12. Sep, 2021

Where It All Began 11th - 13th September

My birthday is the 11th September which for the past twenty years has been connected to one of the worst terrorist atrocities ever. To add to this, the young daughter of one of my former work colleagues died in one of the Twin Towers - Karly Barbara Rogers RIP. So my birthday is now low key.

My wife has arranged a weekend away to a place where we have never been together, to Rutland. However, I did visit Rutland Water, which is really a reservoir, to do some bird watching on November 30th 2014. Just down the road was the village of Eglington and where I found my first cache, a CM, there. So for better or worse, this is where my Geocaching journey commenced.

We set off about nine o’clock and headed up the A1 to one of my favourite cafes, the OK Diner just outside Tickencote near Stamford. I‘ve always liked this American style diner so I know my way around the menu.😀 After the full English and a couple of refill coffees, it was time to work our way over to towards Lyddington to our hotel.

However, with apologies to Lesley Gore, it’s my birthday and I can cache if I want to so there will be a few stops on the way.🤔 Just about one hundred yards from the Diner was the CM Tickencote trad. There were a lot of cyclists here and I quickly found out that there was a cyclist’s challenge today to visit each one of the sixty churches in Rutland in about six hours.🤔 Sounds like something that I would go for if I had a bike - don’t go there!!

We drove down to the sleepy village of Empingham passing lots of cyclists on the way. We parked outside the church and I quickly found the CM trad. I worked out the nearby VS multi and had to walk to the top of the village to collect my prize.😀

Now I had never seen Rutland Water before and on the northern bank was The Great Tower, a virtual so off we went. The plan was that my wife was going to sit and enjoy the views and soak up the rays but the place was packed. I didn’t know how long I would take to suss out out the virtual so my wife decided to drive out of the pay for car park and meet me later. As it was, I quickly found what was required and sent the info to the CO.

For a long time, I had wished to visit Barndale Gardens, a place immortalised by the late TV gardener, Geoff Hamilton, and it was close by. However, perhaps a Saturday was the wrong day to visit.  There was even a wedding party there. How the hell gets married in a glorified garden centre. 

So we swerved it and decided to go back to Rutland Water. However, the CM Whitwell trad was on the way but it was MIA. My wife had spotted a sign for boat trips so we checked it out and managed to get a couple of seats on the Rutland Belle just before it sailed at one o’clock.  We had a pleasant cruise for nearly an hour during which we docked briefly close to the site of another virtual which I would be looking for tomorrow.

We decided that it was time to head to the hotel but I just had to try for the RST Manton Letterbox. This was a very quick find and as I was signing the log sheet, I could hear the sound of youthful voices approaching. A gaggle of perhaps fifteen olds emerged from a footpath and started to consult their O.S. map. I asked the youth at the front, “Duke of Edinburgh?” and he nodded. I wished them all good luck and they set off on their journey.

We arrived in Lyddington but the bar in our hotel was closed so we headed down into the village. I made a point of gathering photographic info for the VS which I would find another day.

Day 2

After a good night‘s sleep and a leisurely but filling breakfast, we set off up the road to Uppingham to have a good look around. We had a bit of a stroll around and after I had added the CM trad to the list, we drove down to Rutland Water again. We parked up and this time, we found a bench to admire the scenery. After a while, I set off on the footpaths along the banks of the Water up to the CM Normanton trad. Now I had the real object of my visit in sight, the Normanton church.

This magnificent church was partly submerged by the building of the reservoir, forty years ago and now hosts the virtual 40 years of Rutland Water (and KaosCL) plus the occasional wedding. As I approached the church, I could see a Anglian Water security guard preventing access to the church. I asked if I could go up to the church. He said, “only if you are in the wedding party or a guest.” I explained that I needed to get some information from a bench up there. 

He asked if I was a geocacher and I said I was, was he. He said that he wasn’t but someone had a asked about the bench a couple of weeks ago and he had gone to check. So he gave me a clue and said that I also needed a photograph, didn’t I! He kindly took the photo of me with the church in the background.

We were feeling peckish so drove up to Oakham, the county town, looking for a decent place for lunch. Whilst we were in town, I picked up some more caches, all trads. They were the CM Oakham, the ST, the CM Oakham - St Joseph and the Oakham - Congregational. I couldn‘t get the VS trad as two old dears were sitting on the bench and I didn’t have the heart to disturb them. Oakham looks like a great place and the railway station is packed with industrial architecture.

Day 3

Today, we’re off home so I had a quick pop down to the village for the CM trad and the VS multi. We visited Barndale Gardens and had a coffee before heading down the A1.

1 Letterbox 2 Multi 2 Virtual 9 Traditional