Winter caching adventures in Kent, Northamptonshire, and Essex

Hill climbing in Trosley Country Park

I’d been a very busy puzzle-solving Geocacher over the past few weeks and had cracked 18 puzzles around a country park in Kent. Although the puzzle locations were quite spread out they could be combined with an existing series, plus other caches to form a couple of circular walks of about 6 miles and 8 miles. It looked like a lovely area to explore with a lot of the caches showing as being in a woods. I’d noted that the walks may be a little hilly in places, however may have slightly underestimated the elevation as it was a bit higher than we anticipated!

On Saturday 14th Jan we got started in Trosley country park with mel-ray at 8am before the car park opened so it was very quiet with just the odd early morning jogger busying themselves on the footpaths. With a chill in the air and the low winter sun we soon entered the woodland area of the country park only to be nearly blinded by the sun crashing through the trees.

The winter sun breaking through

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Hills, swamps, and telegraph poles!

On Saturday, 10th September we headed to Kent with our friends mel-ray to do the Griffin’s Grizz Series, a series of 26 geocaches over around 6 miles. We were attracted to the series because it had many varied terrain/difficulty ratings on the caches. We thought there would probably be some quite difficult climbs on it as one of the caches was a 4.5d/4t which we needed for our difficulty terrain matrix.

North Downs Way

It was a sunny morning, and we got off to a good start by finding the first few geocaches, however very soon we realised the reason for the high difficulty/terrain ratings of some of the geocaches… It was because there was a very big hill leading up to the top of the series. Once we were the top however it was quite flat and it was just a matter of getting back down. Although the walk up the hill was quite demanding there was some beautiful woodland and we passed some sections where there were some lovely old trees.

Up the hill we go!

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Caching in Kent (Plus an Extreme Fort cache)

Over the past two weekends we’ve spent a lot of time caching down south, 3 times in Kent and once in Surrey, so this blog post covers our adventures over those 4 trips.

Saturday 27th August

Entrance to Polesden Lacey

We’ve had our eye on a large series in Surrey for some time, Humble Hike. This is a series of 51 caches over 10 miles, plus extras, and plus the ability to add a few extra miles to the trip to incorporate the Polesden Lacey series to give us around 70 caches over a 13 mile walk. We teamed up with our good friends mel-ray and set off at 8am on a lovely sunny morning.

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Shipbourne Stroll – A very creative day of caching

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!

Duck attack!

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Caching in Dirty Darenth and Pretty Coggeshall

This weekend we had a bit of a contrast in cache locations. We had Saturday in Darenth, Kent which was covered in litter as far as the eye could see including used needles, fake number plates and a dead dog in a bin liner. Sunday was a much nicer day when we stuck around in our home county, Essex and visited the pretty little village of Coggeshall…

Galloping Gallops

Well, what a day we chose to go caching! We should have known when we stepped out the door Saturday morning and the heavens opened that it probably wasn’t going to be the best idea, however we had plans and I had drawn up a map, and a to do list and we had a job to do so headed down to Kent.

We started the day with the Galloping Gallops trail around Longfield. This was a trail of 14 caches. It carried on raining as we stepped out of the car and decided that it wasn’t going to stop! It was quite an interesting start to the trail as all around the countryside here were white tyres poking out of the ground! It was a strange thing to see, and something that followed us around for the entire trail. Still not sure what they’re all about!

The strange tyres

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Variety is the spice of caching

Sounds like a plan…

At the start of this week we decided that it would probably be possible to reach our 3000th find by 6th March to make that milestone for our 1 year of caching. So I started hunting out some trails and knew if we put together enough trails and worked hard at it then it wouldn’t be too hard to hit that target… and then I thought “Hang on! This doesn’t sound very fun…” I didn’t really fancy endless miles of micros just for numbers. I do enjoy the long walks on trails, however it’s not *really* where the fun is at. So we’ve decided that fun and variety wins over numbers every time.

I started planning Saturday’s trip out in Kent with some nice variety, and it all started to look quite fun and exciting. Then I realised that there was so much variety that we would be able to pick up one of nearly every non-event cache type (in the UK) for the day. I then had a quick Google as I’d heard about icon challenge caches in the past and realised there was one not too far from home, Surrey Icon Challenge. There are also two more in the country, WEST MIDLANDS ICON CHALLENGE and BUSY DAY!–WEST YORKSHIRE- ICON CHALLENGE. All three require you to log 6 different cache types in any 24-hour period. So that was the plan, and a good plan it was as we infact managed 7 different cache types: Traditional, Multi, Unknown, Earthcache, Letterbox Hybrid, Webcam, and a Virtual.

A few drive-by’s to get us there

To start the day we grabbed a few drive bys whilst on the way to to an area with a letterbox hybrid and an earthcache. The first find of the day was Crimson Crossing. There was a big red bridge over a big pond area in an industrial area. It was quite striking, and a good cache spot.

A very red bridge

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Last caching trips of the year…

As we’ve had such a slow December, we decided to end the year on a high and spend the last 2 days grabbing some caches…

Drive By…

On Thursday (30th December) we thought we’d try our hand at some drive-by’s. We don’t do them often as we prefer walking and we’re simply not very good at them!!! We thought we’d have a go at doing some in the church micro series. This is a massive series across the UK with nearly 1500 churches in it. Most of the churches are down south, and there are a lot near us so the night before I drew up a big todo list, including a few more drive-bys on the way and we hit the road. We also only just realised that the church micro series has it’s own statistics page which is accessible here where it is regularly updated and shows your rank. We’re 74th… Not bad! And on this trip we managed to find 14 church micros…

Church Micro 432: Little Laver

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