Leap Day is of course a one-in-four year event. Geocachers get excited about it as it enables them to fill that elusive missing day in their “finds by date calendar”. In 2012 I hosted the Essex Meet Leap Day event and had my arm twisted to do it again this year.
This morning was also the day that my pesky car decided to die again – the third time in 5 months! Argh! What to do?
I knew I wouldn’t have time to get it sorted out today, so just left it sulking on the drive and hopped on the train to Ingatestone to find a couple of Kitty!!’s new caches in her old Mamma Mia loop.
The sky was blue and the sun was shining. Thankfully it wasn’t too windy or muddy underfoot. And thanks to the generosity of a couple of caching friends, I got a lift to and from the pub in Mountnessing where the event was held this evening – it would have been very embarrassing not to turn up at my own do!
Colchester was today’s target for caches, mainly driven by attending the early morning event which has been in my diary for some weeks as “Geotrowel’s thing in Colchester at Stupid O’Clock”. After a quick park and grab with a couple of event attendees at a nearby nano, we proceeded to the rendez-vous point, for the shenanigans to begin!
Astrotrowel had given templates to make puff-powered USS Enterprise flying machines. What chaos! But great fun despite the silliness of the hour (at 08:30 of a Sunday morning, it’s rare I’m out of bed let alone out of my PJ’s and 35 miles from home).
The spoilsport wouldn’t let me fly my Space 1999 Eagle Freighter as it was a “non-regulation” craft. Hmph!
There was a rather cool Star Trek themed TB kicking around though! Engage Warp Speed…
Geotrowel presented Hardyhaha with a big bar of Galaxy (what else?) for winning the distance race with his vessel, the USS Creme Egg.
After the prize giving, the Final Frontier Fools lined up for a photo call with the debris of their craft at their feet!
After the event I spent a very enjoyable couple of hours in the company of Kareninwb and Snoopyus as we moseyed around Colchester town centre picking up a few trad caches. Sunday mornig is a good time fora lot of them as most muggles are (very sensibly) at home.
Once my car park time had run out I relocated to Shrub End to find some more caches on my own. High on my “must find” list was Open Sesame by PuReWaRRioR69 – the biggest cache I’ve ever set eyes on, located in a lock-up garage! Brilliant. And a perfect place for dumping all those over-sized TBs if ever you need it!
I also had a couple of Geotrowel’s Earthcaches on my to do list, both involving the Iron Age defensive ditches around Lexden. They involved a lot of walking but the sun was out, I had music in my headphones and the mud wasn’t too thick.
By about 3:30pm I’d had enough. That’s a bit early for me normally, but I realised I had been at it since “stupid o’clock”, so I decided to retire home fore a cup of tea and put my feet up on the sofa. I’ve covered more than 11 miles on foot today! No wonder I’m tired.
There was a Winter Afternoon Railyway Flash Meet at Wakes Colne today, organised by BigBadJohn which I wanted to attend, and it presented the opportunity to search for some hides around The Colnes and Bures. It’s not an area I get to very often, so always welcome.
One of my first stops on the way was for an Earthcache in Aldham. You have to measure the speed of the river by playing Poohsticks! Marvellous!
After finding another trad on the way, I arrived at the Flash Meet. There was a great turnout despite the cold weather. Even ShiftyDuck made an appearance!
There was a cluster of hides around Bures which I wanted to find, so after we dispersed I headed north towards the village. It has an impressive church for the size of settlement, and it looked even better in a sudden burst of sunshine.
Once business in Bures was done, I drove further north and passed the lovely little Church at Lamarsh (picking up the CM as I went). It’s one of only three Norman churches with a round tower and is a Grade I listed building. No wonder.
My main reason for heading so far out of the way was to finally end up in Henny Street, a tiny hamlet next to the River Stour just south of Sudbury. But hosting a rather tasty D2/T4.5 cache which completes another square for me, and the D2 row:
I’m now down to single figures with just 9 squares to fill in – yay!
I was caching with just Kitty!! today as Mr Crow wasn’t available. We chose a lovely little circuit around Thundersley Common to tackle and it turned out to be a great set of caches. There were some really inventive hides, but we were pleased to be able to find all six in the end.
Casper the ghost was guarding one cache which was quite a way up a tree, but we found the tool nearby and he was quickly in hand.
This yappy little dog wouldn’t shut up while we signed the log at one cache, but fled into the distance when I approached it for a photo.
The last find of the day was cleverly hidden in this Tribble! Kitty was being a particularly girlie wuss at this one, so I had to do the retrieval while she stood to one side, shuddering with horror!
Sadly, our last attempt was a DNF, but it was at a high DT cache in Whitmore Park. We went “tooled up” but sadly, not quite tooled up enough. We will have to return with better equipment!
When The Essex Way Series was archived suddenly a few weeks ago, I was quite disappointed as I still had at least half of the 450-cache 81-mile route to walk.
Other local cachers were disappointed too, and a couple have now “adopted” the cache locations and republished them, to give 81 hides between Willingale and Pleshey.
At lunchtime I decided to have a little walk to collect the first seven, starting in Willingale. it was a lovely day for it, even though the going underfoot was rather muddy in places – a bit different from when I last walked this stretch back in July!
Just time for a quick cache and dash today, as I was busy scoping out and setting a little circuit of caches for Leap Day. I headed to a newly-published Church “Micro” nearby, only to realise I had visited the same spot a couple of years ago when another cache was resident. It took me ages last time, but today I was able to go straight to the pot!
I was working in Elstree today and got let out of my meeting earlier than expected. It was still daylight, so I thought I would take a walk to find something in the area rather than waiting until I got back into London, by which time it would probably be dark.
The first one I tried was sadly a DNF (I was in good company, I think it’s been muggled). But the second was lurking behind one of these familiar things. Job done.
I had a good excuse to go to Dovercourt and Harwich today for Mr BEASTMARSTA’s latest Mini Meat #3. It was a good turnout despite the blustery conditions.
Before the event, I found several caches as drive-bys and short walks. Afterwards, I teamed up with Sidsgranma and Kareninwb to find some more around the town. The first was overlooking a large pond with swans, but they didn’t take much notice of us as we searched!
Harwich Sea Defences was a stinker, thankfully one of us had already found it, so with the aid of my mirror-on-a-stick, it didn’t take us too long to locate it again and sign for the two who hadn’t visited before.
Eventually I left the ladies to head off to Dovercourt in their car, while I walked back towards mine, picking up a few more stragglers along the promenade. I enjoyed The Light’s Gone Out – not trouble for me on a grey, windy Sunday afternoon, but I can imagine it being a nightmare during the summer when the place is heaving with muggles.
So it was a great haul of finds and apart from the biting wind, the weather turned out better than predicted. I didn’t get wet, either – which is the biggest result of the lot!
The other evening, Kitty!! and I had managed to work out the solution to a couple of Mr Crow’s impenetrable puzzles. As she’s not allowed to find them before anyone else, it was left to me to give it a go today. Rally Round 204 Murder was my first target. It was a quick find but I had been beaten to the FTF by 24 hours. Oh well, I wasn’t really surprised.
Then I stopped off in Witham to mop up a few stragglers. Ice Breaker – Bucket Of Fun was a big cache – another easy find next to the golf course. I found a stray ball which I’ll keep for Kitty who needs them for an evil cache she’s planning.
Waterworks was across Whet Mead which required a trip under the A12 via a tunnel – and I found a troll looking at me! At GZ, I randomly found another golf ball in the grass! Odd, as it’s miles from where you would expect anyone to be hitting a golf ball…
The final target of the day was Rally Round 203 Missing Numbers. I approached with trepidation, but was delighted to find an empty log sheet – yay! I wasn’t actually chasing the FTF but it’s nice when it happens. No. 25 in nearly 8 years of caching!