Most locals are aware that I love the Virginia Water Water area, and I've managed to squeeze another cache in here . This one, though, involves a long walk round the lake, with an extensive zig-zag route around the Valley Gardens.
It takes the form of a guided tour, with your smartphone being the guide. A web page shows your position and the next location to visit on a map of the area. Be aware that it is only a web page, not an app, and the facilities are more limited - I've done the best I can with what is available but it won't work as well as an app.
At many locations there will be a question to answer. To find the answer to the first question, you need to complete this jigsaw puzzle, all the images of which were taken on a walk around the route of this cache:
Once you have solved the puzzle you should have the answer for the first question. Visit https://www.amberel.com/vw/vw.htm, When you get to the start location at N51 25.278 W000 34.585, press the "Description" button and enter the answer.
This view of the main navigation screen shows your position as a flashing + , with a red line to the next waypoint. The red circle is the detection zone round the waypoint.
The rectangle with text on it is shown in one of 4 quadrants above, below, left and right of the +. If it is covering a part of the map you wish to see, tap the rotate button in the top left corner. This status area will always remain within the boundary of the map, automatically rotating if you get close to the edge of the map, but because you can zoom and scroll the map it may not always be on screen - just drag the map so that you can see it.
The Distance and Accuracy should be straightforward, but the operation of the pointer may need some explanation. As a web page does not have access to the phone's compass, I can only show the pointer while you are moving, by comparing where you are now with were you were a couple of seconds ago. The compass will disappear while you are not moving. Furthermore, it may be erratic if the GPS signal is not perfect. It's not wonderfully good - but it is marginally better than nothing .
If you tap the description button, the status box is replaced by a larger rectangle with information about the waypoint you are heading to. If you are inside a waypoint circle than it will also show a text box and button so you can answer the waypoint question. As a convenience, the Description button background will change from blue to green while you are within a waypoint circle.
At some locations there will be a question to answer, such as information you may find on a notice board. At some there may be an NFC tag to read. In each case, once you have answered the question correctly, the next waypoint is displayed. And some waypoints simply serve to guide you - when you reach one of these, the program moves on to the next waypoint automatically.
You start your walk in the eastern corner of the park, close to a small layby with free parking. But first you have to find the URL for the web page by solving a jigsaw puzzle that shows some of the things you will walk past.
Information about the cache: The route is about 8 miles, and it is quite hilly in the Valley Gardens section. A time estimate is approximately 3.5 hours.
At 3 of the stages you need to record a number for later use. If you fail to record this information you are unlikely to reach the final location.
You will need a smartphone that supports location services (i.e. GPS), and you (obviously) should permit the web page to use them when it asks you. The browser must also support "local storage" (and it almost certainly will), otherwise it will not remember where you got to in the event you have to re-open the page.. You may find an auxiliary battery (power pack) to be an advantage.
Information about Virginia Water: There are public conveniences near the main car park, and near where you exit from the Heather Garden in Valley Gardens. You will pass several places where you can purchase refreshments.
The park closes at dusk. The gate where you entered is not locked, so you should be able to get out, but please leave plenty of time to complete the cache before it gets dark.
Dogs are permitted throughout the route. For approximately half of the route they are required to be on a lead.
It is strongly recommended that you do not try to cycle - while cycling is permitted in some places, for much of the route a cycle would be a major inconvenience and in some parts they are not permitted at all. Cycles are not permitted to use the gate by the start.
|Parking area||---||Small layby ( 4-5 cars) for free parking|
|1||Virtual point||---||Starting location|