This weekend the sun really was shining, and that’s what we’d hoped for as we planned a nice cycle ride for a fairly recently placed cache trail, ‘The John Ray Way‘. This is a walk that runs from Witham, Essex to Braintree, Essex and 23 caches had been placed there, plus there were extras on the way.
Pretty much all of the caches were micros, however it wasn’t too bad as the clues were very good. We didn’t worry too much about the coordinates for the most part though, as this trail was laid by the same cache setter as little landda loop that we did a few weekends ago and as they said they’d placed all of those caches with maps, and google earth we expected the coords to be a liyylr bit out, but it didn’t really cause too many problems.
We were a little bit sad because all of the caches had bonus numbers in them, but there was no bonus. We jotted all of them down, got to the end of the trail and realised there wasn’t a bonus and the description for cache #1 said that the bonus is coming soon!! I’m thinking it will probably be a good one, so we will wait! 🙂
There were some lovely little locations on the trail, including some very quaint little houses, and some pigs sunbathing.
I’m not quite sure what I was thinking, as I thought we could cycle the trail in absolutely no time and then get back to the car for lunch. As a result we didn’t take any food with us and just took the water in our bottles on our bike. How wrong was I!?!?! Although a lot of the caches had the Cycle attribute ticked, it wasn’t your usual cycle trail that we are used to (Nice canal paths for example!) and we had to do a lot of bumpy cycling around fields and had to lift our bikes over stiles/kissing gates 6 or 7 times! This meant that the trail took a lot longer to cycle than we had anticipated. For the most part however, the paths around the field were nice to cycle on. The ground was solid and dry and we were able to get up some good speed and whiz around!
We had to take a diversion half way through the trail to go and get some food. We wouldn’t have been able to complete the trail without some much needed energy. This meant that we branched off of the trail at Cache #16, took a speedy ride to Freeport in Braintree (Lots of food places there) and then did another trail of 6 caches, The Nutkins Protocol, that joined us to the end of John Ray Way where we were able to work backwards. It all worked out ok in the end. The Nutkins Protocol was an interesting series as the caches were all custom containers. Unfortunately some of the containers were falling apart and desperately needed some maintenance.
We headed back and passed over the A120 road for some lovely views of Braintree. Unfortunately these views all meant hills and as we’re not regular bikers we had to jump off and push the bikes in quite a few places.
Cache #20 was a lovely addition to the trail, and took us to a church with John Ray’s grave. Unfortunately, this was the only cache that we were unable to find, which seemed strange as others said it was easy. We know now that the reason we didn’t find it was that it was hidden behind a wall of nettles. As we were wearing shorts we didn’t venture in! We will have to come back another day to get it.
We also took the opportunity to stop off for a cold refreshment at The Cross Keys pub in White Notley. Underestimating the amount of time it would have taken to do the trail was a seriously bad move and we’re obviously very out of practice when it comes to planning summer caching trips! This unexpected sunshine is definitely getting the best of us.
When we checked once back home we had clocked up 20 miles of riding. The bumpy fields and hills had definitely added to the time taken to complete it, but we were glad that we had biked it in the end as walking 20 miles in that heat would probably have killed us!!! We ended the day on 32 finds, and a fair bit of sore sunburn, having not expected such a scorching day. Not that I’m complaining of course… Bring on the sunshine!!! 😉