This weekend was the weekend for the 4000th milestone. We had 3891 caches on Friday morning and finished Sunday afternoon with 4005 finds. A busy weekend! We booked the day off work on Friday to make a start with some more brilliant poshrule trails just north of Huntingdon, I then joined mel-ray for a truely beautiful trail near Clare on Saturday, and we finished on Sunday by unexpectedly heading back up near Huntingdon for another poshrule trail where we scooped up that all important number 4000…
Friday: Winwick Wander and The Gidding Round
Unfortunately Friday wasn’t the day weather-wise that we’d hoped for. It was damp, grey and drizzly, but it didn’t dampen our spirits. We started the morning by heading up to do poshrule’s Winwick Wander. This is a trail of 23 caches (Plus 1 extra) over just under 5 miles. There was a nice variety of cache sizes as well which kept it interesting. There were a few injuries at the beginning of the trail however as poor Andy got a thorn stuck in his hand, fell down a rabbit hole and fell on his knee, twisting his ankle, plus got a scratch that caused a fair amount of blood to gush out of his arm. I was wondering if he was on a suicide mission, however thankfully there were no more injuries after that!
Along the first stretch there was a rabbit that seemed to toy with us. He dashed along the footpath, towards us, then away, then back towards us, then sat still, then tried to get through the corn, then came towards us, before eventually deciding to run off!
We then headed through the prettiest fields I’ve seen all year. They were full of purple flowers and we walked straight through them. I’m not too sure what crop they are, anyone know? They looked very pretty with the yellow rapeseed in the background.
Most of the trail went pretty well, we only had two DNF’s – one which has now been replaced, and the other that got found easily after us. We will be returning for these ones though as we hate to have DNF’s on a series. There was a rather interesting bug near one of the later caches in the trail so I thought I’d snap a shot having never seen one before. Bugs are fine when they’re sitting on their leaves. If it landed on me that would have been a different story! 😉
After a break for lunch, we headed off to the Gidding Round series. This was another laid by poshrule and gave us 20 caches for just over 4 miles. Unfortunately I didn’t take many photos along this trail as it was drizzly for the first half, and just before the second half the heavens opened and soaked us. We were pleased however that we managed to get around most of the caches without getting too wet, however it meant we had to put off our plans for a 3rd poshrule trail for the day and we headed off for a coffee instead. It was still a very nice trail, with a good variety of caches and hides.
Saturday: Shush, it’s a secret
We both had separate plans for Saturday, however mine fell through, but Andy’s remained so I decided that I would go caching on my own somewhere and then we could go and do Bendos’ recently published Shush, it’s a secret trail together on the Sunday. I asked mel-ray if they wanted to join us, however they had other plans but asked me if I wanted to join them on Saturday instead. Well, how could I turn down that offer? The series is 9 miles long with 38 cache finds and I asked little Teddy if he wanted to join us. He has run 7 miles with me before, but never quite covered 9, however he said that he fancied giving it a go. I was a little worried how Teddy would be towards Mel and Ray as he hasn’t seen them for a very long time, but as soon as he hopped out of the car he remembered them and behaved like a little star.
After a bit of a slow start on the first couple of caches (They were well hidden and we were warming up) we got into the swing of things and started finding the containers instantly. We got a nice surprise at cache #5 when there was a large container with some swag and a few trackables for trading. Teddy was particularly pleased with this nice big cache and gave it a good sniff, however wasn’t happy when there were no toys or treats for him in it! 😉
There were some brilliant paths and scenery along this first stretch of the walk and I saw the first golden fields I had seen this year, all the rest have been green. They were truely stunning as they glowed in the morning sun. Teddy particularly liked these paths too as he was allowed off of his lead and given freedom to explore. It did mean however, that he probably ended up covering twice as much ground as us because he would quite often run ahead to a distance that I wasn’t quite comfortable with and I would call him back. He would run all the way back, realise there was nothing for him, and then run ahead again. Occasionally he got a treat. It was a bit of a repeating cycle! He also liked the fact that he was able to find beautifully aromatic piles of fox poo to roll in and as he was off the lead Mummy couldn’t pull him away! It resulted in us keeping our fingers crossed that Bendos was going to take us past a river…
After emerging from the fields we came out in the little village of Cavendish for a church micro. I’m not a massive fan of churches, however am impressed when I see a particularly nice one. This church was one of those. It was absolutely magnificent and a great inclusion on the walk.
At cache #20 just as Mel was saying “We need to find a river to put Teddy in” we bumped into a river! 😀 I asked Teddy nicely if he’d go for a swim and wash some of the smell off, but he refused and got dunked instead! We then continued up to GZ and stood on a bridge to admire some lovely lilles on the water.
The rain had been toying with us all morning and we had on/off drizzle combined with on/off sunshine, however at cache #24 it decided to chuck it down. We sheltered under a bush for a few moments waiting for it to pass whilst Teddy stood in the middle of the path wondering what we were all doing. I was pleased for him to stand out in it though, as it cleaned some of the smell off of him! When we got to cache #25 the sun then magically came out!
At cache #30 we arrived at Clare Castle Country Park. We could hear rushing water pouring into the river from on top of the bridge and it was a lovely spot to stop and think.
We continued down the river and bumped into the old railway bridge and some ducks. Teddy stood on the edge wondering if he should go for a swim in the river, but he decided against it. The ducks were very friendly and all swam towards us for some food. Unfortunately we didn’t have anything for them.
After passing through one side of the country park we stumbled upon some more fields, and then Clare church which was equally stunning as the one in Cavendish. Teddy knew the way, so he led us to the caches around here.
Finally we emerged back in the country park with some good views of the castle where the old train line was and we were able to pick up another cache to keep us on track.
Teddy had been a very good geohound today and it was fun watching him follow Ray to the cache locations, then have Ray show him the cache, be unimpressed, and walk away. He didn’t manage to uncover any for us, however wandered to a few of the locations to look. I think Ray’s helped with his Geo training as he followed him up a steep bank and whilst Ray was looking for the cache he stood on muggle duty!!!
All in all, a lovely, scenic trail with a variety of cache containers and some interesting sights. The highlights definitely being in the country park as it was so pretty even with the rain. We finished the day with some of Mel’s lovely home-baked treats at the car, and a small bowl of chicken for Teddy. He just rested in the car whilst we sat and ate and I didn’t hear a peep out of the little fella all evening. I was also quite pleased that I managed to swap a lot of TB’s/GC’s on the series.
Sunday: Bar Hill and Woodwalton Waggle
By Sunday morning we were on 3974 finds. The original plan was to scoop up some caches on the Over and Out Circular, a trail of crafty containers. We knew it’d probably take a while to find some of them, however we had all day. We started to get our walking boots on and the gear ready to load in the car when little Teddy ran down the stairs and started wimpering. When he does this it means that he wants to come with us! I showed him his walking harness, expecting him to run away, but he happily let me put it on him and then went and sat at the backdoor. “Teddy, you walked 9 miles yesterday. Are you SURE you want to come?” He did! Bringing Teddy meant that the crafty series wasn’t possible. He’s very impatient and doesn’t let us search. The series would mean we would be crawling around on the ground a lot searching and it’s a real mission with Teddy, so we changed our plans for something a bit easier, poshrule’s Woodwalton Waggle.
First, however we started in Bar Hill for a series of 6 caches plus a bonus. These were easily all cache and dash caches, not with parking at the cache location however there was plenty of parking in nearby streets and on a Sunday morning the roads were very quiet. We made quick work of our 7 finds before heading off to Woodwalton.
We parked up at the parking location and took a stroll down a quiet lane for the first few caches. We quite often jumped out of the way onto the verges along here to avoid the traffic, but soon realised that the noises weren’t from cars, but trains that were running near by. A few of the hides along here were small camo’ed tubes which blended in so well that even though we were staring straight at them took a little while to spot.
Cache #4 took us to a telegraph pole, which would have been an easy find, but as I peeked around the pole I noticed something long and beige on it. I bent down to pick up the cache thinking the long, beige thing was something that’d fallen off a tree, but in fact it moved! It scurried away and turned out to actually be a slow worm. That was pretty neat as I’d never seen one before. Even though he’d vanished I was still a bit cautious retrieving the container and used my car keys to bring it closer to me! 😀
We continued on to pick up an extra cache on route, Friends of the Friendless – St Andrew which took us to quite a quaint church in the middle of nowhere surrounded by crop fields. The church was in sight for most of the walk that followed around the cache trail.
We had a few interesting obsticles on our journey through the cache trail. There were some quite tall stiles, which were thankfully quite easy to climb over, apart from when there’s a dog sitting in the way! I popped him over the stile thinking that he would jump down however he said his little feet were aching from the day before and he didn’t have the energy, so I had to do some acrobatics to get over whilst being careful not to tread on him!!! There was also a section which was quite like a jungle to get through, very overgrown and full of thistles and nettles which gave quite a few “ouch” moments. It was only a little stretch however and quite exciting, apart from for little Ted who looked a bit overwhelmed by all of the plants that were about 10 times taller than him.
Once we navigated the jungle path we were rewarded with views of a nice old railway bridge which is still in use as a couple of trains whizzed over whilst we were hunting for the next cache.
It then went horribly wrong…I checked the OS map on the way to cache #15 and it showed a path down the river through a farm. Sounded good. We followed this down and sat on the bank for a little while watching the river. Teddy then decided to start barking at us. We quietened him down and then took it to mean “Get off your bums, time to go” so we continued along the path taking us 0.6 miles from the previous cache. We then got to the cache which showed as being 100ft away… OVER THE OTHER SIDE OF THE RIVER!!!!! Oh dear! The OS map showed a crossing further up, so we walked along further, however when we got to this point the crossing was gone! The only way back on to our cache trail was to walk all the way back to the previous cache trail meaning our total distance of extra walking was 1.7 miles! Crazy! On reading the bottom of the cache description, the CO had told us there was a permissive path further up and we quickly joined this to get to the right side and on to the cache! How annoying. However on the plus side, it was a beautiful stretch to walk along, and the river was very pretty with the sun glistening on it and the wind creating little ripples in the water.
Eventually we got to cache #19 and I was able to make a quick find to secure our 4000th geocache find!!! 😀 I was quite pleased that the container was a ‘small’ as there were a few nanos and small micros on the trail so it was nice that it was something a bit larger for our milestone.
The rest of the trail went pretty well until we got to the final cache. There was a stile crossing over through a horse pasture and although the horse wasn’t really bothered by our presence, it wandered over to us whilst we were signing the logbook. It was particularly interested in Teddy and Teddy was impressed by the horse and tried to get under the stile to it. We pulled him back and had to pop the cache back really quickly, but as soon as we did that the horse wandered away. We crossed the stile and cautiously crept around the field, however the horse decided to continue his curiosity and came over the see Teddy. I was too slow to snap a photo, but there was a priceless moment when Ted and the horse were nose-to-nose sniffing each other. Teddy wandered off, but the darn horse decided to follow. We walked quicker, and so did the hose. Teddy was one side of the field and I was the other so the lead was stretched across and the horse was heading right for it, so we quickly unhooked him from his lead remembering the advice for dogs with cattle and Teddy made a bit of a getaway. The horse still followed though and was galloping quite fast. We managed to dive through some trees and the horse got distracted by a bush that he started munching on. Phew! We were able to clear another stile and escape. I think the horse was just curious, but I didn’t want Teddy to get kicked and it was a bit hairy with him chasing us!!!
And so that was our adventure on our 4000th find. I’d like to say it all went smoothly and to plan, however as is typical with us we managed to completely go wrong and then get chased by a horse. It’s all part of enjoying the outdoors though!!! We had a great long weekend of caching and I’m really pleased to be able to say we’re now in the 4000 finds club! 😉