Essex has been buzzing with great Geocaching events this month! We had Essex Meet #15 by Unobtainium on Wednesday 16th May, Mr. Crow/Kitty!!’s Goldhanger Meet and Cache Trails on Saturday 19th May, McWomble’s Heading Down Under by Hollyncharlie on Wednesday 23rd May, and now Grimmerscotting’s Essex Camping Event on 25th May near Dengie on the Essex coast! Anyone would think we’d all be sick of the sight of each other by now!
We arrived at Waterside Holiday Park on the Friday night and managed to get our tent pitched up just before it got dark. Over 200 new caches had been released to keep us busy for the weekend so we headed off early on the Saturday morning to get cracking on the new St Peter’s Ring series. There were 77 caches in this loop, however it could be split apart into sub-loops. We decided not to try and conquer the entire series and picked a loop that started within walking distance from our tent (about 200ft!)
A nice feature of the series was that each cache was named after a cacher attending the camping event or other Essex geocachers. Likewise we had a cache named after us which was #5 of the series, however we were starting from #77 so wouldn’t be picking it up on this day. Grimmerscotting had also made us all flags with our caching names on them for us to label our tents. We thought this was a lovely touch!
The first stretch of the series took us along the sea wall. The low morning sun shining across the sea made for lovely scenic views across the water.
We continued along the series. Although there were lots of people at the campsite it seemed that we were only the second cachers to attempt this part of the series. We didn’t have much of a cacher trail to follow or logs to help us when we got a bit stuck and at times it was quite tricky. After leaving the sea wall we found ourselves on footpaths that looking like they were very rarely walked. The grass and undergrowth was waist high and we had to battle to find the footpath and make our way through. Thankfully this was just a temporary feature of the series and we were soon back onto good paths again. We even managed to get 2 FTFs whilst on the series. It was announced that anyone could claim joint FTF on the series as long as they attended the camping event, but it was nice to be able to get our names in the logbook first.
We had planned to do about 7 miles of the loop, however cut it about a mile short as my feet were starting to ache. It’s quite unusual for me to get pains in my feet over such a short distance and it was feeling more like we had walked 16 miles rather than 6 by the time we got back to camp in St Lawrence.
After an hours rest I was feeling a bit better so we headed off to do All aboard for a Pirate Adventure. This was a series of 21 letterbox hybrid caches. We’d heard from other cachers that had done it the previous day that it was a really enjoyable series.
Once we arrived at the first cache in the series we grabbed a treasure map with coordinates for the rest of the caches. It took some time to enter all of the waypoints into the GPS, but once we had done that we were off and running. In each cache was a pirate stamp which matched the name of the cache. The caches were great quality, as were the ink pads inside and we started to build up a really lovely picture of all of the different stamps!
The series took us along a lovely shaded path and all of the cache containers were of very good quality. Eventually we got to the “Treasure Trove” cache which was listed as a ‘Large’ and it truely was a large. An absolutely brilliant treasure chest stocked full of pirate swag. We were stunned. The effort that went into the series was so impressive!
After the Letterbox series we were able to stop off for the Saint Lawrence Church Micro #542. It was an amazing church which looked fabulous sitting on the top of the hill.
In the evening we all gathered back at our tents with many cachers having BBQs and socialising.
A little later we all gathered at the Grimmerscotting tent for the event raffle and a mingle with caching friends. We all owed John and Fi a big thank you for getting it all set up and coordinated.
I had a word with Daisy, Grimmerscotting’s doggy and she told me that the whole event was actually her idea. John was just taking all of her credit!
On the final day, Sunday, it was time to take the tent down and head home. There was still one important job to do: Get our Cassandy signature cache! This was another cache that we could walk to along the sea wall and we walked with stones2005 who also needed to get our one. Again we were treated to some lovely views out to sea and spotted an oddly positioned boat!!!
We finally got the the 5th cache, our cache and like many others posed with it and our event flag!
We made it to cache #6 before I suggested turning back. We’d only walked about a mile, but again my feet were feeling like they’d done about 10 times that! I later discovered that my feet weren’t aching just because of walking a distance, but my right foot was very swollen and it seemed a lot like plantar fasciitis, where the tissue under your foot becomes inflamed due to over stretching. I’d done a lot of walking and running throughout the week and it seems like at some point I’d overstretched it. I think the miles over the weekend just about finished me off because by Sunday evening I couldn’t actually walk and had to hop around. I’m resting up now and cutting right back on any exercise this week so that (fingers crossed) I can get back to walking at the weekend.
All in all it was a lovely weekend caching with our friends. I think the social side of caching is one of the things that I love most about the hobby. It’s just a shame that there aren’t any more weekend events for a while, oh well… there’s always Piratemania in July!