So the Mega rolls around again and today I am off to Uttoxeter for the West Midlands Mega. I booked accommodation on the day after the last year‘s Mega in Lincoln much to my wife’s annoyance.🥴
In planning my journey, I looked at the best route, any available Challenge Caches that I may or may not qualify for and any D/Ts to complete my 490 grid. I don’t want to list every single cache but enough to give you a flavour of the day. Here goes.😀
Up nice and early and a couple of hours of motorway up to Great Alne in Warks. As dawn broke or at 0542, I was signing the log sheet of the 4.5/1 Resuscitator Challenge. It was a tricky cache to find but in a clever position. Just down was the RST - Great Alne mystery which had been a jigsaw cache. There was a trad nearby too so silly not to.😀
When sorting out the route, I could see that I would pass through Redditch in Worcs and I had unfinished business there. I had stayed in Studley Castle down the road last year and DNFed a couple of caches. This time I quickly found Bronze Favourites 5 x 500 Challenge and a CM trad nearby.
I drove north into Tutnall, still in Worcs., for the 366 Challenge and crossed the border back into Warks near the Birmingham RFC ground for a couple of 4/2 mysteries in the Caching Calendar Challenge series. I wasn’t sure that I met the qualifications of the Days mystery but a text to the CO soon put me at ease.😀
I crossed into West Midlands and found another challenge. From here I headed north up the M5 and turned off near Walsall. I was off to Barr Beacon in Great Barr where there were a trio of caches. First off was the Great Barr Virtual which I quickly claimed. Next up was one of the Great Barr series. Now I hadn’t seen one like this before. Ok, the hint was “Take a Seat” so we all know what we are looking for but there wasn’t one.🤔 Eventually I found the hint item and it was a model bench two inches long.😀
The final cache was the Zyanya - Great Beacon EC based around the WM. Whilst I was trying to determin what type of rock was used on the base, a chap with two little dogs asked if he could help. I explained what Geocaching was and he’d never heard of it. However we did agree that the rock was York Stone. Paul said that he was local and asked if he could be of further help. I asked if he could recommend a cafe where I could get a decent full English.
Anyway, I found this cafe and after I’d ordered, the lady asked where I was from. I said “Essex” and she asked if I had come up for the Olympics.🥴 I remembered that the Commonwealth Games was still going on just down the road. She really had a grasp of local events but she knocked out a great breakfast.😀
Soon I was off up the road towards Staffordshire pausing to pick up a couple of CM trads in Pelsall. I was getting excited about the next cache. The Kings Gold was a mystery but it was a 3.5/4.😀 This one was up a very steep bank up to the disused railway line down to Brownhills. There were no problems here as there was plenty of bracken to grab hold of.
Just down the road was the village of Hammerwich. There were two trads here, one a CM and a VHs mystery. I had solved the jigsaw at home and when I got to the VH there was a projection to be worked out. I remember that the hint was very cunning here.
I was now off to start on the Staffs Challenge series of a high value D/Ts. I parked up on the Cannock Road which runs parallel with the M6 Toll near Norton Canes. Now I’m not going to list each one but pick out some highlights.
The first one was Staffs Challenge 7 : 366 PLACED which was a 4/3.5.😀 So there I was standing in the hedge and this giant person appeared. It was Dave aka The Wombles who was looking for the cache too. We chatted for a while and he was after some nearby mystery caches that I hadn’t solved. Dave kindly invited me to accompany him and I eagerly accepted.
We found the 4.5/4 Rat-A-Tat- Tack and some more Staffs Challenges but it turned out that Dave had a ladder.😀😀 We added the 1/5 Dead High Letterbox and the 1.5/4.5 High Rise Bug Hotel trad to the list before we both went our different ways.😢 I would really love to add a ladder to my tool kit but the family just won’t allow it.
Anyway, I traipsed back to the car working my way through Staffs collecting the Challenges. I passed through Penkridge adding the ST to the list, Dunston and the 4/1.5 VHs mystery and then up to Coppenhall. There were two crackers here. First up was SC 1, the 5/3.5 x1 DT LOOP, and then SC 2, the 5/4.5 DOUBLE DT Grid. The latter involved climbing a tree to get the info for a field puzzle but I was up to the task.
Time was getting on but I picked up two more Challenges on the outskirts of Stafford and then drove over to Uttoxeter, arriving at the hotel at seven o’clock. I checked in, showered at then set off for something to eat. As I was wandering, I just managed to pick up three CMs but no eatery took my fancy but I did spot the Tap Room of the Uttoxeter Brewery.😀
It was time to wander down to the evening event down at the Mega. There were many familiar faces here - The Wombles, SkiCycle, Maatmoo, Hanoosh, terrapintim, Mang but just two local cachers - Mclockburg and his dad. I chatted to these to see who else was about. Evidently MathsNut and BTL101092 were about but I didn’t see them.
I had a beer but I hadn’t eaten since breakfast in Great Barr so I left the festivities and headed back to town, via the station. I found the ST trad and base one of the Churnet Valley AdLab series. As the rest of the series were at stations up and down the line. Whilst I was looking for the answer I spotted angelou. I had met Rory before at events in Cambridge. He was waiting for a train to Derby where his hotel was.🥴 He went for his train and I went off to eat.
Unfortunately, I found the Tap Room first and as the Best Bitter was so good, I stayed there. I never did get to eat but I had had a great day.
1 AdLab 1 Earthcache 1 Event 1 Letterbox 1 Virtual 12 Traditional 26 Mystery