9. Aug, 2019

On the way up

Well the time has come! Tomorrow is the Aberdeen Mega and I need to get up there. I have had a BA flight booked from Heathrow for about six months now but as time has gone on, I’ve revised my plans. I also had plans to have a day trip up to Newcastle to pick up a very old Jasmer. 

I took into account the travel time from home to Heathrow, then the car hire up there and then the drive back from Heathrow and do you know what, I thought I could kill many birds with one stone by driving all the way.🤔 So I was up at 1:30 and on the road by 2am with a long way to go.

So at 0530, I was enjoying a Costa coffee in the Wetherby Services, and for afters, it seemed silly not to pick up the nearby trad to add to my North Yorkshire list. My next stop was in a lay-by just outside Otterburn in County Durham.

I had been near here once before, just down the road in Byrness. Probably 35 year ago, leaving a hotel at five in the morning to tackle a 29 mile slog in the mist and bog that goes by the name of the Cheviot Hills to complete the Pennine Way. 

This morning’s slog was about 100 yards from the car to Percy’s Cross, a trad that has been resting here since May 2001. It was an easy find in the rain and I was pleased to have filled this box on my Jasmer grid. I celebrated with a bacon roll and coffee down the road in Otterburn in the cafe of the Border Reiver shop. Having picked the owner’s brain about the quickest route to the A1, I was on my way just after 8am.

WIth the first stage of my plan completed, it was time for the next. I wanted at least one cache in each Scottish County on the way to Aberdeenshire. I crossed the border about 9.30am and picked up trad road and rail, a 2/2 trad just after. So that’s Scottish Borders ticked off and East Lothian, here I come.

I found two trads just outside Dunbar, ET Phone Home and Eweford TB Hotel and then set off for Millerhill in Midlothian. The Millerhill Carbon Tower trad was a tricky little trad which almost had me beat but with this one found I was off into the City of Edinburgh. The Edinburgh TB Hotel trad was my first and probably last tick in this county.

I had a couple of caches in mind for West Lothian including the Earthcache - Bing-O! We struck oil!!  near Winchburgh based on Shale deposits. Once I had gathered the information for this one, I struck gold with the trad - X in search of Space, up the road which was based on the legendary bass player Lemmy. I was able to cross over the nearby border into Falkirk to pick up a couple of easy trads, Manuel Numnery and Avon Bridge. 

I was now finished in Southern Scotland and geared up for my journey north. Time was getting on and I was getting hungry. Luckily one of the caches on my Stirling list was a Motorway Mayhem series near Bannockburn. I pulled into the services at 1.30pm and 30 minutes later, I was still searching for this 2/2 trad. I gave up, missed lunch and drove down the road for a quick find at the Bonnie Prince Charlie. Bannockburn House trad.

I drove a little south and crossed over the bridge into Fife. Close by in Kincardine, I found the Obscured by Clouds trad and moved swiftly on into Clackmannanshire. The Clack Of Mannan and the Clackmannan War Memorial trads were quickly logged but time was moving on.

I was inching my north and picked up the Forgotten Stations - Inchture Village trad in Perth & Kinross and was not far from Dundee City, the next County on my list. I drove up to the top of the former volcano, The Law and found the virtual Dundee Law and gathered the info to claim the Earthcache - The Law. I forgot to mention earlier that I needed an EC in Scotland to help qualify for another challenge cache and now I have two. It was pretty misty up there but the photo give a flavour of the view.

It was now 4.30 and I was running out of time. Forfar was next on my list and in particular the Arbroath Automotive Acheivement virtual. I quickly found the info for this one and who would have thought that he was born near this spot! I hoped for another smart virtual nearby but I just didn’t have the time unfortunately. 

I drove up to Aberdeen and the rain had started. The water was streaming down the hill as I parked up for the CM Peterculter in the City of Aberdeen and I was quickly on my way. It was 6.40pm and I now knew that I wouldn’t achieve my goals for today. Moray and probably Aberdeenshire would have to wait until the morning.

I made my way west to my hotel for the night in Banchory. To tell the truth, it was chucking it down and I’d had enough so I decided to call it a day at 7pm. I couldn’t be bothered to go to the Mega Disco. It was time for a shower, a meal and a beer(s).

Earthcache 2 Virtual 2 Traditional 16

14 Counties including 12 new ones.