Piratemania V – The Essex Invasion!

At last it was time for the Geocaching event that we’d been looking for for months: Piratemania V, a MEGA in the UK. Piratemania is an event in its 5th year which unexpectedly went MEGA last year. As you might gather from the title it’s a pirate-themed event. The actual MEGA was on Saturday 21st July, however we headed to Ashbourne, Derbyshire for fun and frolics camping from Friday to Sunday.

Docking the ship

We pitched our tent up at the campsite late on Friday morning next to fellow Essex cachers mel-ray and happycabbage who had arrived at about the same time as us and soon cracked on with the piratey tent decorations!

The good ship Cassandy

It wasn’t long before we were joined by more of the Essex crew with Hollyncharlie, yorkie63, risktak4r, bigbadjohn1402, tazzy1234, unobtainium, and geotrowel turning up shortly afterwards with most of them pitching their tents along our row so we were all together. With many people arriving after work the camp site was soon packed and heaving with cachers, pirate flags, and some very uniquely decorated tents/motor homes!

Just a small sample of flags!

Dead man’s caravan?

Mel-ray had a very nicely decorated tent with a very piratey table with chocolates for the kids and a bottle of rum (Not for the kids!)

The booty!

And there was one particular original decoration which made me laugh!


Before the night was out two pirate captains were elected to represent the red team and the blue team. Geotrowel was the red captain, so naturally we swore allegiance to him and all donned red bands around our wrists to show which team we were on. It was the job of the captain to get as many pirates on his team as possible to earn dubloons and be the winning team. I did a little bit of recruiting handing out a few bands, but Yorkie63 did a lot more and forced those who wanted to join our crew to stand on one leg with their finger in their ear and swear allegiance to the red team! Hehe!

Getting all dressed up!

The following day was the actual event. We all woke early to get our costumes on and tart ourselves up to look like pirates. It was absolutely brilliant! Those who dressed up had gone to so much effort and looked absolutely fabulous. Let me introduce you to some of the red crew…

Here be t’HappyCabbage Corsairs. They may look friendly, but they’re The most untrustworthy pirates in t’East. Don’t let t’ little pirate distract you. HappyCabbage will go for t’throat with his muskets, whilst t’little one stabs ye in t’belly and chubby bear bites at your ankles…

The happycabbage crew

Here be Captain GT keeping all t’red banded pirates in line. Cross him and ye be thrown out to sea with only one destination: Davy Jones’ Locker…

Geotrowel, the red captain!

This be yorkie63, t’most experienced musket wieldin’ pirate that ever lived. Legend be that he sin’le-handely wiped out t’ whole crew o’ t’ once mightiest vessel that ever sailed t’ seven seas. You’ll often see him plunderin’ grog wit his lad, Riskt4ker and hound Admiral Alfie who has jaws as sharp as sharks teeth!

Beware Yorkie63!

Don’t let the cute puppy dog eyes fool you, it’s just a devilish ploy

This be t’ scurvy ridden couple Cassandy. When t’ swashbucklin’ lass isn’t busy writin’ ships logs she be sneakin’ into port and robbin’ booty and grog while t’ lad steers t’ getaway ship launchin’ t’ six pounders on any landlubber in t’ way.

A couple of fearsome familiar looking pirates!

Here be mel-ray. Ye can’t trust these here salty sea dogs. T’ lass makes t’ most divine cakes you’ve ever tasted in all t’ seven seas, but they’re layered with poison. Fall for t’ cakes and you’ll be chopped up with t’ lad’s cutlas and thrown in tomorrow’s stew. Say “I’m shovin’ off” t’ all your booty!

Don’t be fooled by the smiles, these pirates should be feared!

They didn’t call this pirate bigbadjohn for nothin’. He was once t’ most fearsome pirate that ever lived, but he got sent t’ pay a visit t’ Davy Jones. He didn’t go away for good and still haunts his ship which be rumored t’ still sail around t’ black rocks. If you see tazzy1234, his faithful parrot then you’ll know he’s lurkin’ near by and your days be numbered!

Bigbadjohn1234 will be hiding in the shadows…

Last but not least, t’ most feared pirate alive t’ sail in these waters: Evie o’ t’ Hollyncharlie crew! Mum and dad be busy down below steerin’ t’ ship whilst t’ Junior Captain shouts her orders and directions. Armed with 27 six pounders and a crew o’ 300 deadly pirates she has no mercy for any ships that cross her course. If thar be treaaye near by, then it soon be in her grasp!

Pirate Evie before boarding her ship

Captain’s mate!

And after boarding!

Time for treasure hunting!

After we’d all signed in and registered our attendance for the MEGA it was time to head off in search of not-so-buried treasure on the 8 mile loop that had been set with 24 caches. We stayed in our pirate gear and I soon realised why I don’t normally cache in fishnet tights and a skirt: Grass seeds get embedded in the fishnet holes and are very spikey, and skirts are great for flashing your bloomers at everyone whilst climbing stiles (Don’t worry, I was wearing shorts underneath! Lol!)

Signing the log whilst Andy does his best teapot impression…

It was a pretty nice series, although a lot of the paths were obviously not very well walked so we had a few tricky sections that we had to tackle, but it wasn’t bad at all. There were lots of stiles though and with hundreds of pirates out searching for treasure there were quite a few queues to get over them.

There be pirates on the horizon…

Single file

This sheep is particularly fond of pirates!

There were a few sections where we crossed the road, through the village, and past a garden centre. It was great to see some of the muggle’s faces as yet more pirates passed through!

Pirate collision!

It was a boiling hot day and I got very sunburned (Just in case I didn’t realise everyone I bumped in to pointed it out to me! Lol!). Back at camp it was time to relax and recharge ready for the evening…

Evening Entertainment

After stripping off the pirate costumes to cool down in the afternoon it was time to become a pirate once again and pull together all of the Essex pirates for a lovely group shot as everyone looked so great fearsome! 😉

The Essex pirates!!! Everyone say Arrrrrrgh!

Even the fruit and veg got dressed up!

There was a section of the camp site fenced off for barbequing, however we stayed at the tent and had ours. It’s a good job we did as all of the BBQs caused a huge amount of smoke!!!


There were a few games that went on throughout the night. The kids played “Captain Says” and were impressively obedient when told to run around the camp site, salute, lay on their back, do a “sick turtle”, etc.

The kids playing “Captain says”

And then it was time for the adult game: Chili eating! I sat this one out, but Yorkie63, Bigbadjohn, Risktak4r and Tazzy1234 were brave and ate a mild chili and a birds eye (or two!) after using the trick with milk to line their mouths before, and cool down the fires afterwards. They earned a fair few Dubloons for the red team. Well done guys!

It’s chili eating time!!!

Ready for a warm up!

Chili faces!

The BBQs soon stopped smoking and it started to get dark. The prizes were given out for best dressed pirates, tent, and vehicle. Mel-ray had one of the 7 tents that won “Best dressed tent” and quite rightly so hollyncharlie won “Best Dressed Vehicle” for Evie’s pimped up pram. The dubloons were all counted and obviously the read team won. The greatest pirate team in all the land! When it got dark we were treated to a mini firework display as a few fires burnt on into the night.

Fireworks to end the evening

Still drinking grog


Yawn! Sunday 22nd July and the Essex crew were all rudely awoken by a domestic going on between two cachers in one of the tents in front. It was like the blooming Jeremy Kyle show. A lot of those camping in the area had been awake for a few hours whilst the drunken couple sorted out their differences blatantly ignoring the fact that tents don’t have walls! It was the woman screaming and slapping the man that woke me at about 5:30am! I’m the grumpiest person in the world if I don’t get enough sleep, or get woken up abruptly, but the shouting and screaming was actually pretty amusing as we learned about some of the couple’s more intimate secrets. It was very annoying, but we all did what all good British pirates do – sat down and had a cup of tea! Hehe! Eventually security turned up and they disappeared leaving us all tired and grumpy!

After packing the tent away it was time to head into Ashbourne for the 12:00 Initiation event in the centre. All of us pirates gathered in the streets.

Invading Ashbourne

A bottle of rum was placed on a table with a “Free rum! Take me” sign on. It really wasn’t long before a muggle decided to seize the bottle and begin his initiation into the pirate clan!

The moment we’ve been waiting for…

Drink, drink, drink…

Showered with gifts! Can’t be bad!

The muggle was a really good sport and happy stood for plenty of photographs and gift showering. It was great fun! We left the piratey fun behind and headed home, stopping off for a pub lunch and a visit to Kirby Muxloe castle which unexpectedly just happened to be right next to the pub.

Kirby Muxloe

Piratemania V was a cracking event. Easily the best event that we have attended. Pirates are absolutely the best characters to dress up as and the amount of work and organisation put in by Mark (PopupPirate) and Leanne to get the event together for a fifth time was so impressive. It’s amazing how big the event has grown since the first one, Piratemania 2008. We owe them a massive thank you for a cracking weekend, and a big thank you to all our Essex caching friends for great company for the entire weekend. I can’t wait for next year’s Piratemania and the excuse to buy more Pirate gear! 😀

There’s just one thing left to say: “Arrrrrrgh! Happy caching plundering


8 Responses to “Piratemania V – The Essex Invasion!”

  1. alflavor Says:

    Looked like a great weekend!

  2. bigbadjohn Says:

    Thanks for the write up cass,as alwayss done so professionally. CAn I add my thanks from me and Tazzy for making us feel so welcome at our first camping event and hopefully the first of many. Aaarrreee..

    • geocass Says:

      You’re very welcome John, It was great to have our own little Essex mini team, looking forward to camping with you again! And an Arrrrrgh to you too! 🙂

  3. karen - stones2005 Says:

    This has got to be the best line in a blog ever – “I soon realised why I don’t normally cache in fishnet tights and a skirt” rofl.
    So sad we missed this one as I had wanted to go – next year I’ll make sure we don’t come back from holiday the day before!

    • geocass Says:

      Hehe! The fishnets were good for stopping the mud splatter though, after I took them off my legs were covered in little brown dots so they’d stopped the massive splatters and the mud was easier to get off. That’s possibly the only advantage I can think of! Lol! Definitely do come along next year, it’s great fun! 😀

  4. MrsLegohead5 Says:

    Great write up, we were there Saturday and the boys had a great time as did we. Definately on our event list for next year. Having to work early Sunday put paid to staying but seems you were all up early anyway with those pesky noisy pirates!

  5. Tim Mayer Says:

    Great post! Did anyone dress up as “The Scarecrow”?

  6. MEGA PirateMania 2013!!! | GeoCass UK GeoCaching Says:

    […] that we had a great time at PirateMania 2013, which was easily as good as (if not better than) last year’s event. It was different to last year where the organisers had to run around sorting out all of the […]

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