As we’ve had such a slow December, we decided to end the year on a high and spend the last 2 days grabbing some caches…
On Thursday (30th December) we thought we’d try our hand at some drive-by’s. We don’t do them often as we prefer walking and we’re simply not very good at them!!! We thought we’d have a go at doing some in the church micro series. This is a massive series across the UK with nearly 1500 churches in it. Most of the churches are down south, and there are a lot near us so the night before I drew up a big todo list, including a few more drive-bys on the way and we hit the road. We also only just realised that the church micro series has it’s own statistics page which is accessible here where it is regularly updated and shows your rank. We’re 74th… Not bad! And on this trip we managed to find 14 church micros…
At Stapleford Tawney church, I noticed that there was a trig point just down the road, so we stopped off and grabbed that too for the collection.
The Stock Loop
During the drive by’s we had Teddy (Geodog) with us. He was such a good boy and sat quietly in the car whilst we drove around, and popped out to get them. We thought that it was only fair that he got to stretch his little legs a little bit. We were about 5 miles from Stock so decided to swing by to complete ‘The Stock Loop’ which was 10 caches by the Kitty cachers. We were quite brave as we had no idea how far around the circuit was. It was about 3:30pm when we started, but decided to risk it and luckily only had to find the last few in the dark…
It was very muddy out on the paths, but we manage to get around safely even though Teddy was dragging us along! We had taken him for a long walk the day before when we did a full maintenance run of our ‘Walden Wander’ trail however he was still full of energy! We had to DNF one of the caches as it was a sneaky one and by the time we got to it it was very dark and foggy. This is what we saw…
As we approached the end of the loop we went past a llama farm. We could just about make out 3 llamas staring at us as we walked past…
It was a lovely walk around the loop and we were done by 5pm. Teddy thoroughly enjoyed his little leg stretch as well, even though he had to have a bath when we got home.
On Friday (31st December) it was our last chance for the day to do some good caching, and go for a nice long walk so we chose the recently placed Leigh Loop in Surrey. We asked our good friends mel-ray if they wanted to join us and although Mel couldn’t make it, Ray came along. It’s always nice to do the big loops with some company.
It was a lovely large loop of 13.5miles with 64 caches, however as there were others in between which made it up to 70 caches on that same circuit. Also, the terrain was very flat, so we didn’t have to work too hard to get from A to B. After the 4th cache I spotted a trig point, this was the 3rd trig point in 3 trips. So it’s a trig point hat trick!!!
The caches were split into 3 smaller loops, so at first we did numbers 1 – 26, then headed back to the car for coffee and cake. After that we continued on to the rest of the trail. Getting to cache 27 however, was probably the hardest part of the second half. We had to cross a field that was completely water logged. We had to be very careful where we stepped and had to balance on the little ridges between the mass puddles.
About half way around we passed another llama farm. The second in two days, which is quite rare.
We then passed through a massive farm with huge fields full of horses. There was also a race track up around the fields, which was quite impressive.
We then came on to the hardest cache of the day, Rice Bridge – The Sequel. This was one of the bonus caches along the way and I hadn’t though anything of it until I saw the name of the cache owner on the description page “Cache u nutter” Oh dear! He is well known for setting out extreme caches which in a lot of cases require some special equipment. This cache however was only a 3 difficulty/3.5 terrain. We got to GZ and saw a big pill box/gun emplacement. The hint suggested that the cache was in a tree, and sure enough next to the pill box was a tree. It was pretty high up, but do-able. I felt a brave moment coming on… “I’ll do it” yelped my little voice. The top must have been about 9ft up, however around the side was a clump of brick wall that previous climbers had obviously propped up there for help. I managed to clamber up onto this, pop a foot into a hole in the wall, and then I was near the top, but how to get up onto the top? I desperately felt around for something to grab onto to pull me up, however there was nothing but dirt. The dirt had to do. I grabbed hold of the top and pulled myself up. Filthy, and grubby, but I made it. Retrieving the cache from then on was a piece of cake. Signed, and replaced in no time… Ah… But now I have to get down. It was scarier going down as I dangled from the top, popped my foot back into the window hole and then finally stepped down onto the bricks and onto the floor. Phew! I looked down at my hands and there were scratches on them with dirt inside. Ouch! Why didn’t I think of putting gloves on? Well worth it to get that cache though!!!
The following caches were pretty easy, however there was one that required a little bit more skill, we had to go fishing up a tree for it!!!
We ended the trip with a church micro which was a multi. We had to grab the date that the village first won “best kept village award” from a quaint little structure surrounding the pump.
It was then off to GZ, a trek through the muddy bit to the car, 2 drive-bys, and finally home for new year celebrations. We found 72 in total for the day. After today, we have managed to totally clear out our Geocoins (apart from the guitar GC we found the other day) and have replaced them with travel bugs.
What a wonderful year of caching we have had after only discovering it in March. We end this year on 2262 finds. Thanks to all of you who read my blog, and have commented on entries. I hope my entries have managed to help and provide a bit of entertainment along the way! 🙂
Happy new year, everyone!!!