And so it was time again for the Goldhanger Meet and Cache Trails launch event. We had a wonderful time last year when Mr. Crow and Kitty!! gathered us all together on a Saturday for the Goldhanger West competition. This year however, it wasn’t so competitive with the focus being on a nice sociable event with plenty of caches to be had!
There was a choice of walks depending on your ability: the Standard route of 34 caches over 8.7 miles, the Extra route of 54 caches over 14 miles, or the Super route of 74 caches over 20 miles. We picked the “Extra route” and found 53 caches (We had found 1 already) and our GPS logged it as 15.5 miles.
We got to the area really early with half an hour to spare so we grabbed 5 cache and dashes in the area before arriving at the pub to find some other cachers waiting outside.
Mr. Crow and Kitty!! were having a “Best sun hat” competition and there were some great hats on show. Vanguard3’s hat was one of our favourites, although we heard he wears it most weekends anyway! 😉 We also liked stones2005’s hat, mainly because it had our picture on it! 😀
After a bacon roll and cuppa at the pub, plus a good natter with some other cachers our mission began! Lots of the cachers were still busy talking so we just headed off on the walk with stones2005. We knew we would need to get started early so that we were able to finish in good time! The first stretch of the walk passed along the sea wall.
There was a strange feeling of Deja Vu as a lot of the sea wall felt just like Mr. Crow’s Tollesbury Wick Sea Wall series that we completed way back in August 2010. There were some fabulous cache locations and nicely constructed caches. We particularly liked Essex 100 – 2/08 – Beach although for some strange reason we weren’t tempted to pull up our beach towel to soak up the rays!!!
At the following cache, Essex 100 – 2/09 – Second the four of us got a little cache blind and were hunting all over the place for the cache. After a good 5 minutes we still couldn’t find it, but we were thankfully joined by Helennbrian, HollynCharlie, and infinson. Helen was straight on the scene and found the cache in seconds! Lol! We continued the walk with them and our small group of 4 became a respectable group of 15 (Including Holly and Charlie the labradors of course! :)) CBailey8 and Tot66 were also close behind with 2 doggies. The dogs were really enjoying the manky looking water around the marshes and looked ended up looking like they could do with a good bath!
We didn’t see many animals on our trip along the sea wall, however on one section we bumped into rather a lot of sheep. We all cowered on the path along the sea wall, however Brian didn’t care and happily walked straight through them!
There was much delight when we reached Essex 100 – 2/16 – Ironing, a regular cache stocked full of swag. Little Cass was straight to the cache and rummaging for goodies. He wanted the calculator, but was told he had to have stickers 😦 Although the eyeball glasses did look rather tempting…
Us and stones2005 diverted to the newsagent to restock on drink supplies at Tollesbury and promptly lost the rest of our newly found team as they were too fast for us to catch up! Whilst passing through one of the more secluded footpaths in the area we walked past a man strimming the grass on the footpath. “Is there a walk on today?” he asked! We stopped for a few minutes to admire his garden. He told us he had restored the two old train signals in his garden, and he had another one that he was going to restore and put in there. There were signals and a signal box as well. Very impressive!
We continued along the series with stones2005. At cache Essex 100 – 5/36 – Newbridge the boys stood back and just left us girls to do the hunting. They decided that they would stand on the bridge and shout directions as to where they thought the cache would be… “Go to the tree… left a bit… down a bit… yeah under that stone” But it was the wrong place!!! Never trust a man to give directions! 😉
On the home stretch of the series we passed through a farm and a pond. You could tell the ducks were thinking “More people? Really???” as yet another group of cachers strolled past them.
It wasn’t long after the duck pond that we bumped into silverhorde and cazmockett. It was lovely to see Jane and Simon again of silverhorde who live in San Diego, but made a special effort to attend this event (and last years) whilst over here on holiday.
Shortly after meeting them we also bumped into “Team S.O.S” which consisted of grimmerscotting, happyleigh, starguider, gspleo, G4UYG, $tu, and Vanguard3 at Essex 100 – 5/44 – Shaft. They came and joined us after emerging over the hill in the rapeseed field.
We now had 2 new dogs joining our team, Daisy and Maia owned by Grimmerscotting and Happyleigh. They were so cute and bursting with energy. Just the enthusiasm that we needed to help us get the last couple of caches.
Apparently John of Grimmerscotting had spent a lot of time in ditches whilst walking around with Team S.O.S so when he joined us the next cache was no exception and he was back down in the ditch signing the logbook!
Maia was very exciting with what she found lurking in the bushes, not one of those boring Tupperware containers that never contains anything for her, but a HUGE long stick. She came charging along the path with it in her mouth and we all had to jump out the way so that we didn’t get floored! Hehe!
With the extra pairs of hands it meant that I didn’t have to retrieve the tricky cache that came next and involved Mr. Stones2005 hanging onto a tree for dear life!!!
And then it was on through a big field with a couple of sheep in it. They were quite interested in Daisy and Maia and one even followed us over to the kissing gate to see us off.
Eventually we got to the final cache, Essex 100 – 5/50 – Conclusion and Vanguard3 did the honours of finding and signing. Then we posed for a team picture and had a stretch! 😉
We arrived back at the pub at 4pm, desperately needing an ice cold drink which was so well deserved after all those miles! There were many people already back at the pub, and some returned after we had arrived what with everyone doing different routes and starting at different times. Just as we left the pub to head home unobtainium, rallisalli & hawkeye, and littledrunkenmonkey returned from doing all 20 miles of “The Super route”. A fabulous effort!
All that’s left is to say another big “Thank you” to Mr. Crow and Kitty!! for getting us all together for another wonderful event. We had a lovely day and there wasn’t a single drop of rain. Lovely company, lovely caches, and a lovely stroll. What more could we ask for? We can’t wait for the next event and are proud owners of a Kitty!! participant medal!