Tag Archives: challenge qualification

Letterbox Lovelies

Trad: 2 Multi: 4 Challenge: 4 Letterbox: 24
Walked: 9.5 miles

I was back to Kent today to pick up at least 24 Leterboxes, 4 Multis and two Puzzles, so I could qualify for a couple of Challenges elsewhere. There were a couple of suitable circuits around East Peckham and Beltring, so I headed south of the river.

The first circuit offered a good parking spot at St. Michael’s church, East Peckham. So it would have been rude not to pick up the trad and CM nearby before setting off on my letterbox quest.

St Michael's East Peckham
St Michael’s East Peckham

My usual trick with letterboxes is to forget to bring my personal stamp along, but I remembered this time! All logs got a nice fat imprint.

I Remembered My Stamp!
I Remembered My Stamp!

Of course, most of the letterboxes contained their own stamps (a couple were missing), so by the time I had finished, I had a nice collection in my own notebook.

Stamped Up Collection
Stamped Up Collection

Well that’s job done and another two Challenge caches can be moved onto the “qualified for” pile.

Coal Post Crazy, And A CITO

Trad: 9 Multi: 2 Challenge: 1 CITO: 1
Walked: 6 miles

I’d had the Coal Post Challenge on my radar for some time (find 6 consecutively-numbered Coal Post caches). But having done some research, many of the original caches have now been archived, and I could only spot a run of 7 still active around Reigate in Surrey.

That’s a bit out of my normal caching zone, but when I noticed a CITO had been published close by for today, I decided a road trip was in order, to kill several birds with one lump of coal!

On arrival at the CITO, we were each given our sacks and I set off. Perhaps the soggiest lump of rubbish I found today was this:

Discarded :-(
Discarded 🙁

Of course, Shifty Duck made sure he signed the log, and was ready for people to discover his TB code, along with the ever-helpful Larry The Litterpicker.

Shifty Signs The Log
Shifty Signs The Log

We gathered up quite a lot of stuff! Great to see such a good turn out.

Lots Of Cachers, Lots Of Rubbish!
Lots Of Cachers, Lots Of Rubbish!

Having scoffed a tasty bacon sandwich from the car park snack bar, I set off to find the other hides I came for. The first of them was the newly-replaced Reigate TB Hotel. Great box!

Lovely New Box
Lovely New Box

I had a frustrating DNF at a Letterbox hide nearby, which others don’t seem to have had any trouble with. Damn. Never mind, I really came for Coal Posts!

Wonky Post 153
Wonky Post 153

So I moved the car to somewhere convenient and unfolded the geo-bike for my ride along the bridleway between Kingswood Warren and Colley Hill. The bike made my progress much quicker!

Coal Post 149 And The Geo-Bike
Coal Post 149 And The Geo-Bike

I was aiming for posts 149-155, and luckily found them all quickly, apart from one, which took a bit longer.

Selfie At Coal Post 152
Selfie At Coal Post 152

Even this tricky whatsit didn’t fool me!

Peekaboo!
Peekaboo!

So, with 7 posts already under my belt, I decided to stop off at the Challenge Cache itself (Coal Post 206), which is conveniently just off the M25 at Swanley, not much of a detour on the way home! Job done.

But, there was another Coal Post cache just half a Km away, so why not pick up stumpy No. 203 too, while I’m here? That makes 9 Coal Post today – hurrah!

Stumpy Coal Post!
Stumpy Coal Post!

Day #363 – Birch Green Diversion

Trad: 7 Multi: 1
Walked: 0.5 miles

Just time for a quick single today, and I needed a Church Micro to complete the Church Micro Date Challenge. I was on my way to Colchester to visit mum and dad for the day, so chose an unfound CM in Birch Green which was worth a short diversion.

CM1932 - Birch Green
CM1932 – Birch Green

Having parked up and walked to GZ, I found the cache – not quite where the hint suggested, but easy enough. My Little Quacker had brief fun with the yoyo he found inside!

LQ Finds A Yoyo
LQ Finds A Yoyo

Day #346 – A Stinker & Multi Madness

Trad: 3 Multi: 4 Letterbox: 1  Earth: 1
Walked: 4.9 miles

Well that’s a relief! Finally, after three unsuccessful visits, I’ve found infinson’s wretched 2! I was being rubbish only on the first visit, as it seems it was missing for two and three. Ian had recently replaced it, so I thought I would strike while the iron was hot, so to speak. Here’s the evidence, although it won’t help you much!

Argh! 4th Time Lucky!
Argh! 4th Time Lucky!

Bouyed by the success there, I headed to Tiptree for a new earthcache which has only been out a few weeks.

Tiptree Earthcache
Tiptree Earthcache

I was also chasing any four multi caches, to complete my qualification for the 30 Days & 30 Nights Challenge. A few church micros later, and I had done it.

CM Salcott-cum-Virley
CM Salcott-cum-Virley

The most fun cache of the day was this cheeky Letterbox hide – easy enough to find the big bucket, but then you had to wade through all the little eggs to find the logbook!

Argh! Which Egg?!
Argh! Which Egg?!

I lucked out – it only took 10 eggs to find what I was looking for!

Yay! Quickly Located
Yay! Quickly Located

Day #315 – Eastwood Fields Revival

Trad: 2 Puzzle: 1
Walked: 3.5 miles

Last night I had been working on locating potential caches for a revival, as I needed another 100-odd days to tip me over the qualification for a Challenge cache. Projec-GC to the rescue. It showed me there was one in Rayleigh, the Eastwood Fields – Final Cache.

It originally had two companions, pot A and B, each containing Eastings or Northings for this final cache. Pot A has now been archived, and since then, I suspect nobody had even attempted the final with half the info missing. Could I do it?

Pot B was a bit tricky to find, but I managed to locate it after a few false starts. I took note of its precious information and did some calculations.

Pot B In Hiding
Pot B In Hiding

Given the geography of the site, and the proximity rule for Pots A and B, I realised there weren’t that many options to search, even without the Northing value. So I went on a targeted hunt. And Voilà! There it was in the third place I looked!

Is That It?
Is That It?

I was a bit nervous to open it to see if anyone else had stumbled across it in the meantime.

Yes! A Nice Cache
Yes! A Nice Cache

But I needn’t have worried – there it was, in all its glory, with the last log over 13 months ago. Job done!

And A 13-Month Revival
And A 13-Month Revival

It was very satisfying finding this one, and knowing it was still possible, you just had to work a little harder for it than in the past. I hope my example will encourage others to seek it out as well.

Day #289 – A Quartet Required

Trad: 4
Walked: 5.0 miles

I left work a bit later than planned this evening, with a target of finding four caches. This would bring my aggregate finds for all 10ths of the month to 100, which would finally qualify me for a Challenge Cache I’d been working on for a while. Sounds simple, yes?

I chose a circuit of caches between North Mimms and Brookman’s Park – the BP Stroll – as the hides seemed reasonably close together and the weather was looking threatening.

With two down, things were going well. But then I hit a brick wall! The next FOUR were all DNF!! Argh! How can I be so rubbish?

Sneaky Metal Sneaker
Sneaky Metal Sneaker

In my defence, the light was pretty poor and they were tricky hides – I wasn’t the only one to DNF some of them in their history. The hints were rather cryptic too, so I just plodded on and finally reached three finds as I was heading back towards the car. Enough of this series!

Grazing Near My DNF
Grazing Near My First DNF

My final find of the evening was closer to North Mimms, a straightforward film pot, Coal Post 32, so it was a relief to finally meet my target at 21:08 – by which time I was searching by torchlight!

Day #254 – Pimlico Perambulation

Trad: 5 Earth: 2
Walked: 9.5 miles

I had an unexpectedly good haul in London today. At lunch time, I managed to find two caches during a walk around Pimlico. I thought that would probably be it, as the weather deteriorated during the afternoon.

But once I had finished work at around 6pm, the sun was out and it was a beautiful evening. So I took a walk to London Bridge, finding another three trads and two earth caches along the way.

Really Side Tracked Necropolis
Really Side Tracked Necropolis

The Tibetan Peace Garden and St. George’s Circle Obelisk earned me two new DT ratings for earth caches, which means I’ve now finished part of the qualification for a D3/T5 Challenge cache, requiring 20 different DT’s. I just need to find another 6 earth caches of any DT and I can pick it up! A job for later in the week…

Tibetan Peace Garden
Tibetan Peace Garden

Day #252 – Best Day Yet

Trad: 73 Multi: 1 Earth: 1
Walked: 15.1 miles

Yesterday I hastily arranged an outing with Kitty!! and Mr Crow to do some more of the revived Essex Way caches today. We started a little bit west of Pleshey (at No. 21) and finished at Great Leighs (No. 75).

Which Way To The Essex Way?
Which Way To The Essex Way?

The track was mainly easy going, with few mud patches along the way. We met a some bikers along the way who were churning up the track.

Dirt Bikers Pass By
Dirt Bikers Pass By

Ray did a lot of the finding as he went striding ahead, while Anne & I enjoyed the walk – occasionally having to come to the rescue to find a difficult one which eluded him!

Ray Goes Troll Hunting!
Ray Goes Troll Hunting!

We were pleased with our 52-cache haul at Great Leighs and retired to the lovely Snug Café in High Easter for a well-earned pot of tea and a panini.

Phew! 52 Caches Done
Phew! 52 Caches Done

While we were refuelling, I mentioned that I needed 75 caches for a challenge cache and Anne suggested it was worth keeping going as I was 2/3rds of the way there already. So they dropped me at Good Easter to walk another section which they had already completed.

I bagged another 18 caches along this stretch, and realised I was still 5 short of my target, so I stopped off for some drive by caches on the way home. The first was Pleshey Boulders, a new Earthcache which has only been published for a few days.

Pleshey Boulders
Pleshey Boulders

A few more finds around Chelmsford, finishing at Sandford Mill Lock, finally brought up my best total for the day, 75 caches, and qualified me for another Challenge Cache. Plus, I also earned my 72 finds in a day geocoin, which has been sitting unactivated at home for a few months! I think that makes it a Grand Day Out.

Well-Earned Gong
Well-Earned Gong

Day #249 – A Virtual Tour Of The North East

Trad: 6 Virtual: 7
Walked: 8.7 miles

Before driving up to the North East for this trip, I had done some research and realised there were quite a few old Virtual caches in the area. So today I persuaded Alistair to come with me on a road trip to visit as many as we could manage, plus finding a few trads in counties or cities which were missing from my map.

The first Virtual on the list was a short trip across the Tyne in Jarrow, to Spirit of Jarrow (Tyne & Wear), commemorating the Jarrow March.

Spirit Of Jarrow
Spirit Of Jarrow

Next up was a pair in Middlesborough – first the Transporter Bridge, (which I had visited before I knew about caching), so it was nice to return and have another look.

Transporter Bridge
Transporter Bridge

Then we walked into the centre of town to visit Alistair’s own Virtual cache, Spectra txt, But Is It Art? He’s not looking very happy about it!

Spectra Text
Spectra Text

The lovely little village of Yarm was our next stop, to pick up Under Water? (Cleveland).

Under Water?
Under Water?

Alistair had already found quite a few of the virtuals we wanted to visit, but not Steam Bricks (Co. Durham) – so next, we headed for the impressive sculpture of the train made from bricks on the outskirts of Darlington.

Steam Bricks!
Steam Bricks!

We then moved the car and had a walk into the centre of Darlington to visit Town Tie Up. More gurning for the camera….

Town Tie Up
Town Tie Up

Our last location was the surprisingly difficult virtual at Hurworth-on-Tees, Clocks That Never Need Winding Up. We eventually spotted the required three sundials as the light was beginning to fade!

Non-Winding Clocks
Non-Winding Clocks

So all in all a very enjoyable virtual geo-tour around the area. There are still some more which I can target for my next visit, but for the moment, that takes my total above 50, which qualifies me for another Challenge cache. Yay!

Day #243 – Counting Counties

Trad: 12 Multi: 1
Walked: 4.9 miles

I’ve had a mad day trying to bag as many counties as I could on my drive north. The minimum I wanted was 5, I hoped for 10 and the final total was either 12 or 13, depending which definition of “county” you believe!

1. Essex 
First stop was to grab one of the Essex Way Reborn series. No. 29 was very convenient as it was right next to the road I was going to be driving on anyway, and there was a big layby to park up in while I searched. The cache was soon in hand, and I set my satnav for the next destination.

2. Hertfordshire
Leafy CamoNext up was a short diversion via Bishop’s Stortford to collect Hertfordshire. This is where it all went pear-shaped. There were too many muggles at my first target, I couldn’t find the next TWO and had to resort to a hastily-downloaded back up cache from my phone to finally find something! Phew.

3. Cambridgeshire
I hit slow traffic as soon as I got onto the M11 but eventually arrived at Duxford to pick up a quick trad opposite the aerodrome. Then it was another slow, boring crawl further up the M11 and A14 before getting to the next target.

4. Northamptonshire
Northamptonshire SkiesA small detour from the A1 brought me into Northants, where I spotted the cache quickly, under a tree at the side of the road. There were big, wide open skies and it was still sunny and warm.

5. Rutland
Tinwell SignThe pretty village of Tinwell was my stop in Rutland. Originally, I was going to go for the Church Micro in the village, but I had problems finding the right footpath. So instead I went for a quick find at the Village Sign.

6. Lincolnshire
Next up was a detour from the main route, in Lincolnshire. I almost had a DNF at what should have been a quick drive by here, but persisted and eventually stretched high enough to spot the cache.

7. Leicestershire
Muston is a small village just inside Leicestershire, where I picked up a nice camo’d cache by a mile post. Another county ticked off!

8. Nottinghamshire
Number 8 was Nottinghamshire, a simple Multi Church Micro in the village of Sutton-on-Trent. Still blue sky and sunny for the trip. I was wondering how long it could last…

9. South Yorkshire
St. Helen's MarrA bit further up the A1(M) was my next target, another Church Micro, this time in Marr. It was an inventive hide up the spout of a water pump. And onto the next…

10.  West Yorkshire
Yet another church-based cache for West Yorkshire, this time in Darrington. I found the pot easily enough, but it had a very narrow bottle neck and I couldn’t get the log out – so I just put another piece of paper in it. That’s the 10 county target met! But I had not finished….

11. North Yorkshire
Bridgemania In North YorksI had plans to scout out a high D/T cache near Knottingly as a grid filler, but sadly it wasn’t to be today. I just couldn’t spot it. However, I did find another bridge-based cache close by, to make sure I had picked up one for North Yorkshire (which actually protrudes quite far south at this point).

12. Co. Durham
Take A TippleThis cache was rather well themed – it was set near the site of an old brewery, and the log sheet was set into the side of a little barrel! Pity it wasn’t full, after the day I had had, I could have done with a bit of a tipple. Never mind, the light was beginning to fade a little which meant I couldn’t hang around. I had one more county to collect…

13. Tyne & Wear
Bolted In Tyne & WearThe final pick up of the day was in Tyne & Wear. It was a magnetic bolt on the base of a gate post. I was very glad to have finally finished my mission, just a mile or two from my final destination at Alistair’s house in Newcastle. What a day! I think it has qualified me for three different Challenge Caches, so it was definitely worth the effort.