I’m back for another early start on the Erith peninsula. As dawn broke, I was collecting the multi CM Dartford - Methodist which I had DNFed last week. To be honest, I should have found it with the hint even if the posted coords were slightly out.🙁.
On the way into Crayford, I picked up the cunningly placed trad Coal Post #212 that had recently been published. I parked up in a big car park near a Golden Arches teeming with bunters seeking their early morning burger fix and walked over to the Alcock and Brown Memorial. This was a 4.5/1 multi but the coords seemed easy enough to solve so it would be a bit of a git at the final. I searched up and down but only came away with a frown.☹️
I drove round the one way system to the CM Crayford - Baptist to see if I could get back on track with the multI. The coords were quickly sorted and the hint was spot on, what could go wrong. As I was walking back to the car, head down, writing the log, I walked into an aluminium post. I was a bit stunned for a while but thankful that it wasn’t made of concrete.
I was still a bit dazed when I got up the road to the Madder + Dung = Red Dye multI. I sorted out the coords ok but just couldn’t find the cache. I just sat on the wall for about ten minutes until my head cleared but couldn’t be bothered to look anymore. It turned out that I could have looked all day as the cache was MIA.
From here I took off to the Crayford Memorial Gardens to see if I could sort out the coords to the WM that I messed up last week. I had misread the COs thoughts but this week, I was on the right wavelength as the cache was quickly found.
Feeling better, I decided to carry on. I had gathered the info for the WM St Augustine - Slade Green last week and worked out some decent coords after a lot of errors. It was all worth it as the 3.5/2 cache became an easy find.
There was no such luck at the WM Erith multi. How many sheep are lying down, how many are standing in the foreground? All this counting sheep was making me tired and dizzy. I couldn’t find the cache and later at home, I ran the coords past the CO, who told me that I’d got 4 out of the 6 numbers but I had enough to find the cache. Perhaps the bang on the head had affected me more than I thought but perhaps I wasn’t thinking straight at the time.🥴
I had saved the info for the Robinson Crusoe multi last week. Today I was able to park right in the search area for a quick find of one of the COs trademark caches. I could see that time was running out so popped up to the CM Erith - St John the Baptist. I quickly sorted out the nearby WM trad once I’d googled the hint and set off into the graveyard to hunt for the tall gravestones for the info to sort the multi.
The CO had had a clever idea here and I sussed what was needed. I found four of the stones that I was looking for including one showing that Samuel Kennedy had been in India at the time of the Sepoy Mutiny.
Mary Thomas was the missing lady and she took me a while to find. As I was walking around, a chap approached me, introduced himself as the vicar and asked if he could help. I said that I was doing a quiz and he said “how splendid, you carry on.” Unfortunately he couldn’t point me in the direction of Mary. I eventually found the elusive lady who was being hidden by Ivy.😀
I made my way to the final stage after working out the coords. However this cache was also MIA having fallen foul of some recent maintenance. This has reminded me that I used to work with a bloke a long time ago who had a mate called Slapper Daniels. Why Slapper, I asked. Well he’s a painter for the council.🤔
I was running out of time and all I had for nearly four hours caching was seven. To even the number, I drove up to the nearby Industrial Gates trad for an easy find to finish the morning.
3 Traditional 5 Multi
Amongst my 95 lists of caches to do is one called Maldon Clear-Up. Now that I’m getting out and about for short bursts of caching, it’s time to go back to Maldon to try to reduce this list. Here’s how I got on.
I parked up near Nathan’s VS Maldon just before six and quickly found this letterbox based on a jigidi puzzle. Further up the road into town, I quickly picked up the trad CM Elim Pentecostal. As it was early, the car parking was free so I drove over to the Butt Lane car park. This would be my base for a few more of the town’s CMs recently placed by Sidsgranma.
The trad CM Baptist was a quick find adjacent to the car park and after a brisk walk in the welcome cool air, I was sorting out the multi at the CM Catholic. On the way to the final, I detoured to another of the COs trad, THE SALT MINES which was in a delightful spot in a corner of the town that I had never visited. After a quick find and a fave point, I carried on down onto The Hythe for another look at Hydrogen, the Thames Barge we went on a few weeks back.
There was another multi here, CM St Mary the Virgin. The coords for this one took me up into town and after a quick find, I carried on in a circular route back to the car. It was another short drive to the carpark next to the Library where I was after another multi, FRIARY WALLED GARDEN. I messed up the sums here a couple of times but soon had some reasonable coords. A brisk walk alongside paths formed of medieval stone walls soon took me to the final stage.
There was another multi that I had solved a couple of years ago but I had had a DNF at Water Tower #1 - Maldon. I couldn’t remember the coords but I could remember the place so I got myself down there. I still had no joy here. On checking the logs, there had been a spate of similar DNFs here but the CO said that it was still there back in January. So this one stays on the list.
I was off towards Heybridge Basinbut there a couple of trads on the way, the first of which was CROMWELL LANE. This was a very narrow road, unmade in parts that led out the the Maldon Smoke House. I’d never been down here either but after a short search, I had the cleverly placed cache in hand. I had time to pick up ALONG THE CAUSEWAY on my way into Heybridge before stopping in The Street for the CM Heybridge - St George’s trad. There were a couple of cafes here making me hungry but I beat off the breakfast pangs and continued on my way.
The main reason for coming back to Heybridge Basin was to try for the VS, another of Nathan’s jigidi mystery caches. I remember that the hint was a bit convoluted but when I had walked out along the sea wall to the final, I hadn’t taken a note of them.🤬🤯 I didn’t have time to re-do the jigsaw to get the hint so I left it for another day. I admired the many boats in the Basin before finding the Basin Boats trad.
It was gettin to the point that I needed to head for home. There were two more on the day’s list though. The RST - Maldon West trad was an easy find thanks to the hint but the WM - Woodham Mortimer mystery was a bit trickier. I had sorted out the puzzle at home but it was down a narrow lane. Unfortunately there was a dust cart in front of me. Once the driver had found a place for me to squeeze past, I found myself in a dilemma. Was the final far enough down the road for me to get the cache before the cart appeared and would I be blocking the road?
I parked up as best I could and quickly found the well placed cache. As I was signing the log, I saw the dust cart coming down the road but luckily it stopped to pick up some rubbish. I had enough time to get in the car and shoot off and away. This turned out to be my last cache of the day.
I‘m slowly getting more adventurous so decided that I would have an early doors expedition across the water into Kent this morning. I had a little list of caches planned with Dartford being the first port of call.
When I got into the one way system, major roadworks thwarted my plans. I found a car park and set off on foot to the CM Dartford - Methodist. The coords were quickly solved but it seems they were out and I searched in vain.🤔 I walked on through the deserted town to the WM and got off the mark with an easy trad.
I‘ve been working on One must check ones one by ones : Challenge Cache, where the idea is to find 500 1/1 caches and it ain’t as easy as it seems. I have amassed about 450 and there are three more in Dartford. So with a bit of cache and dashing, I found Underfoot, No parasan and Crayford Sidetracked (not part of the series unfortunatel.) These were all trads as was the Coalpost #210 for which I was STF.
The next one on the list was the multi WM - Crayford Memorial Park. To cut a long story short, I misread how the CO phrased the task so spent a lot of time getting nowhere. Once I had had enough, I took off for Slade Green to try my luck at another of the COs multis. The WM - Heroes Of Slade Green covered a very interesting WW2 incident and I had more success in finding the cache.
I decided to gather the info for the WM - Crayford St Augustine‘s to save a bit of time moved into Erith. I quickly sorted out the multis, MORE Reasons and then Stage One. The next multi was very interesting to me, Erith Art - Thames Barge. I had to gather information on the former bowsprit barge “Chance” shown in the mural to produce the coords.
I was running out of time so found the info for the Robinson Crusoe mystery before walk out to the end of the concrete pier for collect the London’s Longest Pier trad. All I had to do is walk back the length of the concrete to the car and set off for home.
4 Multi 6 Traditional
For our day out this week, we decided to go to Sudbury in Suffolk. I like this place and it has a decent coffee shop that I enjoy visiting. The weather forecast was good so we set off about ten and made it to the coffee shop for brunch.
We had planned to have walk along the River Stour but unfortunately it started raining which put a damper on the day, pun intended. We decided to cut our visit short but I had got a pass to get a geocache.😀 I had spent some time here caching before so the pickings were slim. However Gillywig had re-instated the ST here.
So after a short walk down a very damp footpath, I arrived in the search area where I took much longer than I should finding the cache. Unfortunately the previous cacher had not put the container back in its hide hole correctly and it was hidden at ground level. 🤔
Nathan had published a series of trads, Chapel Chase around the Othona Community in Bradwell-on-Sea. I thought I might have a chance at a series FTF but I got beaten to it. He had also published an Adventure Labs series. This concept was new to me but no-one had gone for it so I thought that I would give it a test drive to give Nathan some feedback.
For various reasons, I wanted to get there really early so I set off in good time to get there for dawn which was 0543 this morning. There is a car park for the St Peter’s Chapel about a mile from the Chapel itself. I’m always dubious about parking here as there is a lot of car theft, however, this early, I should be ok.
The AdLab series started in the car park so I fired up the new app and went to the first check point. It was quite straightforward but a poor substitute for a Wherigo. Once I had entered the details, I set off down the Roman Road to the Chapel where I picked off another two of the Adlabs. I realised that I had walked past #1 of the Chapel Chase so had to backtrack for an easy find.
I then walked over the the Bradwell Bird Observatory hidden in the small thicket near the sea wall. I have been a regular at the Obs until I discovered Geocaching. I’ve seen many species of birds here but none more exciting as a Short-toed Snake Eagle.
It was a regular Sunday morning with lashings of tea and biscuits. Some of the birders had fifty years of world-wide birding so they knew their stuff. All of a sudden the gulls and waders on the shoreline went berserk. They all took off filling the air with feathers and a cacophony of screeches.
One birder shouted “Osprey“ and the others tumbled out of the Obs to see this rarity. Dee shouted out, ”that’s not an Osprey, it’s a f@cking Snake Eagle.” We spent a good twenty minutes watching other birds of prey, Harriers and Sparrowhawks and even Covids joining in, to push the Eagle higher and higher until we lost sight of it. In the meantime, the news was being broadcast on social media twitching sites to alert others to this Mega on our shores. The first record of this species in Great Britain was in October 1999 on the Isles Of Scilly. This was the first time that one had been spotted on the mainland.😀
Anyway enough of this remeniscing and on with the blog. I quickly sorted out the Adlab and set of south down the sea wall to pick up two more new additions to Nathan’s Behemoth series before heading back. I passed the still silent Obs and made my way to the last one of the AdLab series to complete the set.
Now was the time to continue on the Chapel Chase series. I carried on north up the sea wall picking up trads of varying difficulty including the git at #3. It was very misty out at sea and I could hear a few engines out on the water but I couldn’t see them. This was a pity as I am also very interested in fishing smacks and bawleys, collecting their registration numbers.🥴
When I got to #7, it was time to leave the sea wall and meander south through farmland until I reached the road between the Othona and East Hall Farm. It was then an easy walk along the road picking up the caches until I reached #13 and the end of the series. I approached the car park with trepidation but no vandalism so no need to worry.
It was only 0740 so I had time to pick up a few more caches on the way home. Checking my list, I could see that there were unfounded caches in Southminster so off I went. I had solved the two Letterbox puzzles for the WM and the VH at home but the WM took absolutely ages to find.🙁 However there was a bonus because the multi LB hadn’t been found yet. So I drove into the new estate at the west end of town to chance my arm. Once,I had sorted out the coords, I was able to sign the empty log for a FTF.👏
I was about an hour from home at this point. I had time to pick up a couple of VH mysteries on the way home. I had worked these out at home and the Latchingdon one was a variation that I hadn’t seen before but an easy find. However the Mundon Puzzle was based on Australian fauna. It took me ages to find the difference between a Kookaburra and a Cassowary but I managed to sort it all out.😀
I was able to pick up a few trad caches that had been on my list for ages but never had the opportunity to collect. The Off Your Trolley at the new supermercado in SWF was a tricky find but Postman Pat 1 and 2 on the Old Wickford Road up to the Rettendon Turnpike were easy finds. It was good to see these Machan boxes in good condition.
Somehow I had managed to collect five official souvenirs today which is probably a record for me.
1 Multi 2 Mystery 3 Letterbox 5 Adventure Lab 17 Traditional