6. Aug, 2021

Mega 1

So it’s the day before the Mega takes place in Lincoln and I am travelling north to get a day’s caching in before reaching my hotel. As usual, I have a list of caches to find, all important in their way, meeting challenges and other important criteria, in my eyes anyway.πŸ˜€

I had planned to go early, getting where I wanted to be at the break of dawn. However, I just couldn’t sleep so I got up at one o’clock and set off for Hyde, which was just inside the Greater Manchester border. Why there, when the Mega is in Lincoln? Because, I need a cache from GM to have found one in every English county.πŸ˜€

I had planned to stop at a Services on the M1 but for some reason, the satnav didn’t want me anywhere near the southern section on the M1 so it was M11, A14, A1(M) all the way up to Worksop, in Notts and then it was over to the M1 via the A57. Just north of Sheffield, it was off through the Peak District on the A616 and the A628 to a place called Hattersley near the start of the M67.

According to the map, there was a services at the start of the Motorway so I was going to have breakfast there. Sadly the “services” was a McDonald’s as I hate the places. There wasn’t even a petrol station! However at 0524, I found the Motorway Mayhem ~ M67, Junction 4 trad and was looking forward to a full English breakfast to celebrate.πŸ˜€

Just down the road was the CM Hattersley ~ St Barnabas mystery. This was a jigsaw puzzle that I had spotted when researching the area. There was another local Mystery, the 5/1.5 Golden Oldies Challenge Cache. The only qualification is to find 10 caches from 10 different months before the end of 2001.πŸ˜€ I qualified but the cache was very difficult to find but I got there in the end.

I drove into Hyde and found the CM Hyde ~ St Thomas trad and then crossed the M67 to try for the CM Newton ~ St Peter’s multi. I worked the coords and set off for the final stage. However there were too many rats there so I gave it a swerve. I‘ve got too much to worry about Covid so don’t need to worry about Weil’s disease.πŸ₯΄ 

I drove the short distance to Godley for the CM trad and then set off for Mottram. Now this small town was the home of the famous “matchstick men” artist L. S. Lowry for about 30 years and there was a multi of the same name here that I solved some time ago. I quickly found the multi overlooked by the chap in the photo and realised that this was also the start of an AdLab series dedicated to the artist. I did two of the series on the way back to the motor as time was of the essence.

I carried on into Hollingsworth where I found the WM trad, the CM Hollingsworth trad and then the  CM Hollingsworth ~ Methodist trad. I wasn’t sure if I was still in GM or Derbyshire at this point but when I reached Tintwistle I knew that I was definitely in Derbyshire.

I had been here before, a long time ago. I had walked the Pennine Way about 35 years ago starting at Edale in Derbyshire and ending 268 miles away in Kirk Yetholm in the Scotland borders.  I had met a Dutch police photographer, Marien Dorresdyn from Dribergen, on the Coast to Coast walk the previous year and we had arranged to do the Pennine Way, meeting one year hence. At the end of day one, we were staying in a hostel in Crowden but there wasn’t a pub in the tiny village. We got a cab down to Tintwistle for any evening’s grog.πŸ˜€ Today, I found the WM and,the CM Tintwistle ~ URC but the memory was too hazy to identify the pub of 30 odd years ago.

Caches were going to be few and far between from this point as I worked my way through the Peak District and part of South Yorkshire to the M1. The plan was to pick off parts of the 360 Degrees of Great Britain : Challenge Cache so I selected one cache in each missing “degree.” 

First up was the isolated CM ~ Woodhead trad spectacularly overlooking the Woodhead Reservoir. Next was another trad, JMC Remembered #4 in a lay-by a few miles up the road. I had also planned to do the RST Woodhead mystery cache from here but a sudden rain storm hit. I checked the distance from here to the RST and it was 1.1 miles so I thought nah.However a splendid rainbow did emerge as I waited for the rain to stop. I had passed a burger van about a half mile back down the road and that seemed a good enough place for breakfast as it was now nine o’clock. The sausage bap and the coffee went down a treat.πŸ˜€

I wound my way into South Yorkshire picking up another three degrees with the CM Pilley trad and the CM Tankersley multi. I got on the M1 here and dropped down twelve miles and nipped off J31 for the CM Ashton-cum-Aughton multi. 

I nipped back onto the M1 and drove another ten miles down to J29 and off into Doe Lea. One of the highlight caches of the trip was situated here, the 5/1.5 Church Micro Quarter Million Challenge Cache. You will remember this one, amassing 250K CM points in 48 hours.πŸ₯΄ 

Unfortunately the rain caught up,with me here and became torrential so I suited up and went for the cache but I couldn’t find it.🀬 Back in the shelter of the car, I read that the previous finder had found the lid so I defied the rain and returned. I found the lid with its Geocaching logo and thought that this was good enough for me. I put a replacement log sheet in a pouch and placed it benethat the lid as per the hint. No one can complain at that, can they?

Before I left the village, I picked up the VS trad and then set off a few miles down the M1 to the Tibshelf Services. I needed a coffee but whilst examining the map closely, I noticed that there was a small service road that led towards the 3.5/1.5 Church Micro 100k Challenge.πŸ€”

After coffee, I went exploring and found that the barrier to the service road was broken so I went a little further and saw that i could get out to the by road. I carried on and got the cache and thought that I could drive out that way.

There was only one small problem; there was a traffic cop sitting having his lunch near the exit. So what did I do? I walked up to the 4x4 and the cop wound his window down and I asked if there was any problem using this road off the M1. He asked why and I said that I wanted to get to the next village. He said which one and I said Skegby. He said that’s miles away, what was I driving? I said, a Ford Fiesta Ecoboost. He laughed and said, he didn’t want the make, if I was driving a lorry, I wouldn’t get through the lanes.πŸ˜€

As I drove out, I gave the traffic cop a wave and set off to Skegby where I quickly found the CM multi. I carried on to Ravenshead where there was a plethora of icon caches and first up was the First Ravenshead Letterbox. I swiftly followed on with the FP Ravenshead ~ Main Road trad and then drove down to CM Ravenshead. I wanted to start the Ravenshead Reverse Wherigo from here and picked up the CM trad whilst I was there.

I drove into the centre of the village and sorted the coords for the FP Ravenshead ~ Milton Court and the VHs multis whilst still taking readings for the Wherigo. Once I had three readings, I had enough to narrow down the final stage and I eventually spotted the well hidden cache.

I had noted a ring of eight Challenge caches on the outskirts of Ravenshead. Unfortunately I only qualified for six of them and would probably never qualify for the other two. I found the 5/1 81 and the 3.5/1.5 366 Found and then drove round to the 4.5/1.5 366 Hidden and the 3/1.5 1000 which were quick finds. I was more than qualified for the 4/1 2000 and the 4.5/2 3000 but these were elusive and there had been some DNFs recently. I was more than pleased when I found them.

I was less than pleased at the next cache in a place called East Stoke which had been the site of an English Civil War battle. I was after the 4.5/2 Souvenir Collector Challenge cache which I qualified for with 165 souvenirs.πŸ€” I parked up at the church and walked about a mile down a farm track to the banks of the River Trent. The hint was “under a red brick“ so I had high hopes of finding the cache. As I approached the search area, my heart sank through my boots when I saw what was expected of me.  Imagine a collapsed red brick farm building.🀬 I must have turned over every red brick but after half an hour, I had to call it a day. I still had a mile to walk back to the car. I cursed every step of the way.

It was now getting on for half past five so I set off for the hotel on the outskirts of Lincoln. I had one more cache to find and that was the 3/1 North Hykeham VHs mystery, again on the outskirts of the city. However it was now rush hour so I ended up parking the car and walking the final half mile to the search area. Luckily I didn’t have to search too long and I was off with a spring in my step.

I was staying at  Marston’s pub/hotel about five miles from the Mega venue. After a well earned shower and a change of clothes, I set about a steak and ale pie and all the trimmings in the restaurant.πŸ™‚

There was one last cache to get before I could settle down for the night and that was the Lincolnshire Night Event at the Mega venue. I don’t often see anyone that I know at these Mega events but I soon spotted Jeff and Martin Harvey and we had a beer together. Beastmarsta and Boxteddies came over and said hello before wandering off to the bar. 

The day was catching up with me so I said my goodbyes and headed back to the hotel bar. I ordered two pints of Marston’s Pedigree, drank one in the bar and finished the other in my room. A fitting end to a long, long day.

1 Event 1 Letterbox 1 Wherigo 2 AdLabs 10 Multi 11 Mystery 12 Traditional