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 But having done some research, many of the original caches have now been archived, and I could only spot a run of 7 still active around Reigate in Surrey.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!
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.
A busy day today attending an event and a CITO, plus bagging various caches around Mersea Island. My first stop was to DNF infinson’s2 for the thirdtime – not even the presence of Kitty!! this time could help us locate the cache, just a hook where it had been!
So we headed off to console ourselves at the Geo-Coffee Club meet in Little Braxted. Shifty insisted on coming too, but was disappointed when I ate all the cake. Cantankerous bird!
Having consumed the delicious cake, we set off to the CITO event at Cudmore Grove on Mersea. On arrival, Geotrowel was busy fanning the flames to get a brew going for all the hard-working litter pickers.
I followed along behind a few folks and for the first half mile or so, the beach was spotless as they had already picked it clean. But there was evidence of much recent cliff-fall along the way – a sobering thought considering how firm it had all looked back in August when we were last here for the Mega CITO event.
Eventually I got to a spot where the others had turned back with full bags and carried on from there, with my trusty companion, Larry The Litterpicker! He was soon set to work munching discarded rubbish and putting it in the bag.
After our litter-picking was done, we returned to base camp for more well-earned tea and cake. Then I had a lovely potter around various bits of the island picking up some more orphan caches which were still taunting me on the map. A grand day out.
Today’s finds also brings up the 100 days left milestone until I complete my 366 Geostreak! Gotta keep going…
Today I found myself in Stout Wooden Ferrets (oh, alright, South Woodham Ferrers) for the Love Your Community CITO at Fen Washlands. It had a great logbook – a Valentine’s card – sadly the only one I got this year!
When I arrived, Mr Geotrowel and others were already hard at work hacking at a thicket of Blackthorn.
It was a modest but enthusiastic turnout, despite the cold. There was free tea, delicious cake and hot soup available for our efforts, which really made all the difference on such a nippy day.
My first task was to do a circuit of the area Litterpicking with my friend Larry The Litterpicker. As well as a heavy bag full of trash, we also found a hanging basket and part of a broken street lamp in the bushes!
After suitable refreshments, I set to work ferrying the large prickly branches from where others were chopping them to the bonfire. The smell of Blackthorn smoke was rather aromatic!
After the event I took a walk around the town to pick up several more Trad caches. I last cached here several years ago and most of the hides I had already found have long been archived, so there were a few which needed picking up today. I finished around 4pm as it was getting bitterly cold, then I took myself home to get a cup of tea and thaw out.
A few weeks ago I noticed a CITO event had been published for today, and since I needed another two to qualify me for two different challenge caches, I made a note to attend this one in Stowmarket. I also invited along my lapsed caching friend Leeky who lives in the town.
Most cachers were issued with binbags and litterpickers to borrow, but I brought along my own buddy, Larry The Litterpicker who visits all the CITO events I go to. He had a bit of a fight with Leeky over ownership of one bit of rubbish…
We collected a big bagful each, and had a nice natter while walking around the Cedars Park estate. We also found three caches while we were out and about wombling.
Leeky was pleased to have found a hubcap – better in the bin than littering in a hedge!
We went for a rewarding lunch in ‘Spoons in the town (and found another couple of quick cache and dashes before the rain started).
Leeky returned home but there was still some daylight left, so I picked up a few more caches in the area, including a puzzle which I had solved a few weeks ago in preparation for today’s visit. I was a bit worried by the Tree Climb attribute, but decided to go take a look anyway. Larry was a great help, just reaching the cache for me without my feet leaving the ground! Hurrah for Litterpickers!
After a final two Church Micro finds in nearby Stowupland, I drove to Colchester to stay with Mum and Dad overnight, which will save time tomorrow when I go to Mistley for the first of BEASTMARSTA’s 2016 Flash Meets.
After another night under canvas at Barleylands, we woke up and headed over to the first event of the day, The Big Breakfast. The queue was rather big too, but we eventually got our Full English.
It was a very hot morning but the work parties were in full swing at Langdon Plotlands for the event and subsequent CITO – some of us were put to clearing brambles – it’s good to get revenge after so many scratching incidents whilst out caching!
The final event of the day was From Gavin To Stacy, hosted by the 2016 Welsh Mega Committee in Hockley Woods.
Alistair and I were rather exhausted by this point, so while other keen cachers went racing around the woods, we found a nice shady spot to sit and have a chill out.