Variety is the spice of caching

Sounds like a plan…

At the start of this week we decided that it would probably be possible to reach our 3000th find by 6th March to make that milestone for our 1 year of caching. So I started hunting out some trails and knew if we put together enough trails and worked hard at it then it wouldn’t be too hard to hit that target… and then I thought “Hang on! This doesn’t sound very fun…” I didn’t really fancy endless miles of micros just for numbers. I do enjoy the long walks on trails, however it’s not *really* where the fun is at. So we’ve decided that fun and variety wins over numbers every time.

I started planning Saturday’s trip out in Kent with some nice variety, and it all started to look quite fun and exciting. Then I realised that there was so much variety that we would be able to pick up one of nearly every non-event cache type (in the UK) for the day. I then had a quick Google as I’d heard about icon challenge caches in the past and realised there was one not too far from home, Surrey Icon Challenge. There are also two more in the country, WEST MIDLANDS ICON CHALLENGE and BUSY DAY!–WEST YORKSHIRE- ICON CHALLENGE. All three require you to log 6 different cache types in any 24-hour period. So that was the plan, and a good plan it was as we infact managed 7 different cache types: Traditional, Multi, Unknown, Earthcache, Letterbox Hybrid, Webcam, and a Virtual.

A few drive-by’s to get us there

To start the day we grabbed a few drive bys whilst on the way to to an area with a letterbox hybrid and an earthcache. The first find of the day was Crimson Crossing. There was a big red bridge over a big pond area in an industrial area. It was quite striking, and a good cache spot.

A very red bridge

We then found a cluster of caches that I’d marked as drive-by’s, however the way they were laid out meant that they’d make a nice loop. I prefer walking to drive-by’s so we abandoned the car at Church Micro 1124 – St Mary’s, Stone.

St Mary's Church in Stone

After grabbing 3 more in the area we headed off for another church micro. This one was Church Micro 385… Greenhithe. This one did actually take us a few moments as it was hidden just in the church yard. As they are so rarely hidden in churchyards it was the last place we thought of.

Greenhithe church

We then parked up in Greenhithe right near to the river. The first cache we tried here was in an amazing spot, it was HMS Worcester. We absolutely loved the work that had gone into the centerpiece here and spent a few minutes admiring it before moving on to the search.

HMS Worcester

Another cache was very nearby, Greenhithe Pier. This took a bit of hunting, mainly because we had a bit of trouble getting to the right spot. Once we were there however, we got the cache straight away.

The short pier

We followed this with a lovely stroll along the water’s edge. The lovely smell of seaweed filled the air. We grabbed a couple of micros before reaching our Letterbox Hybrid, Wishing Well, our second cache type for the day. This was at a neat hiding spot, a pillbox. Great to have the excuse to use our stamp again.

A good hiding place!

Wishing Well

We walked the same route along the water to get back to where we were parked. At this spot there was also an earthcache, Ingress Abbey making our 3rd cache type for the day. This cache was definitely worth getting as it turned out to be my most favorite cache of the day. Here we saw huge chalk cliffs towering high above us, the impressive Ingress Abbey building and “The Grange” constructed from flint. There were lots of black gates in the building. Parts of it looked like little dungeons or prisons! I don’t think they were, but that’s what they looked like to me!

At The Grange ruins

The dungeon!!!

Next up were a few church micro multi caches to make the 4th cache type for the day. This included Church Micro 76… Chalk.

Chalk church

Shorne Stroll

Shorne village sign

We headed to Shorne for the cache series Shore Stroll. This was a series of 9 caches over 3.5 miles, however there were plenty of church micro multi’s and a puzzle cache on route to keep us busy.

The first cache was quite a surprise as it was a custom cache conainer. Quite cute as well! πŸ™‚

Hiding in the tree

There was a nice variety of hides on the trail. One included a little tree climbing on a big fallen tree. There were micros and smalls. The hints were good and we found all of the caches. Whilst we were out the sun came out as well lighting up some lovely views.

Got it!

View towards church micro 76

We grabbed two unknown caches on this trail as well. One was a sudoku puzzle that I had solved, Scammell’s Sudoku. The other was a bonus for one of the church micros. This was our 5th cache type.

Upnor Amble

We’d planned to do the Cooling Crawl trail nearby to finish the day, however this was spread across 5 miles and we thought we’d be cutting it a bit fine for daylight by the time we got near the end of it. Instead we headed to the Upnor Amble trail, which was quite a good move as it was a lovely area to walk around. This was a linear trail of 7 caches, with a couple of others in between.

The trail took us past Upnor castle, and along the dock yard which was beautiful with the low sun shining on the water.

Near Upnor Amble #2

Near 'The Arethusa Cache'

One of the caches was hidden near an “Admirality stone” we were curious as to what these were as we walked around as there were many that we passed on the walk. The cache description told us that these stones are found all around Upnor and mark the boundary Admirality who owned a huge proportion of land here.

An Admirality stone

Icon number 6 – Webcam cache

Just a couple of miles down the road from Upnor is Rochester. We headed here to finish our caching day and get the 6th and final icon that we needed to complete our icon challenge. It was about 5:15pm by the time we got to Rochester and starting to get dark. This was for Leaning on a lamppost. This was a great webcam cache as the camera refreshes every 5 seconds so it’s a lot quicker to get a photo. This was brilliant considering we’d hung around Oxford Circus for about half an hour until we successfully managed to capture a shot of us on the webcam there! Unlike this one it was very unreliable and slow. The webpage was compatible on my iPhone so whilst we were leaning on the lamppost we were also able to easily snap our mugshot.

Leaning on the lamp post!

And one for luck

And finally just to spice it up a bit more we grabbed our 7th icon for the day, a Virtual. This was another YOSM trig point. This time it was the Fox Hatch trig. It was 7:10pm when we parked up to grab it. There were some reservations about doing this in the dark, however a trig point is about 100 times bigger than a micro so it didn’t take too much work to find it!!!

Fox Hatch trig point in the dark

There’s something quite magical about finding trig points. I’m not sure what it is. They all look the same and the ones we’ve so far found haven’t been in amazing locations (Although I know some have stunning views) but it’s always a pleasure to find one. I’m glad I discovered the YOSM virtual to give me an excuse to visit more of them! πŸ™‚

We had a lovely, varied day of caching. I’d say definitely the most fun caching we’ve had in a long while. Definitely more exciting than a long trail of micros. We ended the day on 42 finds, and we will end the weekend on that too as we won’t be doing any Sunday caching this week. Teddy (GeoDog) isn’t very well at the moment. He had (we presume) something go in his paw last weekend and it became very swollen and nasty. He’s since been given some antibiotics by the vet and it’s clearing up now. You couldn’t tell by looking at him though, he’s full of life and acting as if nothing has happened. We usually take him out caching on Sundays for a nice leg stretch, however we don’t want to push it with him and don’t want him to get any dirt in his wound so we’ve decided to spend Sunday at home with him. Might give me chance to finally finish setting my Wherigo cache! πŸ™‚

Anyway, don’t need anymore “found it” smilies for a long while. Check out the huge stash I found hiding on a baking tray in the kitchen! πŸ˜‰ Happy caching! Anyone else done/thinking of doing an icon challenge?

Smily face chips. What more do you need?


8 Responses to “Variety is the spice of caching”

  1. Hannah Says:

    We picked up the Surrey Icon Challenge cache last month. Back in September, Theo (the baby) and I found 7 icons in one day (same 7 as you), but it took us a while to pick up the Challenge cache. We were in Surrey at the time so swung by the cache. I have never felt so euphoric at finding a cache, it was such a great sense of achievement. I’ve now added GC2JQNW (CacheBusters) to our challenge cache list, along with the 365 days.

    • geocass Says:

      Ooh fab, thanks for telling me about cachebusters! We were excited that we could already make a line across and then read the “you must register your intent” booooo! πŸ˜‰ We will just have to do all of those crazy things again! We will hopefully pick up the Surrey Icon Cache soon as its not too far from us. Definitely agree that there’s an enormous sense of achievement with the little challenges! πŸ™‚

  2. Hannah Says:

    Try this one as well… GC2HD75 and this one GC1K1TK. We started the 2nd one, but it was just too tricky to keep going!

    • geocass Says:

      Thanks for sending those other challenges. The first looks quit do-able. I know a few caches I could get to fulfil that one. The second looks complicated! Although quite do-able as the cache finds don’t have to be on consecutive days.

  3. (The Street Searchers) Says:

    Hey Cass

    I did the 6 Icons in a day a little while back but haven’t been to get the final. Let me know when you are thinking of getting it and if I can I will join you…

    Another great blog post BTW.

    • geocass Says:

      Ooh cool, would be good to cache with you! We will prob get it along with a few others in the area. The Epsom Downs and BBL trail are nearby which we are yet to do. Have you done those ones?

  4. Back down to Surrey – BBL and Epsom Downs « GeoCass UK GeoCaching Says:

    […] mystery, webcam, and a virtual (for luck!) It was a nice achievement to do a challenge cache and we had great fun with the great variety of caches that we found on that […]

  5. UK Challenge Caches – Everything you need to know! « GeoCass UK GeoCaching Says:

    […] To log the Icon Challenges you must find 6 different cache types in 1 day. By cache types this means ‘traditional’, ‘mystery’, ‘wherigo’, ‘event’, etc. so any 6 icons in a day. In my opinion this is one of the easier challenges as there are no date restrictions and you don’t have to register intent to participate so many cachers may already qualify to log it. This is one challenge that we have actually found and we had a real blast collecting the different caches. It really enhanced our day caching whilst out searching for them. I blogged about collecting the different icons here. […]

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