I’d planned for a walk this weekend and as the weather yesterday was awful in the morning, today was the day. A nice dry window early on with rain starting at nine. I’d visited Where Pigs Fly and when I got back to the car, I found that the car wouldn’t start.☹️ I phoned up the AA who quickly turned and diagnosed a knackered battery.🤬 Luckily he had a spare on board and I was soon ready to roll.
Tonight was the 49th meeting of the Essex Geocachers (other cachers are welcome😀) in the Woolpack PH in Chelmsford.
I walked through the door and didn’t stop talking until two hours later when I left. In hindsight, I didn’t even get up to the bar for a drink. I spoke to a couple of new faces to me Fire Scouter and colapop68 for quite a while and then managed a quick chat with dizzygirl before she left. I found out some good information on the series especially about #8 - Below.😉
I also spoke to Beastmarsta who is coming to my event for Oz Day in Maldon and nathanjhunt about our trip to Dublin in a couple of weeks. This was one of the best events, socially, that I’ve been to. Perhaps I‘m feeling more confident.🤔
I’m still hobbling but today is the selected day of the weekend for geocaching. I must be home by 10 am so I’ve come for an early start around Greenhithe and Northfleet across the bridge in Kent. My first cache was the trad at SideTracked Greenhithe but everywhere was yellow lines. I found a car park free on weekends about 300 yards away. Wow, did I hobble! I must have seized up on the 28 minute drive over so it took me a time to loosen up. I had a quick find of a well positioned cache and after signing the log, I had to hobble back to the car park.
There was another cache down the road called Virtually Free, I Mean Three Challenge. The qualification for this 4/2 Challenge is to find three virtual caches in another non UK country. I’ve done this in the US and Prague, Hungary so I’m in luck. The cache was a quick find as it was 6’ up a street sign so I was just tall enough.😀
I was just checking what other caches were around and another Mystery cache, Hedwig’s Roost was just down the road. I had solved this one some time ago and had put the checked coords in. So this was an unexpected treat for me and the 2.5/1.5 was soon in hand. All I had to do now was get back to the car. 😬
Next up were a couple of trads close together called Red Bridge Footpath #1 and #2. I finally found the start of the footpath and walked down to #2 for a quick find. Unfortunately, the footpath was completely sealed off due to a dangerous bridge over the railway. Fair enough, but I had to walk miles around the estate to #1 when it is probably 200 yards down the path in a straight line.🤔 I had to crouch down to get the cache which I could have done without! 😢 I now had to walk all the way back.😡
I had time for three more caches. The first was ebbsfleet, a trad which had had a long line of DNFs. Looking at the hint, the cache could only have been on one place but it was certainly a MIA. I walked on to Eye spy - give me an O, another trad and I had a quick find of a well placed cache. I’d parked outside the Ebbsfleet FC (Up The Fleet!) so whilst walking back there, I had another look at the notes for the ebbsfleet and saw that the CO hadn’t been active for a couple of years. I had a replacement cache in hand so made the difficult decision to replace it. I could have left the cache to be archived sometime to give someone else a go at placing the cache but decided that having something to find would be better.😀
The last cache of the day was the CM Northfleet- Christian, another traditional. Once I had found a place to park, I made a very quick find of a well placed cache. Now it was back to the lottery of the traffic through the tunnel. Luckily I had a smooth ride through for a change.
2 Mystery, 6 Traditional
I’m just about getting over this sodding flu and decided that I needed a short walk for a couple of hours to get back into the swing of things. There was a nice circular series about 4.5 miles and 19 caches - Bishop’s Bumble in Bishop‘s Stortford that looked good so I decided to give it a try to break myself in gently. At least that was the plan.🤔
What looked good in practice turned out to be a poor choice out in the cold light of day. The conditions deteriorated after an hour or so and later into the walk, it became very wet underneath. There were a lot of caches that need maintenance because of missing tops and very damp logs. Some of the caches may be missing. I say this because I DNFed three film pots in a row when they were billed as easy finds. There has also been a legal change to the route of the footpath, which has put another cache out of bounds. However, it was a great walk although I suffered for it later.😬
I parked up in the free car park of Bishop Stortford Swifts FC and realised that there was a trad nearby - Hit The Hut. Once found, I noticed that the cache was close to a Scout Hut and that it had a TB. I had one on board that I knew had a Scouting connection so I did a swap.😀
I then set out of the Bumble series. At #1 - The Off, I had a quick find of a 2/2 trad, very cleverly hidden in an electrical junction box. #2 - Come On You Blues was an easy trad which I saw on the approach. Due to the new housing estate being built, #3 had been archived so I walked down the muddy road to #4. This had been DNFed for a long time now but I could see where it had been and it was a MIA.
#5 - Horses For Courses was a quick find of a well hidden cache. The ground underfoot was getting heavy but I was moving easily and quickly got to #6 - Lake View. This one had been in trouble and the previous cacher had put a logsheet in a plastic cliptop bag down it up but the log was still damp and just signable. #7 - Ted was an odd one.🤔 It was listed as 3.5/2 and was supposed to be a field puzzle, however, the cache must have been compromised. All I found was a film pot with a log sheet so I claimed it anyway.
As I approached the next cache #8, I noticed for the first time that it was called - Below and was a 3.5/4.5 - Oh, Oh!🤬 I went down to explore and suspected that the cache was in a water drainage tunnel. The water was only a trickle so I took stock. I had boots, a torch, gloves and a hat plus my normal motto - I’m here so I’m going for it. So off I went, crawling on my hands but not on my knees about 100 yards into the tunnel and up to the second inspection compartment. I suppose at this point, my bottle went.😢 Is it missing, have I gone far enough, I dunno but I decided that it was time to turn and get out.
I didn't really have a problem getting back and up the bank but suddenly my legs turned all wobbly. I wobbled off to #9. The notes said that the cache wasn’t down the bank but I couldn’t find the cache at all at GZ so decided to hobble off to #10 - The First Little Pig. The previous log said that this cache was in trouble without a lid and the log sheet held in place with leaves. You can imagine that the log was a sodden mess and it was.🙁 I put a replacement log sheet in a cliptop bag and the cache back where I‘d found it. As I turned the corner, I could see that a young lady on a horse was waiting for me. I asked her which way, the horse was going and I let them go first.
We parted company a few hundred yards up the track and I went onto GZ. It was a quick find but again the lid was missing and the log was sodden. This time I didn’t have a cliptop bag but I left a new log. How long would it remain dry though? The next cache - #12 - Withering Wood was another in trouble. The path of the footpath had been officially changed and the cache was somewhere in the prohibited area.🙁 I did go and have a look anyway and I couldn’t find the cache. However this one definitely needs to be re-sited.
The next one - #13 was a 2.5/2trad, well tucked away in the dry at the bottom of a tree stump so no problems. What I hadn’t said was that the ground was now waterlogged and heavy so my legs were starting to ache. However according to the satellite map, a farm road was coming up so things should improve.
There was a line of Eiffel tower type electricity pylons coming up and it seemed that the next three caches were placed on one of the four bases of each pylon. However every one was missing and it had begun to hiss down. To be honest, I was running out of time so it was head down and finish the walk time. I missed out the next two caches, didn’t even look for them, however I did think about the final cache, #19. However the log showed that the cache was MIA so I ploughed straight on. The footpath finished back at #4 so I carried on down the muddy road through the construction site until I reached the car.
Here I changed my shoes, socks, trousers; took off my two wet top layers and had my lunch. I drove home through the rain, realising that I had done far too much. The next morning, however, I needed no reminders as I ached. No, I didn’t ache; my thigh muscles were silently screaming with pain. They were even painful to touch.😫 I‘m going to have a couple of days hobbling around until this goes.😢