Caching in Suffolk
On Saturday was the Ipswich meet, 2011 New Year Meet – The Barley Mow so we thought we’d do a bit of caching on the way to it as it was an area we hadn’t explored before.
We started off with a few church micros before we got onto the A14. These were Church Micro 1260 – Brinkley, Church Micro 1265 – Burrough Green, Church Micro 1261 – Dullingham, Church Micro 764 – Kentford, St. Mary The Virgin.
We then hit a circular loop, Creeting Circular, just North of Ipswich which promised us 24 caches over 7.5 miles.
We started at 10am and thought we’d be finished by about 12:30pm to make the Ipswich meet by 1pm… Erm… Well, we didnt get there until 2pm so we kind of mis-timed ourselves on the loop. It was a lovely walk though, which included visiting 6 churches. The first cache was indeed a church, church micro 751.
We continued along the trail. It had some lovely varied hides. Some regulars, some nanos, some bisons, some micro tubes, and the hiding places were varied as well.
It was pretty cold out, however this worked to our advantage because even though our fingers were a bit cold and sore, it meant that the ground was quite solid and the patches that you usually be covered in mud were nicer to walk. To get to one of the caches we had to pass through someone’s yard. We were very careful going through as we always are when paths run through homes, but it turned out we were going the right way when we spotted a footpath sign. We carried on down, however also did the free range chicken who were clucking around the garden. I did my typical little girlie run away from them whist making a fuss about chickens chasing me. I have now worked out that I am quite possibly scared of every animal we encounter and that if something as harmless as a door mouse came travelling in my direction I would scream and run away!!!
We headed to Church Micro 825, again another church on this circular walk. This one was quite fun though, as inside it held coordinates for two “lost” churches!!!
These lost churches were Church Micro 827 All Saints, Creeting Circular #10 and Church Micro 826 St.Olave, Creeting Circular #12. The funny thing about the first lost church we visited was that it was only about 250ft from the previous cache we’d found! Now, I know there is a guideline about caches being 528ft from each other, apart from in exceptional circumstances. This would be one of the exceptional circumstances where there was no way of putting the cache anywhere else as a plaque marked the location of the lost church and detailed its history.
The lost church of St. Olave was slightly further down the road. The plaque for this church was in terrible condition however and needed a good scrub. We managed to read it however, and learnt that there was a record of the church being destroyed in 1735 with very little record of its existance. There were excavations of the site and they did indeed find remains of a 14th century church to prove that it used to be at the site. It was nice to find a different type of church micro.
We passed through Earl Stonham, before finishing the trail and grabbing the bonus cache on a bench which was convenient as we needed a quick rest!
To the meet we go!
There wasn’t much time for a rest however as we were already late for the meet. Oops! We had a text message from mel-ray just as we were about to leave telling us to hurry up as they were releasing three new caches soon. We hurried, but got to the meet 20 minutes later at 2pm. We expected to enter an empty pub with all cachers busy out finding the new caches, however we arrived to a pub packed with cachers scratching their heads and trying to solve 3 puzzles. Haha! We lended a hand and I was able to solve one of them. The others handled the second, and the third was a bonus that you could find after finding the other two. We all headed off down the conga line and at the first cache we all visited found ourselves in a little overgrown area full of metal poles and corregated iron! There were at least 15 pairs of eyes searching for 5 minutes until gillywig found the cache and claimed the well deserved FTF!!!
After the meet we headed into Ipswich to grab a few puzzles. One was particularly important as it was a 4.5d/1t rating which we needed. I was delighted that we managed to find it without any problems. We headed off to grab 3 more puzzles and 1 traditional in the center.
Overall a fab day of caching, where we made 38 finds. That was great as it was double what I thought we would get!
Caching in Epping forest
Wot? No Micros?
On Sunday we went back to Epping forest to finish what we started last weekend. We finished the day finding 20 caches and it wasn’t until we were on the way home that we realised “Hang on, we haven’t found any micros!” Nope, not a film can in site. 17 regular/smalls, 2 virtuals, and 1 earth cache.
YOSM virtual again
In my previous blog post from last weekend I mentioned a virtual cache that visits trig points around the country and that you can log it at any one it has been to for every one that it has been to, YOSM. Well, I checked out if it had been near Epping, and it sure had! It had been to a trig point surprisingly located in the Old Orleans car park. We paid a quick visit to it for a photo. The only thing about doing this is that every time you log a duplicate find on this cache then your statistics look a bit squiffy because your find count and distinct find count won’t match anymore.
Into the forest we go…
Next we parked up and headed into the forest to find our first physical cache of the day, Beast of Epping Forest- Home Lair (Essex).
We then headed towards a cache which promised to be a ‘large’. There were three more larges in the forest that we wanted to get as we’ve only really found a few of that classification. This cache was called The Lost Pond and the reason for this became very obvious once we were a few hundred feet from GZ.
We then headed deep into the woods for a few more caches and an earth cache at Loughton Iron Age Hill Fort. In the absense of stone the settlers here had constructed banks as a defense, and a lot of the banks still remain showing how the fort would have looked in those times.
We carried on to a few more, including Mind the Longhorns (Essex) which is possibly the greenest cache I have ever seen!!!
Next we headed to another ‘large’ hide, Englands First. This cache was placed here in memory of what was apparently England’s first ever cache, GC144 (Wow! That’s got to be old to have such a short GC number!) which was in exactly the same spot that this one was. On the way to it I thought I saw a cache in a stump. (You never know, might be a mystery cache) and so we stepped back and noticed it wasn’t a cache, it was a bunny rabbit! It was sitting and watching, but ran away after I got a little too close for its liking.
The cache was in a very cool place, a burnt fallen tree. We sat on the log to sign, but Teddy went crazy! He started digging up the ground with his back feet and barking at us. What he was saying is “OI! Pick me up! I want to go up on the log!” I dared him to jump up and you know what? He did! And he made it! I’ve never seen him jump so high. So he sat with us whilst we signed the log before jumping down.
I’ve never been all that interested in the swag in caches, however I’ve started to collect things now! 🙂 Two things in particular… Playmobil men, and Rubik’s cubes!!! We found a Rubiks cube in one many months ago, which my friend taught me how to complete. Something I’ve always wanted to be able to do. Today there was another little Rubiks cube in this ammo can so I swapped that for my collection. I also swapped to get a Playmobil builder man! I’d already picked one up last weekend so thought that would be something to collect. We had hours of fun with Playmobil when we were kids so just thought it’d be a fun idea!
After collecting 10 caches for the morning we returned to the car for lunch. Teddy was feeling the walk today and looked absolutely knackered!!!
We headed over to another part of the forest which was packed with muggles. It was a nice area with walks surrounding a big lake.
Here we found our final large cache for the day, Epping Forest Stroll and an additional one.
We had pretty much cleared out Epping Forest by now, so headed south to a virtual, Lizzie’s Hunting Shack. This was Queen Elizabeth’s hunting shack, a building which is believed to have been built for Henry VIII so that the aged king could view hunts across Chingford Plain.
Gilwell Scouting HQ
There was a cluster of 6 caches nearby so as we were doing well for time thought we’d check them out. We were quite surprised when we ended up at Gilwell park, apparently the UK Scouting headquarters. It all looked a bit private there with CCTV, gates, and many large buildings, however the GPSr assured us there were caches there so we parked up and walked to the first.
If we weren’t freaked out enough by the security already, the first cache here was hidden at the base of a CCTV camera pole!!! We were hesitant, however found the cache easily. I picked up the box and started to open it when we realised that a lady in a car who was making her way out of the place had stopped and was staring right at us. We carried on with what we were doing, but she reversed so as to get a closer look!!! I signed the logbook, popped the cache back, and then pretended that we were discussing something about my phone. Phew! She drove off. I felt quite uncomfortable walking around the grounds, however the next couple of caches were on clearly marked bridleways.
These next caches also gave amazing views across to London. We stood looking into the distance for a little while wondering what we could see and then we managed to make out the London Eye, The Gherkin, and the BT tower. Pretty cool!
We got 5 caches around here ok, and then attempted a 6th, Waltham Abbey Scouts 5. We got to within 500ft of GZ and came to a gate that said “Private” on it. We didn’t feel comfortable enough to risk going through, so headed back to the car and decided to try and approach it from the other end, near the road. There were big black gates, and scary yellow “CCTV” signs all over them, and despite only being 90ft from GZ at this spot, we didn’t want to risk it. I later read the cache page and saw a maintenance log from the CO stating that you can walk up the private road to it, but have to follow the byway law that the owner has set including no dogs. There wasn’t any sign saying anything like this, just stating private, so I think we made the best choice by leaving it well alone despite being so close! A cache placement that I would question. Perhaps it’s just there for the scouts.
One more for the road
We grabbed one more cache in Epping before heading home, it was Wintry Wood Cache. We’ve often passed the spot that this cache is at and noticed turkeys, chickens and peacocks running into the road. When we approached GZ we noticed tons of animals all on the open green. Turkeys, ducks, chickens, and even goats! They all seemed fairly happy and friendly, but we kept our distance as Teddy would most probably like to chase them all!!! Apparently this area is farm/common land which dates back to 1200AD and used in the past for locals to graze their livestock free of charge.
A lovely day of caching, and not a single film cannister in sight!!! 🙂