19. Mar, 2020

Reach for the Swaffhams

With the world shutting down due to the Covid-19 virus, there seems to be some uncertainty about Geocaching. I’ve decided that I’m a lone cacher and if I keep out of people’s way, I should be alright.

I‘ve been working my way up towards Newmarket for the past few weeks but have always run out of time before I got to the Swaffham villages. I’ve also been collecting a few of the RST stations in Eastern Cambridge and recently discovered that there is a special souvenir for collecting all 12 stations on the former Cambridge to Mildenhall line. So this is another target to aim for.

I started early doors at the CM Cambridge - C3 opposite a superstore which was good for parking. I thought that I might join the queue for some essentials but they didn’t open until 8 o’clock so I didn’t have time.😀

Next up was a nearby trad called Bug Hotel. I needed this as I’m working on a challenge needing 20 caches with Bug in the title.😀 I worked my way over to the first RST for the day at Barnwell Junction before heading over to Fen Ditton. I found the two CMs, a VS and RST Fen Ditton Halt, all trads.

I was still on the outskirts of the city so continued with the trads RST Chesterton, ST Cambridge North, a relatively new station and then Off Your Trolley (Milton). I popped in here for some essentials but the coffee shop was closed. 🤔 I passed through Horningsea, picking up the VS multi and the Hello Horningsea trad on the way to Waterbeach. This pleasant little village was home to a VHS, a VS, a CM and an ST. I had a long walk alongside the railway track through muddy fields and inquisitive cows to get to the final trad in the village.

I reached the RST Quy on the stroke of noon, spending time looking for artefacts along the disused platform. I had to be careful though as the former station building has been converted into new offices. I had been after a puzzle cache Congratulations ryo62 for a while. I had worked out the final coords and they were in the middle of nowhere. However I worked out that if I parked up at CM Stow-cum-Quy, I would only have a mile or so to walk out there.

I quickly found the CM and set off over the nearby roundabout and slip roads until I reached the open fields. I hadn’t realised that this was in fenland so there were no shortcuts. I had to follow the paths along the waterways until I got to the final. I was hoping for the sound or sight of a Kingfisher but I was out of luck. At the final, there was a field puzzle which I quickly solved and was very pleased to log this 3.5/2.5 Mystery.

Back at the car, it was time for lunch before tackling the Swaffhams. As I drove into Swaffham Bulbeck I realised that I had been here before and had DNFed the VS trad due to MIA. No problem this time and I was soon driving up the road to Swaffham Prior.

As I parked up, I could see the magnificence of the partnered churches, St Mary and SS Cyriac. I worked out the coords to the WM multi and then set about solving the two CM multis. These led me on a merry dance and I think that I explored every inch of those very wet churchyards. Once I had three sets of decent coords, I wandered around the back lanes finding them all. One caused me grief at the final but I got there in the end.😀

At the top of the village was the VS letterbox based on the Women’s Land Army during WW2. Once I’d solved this puzzle, I drove up the road and parked up at the head of an unmade road. Well I searched and searched but no joy. A chap walking his dog stopped for a while and made conversation. He had heard of Geocaching but not see it in action. It turned out that he made animated educational films for kids. One of them, something to do with a baby dinosaur, if I remember correctly had been quite popular on the BBC.

He walked away and I made one last search. Bingo, I shouted and Jeremy came back to witness me signing the log sheet. The cache had certainly crept a bit or the coords were out. Still mustn’t grumble.🤔

Time was getting and I thought that I’d get a couple more. I went a mile or so up the road to reach Reach and picked up the CM trad and the VS multi. These proved to be the final two of the day and I had an hour and twenty to get home. A really good day was had by all.

1 Letterbox 1 Mystery 5 Multi 21 Traditional