8. Oct, 2022

Gunners Park

Today there were two souvenirs on offer, one was the official Earthcache Day and the other was the unofficial A Fine Pair one. I wanted both though and whilst I had the WM Southend EC tucked up my sleeve, the nearest FP was the multi over in Paglesham Church End in the back of nowhere near Southend. I took the opportunity to weave in a few other isolated caches on the way. Here’s how it went.

First on the list was the isolated WM ~ Ashingdon Hill B26 Marauder trad. This one was a reincarnation of a cache commemorating the fatal crash of a B26 in WW2. Badly shot up, it had crossed the channel but failed to get back to RAF Matching Green further on into Essex. I wonder why it didn’t try to land at RAF Rochford a couple of miles away. Perhaps it was because the present Southend Airport was a front line fighter station and it could have caused a lot of damage crash landing there. We will never know.

I parked up and had hoped to cross a large fallow field but I could see a parked vehicle over the other side. As there was no designated foot path, I didn’t want to upset the farmer so I threaded my way around the the field Margin. The Land Rover was empty but as I rounded the hedge, the fun started. Here’s what I wrote in the log.

“First the advice 
If you see a Range Rover parked in the field when you get to the trailhead - there could be someone shooting for Wood Pigeon nearby. He is in camouflage netting etc. he is located 100m south of the memorial - shout out to let him know that you are there - nice bloke named Sid.”

I could see the dead pigeons in the field and flapping decoys, it turned out that they were dead but real, made to electronically flap.🥴 I immediately shouted out at the top of my voice and frightened the life out of the camouflagee.😀 After a chat, I went and found the cache, paid my respects to the crew and headed back towards Sid, shouting when I got closer. After another little chat I this time walked straight across the field.😀

I was now heading out to Wallasea Island, an area of low lying farm land only prevented from flooding by the seawall which has been turned into an RSPB reserve. I used to come over here regularly for bird watching. I have fond memories of my visits including one to add Stone Curlew to my Essex list. This was pre Geocaching and there’s a cache out here that is not titled “The Most  Remote Cache in Essex” for nothing.🥴 It’s a good forty minute each way walk along the seawall out to a 3/3.5 trad. At least it was there. Imagine a four mile walk for a DNF.🤬🤬

Safely back at the car, I declined another longish walk out to a trad, something to do with HMS Beagle and set off for the sleepy hamlet of Paglesham. The multi was soon spotted and it was back in the motor heading through the lanes to Rochford. There was a WM multi here that was soon sorted and I took advantage of the free parking in town to tackle an AdLab series. Titled Rochford Fire Station and Cafe Shop, it proceeded to manage to weave a series out of nothing and was nothing to write home about. The only bonus was that I could pick up the Death of Martyr John Simson multi on the way.

I now left town and headed north up to Ashingdon. Unfortunately the North Sea Flood of 1953 multi was missing but as I was in this neck of the woods, I decided that it was high time that I looked for the Annie’s Amble Around Ashingdon Bonus mystery. It took me a while as the coords were a long way out or mine were wrong. However as I was walking away having given up, I spotted some debris over there and on investigation, it turned out to be the cache.😀

I was now going to go over to Gunners Park in Shoeburyness after a slight detour down to Ironwell Cache down Ironwell Lane in Rochford. With this clever cache in the bag, a check of the watch showed that it was 1614 and I had better make haste.😏

I pulled into North Shoebury and headed towards the sea wall for the Shoebury Boom trad. I had seen this relic of the Cold War before when I was down here for a female Black Redstart some years ago. 

I now drove down to the main car park and then headed north towards the old Army Garrison to start the Gunners Park AdLab series. I found the CM ~ Shoebury Garrison Chapel trad  but I am sure that the trad near the Garrison Guardroom is missing. I followed the route of the bases remembering that some years ago one area was a twitchers pile-on when a family of Parrot Crossbill rested here for a couple of days on migration.

I visited all the bases and had all the numbers for the bonus. Whilst I was down south I found the Who Put The Ness in Shoeburyness trad, a tricky 3/3 and then headed north back towards the Garrison for the 2/2 bonus. I was rushing a bit as I was aware that the car park gates were locked at 1715 but I made it in time.

I was thinking of going for home but there a couple of caches in Southchurch that I wanted to finish on. The CM ~ Southchurch Belle Vue Baptist trad was a doddle. I had a quick find of Tarmo's Low Expectations mystery. It was based on the Cistercian code which I had seen before so no need for research.As I approached the final stage, I checked the hint which was Cistercian.🥴 The time was 1812 and it was getting dark - home time, Terry.😀

1 Earthcache 3 Multi 3 Mystery 7 Traditional 10 AdLab 

#15945