28. Aug, 2021

London Calling

Today is the day that I travel to London for the first time in nearly two years. It‘s the London Mega 2021 which is being held in Westminster and for the event, a series of four AdLabs each containing ten bases has been issued. However, due to some rule, they can only last for three weeks before they are archived.

So I hatch together this silly plan and it seemed like a good idea at the time but more on that later. So gather round, here’s the plan.🀫 I’m going to walk along the north side of the Thames doing a number of AdLab series interspersed with a few caches, attend the Mega and then walk back down the South Bank doing two more of the event AdLabs. πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺI‘ve pretty much covered this area so there are slim picking over there.

So here’s what happened.πŸ₯΄ I presumed that there would still be a lot of light in London even just before dawn so I got off the train at Fenchurch Street Station at six and walked straight down to St Katharine Dock near Tower Bridge to start on the St Katharine Docks AdLabs. With these in the bag, I headed towards the Tower for the Tower Hill History AdLab series. Unfortunately a few of the bases are now off limits due to Covid but luckily the answers were obtained from the internet but it took time.πŸ€” I was nicely placed for the WM ~ London - Siege of Malta EC so I gathered the answers on limestone peculiar to Malta. 

Luckily at this point, I checked out where one of the Mega AdLabs, LC21 - Thames Trail 2 started and it was Tower Bridge so I backtracked and began this one. I worked my way up to the Monument and knew I was going to end up in St Paul’s. 

Now I used to work not far away in Cloth Fair and used to explore that part of London during my lunch hour. However, on checking out the Pocket Park Perambulation (Part 1) and (Part 2) AdLab series, there were places that I had missed. It seemed like a good idea to check these out and I’m glad that I did because, even though, I thought that I knew the place like the back of my hand, I visited so many tucked away places that I’d completely missed before.

I reached St Paul’s with forty AdLabs under my belt and I had planned for breakfast in Cafe Nero but it was closed.🀬  I dropped down to Upper Thames Street as I wanted to check out the LB ~ The Millennium Bridge. Unfortunately there were stages both north and south of the river so I saved the info from this side as I would be passing the other end later. I carried on to Blackfriars Bridge where I had breakfast in a Costa.

As an aside, I‘m working on a challenge where I need 55 caches in the City of London and at this moment, I had 54. Believe it or not, I was still in the City and the Capturing the Moment (v2.0) trad was just around the corner and just within City limits.πŸ˜€

I walked up Fleet Street to St Clement Danes and started on LC21 - Thames Trail 1. This would take me round to Westminster via Covent Garden which was handy as I also wanted to tackle the Covent Garden Stroll (with SideTracked Bonus) AdLab Series there. As I was at the first base in the Garden, I noticed a trio of people looking the same vicinity but there weren’t English so I moved on. However when I was trying to unlock the clever bonus, one of them approached me and it was a Swedish cacher in town with her muggle family. They were just checking the sights and doing a few caches here and there but not attending the Mega.πŸ€”

I carried on with the LC21/2 series visiting Chinatown and the West End before dropping down to Trafalgar Square. I picked up the nearby CM Westminster ~ St Martin trad and the Just under our Nose Virtual at Admiralty Arch. However Trafalgar Square itself was closed off due to a film festival so I couldn’t try for the few caches that I have left there.

I continued down Whitehall into Parliament Square finishing the LC21/1 and headed towards the Mega Venue in Central Hall. Perhaps I had got here too early as there was a long queue to get in. Not being one to stand around for too long, I started on another AdLab series put together by the prolific Colchester cacher, BEASTMARSTA in WESTMINSTER. This series had some really interesting bases in it and took me right up to Westminster Cathedral and its rich collection of marble.

I was heading over to ST Vauxhall and had a look for the Christchurch Gardens Resurrection trad on the way.It was here that I bumped into brolac43 from St Neots. He asked where I was going next. He had heard about the ST Vauxhall mystery and asked if he could tag along.πŸ˜€

We took in the trads at Vincent Square and Incy Wincy Spider before getting on to Vauxhall Bridge. A chap stopped Brolac half way across the bridge who turned out to be his cousin from Bristol who he hadn’t seen for two years. Now what were the odds on that happening.?

We reached the 3/1 ST mystery and it was an easy find. It was time to work our way back to the Mega but brolac had a couple of solved mystery caches of his own so we picked up GEO-PACMAC and the 3.5/1.5 A parliamentary headache.πŸ˜€

We reaches the Mega and TurnyT was on the gate. As soon as we got inside, we ran into gillywig, infinson, Catalinacrawford and Kris&Co. I treated brolac to a coffee and whilst in the queue spotted the name Airborne12 on a hoodie. We had spoken a lot on the messageboard but this was the first face to face. Brolac met up with one of his locals, Hanoosh, who I knew well too.πŸ˜€

I was particularly keen to meet up with JohnnysMissions. I knew that she was in town as we had been tracking progress all morning. She was carrying my VangeRover Virtually on Tour TB around with her for a few months and had ticked off most of the South West counties for me. I had arranged to take the TB from her and hand it on to nathanjhunt who was now living in Wiltshire but in town today so he could clear off the West Country for me. I gathered the TB and chatted for quite a while but alas, Nathan never appeared.☹️

I had to leave at 2:15 so went down to the TUBE - ST ~ Westminster (London Tours) trad. It was very busy in the search area with river boat passengers as well as cachers so I moved on quickly. I only went a few yards though up to the “Scramble” - Battle of Britain Memorial Virtual. I paid my respects for a while and found the answer to qualify.

Now I had the long slog back along the South Bank to Fenchurch Street. I started on LC21 - Thames Trail 4, crossing Westminster Bridge and carrying down the South Bank, ticking off the bases. I carried on with LC21 - Thames Trail 3  breaking off to complete the southern half of the LB ~ The Millennium Bridge multi and then find the well hidden final. I walked past Tower Bridge into Horsleydown to complete the final AdLab series of the day.

On the train home, I did a recap of the day. I walked 46,180 steps which equates to 23 miles.🀯🀯 I also discovered that AdLabs don’t count towards the number of caches found in a county, according to ProjectGC. 🀬🀬🀬 So that’s 70 London caches less than I thought that I was going to get today. So are AdLabs a waste of time? Maybe I wish that I had just concentrated on the usual trads, multis etc.,

1 Earthcache 1 Mega 1 Multi 2 Mystery 2 Virtual 8 Traditional 70 AdLab