Last weekend we received an email from our caching buddies mel-ray singing the praises of “Shipbourne Stroll Part II” down in Kent. A series that had been published in Kent next to “Shipbourne Stroll“. They told us not to read any of the logs as it would spoil it, and told us it’d be best to head down and find them as soon as possible before the caches got messed up. So we headed down this Saturday to try and scoop them up.
We started off by grabbing some drive-by caches near Sevenoaks. There are quite a lot around that area so it was convenient as it had been raining in the early morning and it gave the grass time to dry out. Our favourite cache and dash on this run was the appropriately named Geese, Ducks & Druids as after finding it we went to take some photos of the pond and a whole army of geese, ducks, and moorhens hobbled out of the pond and swarmed us. They were really friendly, however we didn’t have any bread for them so we made our excuses and left them!
Shipbourne Stroll (Part 1)
It was then on to the Shipbourne stroll. We decided to do the first stroll before part II and save the best til last. We started off by heading through the big majestic Shipbourne Church and picking up Church Micro 118.
It was then on through a field of sheep who were busy sunning themselves and weren’t too bothered by our company. The rain had cleared up by the time we started here and it was very warm out.
The trail started off quite average with some easy finds and a few creative containers that we’d seen before, however when we were least expecting it we were hit with a VERY creative container which was great fun to find!
We carried on through the trail and stumbled upon some great creative containers that we had never seen before. A couple even took about 15 minutes to find as they were stashed away quite well. It’s nice to find containers like this as they put a big smile on your face!
At Shipbourne Stroll #18 we lifted up a log covering the cache to find a giant red ants nest. The all hurried to take their eggs underground after we disturbed them. They were crawling everywhere so we had to be careful not to get bitten, still quite fascinating to watch though.
At the end of the trail we went and found the bonus. This had a label on us that said there used to be sweeties in the cache, but due to Groundspeak guidelines these had to be removed, however around the other side of the tree there was another container with sweeties in that you were welcome to help yourself to!
Shipbourne Stroll Part II
The first trail was very enjoyable with some mostly easy hides, plus a few creative containers along the way, but we knew that Part II would be the one that would really knock our socks off and it didn’t disappoint. Unfortunately I can’t really say too much about this trail as it would spoil it, but I’ll do my best to give an idea…
Along with the creative hides, the trail had some very easy to find small tupperware boxes. These were easy in the respect that you’d walk to where the GPSr said and would instantly know there was a cache there. These helped keep us on track along the way and also meant that there was pretty much a cache every 528ft!
The best hide on the entire trail was at cache #2. We were able to locate where the cache would be, but couldn’t retrieve it without a special tool. The special tool was hidden nearby and it didn’t take long to locate it. After hooking up the tool to the cache location the container was soon in our hands. It was brilliant and one that you definitely have to see for yourself. My real concern with this hide, however, is that the special tool is big, very big, and easily on display. If the tool goes then you won’t be able to retrieve the cache container so I really do hope it doesn’t get muggled. This one is up on the list of “Top 5 finds” and from the 30 logs already has 21 favourite points awarded. It should be 30 really!!!!
Cache #4 was also really brilliant and required a bit of fishing to retrieve, so you can perhaps guess what the special tool for this one was. Again it was hidden near by and quite large. I’d be slightly worried that this would get muggled too, although I really hope it doesn’t.
We headed on up through the fields finding some more creative containers, and a lot of easy hides too.
We then followed a little lane down towards a sculpture museum guided by a little sculpture of a dog on the road sign!
This led us to cache #13, our first Q&A (Question and Answers) cache. These were very cleverly done. There was a combination lock on the outside and a question on the top of the boxes which when answered correctly would give a 3 digit number. They started off easily with answers we knew off the top of our heads, however got a bit trickier and we had to Google the answers. We would have been a bit stuck without our phones! These were very well executed and the CO had cleverly attached the lock to the box. I’ve been trying to think for ages of a way to do this.
There were some lovely views along this section of the hill.
We then took a slight detour from the trail to get the cache Upon the Heights. It was quite a steep trek up to it and took us to the grounds of the National Trust’s Ightham Mote, a 14th-century moated manor house. There were some superb old trees surrounding the path up to the cache.
And when we got to the cache location there were some great views of Shipbourne Church in the distance. There was also an appropriately placed bench which was well received after the climb!!!
After a few more in the Shipbourne series we found the actual Inghtham Mote cache hidden near to the manor itself. After making an easy find we wandered down to take a look at the house. It was pretty impressive!
There were 30 caches on the Shipbourne Part II series, plus 2 extras and although there was a good mixture of creative containers for the rest of the trail, caches #2 and #4 were the really great ones. Unfortunately although the rest were good, it made them a bit of an anti-climax as little could beat those great hides at the start. We both really enjoyed the trail and it kept us smiling from one cache to the next wondering what we had to expect. This is definitely up the top of my most favorite cache trails of all time and is easily on par with Devil’s Dyke. However doesn’t quite top our favourite series of all time: Wellow Woods Nature Trail. Whereas this trail did also start with the best caches at the beginning, followed by a steady run of good, creative containers, it finished with a big bang with a bonus cache that was big enough for me to sleep the night in! 😉
We finished the day on 70 cache finds. Shipbourne Part II was an amazing trail and one I’d definitely recommend visiting sooner, rather than later whilst the hides are nice and fresh. It was lovely to find something new and refreshing as there were some amazing ideas that I’d never have thought of in a million years. We’re yet to visit “The Bassett Series” which we’ve heard is also pretty amazing, and I’ve heard of a “Witchcraft” series in Wiltshire. I’d noticed Shipbourne Part II when it was first published, but hadn’t realised it was so special. Does anyone else know of any creative trails in the country? We’d love to pay a visit to them!!!