2013-05-12 51 -0
For my first ever geohash attempt, I thought I'd really go for it. The gods were aligned, and the planets were favourable. For my try at a land / no batteries / bicycle / kite / tron / multihash read on... jondclarke
A green space near the River Lee navigation and cycleway in Enfield.
On Google Street View , looks like this is a public park called Ramney Marsh, but I can't find any reference to rights of way, etc. in either Ordnance Survey or OpenStreetMap. Oh well, I'll just go for it! I should be able to reach S Ordnance Road, follow the footpath by the channel for 200m, then enter the green space heading WNW then N. Hopefully I'll be able to see the footbridge through the trees, bearing 085, and the junction of paths, bearing 180.
It's also within a few hundred metres (as the crow flies...) of the neighbouring graticule's hashpoint 2013-05-12 51 0. Of course, I'm not a crow, and there are the small problems of a river, a side-channel, several hedges and the M25 motorway in between... As Huinesoron said, "Gotta love that Prime Meridian!"
jondclarke intends to reach the hashpoint by Sunday 11am. If I head out at 9am via Kings Road and using roads through Walthamstow , head N to the nearest bridge to achieve the double at noon, , then return from the double using the Lee Navigation cycleway and South of the River Thames , I can claim Tron and hopefully be back when my family arrive. That was surprisingly fiddly to plan!
However, it's currently p*ssing down, and tomorrow's plan involves lots of off-road cycling, which will now require lots of mud-based cycling and trudging. Hmm... When will I have another chance?!
OK, organisation, take: cycle route out, map & bearings for 1st hashpoint, route between hashpoints, map & bearings for 2nd hashpoint, cycle route back, hand compass (plus 2nd compass built into bike), waterproof map case, phone for photos, bike computer, food & water, waterproof boots (!), coat, toolkit, remember to record evidence!
Biggest threat to success? Hmm, how far should I take this... Rain could make my print-outs dissolve, so email myself the street names & bearings for the hashpoints. The landowner at the 2nd hashpoint could conceivably be raising raptors and/or guard the field with raptors, but it looks purely arable near a well-used path, so I'll take the risk. I could get fed up cycling, lost, along a muddy path for five hours, but surely that's the point?!
PaintedJaguar intends to catch the 10:51 train from Cambridge to Waltham Cross, and then walk to the hashpoint, arriving at around 12:30 (just missing Jondclarke, but maybe finding some kind of marker that he might leave behind from the earlier expedition?). MrsPaintedJaguar's desire to explore the Lee Valley area, rather than the M25, means that the double hash with the neighbouring graticule probably won't be possible.
OK, felt surprisingly excited and tense setting off - I'd realised last night that the Tron challenge was going to be far more problematic than I'd first expected (although I still hadn't twigged just how tricky... more later). What was the ground around the first hashpoint going to be like? Would I have to jump a ditch (with my bike...)? Would there be an irate landowner hanging around the second hashpoint? Why on earth was this getting to me?
However, it was a lovely sunny day, with a bit of cloud and a cooling light wind - great for a bike ride. Bit of rain yesterday, so I was confident that the ground wouldn't be sodden round the hashpoints. And I was finally underway. Oops, then I remembered to actually attach my bike computer (about one mile in)... Stopped to take a photo to prove my outward route was different to my return route for Tron.
Then I totally smurfed it - I was looking for a street name I wasn't familiar with, cycled my way around Sloane Square, realised I'd missed my turn and without thinking, did a U-turn! Tron achievement struck down and I was just 10 minutes into a 5-hour trip! I hadn't seen that coming at all. I'd built in a margin for error throughout, with my outward route being about two streets north of the River Thames and/or west of the River Lee, so I could simply have taken my wrong turn and found the next left. Oh well, stick that one down as a practice for next time. Still not too downhearted - it's a lovely day, and I'm out nice and early. And an idea grew - could I redeem myself by going for a new ribbon? My route's right through the heart of London. How about inventing a new Tourist Guide ribbon? Surely I'd reach five nationally-known landmarks without deviating from my route?
As I enjoyed the Chelsea back streets, it began dawning on me more fully what the Tron challenge means - with no turning back, I'd need to approach every single junction with caution, knowing there's no second chance and/or trusting to whatever direction I'd picked and then finding a way to make it work. Stopping to answer the call of nature's going to require knowing where a different exit is. No second chance on documenting. And is it more in the spirit of geohashing to minimise damage to the farmer's crop at the second hashpoint to leave the bike outside the field, or cruise right through, mounted at all times? Having failed one part, I was now keen to up my game - would I be able to do the kite geohash whilst mounted on the light cycle? Would there be stairs down from the main road near the second hashpoint? Was I really ready to also try them whilst mounted on my light cycle?!
The ride was fine, better than I'd expected. Sure enough, it was easy to snap up a bunch of landmark photos. I knew my outward route fairly well, and the last third is an unpleasant, boring, straight road through an industrial area. Thankfully, throughout the ride, drivers had respected that I was mounted on a zebra and treated it like a horse - knowing they need to give it room or it will be startled.
And with surprising relief and joy, I saw the green space for my first ever hashpoint. I'd judged the ground correctly - nice firm turf, light scrub, only a little damp after the rain yesterday. Looking good! But for my No Batteries, would I be able to spot the footbridge at bearing 085? Without it, how would I find the hashpoint? Hmm... next time I'll map a bearing to a taller object! But no, sure enough, there's the glint of metal through the trees! And the ground's got brambles, but they are relatively sparse. Yes! I can walk, astride the light cycle, dragging through the brambles, and finally I judge the second landmark (a junction of paths I passed earlier) is due South. I'm there! My first ever geohash - land, no batteries, and bicycle.
Tron's failed, but now let's see if I really mean it - I pull out my daughter's fluorescent pink angel kite, whilst astride a bike dressed like a zebra in some shrubs. To my relief, and moderate chagrin, no-one wanders by looking confused... Takes me a while to launch the kite, which keeps getting snared on shrubs, whilst astride the bike trying to take a photo with my other hand, but eventually success. Now I'm at least starting to feel I might have earnt a Tron honourable mention...
For part 2 of the story, a multihash in the neighbouring graticule, see 2013-05-12 51 0.
Happy! Done my first ever geohash, saw an abbey, bagged some moderately silly achievements, and have aims for next time (fewer photos and a shorter report; ensuring I pick a meetup where I'm likely to run into other geohashers; and I really want to get my physicist colleagues to come out and do a "Do Physics" geohash sometime; and of course Pub geohash...).
Would love running into you sometime, User:PaintedJaguar, maybe while I start work on the Minesweeper. Sorry I had to be out and back early - I did at least get back and showered before my family showed up! And your post reminds me - I forgot to leave a sign of my passing. Oops - next time...
 PaintedJaguar and MrsPaintedJaguar
Oh, the joys of public transport :-)
We arrived at Cambridge station in good time to catch the 10:51 train, as planned. However, the departure boards were showing the 10:51 train as only going as far as Bishop's Stortford due to overrunning engineering works (for those who don't know the Cambridge to London train lines like the back of their hand, Bishop's Stortford is about half-way between Cambridge and our intended destination of Waltham Cross). We were, however, assured that there would be a rail replacement bus service from Bishop's Stortford, so got on the train as planned.
Upon arrival at Bishop's Stortford, we were directed to the bus, only to be told that the bus was only going as far as Cheshunt (one stop before Waltham Cross), and there'd be another train from Cheshunt. Comically the bus turned out to be an everyday bus that is normally used for short journeys within a city, rather than a proper coach, and there were a number of times when we weren't sure it was going to survive being driven at high speed down major trunk roads. But fortunately it did survive, and for good measure it even took us along a road that we had walked down in our previous geohash in Sawbridgeworth, past a pub where we'd enjoyed a very nice Sunday lunch.
Eventually we made it to Cheshunt, now an hour later than our intended arrival time at Waltham Cross. But the next train to Waltham Cross was shown as delayed by 20 minutes, and when we saw that other trains were still being cancelled at the last minute due to the still problematic engineering works, we decided to change our plans. Cheshunt is still adjacent to the Lee Valley, which we'd intended to explore after reaching the geohash, so we checked our maps to verify that we had printed out enough of the area to include Cheshunt, and plotted a walking route from Cheshunt to Waltham Cross, with a plan to reach the hashpoint at the end of the day.
So we set off in glorious sunshine, exploring the Lee Valley, and after not long found ourselves in Lee Valley Park Farm, which had a collection of rather cute animals, and also, somewhat inappropriately we felt, a collection of turkeys whose "home" had been decorated to look like a Christmas scene! Having eventually persuaded MrsPaintedJaguar that we couldn't take a meerkat or a rabbit home with us, we set about the main walk to the hashpoint. The sky had clouded over and the wind had picked up, which suggested that rain wasn't too far away, and sure enough the drizzle started not long after we left the farm. The path followed a river where we saw a number of grebes and coots, as well as the more common ducks, swans and geese. We soon reached the last point where we could sensibly abandon the trip and head back to Cheshunt station instead of pressing on to Waltham Cross, but decided that as the rain wasn't too bad, we should press on.
This, of course, was the perfect cue for the rain to get heavier, which it duly did. But we carried on, eventually passing under the M25 motorway that signified the hashpoint was close, and that we needed to leave the proper path by the river and head into the nearby shrubland. There was a well-trodden path through the shrubs, but we were a bit concerned by the height of some of them - the impression from Google Maps had been that this was just a grassy area, rather than brambles and nettles. Eventually we got to a point 50m from the hashpoint where the path no longer continued in the right direction, and we had to fight our way through the brambles. This wasn't as bad as we'd initially thought - but I was glad to be wearing long trousers and not shorts!
Getting to the exact hashpoint wasn't too bad, and the GPS didn't misbehave at all, directing us pretty much straight to right point, easily within its accuracy level. The brambles near the hashpoint did look a little bit like they'd already been flattened, perhaps suggesting jondclarke had been here earlier in the day, but to be honest it was impossible to be sure if someone else had been there or not. There was a small bush nearby with an easily accessible trunk, so I chalked a geohashing maker to the trunk. Then, despite the weather and less-than-comfortable ground, we got out the picnic rug and ate some of our provisions, although it was probably the quickest picnic I've ever had!
After packing up again, we headed back to the river and back under the M25, before turning away from the river to head into Waltham Cross. On arriving at the train station we saw that the trains were now running to time, but we had to wait either 30 or 90 minutes for a scheduled train back to Cambridge. We decided to head into the centre of Waltham Cross to find a pub, but after 10-15 minutes of wandering around a town centre where absolutely everything appeared to be closed, and no pub in sight, we headed back to the station to get the first train home.
 PaintedJaguar and MrsPaintedJaguar
http://en.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=4622932 shows PaintedJaguar's walk from Chesunt station, through Lee Valley to the hashpoint, and bac k to Waltham Cross station.
| PaintedJaguar earned the Land geohash achievement
| PaintedJaguar earned the Public transport geohash achievement
| PaintedJaguar earned the Picnic achievement
| PaintedJaguar earned the Drowned Rat Geohash Honourable Mention