Local caching buddy Kitty!! has family down in Eastbourne. She hates the drive there and back when it has to be done in a day, and was glad of some company. So I was able to hitch a ride, go and play on the seafront on my geo-bike while she went to do the family business.
I found plenty of caches along the way, including SideTracked, Church Micros and some solved puzzles which I had prepared for the trip.
Moving inland from the seafront to find some CMs…
The bike made life a lot easier and I was able to cover much more ground than if I had just been on foot.
We wrapped up with a quick find on the Downs under a great sunset, before heading back to Essex in Kitty’s car.
I went to stay with a semi-muggle friend in Deal today, but first I had a client meeting in Birchington this afternoon. You never know what the traffic will be like, so I left plenty of time for my journey and arrived with a couple of hours to spare. What to do? Well, find a few caches, of course!
The chalk cliffs are quite impressive around here, and one or two caches had a great view from their GZ.
Birchington Bay has a good view across the water to Westgate-on-Sea, too.
With my caching done, and my meeting finished, I headed to Deal to my overnight destination.
I’d had the Coal Post Challenge on my radar for some time (find 6 consecutively-numbered Coal Post caches). But having done some research, many of the original caches have now been archived, and I could only spot a run of 7 still active around Reigate in Surrey.
That’s a bit out of my normal caching zone, but when I noticed a CITO had been published close by for today, I decided a road trip was in order, to kill several birds with one lump of coal!
On arrival at the CITO, we were each given our sacks and I set off. Perhaps the soggiest lump of rubbish I found today was this:
Of course, Shifty Duck made sure he signed the log, and was ready for people to discover his TB code, along with the ever-helpful Larry The Litterpicker.
We gathered up quite a lot of stuff! Great to see such a good turn out.
Having scoffed a tasty bacon sandwich from the car park snack bar, I set off to find the other hides I came for. The first of them was the newly-replaced Reigate TB Hotel. Great box!
I had a frustrating DNF at a Letterbox hide nearby, which others don’t seem to have had any trouble with. Damn. Never mind, I really came for Coal Posts!
So I moved the car to somewhere convenient and unfolded the geo-bike for my ride along the bridleway between Kingswood Warren and Colley Hill. The bike made my progress much quicker!
I was aiming for posts 149-155, and luckily found them all quickly, apart from one, which took a bit longer.
Even this tricky whatsit didn’t fool me!
So, with 7 posts already under my belt, I decided to stop off at the Challenge Cache itself (Coal Post 206), which is conveniently just off the M25 at Swanley, not much of a detour on the way home! Job done.
But, there was another Coal Post cache just half a Km away, so why not pick up stumpy No. 203 too, while I’m here? That makes 9 Coal Post today – hurrah!
It was my last day in Hampshire and Dorset today, so I made the most of it by running round like a mad thing picking up the last caches which were on my list – a mixture of virtuals, challenges and a few others as I was passing. I started off heading further south west, to pick up a D1/T4 Loop 2 grid filler, The Bear Necessities Of Life. There were even bears inside! Awesome.
Next I headed to Minstead Church, situated in a quiet village just off the busy A31.
I was looking for a Virtual cache dedicated to the author of a famous Detective. Can you guess who?
Next I headed for another Virtual, this time on Hengistbury Head, an outcrop of rock overlooking Christchurch Harbour. Just as I got out of the car, it started raining! Drat.
The rain continued, on and off, for much of the day. I also enjoyed locating several trads and Challenge Caches along the route of the old railway between Upton and Broadstone, north east of Poole. I was particularly pleased so spot The Fat Controller – or perhaps he is a frustrated commuter – in one of the caches.
Other wildlife spotted included this huge red beetle! Thankfully, it was just plastic.
The irony of walking past a solar farm in the pouring rain is not lost on me! By this time I was east of Ferndown looking for a trio of Challenges by DizzyPair. There are one or two more in the area which I don’t yet qualify for, so perhaps I will be back on a sunny day sometime!
My final find, as it turned out, was another Virtual at Florence Nightingale’s Grave. Here I am, posing under a brolly!
As if I wasn’t already wet enough, I decided to attempt another grid filler – this time a D2.5/T4.5. I even donned my waders, but the cache was out of reach and I didn’t feel it was safe to go climbing on my own, so I left it be – it’s only a cache!
It was a rather soggy drive back home, but I had a great 4 days finding some unusual stuff in an area I don’t get to very often. A grand road trip!
I have been staying in Alton over the past couple of nights, and had noticed there was a Virtual Cache in the cemetery nearby. So this morning, it was the first cache on my list. Sweet Fanny Adams was found quickly in her resting place – it took longer to park the car!
I then headed off to pick up some more Challenge caches around East Tisted and East Meon. The countryside is quite bumpy around here!
Having done that, I headed to Liphook to meet my muggle friends for the birthday event during the afternoon, at the Hollycombe Steam Collection, followed by a curry in the town. It wasn’t really dark when we wrapped up, so I took a little wander around Liphook itself to find a handful more, before finally heading back to my hotel for the night.
My first cache of the day was another 5/5 Challenge, this time the 365 Days – A Year Lost! Having just completed a 400-day streak, I was more than qualified. More cows, but they were behind a fence and once the muggles at GZ had pushed off, I made a quick find.
After bagging another Challenge close by, I headed to Portsmouth to Fort Cumberland for the CITO event there. Shifty insisted on coming along too, as did Larry The Litterpicker, ever helpful at a CITO event.
The attendees were happy to pose for a group shot after our work was done, and then I headed off for more Challenges around Portsmouth which I had earmarked for my attention.
After picking up some nice DTs on challenges, I then headed off for some more Loop 2 fillers – mainly trads – which I had noticed in the area. I bumped into som CITO foilks at one, and we had fun wading in a very dry ditch before finally finding what we had come for.
Another Challenge completed was the 3 Caches In 3 Continents Challenge. Well, having found boxes in the UK, US and Japan, that will qualify me very well. And it was a great little box with a bear passport inside!
I found another trio of trads last thing, but before that I had earmarked three letterbox caches in the Whiteley Walk series, one of which would fill my Loop 2 D1/T4.5 square. It promised to be swampy, but I had the waders in the car and I was itching to use them! It was a slippery and sweaty walk to this one, but I picked up another couple along the way. Then I arrived at GZ!
I suspected I knew where it would be, but there was about 20ft of evil smelling swampy water to cross first. I found two substantial sticks which were kicking around to use as depth feelers and steadiers, and gradually glooped my way across! Yes, there’s the box… And after signing the log, I was most relieved to get back to dry land without having fallen over. Job done! And much fun had in the process.
I bagged up my swampy waders and headed back to the hotel for a rest, having found 16 hides today. Phew.
It’s a friend’s birthday party on Sunday, in the Southampton area, so I decided to make a long weekend of it and booked a couple of nights in the local Travelodge. I headed down today via a Challenge cache in Woking and then a few more around Eastleigh, which I had qualified for. The first was a nice big Ammo Box (not quite the largest I’ve seen, but getting there) which was for a Half Jasmer Challenge. I love finding old caches and qualified for it easily. The box itself was in a bit of a sorry state when I arrived:
It had been semi-muggled – the lid was off and I had to tip lots of rain out of it. But the contents were safe, just no log book. [It turns out that that was found by another visitor a few days later, about 20ft away].
I dried things off as best I could and re-hid it under some natural camo I found in the area. Hopefully it will remain safe now!
Talking of old caches, there was one hidden in 2005 not too far a walk from the Half-Jasmer, so I made my way there next. Thankfully, the local bovines were safely behind a fence! So I walked on unhindered.
Even when a cache has survived for a decade or more in the wild, it’s unusual to still find the original log book. But here it was – a little damp but still readable!
I added my signature a few pages further on.
Next up, after a short drive, was the Double Digit Blockbuster Challenge – which I had been working towards for several months, targeting finds on specific dates to fulfil the requirements. A lovely 5/5 DT was the reward! I was relieved there was no tree climbing involved to actually pick up the cache today.
After finding a couple more in the vicinity (a regular puzzle and another Challenge), I finally headed off to my hotel for the evening, satisfied with an interesting day out, despite the rain.
Today was the last day of my road trip to the Berkshire/Wilstshire borders. First on the menu were a couple of Challenge caches, which I’ve already qualified to find. I realise I put the wrong date on the 100 Days Challenge logbook. Oops.
The 200 Days Challenge was a nice ammo can found in the woods.
After those two, and a few more nearby trads along the way, I headed back to Silbury Hill and Avebury to pick up two more Virtuals and a couple of trads on my route. My walk started off sunny as I climbed Waden Hill, overlooking Silbury’s mound.
Having gone over the top and back down the other side, I was at Avebury Stone Circle and found the info for the Virtual quickly. Then I set off south for West Kennet Long Barrwo…
… just as the heavens opened. It was a long walk to the barrow and after stopping for a nearby trad, I eventually got to the top, rather soggy. Info collected and soggy selfie completed, I trudged back to the car and had to endure a damp drive home! All good fun in the end.
I enjoyed another crazy day today, on my road trip from Essex. I had originally planned to visit Imber Village (for the rare D5 Virtual) next weekend, but checking the access times again a few days ago, I noticed the MoD had decided to close it early. So it was this weekend or bust! A hastily-arranged road trip saw me finally visit the Ghost Village and fulfil an ambition at last. However there were a few caches along the way which needed my attention first!
The village of Durrington was worth a visit, for the Woodhenge Virtual, Cuckoo Stone Earthcache…
… and Sun Gap Cache – another Virtual to tick off the list.
Then on to the main reason for my trip, Imber Village. It’s a spooky place, even when full of summer visitors. The MoD only open it for about 4 weeks in total each year, so it was definitely worth going when the opportunity arose.
The church has two caches associated with it, one of which requires a visit inside, and with even more limited opening times than the village itself, the window to get the information was pretty small! I’m so glad my plans worked out.
Once that business was concluded, I was able to drive across some of the ranges of Salisbury Plain to pick up a few challenge caches which I had qualified for. But you must remember to give way to the Routemaster Bus from Warminster to Imber, ferrying curious muggles to the place I had just left!
After the challenges, I was able to find The Biggest Cache In Wiltshire too, which turned out be a true monster!
The log was equally massive, and I had a bit of trouble trying to take a selfie in the rain with the logsheets flapping about in the wind! Here’s the best you get.
From sunny in Imber, the weather was beginning to deteriorate. It was quite cold and damp by the time I arrived at Caen Flight for the multi nearby, a 2002-vintage hide and a Large as well.
On the way back, I stopped off at Silbury Hill to log the Virtual there, taking another selfie in the gloom. At least it had stopped raining.
Then it was time to head back to Lambourne in Berkshire for the nearest Finish Line event for the HQ Duck Dash. Little Quacker has had fun over the last month, but is now happy to go into retirement, having covered 1,408 miles with me! I wouldn’t normally do that many miles in a month, but it did occur during the period of my 10-day holiday in North Wales and elsewhere, to visit two Megas!
I’m heading to Imber Village in Wiltshire this weekend (more of that tomorrow), but first I had to drive to Margate in Kent for meeting this afternoon. You never know what the motorways are going to do, so I set off super early and had time for a few finds in Kent before the meeting. Since I was passing, I stopped off briefly for the 13th Day Of Every Month Challenge just south of Whitstable. Then the T3.5 Earthcache near Reculver was high on the agenda.
I had lunch next to the pretty little Church at Reculver before doing the Church Micro.
Once my meeting was done, it was back on the motorways, but I had time for one or two on my way to my hotel in Berkshire this evening – the payoff for travelling on the M25 on a Friday night!
The CM at Eversley was hardly a Micro! Little Quacker met a blue friend in the big ammo box we found. Why Eversley? Well I needed just one CM in the CM44xx range to finally qualify for The Mega Church Micro (CM) Challenge Cache and this wasn’t too far off my planned route. Job done!
The last stop of the day was to Burghclere Memorial Chapel for the CM there, before turning in for the night and settling down to log the day’s finds.