28. Apr, 2017

All Cracked Up - 27th April

Today I'm off to wander around Saffron Walden. However before I set off, I notice a small chip at the bottom of the windscreen, nothing to worry about. The plan is to work my way up the B184 from Great Dunmow, do the Walden Wander, pop up to Littlebury to hopefully find an early Jasmer, drop down in Audley End and try to find three puzzle caches that I'd solved.

So my first port of call is A Fine Pair in Great Easton. It's 0750 and a council wagon is having breakfast next to the cache, I'll give this one a miss ! I'm the one with the blow-out😕 Up the road is a trad called Bootiful, it should be Trainerful but a nice idea. Next stop is Thaxted, a lovely town full of medieval buildings. I follow a town trail multi gathering clues but the final GZ is obviously wrong so I'll have to contact the CO to see where I erred.

The next cache, a multi turned out to be the day's favourite. Water Works was a variation on a theme I'd seen before. I found the first part of the cache near a bridge over a slow running river. It's a sack with two plastic bottles and the coords for the final printed on a plastic card attached to one of the bottles. However, next to the cache was a spigot mortar base from WW2 and the cache was in a concrete compartment, probably where the mortar shells were stored!

Following the coords to GZ found me next to a water company pumping station. I looked behind the yellow pillar, nothing, ah a tube! Prising off the cover, I heard something drop. Now I knew what the plastic bottles were for! Back I go, get the bottles, precariously balance on a stone in the river and the other foot on the bank and fill them up. As I poured the water in, I could hear something rise up the tube. Aha, the cache, what a great multi this was. After signing the logsheet, it was back to the spigot mortar base to replace the cache. This has to have a fave, it's in my top ten caches.

The next cache was a trad placed in a cacher's garden on the outskirts of town, followed by another under a stile. After finding a couple of Water Tower caches on the way up to Saffron, I parked up near the trailhead of the Walden Wander.

About a hundred yards down the track was the first of a twelve trad series, hidden in ivy. It wasn't a quick find but I soon got into my stride, literally walking down green lanes picking off well hidden caches. I replaced one at #5 and then carried on struggling at easy ones and smashing hard ones until I'd travelled 2.5 miles carrying out a clean sweep.

I then drove over to Sewards End, picking up two trads that had DNFs against their names last time out. As one was the CM that I'd dipped before, I was really pleased but what a cunning placement. Now was time for my first puzzle of the day. Cosmic was a puzzle based on planets and it had a checker so once I'd passed that test, I knew that it would be down to my ferreting skills. There was a half mile trek from the car parking place to GZ but once I'd got into the woods, I was greeted by a wonderful spectacle of blooming bluebells. The cache was poking out of its hide hole so it was a quick find. It was tucked away a little safer than when I found it.

My main target for the day was Howe Woods up near Littlebury, a trad that had been resting in the base of a tree since March 2004! Adding this one to my tally will close a gap on my Jasmer grid! I had a quick find but the log sheet was wet and manky so I replaced it within a plastic bag, my thanks to the CO for maintaining it for so long.

I found three more trads locally including one at a vintage sheep dip before dropping down to Audley End. I thought that there were more caches here but I had a pleasant couple of miles walk around the estate picking up four trads. The walk was scenic, old cottages, WW2 defences, a trad commemorating Station 43, a SOE training camp for Polish WW2 undercover agents and a bench donated by a USAAF sergeant in 1945. I'd like to think that it was the original.

Time was getting on and it was starting to drizzle. However I had plans for two more puzzles. So it's the outskirts of Saffron at the start of a long walk for BINGO, a puzzle based on bingo calls and Trick or Treat Pt2, based on Halloween. I'm happy to state that they were easy to find but it was a bit of a route march there and back.

So back in the car for 1600, 31 caches on the day including the 3 puzzles, a CM, a multi, and the rest are trads. Just one DNF for the day which is very good for me. Doing the cockpit drill before I take off and I notice a long line across the bottom of the windscreen. Is that rain, no, the chip has cracked both ways😡 I have to gingerly get the car forty miles back to home, I hope it can be fixed before the Kent Mega on Saturday! 

PS I'm on 5044 caches found.👍🏻