14. Dec, 2021

Rainbow Bridge

Do you ever get to the stage where you need just one cache to qualify for a challenge and it starts to nag at you.🤔 One that has been on my mind for a long time is Team Hippo’s Rainbow Challenge in Bucks. All I have to do is find seven caches each listing a different colour of the rainbow and three more different colours. So it’s ROYGBIV and three more. Well all I have needed for a long time is Violet. However caches with Violet in the title are very few and far between apart from a short series of Violet caches along the Grand Union Canal near Milton Keynes.

So guess where I will be ending up today? I will make the most of the journey though and try to pick up a few Challenge caches that have been on my qualified list for too long. So this is how the day went.

I pulled into the Bedfordshire hamlet of Radwell just off the A1 just before dawn and at 0749 had found my first cache of the day, the VHs mystery.😀 I drove a few miles west into Stotfold and quickly found the CM St Mary trad. Unfortunately I joined the list of failures at the CM ~ Kings Baptist multi but was soon back on track with another multi at the War Memorial.😀

I moved on to Clifton for the VS trad and the CM multi at All Saints church before reaching Shefford. I collected the CM Baptist trad and then spotted a little independent cafe. It was a good time for breakfast and whilst I was waiting for my crusty roll with sausage, I checked out the local caches. There was an AdLab series that I had missed and it had a bonus too.😀

After a splendid breakfast, I walked through the town visiting the bases for Robert Bloomfield’s Shefford. Bob was a highly respected peasant poet from about two centuries ago. Once I had all the info for the December Calendar Quest AdLab Bonus, I made that my next port of call.

There was a Calendar Quest for each month but today I was only interested in August, a 4/2.5 mystery. However I had to drive a few miles to get there but picked up the CMs in Campton and Clophill on the way.

I parked up in the designated parking spot for the August Calendar Quest Challenge only to find that there was a mountain bike circuit in the woods which was closed to the general public. I also noticed that there was a trad cache right by the car so the Parish Perimeter - Southill Deadman’s Cross was soon in the bag.

I followed the public footpath around the circuit until I got to the search area. I had to remind myself on the challenge and it was to find at last one cache on each of the 365 days of the year. However there was a bigger challenge here as there was a field puzzle.🥴 

I now had a combination padlock confronting me. There were four tumblers so it wasn’t 365.🤔 At that moment, two old gents appeared from nowhere on the circult side of the gate. They were having a stroll not realising that it was a mountain bike track. I helped them negotiate the anti-climb paint on the gate and then we chatted about age, caching, bending the rules etc., 😀 It was a welcome bit of cabaret.

They wandered off leaving me with the puzzle but the break had done me good as I noticed a tiny QR code low down on the gate. I scanned it with my iPhone camera and bingo, there was the info to enable me to open the cache.👍🏻👍🏻

My next target was Haynes Church End where there were two STAR Challenges. One was to collect 250 stars in a day and the other was for 350 stars. By stars, I mean a 1/1 cache equals 2 stars and a 5/5 equals 10. I parked up in the church car park and set off trying to find a path out to the caches. I completely missed the footpath leading out of the car park though.🙄

I made my way through the waterlogged fields to 250 (a 4.5/3) but couldn’t find the cache under the bridge. I made my way over to 350 where I had more luck with this 5/3 mystery. I made my way back to 250 and even got under the bridge but still no joy so made it back to the car. I note that the cache has been found since my visit so I messaged the finder for a further hint but no response.🤔 I remain, yours, unconvinced, Vange.

As always, time had a habit of catching up on me so I needed to cut and run. I drove over to near Newport Pagnell. There was another one that had been on my list for a long time and that was the Know Your Cachers Challenge, a 5/4.5 mystery. To qualify for this one, I had to find four different caches by ten different COs of my choice.

I also knew that the cache was up a tree and a ladder would be most useful.🥴 As you know, I’m not allowed to have a ladder for caching so I came here with a few odds and sods. I was soon up the tree with cache in hand.😀 Next to the parking place was a trad - There and back, our third, so it would have been silly not to add it to the tally.

Now the time really was getting on and I still hadn’t reached my main target for the day. So I set off for Thrupp Wharf, near Castlethorpe on the outskirts of Milton Keynes. I parked up opposite the Navigation Inn. Luckily, the MKBW - Violet Section 24 - The Navigation trad was soon in hand and it was mission accomplished apart from taking a snap of the Canal from the bridge. Let’s call it Rainbow Bridge. Is that Jimi Hendrix I hear playing in the background.

3 Multi 5 Mystery 7 Traditional