It’s Leap Year Day and I want to gather up a few caches to boost my stats. The weather forecast is wet and murky so I didnt want to go too far. I mapped out a route of mainly drive by trads around Grays, as a decent walk was pretty much out of the question today.
As dawn broke, with a light but persistent rainfall, I drove through Orsett Baker Street past the old renovated Tower windmill to the first cache on my list. It took me a while to locate the well hidden “Winding Your Way Down Baker Street” C&D but I was off the mark doubling my LYD tally.😀
Carrying on down Baker Street, pausing to cross the empty old A13, I was in unfamiliar territory but quickly found the Orsett Heath C&D. I double back to the old A13, drove down a mile or so until I found a suitable parking place to tackle the Old Post trad which was set across the road in Blackshots Park.
I reached the coords without getting too wet and there was the old post. It was a cast iron tube about 10 foot long and bloody heavy. I tried probing in each end but no joy. Perhaps the cache had been pushed in too far so I lifted one end to see if anything would slide out. There wasn’t a cache but the open lock knife was an unwelcome surprise. However I didn’t want to take it with me so put it back and informed other cachers in my log so as to warn them.
I drove into Stifford Clays past the swimming pool and up to the next cache, Fairway. This was very cunningly but precariously placed. There was a new CM up the road, Grays ~ St Cedds.This was a quick find and a very unexpected FTF.😀 However, As I was writing up the log, I received a message from the Old Post CO saying that the cache was still there and would I consider having another try. Back I went but still no joy so I carried on back through Grays to the Treacle Mine pub. I had a quick find of Hogglett and a reply from the Old Post CO mentioning that the cache was hidden in a corner of the Old Post.
Now there wasn’t a corner so I was obviously in the wrong place. Would I be third time lucky? So back I went, checked for a corner on the post that I’d found and no corner. So I went walkabout and found another post 53 metres away. 🤬
With so much time wasted looking for this cache, my available time was severely diminished. I set off to Little Thurrock for a quick find of Rookery View. Just down the road was the recently re-introduced CM Little Thurrock and I had a quick find of the well placed cache in the pouring rain.
I was now running out of time and didn’t want to delve more into the Grays caches that I hadn’t found. I decided that I had enough time to get over to South Ockendon for another of nathanjhunt’s SideTracked caches. This was cunningly placed but I didn’t hang around as it was now teeming with rain.
This week I decided to go back to re-visit West Cambs to pick up some of the caches that I had to pass by when I was doing the 2012 Decathalon Challenge Cache last week. I had to be very selective then so as not to be drawn away from the plan. Today, I can take my time, so here‘s how things went.
I turned off the M11 on to the A505 just before dawn and very soon after picked up two Congratulations mystery caches on the way into Fowlmere. As an aside, I have a TB in a Village Hall series race and I’m hoping to drop it off in a suitable cache or at least let it visit VH caches.
Fowlmere had a jigidi Mystery VH which I quickly found and up in the village itself, I added the VS and WM multis and a Milestone series trad to the tally. Down the road in Thriplow, there were more multis, a VH and a WM, as well as a trad VS which were soon solved and found.
I was heading north now into cache rich Newton but found the time to collect two more of the Congratulations series. One day, with persistence, I might grace this Hall of Fame.🤔 Now Newton had three multis, a WM, a VS as well as a VH, that were solved and sorted before I moved on to the CM trad.
I was looking for a cafe by this time but I couldn’t remember seeing on in these villages. On the way to Harston, I collected another Congratulations mystery as well as the RST on the outskirts. I had previously failed at the VH trad but it was MIA then and had been replaced. It was a cunning placement but blue turned to yellow. 😀
I looked at my list and saw that Haslingfield was the next port of call. Hold on, the memory bank started whirring and I was sure that there was a decent little bijou cafe there run by a Thai or Malaysian Lady. I parked up outside the Moringa Tree opposite the church and was delighted to see available tables. I knew that the coffee and cakes were good but I was looking for something of a breakfast nature. I spotted bacon roll on the menu so I was in.😀 Now, I don’t like soft rolls and the lady said that her roll was a bap.🙁 However, I could have a bagel.😀
Now when the bagel appeared, it looked and smelt great, ah, smoky bacon. In fact the couple on the table next to me said that they were envious. As I bit down on the bagel, I must have groaned with delight as the woman on the next table said “ok, enough, stop the noise now.”🤣
After fighting off the urge to order another bagel, I left the cafe and wandered down the road to the trad Methodist CM and then sorted out the VS multi. Once I was backat the car, I drove north for a couple of miles and parked up for a short linear walk. I found the large ammo box for the Christmas Cache 2018 letter box and decided to drop off all the TBs that I was carrying as this looked to be very safe. Just up the track was the Up Scope Too trad very near to one on the radio telescopes that dot the countryside around Cambridge.
Toft was going to be my next port of call but there were a few odd caches on the way. I found the mystery First Class Puzzle and I’m sure that I had visited the mystery Trigtastic #33 before but I couldn’t have logged it but now I have.😀 The Cambridge Meridian trad was a quick find and I crossed the road to look for number 49 of the Mickey’s Mystery Tour series. I had failed here before and now know that the hint is well out of date, still it’s history now.
I’m now in Toft which has four multis that have been on my radar for a long time and now it’s time to clear up. However I spotted that the Post Office sold coffee and after an Americano and a Mars bar, I was fortified and ready to do battle. The Methodist CM, the Fine Pair, the War Memorial and the Toft People’s Hall VH all succumbed and whilst I was in town, I trekked out To Beachy Hut, one of the Hatley Heart Attack series for a quick find of the mystery cache.
A couple of miles north west of Toft is the small village of Hardwick and I had more unfinished business here. Along a very muddy footpath were the last two stragglers in the Mickey’s Mystery Tour series. I had DNFed one due to a MIA and I’d messed up the coords of the other. Since the MIA had recently been replaced, it was time to clean up and I did.😀
Time was getting on so, I headed east to Bourn for a cluster of caches. Again there was a plethora of multis and after picking up the WM trad, I added CM St Mary’s, the VS, the VH and then The Bourn(e) Identity to the days tally.
Now it was really time that I turned for home. The quickest route took me north to meet the A428 which was convenient as I could possibly pick up a 1/1 trad Hardwick Hangover (A428) that had been on my list for ages. As I drove north, I realised that this route took me through Caldecote where there was another cache that had been of interest to me recently as it had a night attribute. The CM trad was a quick find and I was soon on my way. However I wasn’t aware of all the road works on the A428 and although I could see whereabouts the Hangover was, I’d have to work out some way of getting to the cache another time.
Multi 16 Mystery 13 Traditional 10 Letterbox
With the threat of high winds closing the QE2 Bridge this morning, it seemed that my chance to find one of the two challenges that I had recently qualified would be lost. However, when I woke up at 0545 and checked the weather report, I knew that I was in with a chance.
I turned off the A2 and drove down into New Barn. I parked up near the search area for the Geostreaker Challenge and struggled for a few minutes until I spotted the cunningly concealed cache just within my reach. I carried on down into Longfield for the Chocks Away multi that I had DNFed a fortnight ago. In my defence, it was in the dark but this time I quickly found the well buried cache.
I was then off into the village of Hartley (flyfishing or jam 🤔) for the final of the WM Longfield Reverse Wherigo. My final plot for this was so good that I could have touched the host from the car. Here I was reminded of some of this COs quirky tricks. Once I had signed the log sheet, I was off again up into the centre of Hartley.
I parked up by the village green and quickly picked up the quirky WM Hartley trad. I started gathering the info for the VS Hartley multi when it suddenly dawned on me that it was a 2.5/5 cache.😀💥💥 I have been after a multi with a D or T of 5 for ages for yet another challenge. The nearest one I had found was in Norwich so this was a right result. The only problem was that I couldn’t find one piece of info. I contacted the CO who replied after I had got home. I had looked at the info source but hadn’t realised it.☹️ Still, it’s there for another day.
I drove down to New Ash Green for the 1,2,3 Challenge which I had qualified for ages ago but it had gone MIA before I looked for it. I had a quick find of the 5/3 cache and set off to Ash for a few more multis. I quickly found the WM and the VH caches once I’d worked out the coords. I spotted a venue for a breakfast meeting which I’ve now arranged. The photo is of the Village Hall from the War Memorial.
I had had a DNF at the nearby CM multi some time ago. I knew that I had the right coords but couldn’t find the cache. As I was close by, I had to have another look especially as I was now familiar with the COs MO. Yep, it was another quirky cache which I put my hand on straight away.
There was a trad up by the church that needed my attention and Skyler was eventually ticked off. Now the clock was ticking on and it was time for home. However there’s always time for one more and that was the PigTrap mystery. It hadn’t been found for a while and had crept a bit in the meantime but I got there in the end.
1 Wherigo 2 Traditional 3 Mystery 3 Multi
The crowd were hushed awaiting the starting gun, well in my mind anyway. I left home at 0550 and parked up in Hadstock just down from the church just before dawn. I quickly found the 4/2 Heal The World #78_Series Final mystery which gave me Event 2, the 4D.
Next stop was Linton for the final of the Wherigo Take A Hike - Reverse Cache. This is where the Decathalon would be won or lost. I went straight to the 4/4 cache and wowee, the TBs were still there. I now had Events 3, 4 and 5 - the 4T, the at least combined 7 D/T and the 5 TBs in the bag. I’m up and running.😀
I crossed the M11 and headed for Thriplow. I had 5 mysteries set up around here. I found three of the Congratulations series and then the standalone Foxton. However the next one, Barrington proved to be MIA so I would have to improvise. I was going to spend some time in Barrington so I parked up near the church and set out on the next part of my plan.
I needed a small size cache and the well hidden 01 Barrington Bounce met that requirement. I found the WM multi and the CM trad at Barrington - Congregational and then set off on part of the circular series - Shepreth Saunter. I tackled this in a clockwise route, picking up 06 to 08, breaking off for the LB - Barrington (2) multi and getting back on track with 09 to 15.😉
There were two multis up next, VS - Shepreth and VH - Shepreth, followed by ST Shepreth which gave me the micro size cache. I continued on the Saunter finding 25 to 29 and then 01 to 05. I then found VS - Barrington and VH - Barrington, both trads and also bonuses to the challenge.
Now it was time for a recap. I still needed 4 CMs, a Large, a Mystery and a Multi to complete the challenge. I set off towards the outskirts of Royston for 1000, one of the two Large caches on my list. However, I took a route that passed 999 and Congratulations 1DG, two mystery caches that were quickly found.
I parked up as near to 1000 as was safe and set off back along the road and then up a muddy track for about half a mile until I got to the search area. Thankfully, it was there so I didn’t have to drive back into Cambridge for the other one on my list.
The wind started to really pick up on the way back to the car but I was getting close to the end of my list and a visit to Melbourn should finish things off. I reckoned that I needed three CMs and another multi but then I realised that I had forgotten to collect the CM back in Shepreth. At least I could go back that way on the way home.
In Melbourn, I gathered up the trad URC, Baptist multi, the All Saints trad and then the multi at the War Memorial. So all I needed to complete the day was the trad CM back in Shepreth, if it was still there.🤔 It was a thoughtful drive on the way back, planning where to go next, if the CM was missing. It was all wasted time as I had a really quick find. I had completed the Decathalon.😀
Oh, I don’t know why I didn’t remember this but at the last cache. I drove into the car park and worked out which corner the cache was going to be in. However there was a car very near to where the cache would be. As I approached the car, it was obvious that there was a lunchtime liaison taking place. There was no way that I wasn’t going to look for the cache and I could have touched the car as I filled in the log sheet. 🤔😉😎🤭
1 Wherigo 6 Multi 6 Mystery 38 Traditional