17. Nov, 2021

2017

I’ve always got a challenge, or two, or three, or four bubbling around in my head. Whether it’s getting to a hundred wherigos or events, getting icons in counties or countries, filling my D/T grid with multis, trads or other stuff, there’s always something. 

For a while, I‘ve been thinking about the 1666 Challenge in London. You only have to find 55 caches in the City of London and 1611 in Greater London to qualify. 🥴 Believe it or not, I have the 55 but less than half of the other bit. I have also been thinking of the challenges that need 1000 caches in Herts or 2000 in East Sussex.

However, there’s one that is slowly coming to fruition and that is the 2020 in Kent Challenge. All I need is to find that many caches in Kent and I have 1982.😀 So my plan for today is to find 38 caches and have a rest from Kent for a while to concentrate on Greater London or Herts. Oh, but I still need a Wherigo in Suffolk to qualify for a seven Icons in seven counties challenge. 

Fleshing this out, I need a circular series of 2/2 or 2/3 trads, some wherigos and to get what challenge caches that I qualify for in Kent so that I can move on. Oh, and there that 5/5 Liar trad in Gravesend to fit in.🤔

The circular series was the Wrotham Ramble, 19 trads and a bonus, over a six mile route. However it is around Wrotham and that is pretty hilly so will take a good four hours. There are some other caches tucked in along the route too.

So just before dawn, I parked up in the Old London Road and quickly found the first trad. I crossed over the A20 bridge and started to climb up the hill. The photo is of the woodland scene approaching #3. When I got there and remembered that I should have been looking for bonus numbers which could be tricky.🥴

I made it to the road and soon found the Footpaths, Bridleways and Byways MR225A trad before heading north on a footpath picking up the TT04 Teddy’s Trail 04 and then arrived at The Lost Boy WM. This memorial was for 19 year old Pilot Officer Colin Francis who was shot down and crashed in the nearby field on his first day in battle in August 1940. The pilot and his Hurricane laid buried and undiscovered until 1981 when excavations took place on the site.

I paid my respects and took the information that I needed but the final stage was behind me so that would have to wait until later. I quickly added WR #5 to the pot and carried on up the track to the TT05 trad.

It was near here that I came across an unusual WM. It would seem that the day after Colin was shot down, a Messerschmitt BF110 was shot down and landed in the nearby valley. The pilot was captured and survived the war in captivity but the navigator died of his wounds. 

I gathered the information to find the 3/2.5 Letterbox and was pleased to see that this one was on route. I carried on down and then up and out of the valley collecting some WRs and the Letterbox until I reached Tumblefield Road. I took a detour from the series to pick up a couple of mystery caches along this quiet road. 

First up was the 3.5/1.5 Teddy’s puzzle 1 and then the 4/1 Teddy’s puzzle 2. The first one took a bit of finding but no problems with the second.😀 I retraced my steps and then headed west down a footpath to collect WR8. I continued down the track until I reached some woods. I had my first DNF here. ☹️ I just couldn’t find WR9 even though I must have rummaged through a ton of leaves.

So I set off for WR10 but soon realised that I was on the wrong path. I got back on track with a quick find but wondered if being on the wrong path had contributed to the DNF. I just had to go back and check. Yes, I had been at the right tree but no, despite another search, I still had no joy.

So I cracked on, making up for lost time. I gathered all the caches up to #14 and then had to cross the busy A20. I worked my way down to WR17 which hadn’t been found since the last visitors in August. It was tricky to spot and to get at but I got there.

I had been lucky enough to find the four bonus numbers and for a while I thought that the DNF would cause me grief. However, I was able to collect the remaining WR trads and the regular Wrotham Ramble Bonus so I was a happy bunny walking back to the motor. I arrived back about 1120 so it was the four hour walk that I had predicted.

As I ate a banana, I worked out a plan for the next few hours. I set off up the road for a ten minute drive to look for The Lost Boy multi. I then set the satnav to take the quickest route down to the Letterbox Stone Cross where I put my hand on the well hidden cache before I saw it.

I had a short drive down to Snap, a play anywhere Wherigo that I had sorted the day before by wandering across the local cricket ground playing Snap! If you have found this one, all I will say is that I’m the Ace of ♣️. If you haven’t, you have a treat in store.😀

So I was off to Tonbridge, a town that I’d never visited.🤔 I had a few caches to find here but it depended on the time thaI had available. I went after the 3/1 mystery, Mole’s problem Nan, O she’s so small!!! first but it was difficult to find somewhere to park nearby. I parked up in an industrial estate and walked back to the car checking my map. I noticed that the 3/1.5 Badgers Industrial #1 was just down over the road. I quickly found this novel trad which was certainly unusual.

I drove off for the town centre and paid for two hours parking. The car park was near Tonbridge Castle and the starting point for the Tonbridge Trail wherigo. I started walking around the town picking out the historical highlights. The wherigo also pointed out some local caches on the way so I was able to add the Mole’s SOS - Red Phone box #12 and CM - Tonbridge trads to the tally. I finished the trail and quickly snaffled the well place cache at the final stage.😀

Now it was time for something to eat and I had spotted a Cafe Nero on the trail.🤫 As I ate lunch, I took stock of the day. I could easily reach my target but that would be to the detriment of other caches. I wanted to find the Otford Orbit and 2020 but the cache in Gravesend would have to be put on hold.

So I pointed the car towards Otford and set off. About twenty minutes later, I was in Orbit. I had visited the town a couple of times before but didn't realise how much was in the place. I reached St Bartholomew’s Church, whose CM I had found a couple of years ago and noticed a new VS multi that I hadn’t done so this was quickly accomplished. I continued in Orbit and appropriately visited the famed Solar System Model. I eventually locked on to the well hidden cache and started my descent back to my earth mobile.

I checked the time and the satnav and it was only two minutes down the road to Shoreham. Once I arrived, I set off down a familiar footpath to the 2020. I had a quick find but was unable to claim  it as such. I was only on 2017 but I could easily find three more in Dartford on Sunday on the way to my 30th hosted event in Bromley. This would also be my 100th event.😀

2 Letterbox 2 Multi 3 Wherigo 4 Mystery 24 Traditional 

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