21. Feb, 2018

Turning Walton Yellow

Today, I‘m concentrating my caching around Walton-on-the-Naze. I have this impossible plan to turn Essex geocaches smiley. I’ve been caching in town before but there are still elusive ones for me to look for. First off is yet another visit to the Walton Wanderer, a trad hidden in a shell on a shell wall. It’s never good to start the day with a failure.😢

The next cache on my list is Witches Beware, a 5/5 trad on a tidal salt marsh known locally as “The Mere.” I‘d also picked Walton for today because low tide was for 0730 and that’s the time now. I’d looked at the aerial maps and reckoned that the cache was best approached from the North using a causeway. It took me thirty minutes to get to a point 70m short of the cache. I couldn’t go any further because there was a large breach in the causeway.🤬

I had to re-trace my steps and go all the way round through the town to get onto Mill Lane to try to get to GZ from the South. However, all paths were behind security fences. There was a boat yard and I hoped to get access through there but “No Way” said the security bloke at the gate.☹️ I’ve put a NM on the cache. If the CO can show that there is a path to the cache, I’ll go for it again.

With the recent archiving of the CM and the SideTracked, there was only one more cache to look for - the inaugural cache of Tractor Andy’s, the Last Picture Show series - The Kino. I had a quick find of the well placed with its great view of the pier. Now my work, or what I could do of it was done. Will I ever turn Walton smiley?🤔

My attention turned to Frinton and I started off with yet another fail at - The tree that never grew. However my luck changed when I found The Lido, the last one to find of the Frinton Promenade Estate series. The last time that I was here, the cache was somewhere in a jungle. However the vegetation has been cut right back and I eventually got to the cache that had somehow rolled into the undergrowth.

Now I was on a roll and found three quick trads including a 3/2 around Frinton Park but dipping out on one. I was walking down to the Little Wood cache when I realised that it was a 5/2 trad and that it had its share of failures too. Now this was very cunning justifying its D/T but I struck lucky when I spotted the little disguised blighter.

A couple of nights ago, I had spotted a cache nearby that I hadn’t noticed before. A mystery based on the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee which I solved in time for today. I parked up down the road as it was in a suburban setting and soon had the well placed cache in hand. I’d parked just round the corner from the start of the Red Hen’s Loopy Loop series. The ten cache series would take me on urban footpaths for about an hour.

I DNFed #2,#6 and #9 but there some great custom caches in the series. The three that I couldn’t get had been MIA for some time so I hope they get sorted so I can complete the circuit sometime. The most frustrating cache was #4. The attributes highlighted the need to climb and have suitable climbing gear. It was a 3.5/4.5 trad so no nonsense here! However I didn’t have any climbing gear but in the manner of Master Sergeant Tom Highway in “Heartbreak Ridge” I’d have to adapt and improvise. 🤔 Now let‘s just say that I managed to get 15’ up into the proud oak tree without any equipment apart from what I could find but there was no cache.😀 However to be safe, I’d left my phone on the ground in case I dropped it so I couldn’t check any details. Once I’d got back down the tree which was more difficult than my ascent, I read previous logs. The cache was tucked in a hole at the base of the tree, worth a 1/1 at best.🤬 What a waste of time and effort. 😡 At least the attributes should have been changed to let cachers know the change in details.

Now back at the motor, I was off on my next stage of the plan. There were a number of trads of footpaths north of the Kirby/Walton Road. Now from the age of seven to eleven, I went to Kirby Road Infants and Junior School, however, that school is perhaps half a mile from where I’m living now in Vange. 

Parking up in Island Lane, I found six easy trads before embarking on the Secret Waters Walk. Following the seawall along Kirby Creek past WW2 pillboxes, I found five of the six trads and then branched out to find the duo of the Quay Location series. It was very quiet out here save the lapping waters of the rising ride and the alarm calls of Redshanks and Oystercatchers. As I walked back down Quay Lane, I struggled to find a path through the puddled potholes in the lane.

Back on dry land, I briskly walked down the Kirby Road and found the car safe and sound. Just one more cache for today and then it’s  an hour’s (hopefully) drive home. I had a quick find of the Stumped - Kirby. I just got out of the car and thought, that’s where I’d put it. The CO and I think alike.😀

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