24. Aug, 2017

Now That Was Scary!!

Over the past month, I've been making an effort to look for opportunities to fill empty spaces on my D/T grid. I suppose that everyone takes the same path, checking suitable caches on project.gc and trying to weave them into a day's caching outing or sometimes a few hours early on a Sunday morning.

At this moment in time, I have seven spaces to fill and each suitable cache has to be vetted to check whether ropes are needed, whether a canoe or similar is required and whether I'm physically capable.πŸ€• All right, I am getting on a bit but to me, age is just a number and I will always have a go at the rockface, I'm not going to bottle it in my front room.

So I'm building up a list of prime candidates although 2/5 is going to be a hard one to fill. However the plan for the day is a 3/4.5 trad, Green Troll 2 - A Little Evil situated on the Essex/Suffolk border in a place called New England. The final test for me on a difficult cache is who has done it and what problems did they have.😬 On this one, I see that a certain little team from Sudbury have done it so I'm sure that I can emulate them.

I check the route, find that it's 63 mins to the cache so plan my day around that one. I limber up with three successful trads, two that I've DNFed before around Braintree and then set off for New England. I could be called a Pilgrim Father. Christopher Martin came from Billericay and the house where he planned the voyage to New England (AmericaπŸ˜€) is still there not far from the CM in Billericay High Street. Any way I digress.

So I pitch up at this bridge in the middle nowhere. I don't need my wallet or phone here but I do need the complete set of clothing and a towel that I've brought with me. Getting the picture? I put the car keys in the bag and pick a path through the nettles to get under the bridge. Safely underneath I stash the bag and survey the task ahead. Oh, f..k, how am I going to get to that. It's a good job that I've lost 19lb in the past 3 months otherwise I wouldn't have attempted getting through those narrowly spaced bridge tensioners.

So gloves on, I get a foothold on the narrow strip of girder. It would be useful to keep glancing at the photo here. I squeeze through the first pair of tensioners, easing myself through by pulling on the next pair. So far so good, I can see the cache but I'm going to have to earn this one. Luckily it's on the side I've chosen but it's right in the middle.😩 If I fall in, I'm in the deepest point of the river. Rule number one, don't fall in. 

I work my way forward but realise that the distance between each set of tensioners has increased so I have to balance on both sides to get myself far enough to grab the next set. You'll understand what I mean when you attempt it.πŸ˜€ 

Right, I'm in the middle, I've got the cache in hand and I'm precariously balanced. I get the top off and shakily put my mark on the paper. Job done! If I fall in the drink now, I can still claim the cache. As I laid on the girder, I did think it would be easier to drop off and swim back. That might have been ok in a clear pool but I didn't know whether there were dangerous reeds down there so it's best if I stay dry.

The next decision is whether carry on in the direction I'm going or turn back. I can't see how much bank that I've got to play with at the other side so I turn and go back to what I know. I made it back feet first pulling myself along using the girders under the bridge planking. My ribs were sore from the trip out but now my back was getting the same treatment from the tensioners. I finally put my feet back on dry land and I can honestly say that I was knackered. It was then that it kicked in on what I'd done, remembering how shaky that I was out there and in a word, terrified! I stumbled back to the car to get my phone to take some photos. As I stood there, snapping away, I looked to where I'd travelled and thought, now, that was scary!😩

Now it's 0830, the main target of the day has been achieved so everything is going to be an anti-climax! However I had a long list of caches to look for and I started picking them off. I found three CMs that I'd DNFed before, Ashen, Ridgewell and Great Yeldham.πŸ˜€

I worked my way down through Ridgewell, Great Yeldham, Castle Hedingham and into Sible. I picked up multis but mostly trads with only two DNFs at SideTracked and VS Castle Hedingham. I found 28 caches on the day but what a day. Sorry the latter part has been shortened but the day will always be remembered for the Green Troll.πŸ˜‰