1. Feb, 2018

What A Day In Bray

Sooner or later, every UK cacher start earnestly looking at their Jasper list and learns about GC43.šŸ¤” The oldest geocache in Europe placed in Bray in June 2000, soon attracts the attention of a serious cacher. I’d read an article in the GAGB Seeker magazine some time ago about some cachers doing a day trip to Dublin to go and search for their Holy Grail.šŸ¤­

So when a new airline started a route from Southend airport to Dublin, I made a plan for my own day trip to go for GC43. I asked nathanjhunt if he fancied the trip and he was in.šŸ‘šŸ» I also  mentioned the trip at my New Year‘s Eve event and infinson showed interest then he was in. We set a date for February 1st and booked return tickets with Flybe for £40.

I’d prepared a list of caches to do on the day and shared these with the chaps and they added a few of their own. The main priority was GC43, obviously, and we also planned to get 8/9 different cache types on the day. That was the gist of the day’s activity and we awaited the day. I planned to hold an event near the airport, the first and only one of “The Silly O’clock“ series timed for 0400. This gave us a good start as we could claim a cache in two countries on the day and a cache type which we needed. Hopefully we could attend another event in Dublin.

We met up for the event and Ian told us that when he’d tried to book in yesterday, he realised that a glitch in the system meant that he was supposed to fly out a fortnight ago. He’d spent a frantic morning trying to get things sorted out for today! No problems checking in or flying out and we arrived in Dublin’s fair city at 0810.

Our first port of call was the Bus & Travel desk where we bought a 24 hour Leap Visitor card for €10 each, which give unlimited travel including the airport bus to Connolly Street station and down to Bray. After catching the 55 bus and then the DART, we were alighting in Bray about 0910. 

Straight out of the station and the SideTracked trad became Ian and Nathan’s first Irish cache. šŸ‡®šŸ‡Ŗ After deciding against a coffee, we set off down the promenade to the Bray Head Inn. Reading the blurb, I was pleased to see that it featured in one of my favourite films - The Committments. After finding the trad here, we travelled a well worn geocachers path down/up to Lord Meath’s Lodge. We missed out an EC early on but the haul was - trad, letterbox, multi, trad, EC, trad and then the EC at the Lodge.

Here we girded up our loins for the journey to GC43.šŸ˜€ So here we were at the European geocaching Holy Grail. Much jollity, photography and flag waving took place.šŸ‡®šŸ‡Ŗ After signing the log ceremoniously and dropping off, taking and noting the tracking numbers of TBs, we put everything back in place for the next visitors. 

So what‘s next on the list, a wherigo, where’s that, up there, jeez. šŸ¤¬ Well, three mountain goats of varied ages, set off up this 45 degree slope on hands and knees on a path through the bracken battling the wind. Did I tell you about the wind? It was howling straight off the sea at us and the only saving grace was that it wasn’t driving any rain at us.

Now I’ve done a bit of mountain walking in my time but this ascent was a creaser. Although, I was the elder statesman of the party, I was much further up the slope towards the summit so I waved back at them and shouted that I’d meet them at the top. I saw the shelter of the dry stone wall and continued until I got out of the wind. It was here that I realised that I hadn’t been checking where the wherigo was. About half way up, I should have branched off to the South West. Now I had to go back down to get the next stage.šŸ¤¬

So I now had the wind šŸ’Ø in my face but I followed the instructions and got into the end-zone. So where were the others? I phoned Nathan but we couldn’t hear each other because of the howling wind. We were reduced to texting each other. We finally met up, found the cache and after doing the admin, we scrambled up to the summit.šŸ˜€

After a rest at the cross, we worked our way down the hill back into Bray. On the way, we logged two trads and a couple of challenge mysteries until we got to our first IE CM - Our Lady Queen of Peace. After a quick find here, we carried on towards the DART station. I noted that the next cache on route was a trad, Danger Mouses Mate. I asked the others, what was his mate’s name. Ian said it was Penfold. Now as you know, Penfold means something else to me - a post box and I was chuffed to find a green painted 150 year old post box at GZ.šŸ˜€ Nathan found the cache whilst I was too busy taking photos.šŸ¤«

There was just one more cache to find on the way to the station, an easy trad. We walked up Albert Walk and Ian spotted a small Italian cafe so we popped in for a coffee. However they also had individual pizzas with a variety of toppings I’d never seen before, I had the spinach and mushroom.šŸ•I’d like to have stayed longer but we were on a mission and it was about 1430 by this time.

Leaving the Connolly Street DART, we walked down Talbot Road to Gardiners Treat, the first Webcam that I had encountered. After faffing around trying to take a photo on my iphone, I was finally successful and had proof that I’d been there. We carried on down the road to the virtual Stiffey By The Liffey. It’s a good job that Nathan was with us as I’d have spent ages looking for a sign with Shaka on it.šŸ¤˜šŸ¤” I’m sure that the text on the cache has been changed explaining what the sign means since I logged it.šŸ‘šŸ»

We walked down towards Trinity College and picked up the John Gray - marble connoisseur EC on the way. In the college itself, we hunted around for the right door to claim the virtual here. When we finally found it, we all had our hand photographed waving a tricolour.šŸ‡®šŸ‡Ŗ

Now Ian had been working on the Master of Mystery #32 - Dublin mystery in the build up to our visit. This involves solving other puzzles around the world to find the coords for this one. Although he had solved some of the other mysteries in the series, this was the first one that he had looked for. Luckily we were there when he spotted the cunningly placed cache.šŸ‘

Now it was starting to get dark and we worked our way up towards the Bus Station to catch the bus back to the airport. We picked up five more trads including some of the Art Deco Dublin series. I hadn’t mentioned that I had visited Dublin on a cruise a couple of years ago so I had already found a few caches in town including some of that series.

So we were left with the journey home which thankfully went without a hitch. We parted company about 2230 and it was sad to say bye to my companions. However we had had a great day. We‘d found GC43, broken a number of individual caching records and felt thoroughly pleased with ourselves. What more can I say apart from “what a great day in Bray.” šŸ˜€

1 Event, 1 Webcam, 1 Letterbox, 1 MultI, 1 Wherigo, 2 Virtual, 3 Earthcache, 2 Mystery, 15 Traditional