18. Aug, 2017

Saffron Walden Day Out - 17th August

I have been planning to visit Saffron Walden for some time now and today was the chosen day. I planned my route, noting green spots on the map on the journey. I was hoping to pick off some CMs, VSs and hopefully an EC and a Wherigo.😎

First up though was the A Fine Pair multi at Howe Green. A sleepy little back water off the A131, the Tour de France went through there a couple of years ago. There are still a lot of the Tour signs prominently displayed. The cache was quickly sorted out and I was on my way to Little Easton aka Estaines Parva!🤔

Well the phone got me there but then the signal disappeared into the ether. I was doing shuttle runs backwards and forwards to the Tesco's about 3 miles away to get a signal. I worked out the Fine Pair multi first but the GZ seemed to be in the middle of a field and on this wet morning, I wasn't going for that. I fared better with the VS multi and soon found that sneakily placed cache.

I went from Little to Great Easton and quickly found the A Fine Pair here. There was a splendid letter box here. Down the road at the river was a fine foot bridge hosting the Easton Crossing trad. This was a 3/2 and had caused cachers all sorts of problems. I put on my wellies, just in case, but I didn't need them as I glanced in the right direction early on and spotted the sneaky barst.

The letter box cache at CM Lindsell had been on my watch list for a very long time and I was now near enough to go for it. There were three caches in the village. I found the Great Oak & Stumped trads fairly easy enough but the Great was more of a Little and the coords were somewhat out!🙁

The Church was a splendid sight surrounded by gabled buildings and old barns. It's a pity that it was still raining which made the searching for the letter box harder than it should have been. Still I found it and retrieved a fine geocoin to further its travels. I found two trads from the Homeward Bound series on the way up to Thaxted.

I'd trod the Old Thaxted Trail before and messed up the final coords of the multi. I'd run my findings past the CO who pointed out my error. As I was passing by, I had to put this one to bed.🛏I walked down the side of the river and got to GZ. The hint was "end of hedgerow" and believe me, I gave them all a good frisking for about 20 mins. I must have written the coords down wrong so started walking back to the car to check and noted another hedgerow nearer the Windmill. I gave that a good frisking but still no joy☹️ 

Back at the car, I confirmed that my coords were correct so where was the cache. The CO had checked it was there, so where was it?🤔 I re-read his message and there was another hint that I'd missed.😡 Back at GZ, I put my hands straight on the cache. My hands had been six inches away only 30 mins ago. Such joy!😢

Back on track but severely behind on time, I moved on to the Cutlers Green Water Tower trad for a quick find. Widdington was the next port of call, swiftly finding the CM and confirming that Sheer Piracy was missing. Moving on to Newport, I visited the Leper Stone, a huge rock of Sarsen sandstone noting the particulars of the Earthcache to send off to the CO.

I was now in Wendens Ambo and dropped off four TBs at the TB hotel, then realised that I was carrying another TB that I'd picked up at the Devon Mega but not logged. I then set upon a decent walk around the fields and woods picking up a further ten trads.👍🏻

I was now in striking difference of my target for the day, Saffron Walden. When I did the Audley End circular earlier in the year, one cache had been disabled so I was after that one. However there was so many parked cars, I couldn't get nearer the place so had to opt for parking in a town centre car park. Luckily I was able to thread a path through the back streets to get into the grounds of Audley End and after a mile round trip had the Sir Thomas Audley cache sewn up!😉

Saffron Walden is another gem of ancient buildings and I had a few caches on my list still to find. The Fine Pair was elusive for a while but soon succumbed to my search. The Blue Plaque was a very quick find but I stopped a while to admire the British Boys School built some 50 years before education for children became law in this country.

I walked into the Market Square and started on the Wherigo trail. I picked up the CM and some of the Walden Trail multi on the way. At the final location, I had enough info to work out the GZ. However it later turned out that my Google maps had thrown a wobbler as there was nothing at the end of my 15 minute walk that matched the hint. As compensation, I was near Urban Cache 1 so all was not lost.😀

I had a hunch about the location of the Walden Trail cache but the lady in the library didn't have a clue what I was talking about. Much later, I realised that I was on the wrong side of the Market Square!☹️

Much later when analysing the day, my google map on my IPad gave me another GZ for the Wherigo and my iPhone concurred but I could also see the pin that led me to Goddard Way.🙁 Not to worry, I had found 30 caches on the day, done the ground work for another two and had a brilliant day. I'll make that do! 👍🏻