2. Feb, 2022


Have I ever mentioned that I am fond of Challenge caches.🤔 Did I tell you that I thought that I completed a challenge which needed seven icons in seven counties only to find that I needed eight in eight as I was claiming the cache?

So I had to look for a new county unless I could get out to Kosice in Slovakia for an Earthcache to meet the target.🥴 The nearest county where an eight haul would be feasible would be Surrey so that had to be my target area. I knew that I could pick off most of the icons but one would prove tricky.

Imagine my glee, when The LEC - It’s Groundhog Day event popped up in Merstham on this side of Surrey. The only problem was that it started at 0715 in the morning.🥴 This was too good to be true so I planned my day around this early start. I had heard of the League of Extraordinary Cachers so was keen to meet them.

I arrived at the rendezvous five minutes after a clear run around the M25. A lady introduced herself as here for the meeting and proceeded to tell me that she had a groundhog puppet in the cat carrier. The groundhog would be interviewed later for a podcast.🤔 Then a chap wearing a top hat and carrying a large stuffed dragon appeared.🥴 Extraordinary wasn‘t the word but it turned out to be such great fun.😀 Terrapintim and Mang, the hosts appeared and the event got underway.

It appeared that a mystery cached based on the local I-Spy series had been published that morning so we all proceeded to walk, cycle and drive down to the cache. Eventually the very well hidden cache was spotted and we all claimed the FTF. We all went our separate ways and I walked back into Merstham for a coffee and sausage sandwich.

Now checking back on the caches that I found today, I found so many in Merstham and South Merstham but what could I expect with two eminent and prolific cachers living here. Rather than list them all as usual, I found loads of trads, multis and mystery caches all with a different feel to those that I normally find. There had been a great deal of effort and thought expended and packed into this small area. 

I must have visited every acre of the place. I was successful with most of the caches but some were too elusive or just plain missing in action. The MIAs had been set by some other cache who seem to have been dormant for a couple of years.

The Post Box Ciphers AdLab series set by Mang was based on a subject very dear to me and I had great fun deciding which cipher would appear next. Unfortunately there isn’t an Edward the Eighth in the area but all most of the  other ciphers were covered even the Anonymous which doesn’t have a cipher at all.😀

I spent a lot of time around Merstham mopping up the caches but there are still many left so I will return. However I still had two caches on my target list and I had to drive some way to get on the North Downs Way above Godstone. 

I managed to find a place to park the car at the entrance of a farm but it meant a walk of about a half mile over undulating terrain to get to the first cache, the 4/2.5 The Well Travelled Challenge ~ Bronze. The qualification for this one was to have cached in ten countries. The cache was elusive but eventually found so I carried on past the chap sitting on a bench with a view reading a paper in the middle of nowhere.🤔

I found the 4.5/3 Silver version needing fifteen countries and turned and followed the path back past the chap with the paper. Unfortunately there was a multi at the bench so I didn’t disturb him and carried on until I reached the car. It was now time to set off for home but I had to pass a trad cache near the motorway bridge so silly not too. Doris’s Motorway Mayhem was to be my last cache of the day.

When I got home I could see that I had received a message from Terrapintim inviting me to become a member of the LEC.😀 How could I refuse to join this illustrious band so here it is, I am an Extraordinary Cacher.🤣

1 Event 5 AdLab 5 Multi 7 Mystery 9 Traditional