A scary day of caching


Today we went a lot further afield than normal and ventured out Surrey way. We had heard good things about a trail called MUGS (Mugswell Meander) and followed it with Walton Wander to make for our best day of caching ever: 85 finds in 1 day! After we beat our record last weekend by finding 67 we though it’d be a long while before we got anywhere near it again. I guess not!

An easy start

We started MUGS at 8am. Luckily the pouring rain that chased us down the M25 had come to a hault by the time we had reached the parking for the trail. We set off through a woodland area and through some mucky paths.

Through the wet woodland

A lot of the MUGS caches were listed as having travel bugs in there, but going by past experience that doesn’t mean that there is actually one in, however we were on to a roll when we found coins in number 7 and 8. The majority of MUGS were really good sized containers, very few micros. Although we don’t really go for swag, it’s always nice to find a good sized container.

MUGS7

MUGS8

We were amused by the cows along the beginning part of the trail who were totally demolishing a farmer’s field. They were all very busy munching the crops!

Now that's what I call a lawn mower!

Whilst we were traveling through the woodland I took the chance to take a snaps of some of the mushrooms growing. Unfortunately there weren’t that many around today. I think mushroom season is nearly over. I’ll have to find something else to take photos of instead!

Brown ones...

...And fluffy white ones

We were fortunate enough to be able to pick up a few extra caches on the way. One was Church Micro #24 which took forever to find. It just wasn’t in the place I expected it to be (ground level) and instead was peering down at me. We must have spent a good 10 minutes searching for it. I felt a right plonker afterwards.

Kingswood church hiding behind the trees

We continued our MUGS trail through the woodland. The MUGS trail ran from 1 to 34, however at number 9 it branched off into the alphabet (e.g. 9a, 9b, 9c…) meaning that there were loads of caches in the series. The biggest one was in the woodland at MUGS 9g and delivered yet another travel bug for our collection.

A nice big stash

We continued the trail and found an RTB cache. These are “Readressing the balance” and are meant to be a bit craftier than the other caches in the area. They come with no hint or cache size. This one was indeed pretty crafty, however we’d found one like this before. We were still cautious though just in case it wasn’t a cache. We struck gold though! 🙂

Sneaky, sneaky...

Things are getting hairy…

The first scary moment came when we reached MUGS 23. It was an old bunker, and after peeking inside it was clear that the cache would be in it. I’d not normally be scared of bunkers (Honestly!) but something having to jump down inside it made it a bit scary. Obviously as I am the bravest I jumped down to retrieve.

The cache isn't going to be inside is it?

Yep, it was inside!

RUNNNNNNNNNNNNN!

The second scary moment came straight after, at the next cache. We were walking down a hill and spotted a herd of young bulls. There was a big cluster standing right at the style. We decided that we would let them have their spot and wouldn’t make them move so gave them a wide birth. However, one “loose” cow decided that we were scary so he ran straight for the herd and not looking where he was going smacked into another cow. So, they ALL decided that they were scared and as they had nowhere to run they ran straight at us “RUNNNNNNN!” we legged it to the fence thinking they were charging at us. I lept straight over this meter high fence, you couldn’t see me for dust! I landed a bit heavy on my camera that was strapped around my shoulder, but fortunately nothing was broken. The cows then innocently wandered over the fence to say “hello!” Even though they were running straight for us it turned out they weren’t charging, they were just running behind us, but when there’s 30 bulls heading in your direction, you don’t stop and check!!! Luckily everyone was ok. We stopped and had a chat with the cows for a bit, and questioned them as to who started the stampede! 😉

Meeee? No, it wasn't me. I'm just an innocent bull...

I don't want to hurt you, I want to hug you. I'm too cute to cause any injury...

After the thorough questioning, none of them would admit it!

We carried on the trail and bumped into a cute field of ponies. I think I met the pony version of Peter Stringfellow…

Separated at birth?

Don’t look down!!!

And then it was time for the *really* scary bit!!! We did expect this to be quite hairy as it was an ‘extreme’ cache set by ‘Cache U Nutter’. This cache was LOOK OUT!!!!. We expected it to be scary and tricky, but wanted to give it a go despite this as it was a D4.5/T4.5. GZ was at a scaffolding structure approximately 30-40ft high! I volunteered to do it and after a boost up to the first set of steps I ascended the structure. I did quite well and wasn’t as scared as I thought it would be and I continued climbing. It was pretty scary at the top and I could feel the structure wobbling. They say “don’t look down”, but I did, and surprisingly this didn’t scare me! I know now that I’m not afraid of heights! At the top I searched poles for a cache and was unfortunately rewarded with a decoy cache. Damn! It had to be somewhere else. I clambered down half way and we started checking poles… nothing. About 15 minutes later we spotted the cache. It was in an extremely dangerous place that would mean the near certainty of me plunging to my death and we just had to leave it. I’ll just say, obtaining the cache meant that I had to make a 5ft leap, and as I’m only just over 5ft tall it wouldn’t have been pretty!!! We had to leave it. I’m really gutted that we got so far without grabbing it, however safely making the leap would have been impossible for me without some ropes and a harness. I’m planning some climbing lessons though on indoor walls and after successfully doing a few climbs I will be attempting some of the more extreme caches, this one included. This definitely won’t be our last visit!!!

Up...

... and up...

Finally at the top. Still no bloody cache!!!

And that was the end of our Mugswell Meander… Phew! We’re still alive! 😉 It was 2:30pm when we got back to the car and to make our long trip worthwhile we headed off to another trail, Walton Wander after a quick bite to eat.

A safer trail!

The Walton Wander trail was a lot safer, however not quite as exciting as the previous. Most of the containers were micros, which we usually wouldn’t think anything of, however after the last trail and the massive containers that were hidden everywhere it was a slight downer, but a nice walk all the same.

I was quite excited when we bumped into a ‘Coal post’ at the beginning. As I’ve been looking at benchmarking and trigpointing recently I’ve become quite interested in the other things that we may bump into whilst out on the trails. There are over 200 London Coal Posts which form an approximate circle about 20 miles from the centre of London. These mark the points where taxes on coal and wine had to be paid. I took a photo and marked the coordinates on the GPS. I checked the Waymarking website and realised that unfortunately my Coal Post wasn’t on there yet 😦 I researched which coal post it was (It was quite hard to track down as they are listed under 10 digit OS grid references rather than coords. However, I found a big, detailed list at this website. There are quite a lot of coal post caches as well, which we have found one of in the past.

Coal post #136

There were some nice views from the trail, which unfortunately means (as always) we had to climb a steep hill. Fortunately this was the only hill on the trail.

A view across the horsey field

Loved the red and orange berries all along a hedgerow

'You heard about those bulls on the MUGS trail? Theyre mental!'

We made a slight detour from the Walton Wander trail for a church micro #19. This one was a slightly tricky one and quite a few people put in their logs that it took them a while to find it. We were straight onto it though. We dithered for a little bit before replacing as we saw some “muggles” approaching. “Have you been caught in the act?” they asked. I didn’t know what to say until I saw his GPS. Phew! It was igloo13. We knew exactly who they were when they said their caching name as we had noticed their names in all of the MUGS logs from when they found it last week. We shared a few caching stories and continued the Walton Wander series up to #14 (Where they had parked) with them. What luck bumping into fellow cachers!

A very blue door!

We were rather amused by the crocodiles who were sitting and eating their dinner at a picnic table! 😉

More tea Mildred?

After we said goodbye to the lovely igloo13 we made our way to our milestone 1800th cache. We had only found our 1700th last weekend so were shocked to be making the next big milestone so soon!

1800!

After a few more finds, and a church micro our long day of caching was over and we finished on 1805. Wowza! When we got back to the car we realised we had swapped every single one of our geocoins for something new. Something we really didn’t expect! So we have a new set of trackables now!

Our new set of geocoins

Our 3 TB's

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8 Responses to “A scary day of caching”

  1. Annemarie Says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog Cass, I vividly remember doing these two trails this summer. I loved the stories about the cows, having had exactly the same experiences! I particularly loved the caption that you have put with the photo of the three black cows. Soo glad I didn’t try “Dont look down” and bloody annoyed that the cache was IN the bunker, after having looked all around it several times. You have to laugh. Well done on an amazing number of finds in one day. I don’t suppose the winter is going to slow you down!! LOL

    • geocass Says:

      Hey Ann1e, thanks for the comment! Yeah those darn cows. You never know how they’re going to react! I still can’t believe the speed I got over that fence. I was seriously scared for my life though!

      Yeh it was in the bunker!!! Took us a little while before we dared to go down and after seeing the big man make a complete hash of trying to get into the little hole, I thought I’d give it a go. I’ve never done so many brave things in my life before I started caching! I’m a chicken really, but when there’s a Tupperware box at stake I transform into the incredible hulk! Raaa! 😉

      I think the snow will slow us down as all caches are miles away and if the roads are bad we will just have to watch the Lord of the rings trilogy, or something 😉 but we will be out in the rain and cold this winter!

  2. Mike (SaintSteven) Says:

    Amazing: as a newbie I’m seriously impressed. Great photos and story. Thank you.

  3. Sarah Says:

    that looks like my kind of day out 😀

  4. Sarah Says:

    (well, apart from getting up so early on a Saturday….I do like my lie ins at the weekend :))

  5. Hannah Says:

    Hi Cass,
    How far round was the MUGS series? Our 5 year old loves the bigger sized caches so this looks like it could be a good series.
    We had a cow encounter this weekend too. It was just myself and the 2 kids out for a 3 mile series. We walked through what appeared an empty field. All of a sudden 20+ cows loomed up over a bank to the side of us. I yelled to Sophie to run to the stile. I pushed Theo in the buggy, then got to the stile, unstrapped him, put him over the stile, lobbed the buggy over and then climbed over myself. One screaming 5 year old, one very muddy baby (I hadn’t looked when I put him over the stile), an out of breath me and 20+ cows thinking we were their farmer!
    All good fun and games!
    Hannah

    • geocass Says:

      Blimey Hannah! Scary stuff! Glad you were all ok though and nobody got hurt. I estimated MUGS to be about 10 miles, however it’s in a bit of a figure 8 and can be split into 2 halves quite conveniently. If you give http://cacheye.org a go you can upload it as a pocket query and measure distances between the caches to work out a good route for you and your little ones 🙂

      Cass


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