.5/2 The 19th Hole trad at the close by golf course.

I then worked my way back up the tram lines picking off TRAM STs until I reached Merton Park. Having found this one, I walked down to the Nelson's Steps trad. Horatio, Lord Nelson lived nearby until his death and worshipped at the church across the road.😀 I decided to walk up to the Dondonald Road tram stop to add probably the penultimate station on the Tram network to my collection.

It was time for brunch so I headed to Costa (after finding out that Nero was only doing take away service, hence a Zero) where I had a chat to a lady who does local walks for the U3A. She had dabbled without much success in geocaching locally some time ago and was amazed when I showed her how many caches were available in the area now. 

I finished up and set about the Wimbledon Wander AL series. I found what was probably the final Tram SideTracked on the system for at Wimbledon Station and headed north east up to South Park Gardens. I gathered answers for the EC and then continued up towards Plough Lane for the Wooden Womble Worth a Visit virtual. Once I had found the info from the back of the carved bench above, it was time head back towards Wimbledon Common. I was hoping to spot the floodlights of the old Wimbledon FC ground but alas all I could see was distant memories of The Crazy Gang.😀

I waited for a bus but gave up and jumped a cab. I alighted near to the search area of OS 161 Explorer CC and quickly found this 5/1 mystery. Unfortunately I don't qualify yet but it shouldn't be long now.🤔 I walked back into the town centre and jumped a bus heading west. Luckily it went where I wanted to go and I got off at the edge of the Common next to the war memorial where there was another EC. I gathered the info for this Limestone based cache and noticed that there was a VC here.

Second Lieutenant George Cates, The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) died on March 8th 1917 at Bouchavesnes, France aged 24.
"For most conspicuous bravery and self-sacrifice. When engaged with some other men in deepening a captured trench, this office struck with his spade a buried bomb, which immediately started to burn. 2nd Lt. Cates, in order to save the lives of his comrades, placed his foot on the bomb, which immediately exploded. He showed the most conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in performing the act which cost him his life, but saved the lives of others."

From here, I wandered around the south part of the common collecting the two trads in the Wimbledon Walk series and one from the Wimbledon Wander series. I then visited all the bases of The Wombles Pop Quiz 1 and 2 AL series. Of course, I was reminded that ace guitarist Chris Spedding complete with his trademark Gibson Flying V quitar played Wellington in the band. At the moment, he is still playing in Bryan Ferry's band. 

As usual, time was catching up with me so I decided to save all the mysteries that I had solved on the common for another day. I headed back to the war memorial and caught the 93 bus up towards Putney. I added two ST trads to my collection; the cunningly placed Putney and the easier Tube East Putney. To finish off the day, I swiftly found Pipe Dream, another clever idea for a trad.
1 Multi 1 Mystery 1 Virtual 2 Earthcache 15 AdLab 19 Traditional


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