4. Mar, 2020

Isla Sheppey

Today, I’m heading towards the Isle of Sheppey and hopefully picking up some decent D/T Challenge caches on the way. 

I always have my eye on a Challenge cache and the Motorway Madness one recently caught my attention. Just 20 MM caches are needed to qualify and I have 17. The first stop is the Medway Services just onto the M2. After a cuppa Costa, I visit the MM M2 Medway Services trad and now have another two to find. Luckily there are two on the M20 but that’s for another day. The time is 0650.

Next up is the Trigger’s Broom mystery cache. I needed no excuse to watch this timeless piece of Only Fools and Horses comedy. Not quite up there with the falling through the bar sketch but close. 

Just down the road is the delightful village of Upchurch. I made quick work of the trad VS but the multi CM was in another class. I walked around and around the church trying to get the right answers to F and G but I got it right in the end.

I wanted to have a look for Anglo-Euro Relations Challenge #1 on the way to Lower Halstow although I didn’t qualify as yet. It was a difficult 4.5/1.5 mystery needing to have found caches in 15 UK regions and 15 European regions. I needed two more from Europe but as I am going on a cruise on Sunday which would visit four new region, it would be worth a try. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the cache but did have a chat with the inquisitive owner of the Orchard Barn across the lane.

I moved on to Lower Halstow and had to wait until the Telecomms Engineer parked next to the VS finished his job before finding the trad. Luckily I didn’t have to wait for long. I wanted to get to the CM but had to work out a way in as there was no vehicular access. I parked and walked and soon had the answers to the multi and the cache in hand. Unfortunately the church was locked.

I had worked out the nearby Up The Creek With An IPod mystery a couple of years back. It had taken months of research to identify the album covers, long before I got into photo recognition apps. I then had to listen to obscure tracks by obscure artists to gain the info for the coords. 

I walked down from the Church and into the creek basin. Much to my delight, the Sailing Barge, Edith May, built in Harwich in 1906, was being overhauled at the quayside. It appears that thIs is where the Barge is moored for the winter and that it is a tea room at the weekend, mmm.

A couple of miles down the road would be the start of the series of high D/T Challenge caches that I was after. The qualification was to find so many Letterbox, Multi, EC,  Virtuals etc., in Foreign Countries. The only one that didn’t qualify for was the Webcam one. I had found the required three in three but the one in Riga, Latvia was listed as a Mystery.🙁 

I started off with the 2/2 Anglo-French Challenge #1, followed with the Event, Letterbox, Multi, Mystery, Earthcache and Virtual Challenges, and finished with the Mystery That’s handy. I managed to find the Mr Starchy Miser, a 4/1.5  mystery based on Christmas themed anagrams along the route.

I was now ready to go onto the island and there were three trad caches in the vicinity of the Kingsferry Bridge. The difficulty was finding somewhere to park up. I managed to find a spot about a mile past the bridge on Sheppey Way. I walked back to pick up the Kingsferry Cache Barrier, ST Swale and then Bridge, Bridge, Bridge, an overrated 3.5/2. On my journey back to the motor, I looked over towards the 1.5/4.5 Beacon of Disrepair. Even from about a mile a way, I could see that I need to invest in a telescopic ladder.🤔

My next port of call was way over to the east of the island at CM Isle of Harty. I had only been there once on a birdwatching trip. This area is a raptor haven and if I remember correctly, we saw ten species of raptor on the day. Unfortunately when I got down there, I found that Harty Ferry Road was closed due to urgent road repairs.

I could see that there was a track running south so I drove down as far as I could before I decided that I would need an off-road vehicle to go any further. So I walked a mile down to the church to sort out the multi only to find that the multi was quite a distance off in the wrong direction.🤬 I suppose that the walk put me back an hour but my step count for the day was magnificent.😀

Back at the car, I set off for Leysdown, a rather rundown seaside town which had a splendid baker‘s that provided lunch. After I had eaten, I picked up the RST Leysdown trad and set off for the CM. I worked out the coords for this multi but it turned out that the cache was MIA.

The next phase of the plan was to follow the track of the Sheppey Light Railway which I did.😀 I added the RSTs, Harty Road Halt, Brambledown Halt and East Minster-on-Sea before sorting out the coords for the CM Minster multi. Then it was back on track🤔 for ST Sheerness and RST Sheerness Dockyard. There was so much Industrial Archaeology around the perimeter of the Dock yard. An enthusiast could spent a day here without getting bored but unfortunately I was running out of time.😀

I decided to make a detour on the way home via Lynstead because I wanted to get a feel for Mattmoo’s Unicorn series. I had worked out a number of this mainly Mystery series and wanted to get one. I found the 4.5/1.5 Unicorn 051 and then stopped in Lynstead for the VS trad.

Multi 4 Mystery 13 Traditional 13