15. Aug, 2020

Souvenir Day

Nathan had published a series of trads, Chapel Chase around the Othona Community in Bradwell-on-Sea. I thought I might have a chance at a series FTF but I got beaten to it. He had also published an Adventure Labs series. This concept was new to me but no-one had gone for it so I thought that I would give it a test drive to give Nathan some feedback.

For various reasons, I wanted to get there really early so I set off in good time to get there for dawn which was 0543 this morning. There is a car park for the St Peter’s Chapel about a mile from the Chapel itself. I’m always dubious about parking here as there is a lot of car theft, however, this early, I should be ok.

The AdLab series started in the car park so I fired up the new app and went to the first check point. It was quite straightforward but a poor substitute for a Wherigo. Once I had entered the details, I set off down the Roman Road to the Chapel where I picked off another two of the Adlabs. I realised that I had walked past #1 of the Chapel Chase so had to backtrack for an easy find.

I then walked over the the Bradwell Bird Observatory hidden in the small thicket near the sea wall. I have been a regular at the Obs until I discovered Geocaching. I’ve seen many species of birds here but none more exciting as a Short-toed Snake Eagle. 

It was a regular Sunday morning with lashings of tea and biscuits. Some of the birders had fifty years of world-wide birding so they knew their stuff. All of a sudden the gulls and waders on the shoreline went berserk. They all took off filling the air with feathers and a cacophony of screeches. 

One birder shouted “Osprey“ and the others tumbled out of the Obs to see this rarity. Dee shouted out, ”that’s not an Osprey, it’s a f@cking Snake Eagle.” We spent a good twenty minutes watching other birds of prey, Harriers and Sparrowhawks and even Covids joining in, to push the Eagle higher and higher until we lost sight of it. In the meantime, the news was being broadcast on social media twitching sites to alert others to this Mega on our shores. The first record of this species in Great Britain was in October 1999 on the Isles Of Scilly. This was the first time that one had been spotted on the mainland.😀

Anyway enough of this remeniscing and on with the blog. I quickly sorted out the Adlab and set of south down the sea wall to pick up two more new additions to Nathan’s Behemoth series before heading back. I passed the still silent Obs and made my way to the last one of the AdLab series to complete the set.

Now was the time to continue on the Chapel Chase series. I carried on north up the sea wall picking up trads of varying difficulty including the git at #3. It was very misty out at sea and I could hear a few engines out on the water but I couldn’t see them. This was a pity as I am also very interested in fishing smacks and bawleys, collecting their registration numbers.🥴

When I got to #7, it was time to leave the sea wall and meander south through farmland until I reached the road between the Othona and East Hall Farm. It was then an easy walk along the road  picking up the caches until I reached #13 and the end of the series. I approached the car park with trepidation but no vandalism so no need to worry. 

It was only 0740 so I had time to pick up a few more caches on the way home. Checking my list, I could see that there were unfounded caches in Southminster so off I went. I had solved the two Letterbox puzzles for the WM and the VH at home but the WM took absolutely ages to find.🙁 However there was a bonus because the multi LB hadn’t been found yet. So I drove into the new estate at the west end of town to chance my arm. Once,I had sorted out the coords, I was able to sign the empty log for a FTF.👏

I was about an hour from home at this point. I had time to pick up a couple of VH mysteries on the way home. I had worked these out at home and the Latchingdon one was a variation that I hadn’t seen before but an easy find. However the Mundon Puzzle was based on Australian fauna. It took me ages to find the difference between a Kookaburra and a Cassowary but I managed to sort it all out.😀

I was able to pick up a few trad caches that had been on my list for ages but never had the opportunity to collect. The Off Your Trolley at the new supermercado in SWF was a tricky find but Postman Pat 1 and 2 on the Old Wickford Road up to the Rettendon Turnpike were easy finds. It was good to see these Machan boxes in good condition.

Somehow I had managed to collect five official souvenirs today which is probably a record for me.

1 Multi 2 Mystery 3 Letterbox 5 Adventure Lab 17 Traditional