Well! What a complete wash out Saturday was! It’d been planned for a while that I’d be working this weekend, however I found out that in the end I didn’t need to and would be free to cache! 🙂 I think working was definitely the dryer, safer option and despite the weather lady warning us of a horrible day we chose to ignore her and drove off for a day of caching!
Upton Circular Series
It wasn’t raining when we left home, however when we arrived at Upton it was steadily drizzling. We covered ourselves in waterproof trousers and coats and decided to brave the rain!
We started off by finding a micro at the church for cache #1. It wasn’t as straight forward as we had expected however as the CO had taken the cap from a roadsign and drilled it and used wire so that the cache was fastened to it. The roadsign was right in view of several houses. This made me think of two things: 1) With the recent urban caching “issues” it wasn’t a good cache to retrieve. We were in full view of many windows and it took a fair bit of wiggling to get the cap off. 2) We’ve found a few caches where the caps on posts have been “modified” to attach a cache to them as well as some where the CO has drilled holes in posts or other items to fit a container in. Is this not vandalism? Sure in this case it’s just a bit of rubber, but surely that rubber belongs to someone (The highways agency?) Feeling uncomfortable we quickly replaced and moved on.
We carried on with the series, however by the time we got to the third cache I had wet feet. I knew I should have re-waterproofed my boots! There were a few paths along this first section where we had to go through fields. I forgot how unplesant these paths are when it’s wet – sticky mud that builds up on your boots and wet crop that soaks your legs.
We really liked cache #5 on the series as it gave us our first regular for the morning where we could leave a travel bug that we had had for a few weeks, Harvey, the Western Tanager. We should have dropped it off a while ago, however Teddy really liked the TB as it was a cuddly bird that made a tweeting noise when you press its tail. Teddy thought it was his new toy and kept begging to have it, so instead of keeping it with the other TB’s ready to take with us on caching trips we had to keep him hidden away in a drawer so Teddy didin’t try and eat him!!! (hehe!) He posed with our other bird TB’s in the cache before we left him.
At this point it also started tipping down with rain and although we were under tree cover it was coming through at quite a rate. We were wet from head to toe, but luckily our waterproofs would keep us dry… right? It seemed not and by the time we got to the 12th cache the rain had even penetrated them and we were actually walking with soaked tops and jeans. Not good! It was bad for us as the cache series got a fair bit trickier with some fiddly little caches and we just couldn’t search in the rain. We decided that caches from then onwards would get 2 minutes search time before moving on. As a result we had a few DNF’s, but at least it meant we got back to the car sooner!
The path to the last 2 caches was really the killer. It was through an uncut rape field and you could barely see it! My hands were wrinkled and looked like I’d spent 3 hours in the bath and the crop was making our clothes and hands even wetter (as if that is possible!)
Never have I been so relieved to have finished a cache series and the last time I was this wet outdoors was when I fell in my mum’s pond when I was a kid! The waterproofs usually hold off most of the water, but today they were no match for mother nature. Thankfully we had brought a spare change of clothes with us and it was interesting trying to get changed in the car at the side of a street (blush!) We were really looking forward to our second series of the day which was our friend’s Rallisalli & Hawkeye first series, but just had to head home instead. Just 16 finds for Saturday. 😦
Trail of Two Mills
Thankfully Sunday morning was looking better and the forecast wasn’t saying that it would rain until the afternoon so we slipped out in the morning to do some local caches and let Teddy stretch his legs. The ‘Trail of Two Mills‘ series was half-published back in June last year however since then 8 custom caches had been added to the 5 mile cicuit. Today we thought we’d have a go at scooping them up. Teddy really enjoyed the walk and a few dips in the River Pent.
On the way to the first cache we passed a lady with 5 dogs running off the lead. They all flocked around Teddy and were very friendly and had a good sniff of each other. The lady was also very friendly too and let us pass which was good as we had a cache to get! 😉 It took us about 5 minutes to find the first cache, and we were very pleased that we got off to a good start however it wasn’t long before we hit a bit of an obstacle. A herd of cows… with calves.
Eek! We saw the lady with the dogs in the distance approaching “Oh good, she will come through the cows and we can follow her” however all of a sudden another walker came along and she stopped and started chatting to them. She was going nowhere fast. Where’s a muggle when you need one??? So we decided to try and brave the cows. *gulp* We crept across the bridge, and Teddy charged across however and was raring to go. We crept around the herd, however there was one that was very interested in Teddy who was on the outskirts and wouldn’t budge in any direction other than towards us! To cut a long story short we found an alternative route to the next cache and were safe in the end! Teddy however ended up with some sticky grass on his face and tried to lick it off!
Near to the end of the series we got treated with with our first views of some mills. First, the 17th century watermill complete with gushing water.
We headed up the hill to the Great Bardfield windmill. Another great sight.
Along the fields to the final cache we saw the most amazing sunflower standing tall alone amongst the crops.
Although we enjoyed the custom cache hides of which we found all but one, and we thought the mills were great sights the real highlight was very unexpected on the walk back to the car, The Great Bardfield Cage, a 19th century lock-up! It was also open today with a free entrance fee. We went inside and pressed a button to hear a dressed-up model inside tell us all about the history of the cage. Very cool! As a child I used to visit Mountfitchet Castle in nearby Stansted where there were many models which educated you about the castle. This brought back fond memories of that.
When you go down to the woods today
We finished the day by grabbing a cache that had actually been archived a year ago, When you go down to the woods today. This may be a little naughty, however we’d heard that this cache was fabulous and a large container. The reason it was archived was because the owner hadn’t even logged on to Geocaching for a few years and it needed maintenance. To retrieve it we first had to find two micros each with half of the coordinates in it. Although the cache had been found in November we weren’t sure if the caches would be there. We were delighted to find that they both were. One at Little Sampford church, and another near a pretty little stream.
After finding the first two stages ok we set off for the final in a little woodland and we were absolutely delighted to find the final huge stash.
It’s such a shame that this cache, which was placed in 2003, had to be archived as it was absolutely brilliant and fitted so well in its hiding place. For it to survive unmuggled for 8 years is pretty impressive, however the cache container was damp, ruined and rusty. The contents were damp too. It’s definitely a cache I would consider replacing, however with the cache container being irreparable it would have to be replaced which would be a real shame. It’s something I’ll have a good think about, however what a brilliant cache to end the day on.
Speaking of ending the day, Teddy did this by having a good nap on the bed, involuntarily snuggled up with the Twit Two TB!