Theydon Bois, Bwar or Boys, You Say - 18th June
I say Boys. It always reminds me of dear old Ralph Boyes, who lived here. He was the senior TO on my shift when I worked at Ongar Radio Station, a Marconi, Cable & Wireless, Post Office and finally BT transmitting station, which was actually in North Weald. Originally from Nottingham, Ralph was an RAF draughtsman posted to North Weald during the war and stayed put afterwards. RIP Ralph.
My geocaching goals this morning was the Theydon Bois Footpath Wander and another section of the revitalised Essex Way heading east from Coopersale Church. It was great driving up the empty A12 to Gallows Corner, Romford before turning off towards Havering-atte-le-Bower on the way to my first first port of call, Abridge. Mind you, it was before six am on a Sunday morning. It was a really quick find at Are most pigs pink - phone. There was no-one around to worry about the chap searching in the phone box.😀
I parked up in a side road near Theydon Bois tube station but unfortunately there wasn't a SideTracked cache here. It must be disabled or archived. 🙁 I crossed the railway bridge and immediately found #1 of the Footpath Wander. The sun was shining but not yet warm enough to burn off the dew underfoot. Unfortunately the footpaths were not clearly marked in the early stages of the walk so there was an element of bushwacking to find the right path.
Once I got going, it was fairly straightforward up to #7. I was cheered up by a text from Grace, wishing me a happy Father's Day from Athens. She told me that it was pouring down there. I told her that the temperature was steadily rising here.🌝
At #8, I came unstuck again. I searched for about 20 minutes along a fence line, holding back a barrage of hawthorn, observing the hint of "mind the barbed wire" and guessing from previous logs that it was a hanging cache. I even posted a DNF.😬 Just as I was departing, I somehow noticed a piece of green tape about six feet back in the undergrowth! There it was! Once I'd retrieved the cache and replaced it as per the hint, I gleefully posted a find, starting off the new log with "Scrub the previous log."
I continued on, successfully navigating the marshland and found all the rest of the caches in the series. Eleven finds and no fails is a good ratio for me.👍🏻
Now will I have enough time to get up to Coopersale and complete the eight new caches of the Essex Way? Once I'd parked up, I noted that #8 was 2.2Km away and I had 45 minutes. Let's go for it. 🏃🏻Once I'd got to #1, I realised that the terrain was not was I was expecting. 😟 It was steep going down which meant that there would be a climb out and I had to come back this way too.
Now the caches in the whole series are placed to be found so I knew that I could move pretty quickly. I climbed up to #2 for a quick find at the bridge over the M11 and set out on an even path. I realised that my battery was running out but I'd left my geopouch including the battery power packs behind in my haste. I started running Scout's Pace, 100 yards run, 100 yards walk in an effort to ensure that I could get to #8. I swiftly got to #7 with 5% left, spotting that, leaving a marker and running onwards. I found the final cache with 3% left, signed the log with a great sigh of relief.
I retraced my steps back to #7, signed the log and noted that the TB left by the last cacher, JazzyJessups wasn't there. I got back to the motorway easy enough and navigated through the forest of the Gernon Bushes SSSI and back to the car. After getting the IPhone to fire up on the in-car charger, it was time to set a route for home. A good day, 20 trads and no fails.