2013-09-11 52 0
In the middle of a field adjacent to the River Cam, near Waterbeach.
PaintedJaguar already has plans that take him to Waterbeach this evening, and so will attempt to reach this hashpoint whilst he is there. The hashpoint is pretty much right in the centre of a field, which may be being used to grow something at this time of year, in which case the hashpoint may not be reachable. From memory, there is also a not particularly pleasant row of bushes that will have to be climbed through between the riverside path and the field in question, which may also block access. However, since the hashpoint is only a short walk from where he'll already be, it's worth the effort of trying to see if it is reachable. Depending on the weather, it'll be a nice short riverside walk at sunset, if nothing else.
We left the main road at The Bridge pub in Clayhithe, and walked along the riverbank towards the hashpoint, in fading light and heavy rain. This wasn't really the "nice short riverside walk at sunset" I'd hoped for! There was a thick hedgerow and tall trees to our right, between us and the fields we were aiming for. It wasn't looking good.
However, just as we reached the point where we were alongside the hashpoint, a large gap in the trees and hedgerow opened up. In hindsight, this was blatantly obvious from the Google satellite imagery, but I hadn't looked at that in detail before we started. Unfortunately, although this allowed us to get right up to the edge of the field, a drainage ditch around the field prevented us from getting any further. We were approximately 100 metres from the hashpoint. We did notice that the field had been recently harvested, so if we could have got into the field, the hashpoint could have been reached without damaging crops, but it appeared that it wasn't to be.
We turned round and headed back towards the main road, and noticed that the footpath also continued away from the river and around the field that was adjacent to the hashpoint. We also found a mound of earth that allowed us to cross the drainage ditch! Excited, we clambered into the field, and walked carefully around the edge towards the next field, which contained the hashpoint. We knew from our earlier view of this field that there was another drainage ditch between the field we were in and the one we wanted, but we were hoping that we might get lucky and find a way get across that ditch as well. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be: we walked out along the ditch that separated the fields until the GPS said we'd made the closest possible approach to the hashpoint (approx 50 metres) without finding any way to cross. Since it was now virtually pitch black and still raining, we abandoned the attempt and headed back.
On investigating the satellite images again afterwards, it appears that the drainage ditch between the two fields ended just a bit further along than where we'd got to, underneath a large tree. Had we continued a little bit further, we'd have been able to get around the ditch, into the right field, and made the hashpoint.
I'm a bit annoyed with myself about this expedition, to be honest. I went into it with some knowledge of the area, having walked the riverside path there a number of times before, and also not really expecting to be able to reach the hashpoint because of crops in the field. As a result of this, I didn't look properly at the satellite images of the area beforehand. Had I done so, I'd have known:
- how easy it was to get from the first field into the second field, so that we could have made the hashpoint without much more effort from where we abandoned the expedition.
- it was much easier to get into the fields from the road on the far side of the fields, instead of scrambling around trying to get access from the area I knew by the riverbank!
I'll know for next time to always plan thoroughly :-)