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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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! 🙂
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 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! 😉
We carried on the trail and bumped into a cute field of ponies. I think I met the pony version of Peter Stringfellow…
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!!!
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.
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.
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!
We were rather amused by the crocodiles who were sitting and eating their dinner at a picnic table! 😉
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!
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!