After last weekend we were on 1925 finds. So close to the 2000 milestone that we could almost taste it. It was hard to decide which series to go for for our Saturday cache bash, however I managed to spot a new series that hadn’t long been published, it was MM’s – Alderstead Amble, a trail of 50 caches over 10 miles in Surrey. I dropped a quick email to our good friends, mel-ray to see if they fancied doing it and to our surprise they also had their eye on the series for this weekend!
We teamed up and started the trail at 6:20am. It was still pretty dark at this time, however we had all bought plenty of torches with us and were soon finding the caches without a problem. We knew that there was an extreme cache between a couple of caches on this series, it was Lactodorum Towers. This was an extreme 5/5 cache that required you to climb to the top of a 20ft-ish tower. We didn’t have the ropes (however will do after I’ve got a bit of climbing experience) so went to check it out to see what was required for the challenge.
We carried on through the series. We knew that we should be quite lucky with our finds as the caches were only recently laid. The only problems we really had were with the footpaths. I’m sure they would have been find in the spring/summer, but they were so muddy that we couldn’t really get up good speed and by the time we had finished we were *really* feeling it!
Whilst on the way around I stopped and noticed something very different to the right of the footpath. There was a ring of logs, a burnt pile, and a structure at the top with pumpkins scattered around. Looked a bit like a sacrificial alter! If it there was a public footpath through it I would have loved to place a cache there.
Then it was onto our only DNF of the day. It definitely wasn’t going to be an easy one, it was Brian’s Cache. It was rated with a 4.5 difficulty and going by the logs was a snail (Brian the snail!) we must have searched for 20 minutes for him, but came out empty handed. A lot of the logs had mentioned the coordinates being 50ft out which made it near impossible. Two DNF’s followed ours by other cachers. The CO responded by visiting to check and confirmed that it’s still there. Damn! There was however a nice view from GZ.
We continued on the trail with some more easy finds. After running down the slippery hill (I have a theory that if you run down a hill you are safer than walking as you are travelling with the natural gradient) I stopped to take some shots whilst I waited for the others. I thought the berries on the dark background were gorgeous.
We crossed over the M23 and to the end of the trail. It was an easy trail with intuitive hides and we definitely all got a good work out with all of the slipping and sliding!
We had planned to do some of the GW series afterwards which was a 6 mile walk for 16 caches, however our feet were dead after all of the muddy paths. We decided to do some drive-by’s which we don’t do very often, however we did really well in this set. We managed 20!
One of the Drive-By’s was at St Nicholas’ Church. It was a beautiful building and we were really shocked to find the cache smack bang in the middle of the church yard.
We then stopped off at a random landmark on the side of the road for a cache appropriately named Useless.
We followed this by caches which included a couple of drinking fountain caches, a cache at an old dog pound, a chapel, a mill a few in the woods, a cache with a great view and a couple at the Thurrock services and shops when we went back.
We finished the day on 1995 caches after finding 70 caches. So close! It was a lovely day with some very enjoyable caches and as always some lovely company 🙂
The 2000 milestone
We couldn’t just leave it after finding all of those caches yesterday when we were only 5 away from our 2000th find. Teddy needed a walk so we decided to go and grab a few caches nearby so that we were in a good spot to grab a very special cache for number 2000.
We started the day on a high by getting an FTF! We’re not really into being FTF, as we’ve had a few bad experiences with them where newbie cachers haven’t actually put the box out, or have put it in a daft location, however this one was a place we were driving through anyway so it was mega convenient! It was a church micro at Thaxted Church and we found it nice and easy.
Pleased with our FTF, we continued to ‘The Two Cats – Annie‘ and ‘The Two Cats – Monty‘. Blimey were the footpaths muddy! It looked like quite a few 4×4’s had been down the path and churned it up and it was extremely hard to balance (especially with Teddy dragging me along) the caches however were easy to find.
At the end of the muddy footpath was also a church micro which we picked up.
It was then on to our 2000th cache. This one was extra special! It was a puzzle crossword cache by Andy_UK63, but this wasn’t any old crossword cache, it was the GRAND MASTER crossword and was rated 5 difficulty/2 terrain, a combination that we needed. The problem was that I am absolutely rubbish at crosswords and so it was more of a 10 difficulty for me!!! However once I worked out that this was a very special, extra hard type of crossword I was able to gradually pick away at it until I had eventually solved all the clues (With a hint from Andy_UK63). This was 2 weeks after starting it! I also had to solve two more crosswords, medium and hard before I was able to get all that I needed to find this one. After I had worked so hard at it (but really enjoyed it) I thought that there couldn’t be a better cache for our 2000.
It was a lovely stroll to the cache and we even saw a massive deer in the field. After finding the two micros that gave us the coordinates for the final we were well on our way to the final. It was quite nerve racking as it had been muggled once before. It wasn’t a disappointment however as me found the cache in the first place we looked. Fantastic!
We then carried onto another church micro, but only after we had found Windy’s Box No.1 at an old mill. This was a cache we went to in May. We spotted the exact spot and even saw the cache, however we couldn’t retrieve it as they were holding some sort of event at the mill and it looked like the whole of the village was at it. Today was our chance. We didn’t even need the GPSr as we knew exactly where it would be.
And that was the end of our weekend of caching. We ended on 2002 after finding 77 caches. Very pleased to have hit that milestone as our original goal was 1500 by the 6th March (our 1 year caching anniversary). Maybe we will hit 2500, eh? 😉