I enjoyed a trip into Kent today to pick up a couple of Challenge caches and some higher DT boxes to get my Grid Loop 2 filled a bit more. One of the first was (Un)lucky Dip near Ashford. I had to park next to a field of pumpkins!
The cache itself was under a little road bridge, so I donned my waders and off I went. Nothing unlucky about it today, I found the pot no problem.
The Village Sign in Wye is a rather snazzy modern thing, but it gave me the info to find the VS cache nearby.
The last port of call were some higher T caches around the Downes to the north east of Ashford. Thankfully, a few of them could be done with a modest walk or as cache and dash.
The nights are drawing in now, so although I wasn’t out that late, the sun had begun to set by the time I was close to finishing. A nice end to the day.
After my adventures with Kitty the other day, I decided on a solo mission for a higher DT cache was in order today. My target was Don’t Fall In! near Copford Green. I arrived to find the pond was virtually dried up, but the cache was still tricky to reach.
After a bit of manoeuvring I finally got my paws on the log – and another D4/T4.5 pot was under my belt!
It took a bit longer to accomplish than I had hoped, so I was a bit late arriving for BEASTMARSTA‘s GeoCoffeeClub#15 in the Old Heath area of Colchester. Shifty quickly made a start on the crisps!
Suitably fortified, I then headed back to Birch and Layer Breton for a circular walk taking in lots of trads. A mixed bag of success – plenty of finds but a few frustrating DNFs too. This alien was a nice quick find though!
When I’m out and about I do like photographing the Village Signs – Layer Breton is clearly very posh, they have gold leaf on their sign!
They have a quaint little church in the village too.
It was getting dark by the time I had finished my loop – the sunset was rather colourful tonight.
After finding the Village Sign cache (it was quite a walk in the gloom to GZ) then finally back to the car in Birch, I was grateful for a sit down before the drive home.
Kitty and I may be ladies who are approaching a certain age, but we’re not beyond having a little adventure from time to time. Today as Kitty’s birthday, and we had earmarked a few highter DT caches to have a got it – either with a ladder or our waders.
With an aggregate age of 100, the pair of us decided that pure tree climbs were rather too much for us, so we came “tooled up” and ready to scale new heights. This D5/T5 was soon in the bag – and we replaced a soggy log while we were about it.
Bouyed by our success, we headed to the next target with renewed vigour. This time it was my turn to go up the tree. Undoing the pot one-handed was OK but doing it up again was rather tricky!
We had scouted out Do Look Down!!!, a wading cache, a few weeks ago but didn’t have our gear with us. So we came well prepared today. Kitty went in first to grab the cache, then it was my turn to put it back again.
Marvellous! Job done. I’m looking rather pleased with myself to have bagged this D2.5/D4.5 pot!
Our final location was around an old gravel pit at Bradwell. I had had a little trad on my GPS for ages, which I picked up quickly on the way – only to discover when I got home that it had been archived the day before due to a non-responsive CO to maintenance! Ah well, it’s still there.
Then we walked around to the main attraction. Gone Fishing!! 4. The GPS was all over the place around GZ but we hacked our way through lots of brambles and eventually got to somewhere which fitted the hints. Kitty gamely walked the plank. I wasn’t going anywhere near it. But to no avail. We scouted another one, much thinner and more feeble, but decided that couldn’t be it. On reflection, it probably was, but neither of us was keen to teeter out on that one, with the evil-looking black gloop below. Hmmm. Might have to give up on this one after all! It was a disappointing end to the outing, but we know our limits!
What a grand day out! Having bombed on floating Boaty for the first time a few days ago in Sussex, I spotted another Boat Only event at Fotheringhay, near Peterborough, slated for today. Hasty plans were hatched, encouragement offered to Infinson to finally pull his finger out and buy a kayak, and it was agreed that Team Essex would convene for the do at the Event waypoint.
Alistair and I arrived at about 10:30 to lashing rain. We sat in the car for half an hour to let it pass, which it did eventually. While we were there, another car pulled up and we noticed a huge blue chum for Shifty sitting on the back shelf! They made friends quickly.
Infinson and Fincache had parked some way off and arrived in their shiny new Challenger K2, with Ian sitting in State at the back while Ryan did all the work!
Once Boaty was inflated, Shifty took the back seat, I got into the middle and Alistair was Stroke at the front. We set off with the others to find the boat only caches and sign the boat only log.
It was great fun paddling along the river, with a few stops from time to time, to frisk the overhanging trees.
Ryan got this one!
Alistair took hold of the GoPro for a while, just to prove that I was working hard at the back!
There was a soggy log at one or two, but a photo log would suffice here.
There were several puzzle caches which we had solved – this one was technically missing a log book, but the CO was kind enough to let us claim the find as we were in the right place.
A few of the locations were a bit overgrown! Got this one in the end, having shoved the kayak as far in as we dared.
Ian and Ryan had no trouble finding this one, but it took ages to put it back again.
Half of Team Essex went back to their car past the lock, but we paddled back to the event location to dry out the kayak and have our picnic. It was a great gathering on the banks.
We met up with Ian and Ryan again in Elton to bag a few more in the village. Shifty and Mr Duck spotted a very appropriately named street – I think they want to move here!
I took a long and winding route back to Essex from West Sussex to pick up some specific Challenge Caches and Church Micros. My first appointment was with unfinished Village Sign business in Bramber – having calculated the numbers yesterday with Ken, we ran out of time to look for the pot. But it was a quick find today.
The main target of the day were the Wizardarious Challenges, south west of Pullborough. Thankfully, I found all those for which I qualified (I don’t like signing them unless I have), which was a relief because a couple were pretty tricky.
Another one which was on the radar was It’s All About The Numbers Challenge near Midhurst. I had qualified easily enough, but the actual hide was anything but easy. First there was a long bushwhacking walk down a green lane to contend with. The foliage was sopping wet due to the rain and hailstorm which started just before I arrived at the parking spot!
Once at GZ I realised I would have to scramble up a very steep bank to grab the cache. It wasn’t pretty, either on the way up or the way down but nobody was watching. A wet bum later, the job was done!
Church Micro No. 1 – Earlswood has been on my to do list for a while now. I wasn’t exactly passing, but it was as close as I’ve been for ages, so I made the detour and picked up the numbers from the church.
The hide itself is in a rather cheeky bird box a little way away. Nicely done! And good to have finally visited the place where the mighty Church Micro series began.
There were a few other odds and ends before heading home, this time in Surrey. I found these curious Puzztox tokens but realised they wanted to stay in Surrey, so I didn’t take them away.
At the start of this year, I set myself the challenge of completing my DT grid. Here’s how it looked back then (the yellow squares were the targets for my outing on Day #166) – 26 empty holes.
Since then I have been chipping away at the empty squares, looking for specific caches to fill the gaps. As of today I have just one left! The tricksy D5/T4.5:
Together with geobuddy Infinson, who only had 3 empty squares to fill, and his son fincache, we headed off to Kent today to make sure we finished off the task!
The first was The Nest, a D5/T4.5 which both Ian and I needed. We chickened out and sent Ryan up the tree. He is a climbing instructor, so he knows what he’s doing!
While that technically meant we had done the job, I wasn’t happy until I’d actually got my hands on a D5/T4.5 under my own steam. So we headed to our backup cache, North Downs Adventure #10 (4×4 Cache & dash MkII) with my new telescopic ladder! There we go, cache in hand. Who needs to climb? 😉
I had anticipated I might finish off the grid today, so I brought along my 81 Star Geo-Achievement coin to pose with once I had done it.
We stopped off at several other high DT caches around Walderslade and then headed for OMG – which is a jaw-dropping D3.5/T5 along a pipe over the River Medway. I wanted nothing to do with this one! But Ian gamely sent his first-born son up there to do the deed. That was his penultimate square ticked off.
Infinson’s one remaining empty square was the elusive D1.5/T5 at Damp Ankles near Dartford. It was pretty dry today, and we made short work of it!
So there we go – two of us finishing off our DT grids today and Ryan having a lot of fun too. Here’s to adventures!
And once I had come home and logged the finds, my grid now looks very satisfying indeed:
This evening I took a trip over to Kings Langley and Abbots Langley to pick up a few specific caches. The first was a letterbox hide, which is part of a series in Kent – yes, really! It was an easy enough find, but I made the mistake of not wearing long sleeves and got nettled to death for my troubles. Ouch.
The next stop was an old Virtual in the grounds of Kings Langley church. There’s supposed to be a “sword” up there somewhere! Couldn’t see it, but found the info to enable me to log the find.
Then I took a little potter around the town and along the Grand Union Canal to find a few more trads.
After that successful mission, I relocated to Abbots Langley a short drive away, to look for a cache with D5/T4 rating, Something In The Pipeline. I had come prepared, so was able to find the little blighter without too much trouble! Must be getting good at this!
In preparation for my visit, I had already solved the puzzle for the nearby Side Tracked – Kings Langley hide. I passed this wind turbine on the way, just as dusk was falling. A good evening’s hunting with only one DNF.
I was out today with my co-conspirator Kitty!! We decided to revisit some of the hideous DNF’s we had had on Run Around’sTakely Trail a few weeks ago. Thankfully, we managed to turn all but one into a nice smiley – phew!
Satisfied with that achievement (for the moment), we headed towards Braintree to look for Up The Wood – a cache up a tree. Neither of us are keen climbers, so we had come prepared – a stepladder and Larry The Litterpicker solved the problem quickly!
Those were all really just hors d’oeuvres to the main event – Brain Tunnel by flossregularly. This had been on Kitty’s wishlist for ages, but it hadn’t really registered on mine for some reason. But I was very keen when she suggested an expedition in our waders!
We had seen how easily it was to fall flat on your face from previous finders’ photos (Infinson, I mean you!) so we found ourselves two big sticks to steady our progress. The bottom of the river Brain was very silty and we made slow progress along the spidery tunnel. I was just concentrating on keeping upright, but Kitty was imagining all sorts of horror below the water as we slowly picked our way along!
Eventually we spotted the telltale glint in our head torches, and found the cache. Huge care was taken not to drop anything in the water! I looked quite frightening but was glad I could get a photo to prove I went down there.
It was with much relief that we emerged, blinking, into the daylight once more, euphoric that we had survived in the silt and stayed upright. It was still quite a job to pull ourselves up the slippery bank, I nearly fell back in but just about retained my dignity!
It was great fun, and all the better to be living on the “edge” of our comfort zones again! This one didn’t fill in a new DT square for me, but it was still a hoot.