At the start of this year, I set myself the challenge of completing my DT grid. Here’s how it looked back then (the yellow squares were the targets for my outing on Day #166) – 26 empty holes.
Since then I have been chipping away at the empty squares, looking for specific caches to fill the gaps. As of today I have just one left! The tricksy D5/T4.5:
Together with geobuddy Infinson, who only had 3 empty squares to fill, and his son fincache, we headed off to Kent today to make sure we finished off the task!
The first was The Nest, a D5/T4.5 which both Ian and I needed. We chickened out and sent Ryan up the tree. He is a climbing instructor, so he knows what he’s doing!
While that technically meant we had done the job, I wasn’t happy until I’d actually got my hands on a D5/T4.5 under my own steam. So we headed to our backup cache, North Downs Adventure #10 (4×4 Cache & dash MkII) with my new telescopic ladder! There we go, cache in hand. Who needs to climb? 😉
I had anticipated I might finish off the grid today, so I brought along my 81 Star Geo-Achievement coin to pose with once I had done it.
We stopped off at several other high DT caches around Walderslade and then headed for OMG – which is a jaw-dropping D3.5/T5 along a pipe over the River Medway. I wanted nothing to do with this one! But Ian gamely sent his first-born son up there to do the deed. That was his penultimate square ticked off.
Infinson’s one remaining empty square was the elusive D1.5/T5 at Damp Ankles near Dartford. It was pretty dry today, and we made short work of it!
So there we go – two of us finishing off our DT grids today and Ryan having a lot of fun too. Here’s to adventures!
And once I had come home and logged the finds, my grid now looks very satisfying indeed:
I’ve had an absolutely awesome day out caching today, with geofriends David (Tot66) and his son Calum (Caliber2000). David and I were discussing our DT grids at an Essex Meet a few weeks ago, and he offered to take me out caching by kayak, so we could grab some hight terrain caches long the River Lea near Ware. It was the Messing About On The River series by Noztradamus&JackNano. Today was the day for my maiden voyage!
Having inflated the kayaks, we set off but discovered we were on the wrong bit of river/canal/tributary! So it was out of the inflatables again and portage them past the big weir to a better place to put in. However, this left us downstream with another weir in between us and No. 1. So we decided to go for 2-5 first and come back for No. 1 later.
Once we arrived at GZ, I quickly spotted the cache at No. 2 and Calum volunteered to reach up to make the grab while we kept his kayak steady. That wasn’t so bad, but after I’d signed it, he spent an age trying to get the Bison’s lid screwed up again. Many times we thought he would end up wet, but his balance won out and with some relief, he finally did the container up and sat down back in his K1. Phew!
Thankfully No. 3 was much easier – difficult from above on the bridge, but easy peasy by boat. Again I did the signing honours and replaced it as we paddled underneath.
The going was fine until we turned up a side tributary towards No. 4. Fallen trees had trapped the skegs which meant a bit of bumping was needed to get us over the obstructions. Once we got to GZ here we ran aground – it was very shallow! David gave up and got out, so he had a little paddle while signing the log for us all!
Backtracking and taking a further paddle up the main stream got us to No. 5 – again a tricky climb but with us steadying Calum’s K1 as he scaled the barrier, we got the log down and back safely.
We then set sail back towards where we had started. The clouds had burned off and the sun was shining as we paddled along. It was a lovely day for Messing About On The River, for sure!
The GoPro proved invaluable for taking some photos. Thankfully I’ve got a waterproof housing for it, and the remote control app on my phone – which was in a dry bag – so there were no worries about getting the tech wet. And a good job too…
Having manoeuvred ourselves back to the second smaller weir, we got out of the boats and sat for a quick rest on the bank. Unfortunately, upstream of the weir (where we needed to put in to tackle No. 1) there wasn’t any easy portage points. We chose the best we could manage and I was trying to get back into the kayak when disaster struck!
Yes, of course, I went in the drink, and got very wet. But it was all great fun and Calum managed to take these photos which I’ve montaged together to immortalise the event!
We tried once more and this time I made it into the boat without embarrassing myself again! Once at GZ, the current from the big weir was too strong for us to maintain a position to grab the cache, so we decided to call it a day. 4/5 wasn’t a bad score for our efforts, and I have now filled four empty DT squares with just one to go!
We had also targeted a couple of other adventurous caches to tackle after the river, both by the same CO, The first was Nano’s Secret Nuclear Bunker, which was in an abandoned Royal Observer Corps underground hideout. Great fun to explore (it was tiny, it didn’t take long!).
It brings home just how awful it would have been to have been stuck down in one of these things – there was barely room to swing a cat. One small room and an en suite loo – that was it!
We found the box and the codes required to open it to sign the log. Then it was a bit of a climb back up, but we all escaped easily!
David was glad to be out in the fresh air again!
The last of the extreme caches today was Are You Afraid Of The Dark? Head torches at the ready, we made our way inside… It was a huge storm drain tunnel which we had no trouble standing up in – and seemed to go on forever!
I’m not sure how far we walked but it took ages as we had to pick our way carefully along the slippery brick floor. There wasn’t any water underfoot, apart from the odd puddle. I can’t imagine what it would be like when there’s full flow in here!
Thankfully there was only one way to go, so we didn’t get lost!
We were told we needed to go right to the other end, turn around and begin our search. The hide was quickly spotted, and we then had to do the walk in reverse. Perhaps we should have tried getting out this end to see where it went above ground?!
There were a couple of easy trads within striking distance of the tunnel, so we decided to go for those as well. The last was a lovely duck-themed box, The Duck Pound II which encouraged you to give the ducks a good home. How could we resist? I’m now the proud owner of the little blue guy you can see here (who has since turned into the intrepid traveller, Caz’s Little Quacker):
So all in all a Grand Day Out, great fun with lots of laughs and certainly pushing the boundaries of my caching experience to date. Can’t wait to do it again! I have certainly been living up to my Life Begins geocoin’s motto today.
Kitty!! and I attempted It Takes Two in Basildon a couple of months ago, but it was missing. A return mission was scheduled for today, it having been replaced recently. This time it was a lightning quick find (we had taken the right gear with us!) which filled another DT square for me – D4/T4.5. Just five to go now!
Here’s what’s left of my DT grid after today’s finds:
After that success, we headed around the park for a few more that one or the other hadn’t found. But it took at least half an hour to locate the elusive twit at Holy Cross Perching – just as we were about to give up, I spotted the little blighter! Phew!
I had a Fabulous Friday out caching in Kent today with Kitty!! and Mr Crow. We centred our activities around Cliffe and Cliffe Woods initially, taking in a multi Church Micro, Earthcache and several excellent trads.
The Charnel House was an interesting Earth cache to visit.
Torpedoes Again was located at Cliffe Fort.
However, the main point of our trip today was to pick up two caches in new DT squares for us all. The first was Earth Engine. I’ve had the co-ords for this one for a few months, but today was the perfect day for a visit. The sun was shining, there was a cool breeze and the walk from the car park was spectacular. Initially, it looked very daunting, but once we found a sensible way in, wasn’t too bad at all.
Of course, we had to take a few pictures from the top! And that was the D3.5/T4.5 box ticked off the list.
Finally, we had to visit Shrek – his swamp was on the outskirts of Maidstone, and we came prepared. The perfect place to christen our new waders!
Kitty and I gingerly edged our way through the gloop to GZ while Mr Crow stayed on dry land, guarding our stuff and taking pictures of the escapade. I also managed a pic at GZ with my phone, without dropping it or the log sheet into the mire. And that was the rather satisfying D4.5/T5 box done too!
We triumphantly celebrated our Grand Day Out with dinner and a pint at a nearby pub, before heading home, weary but satisfied with our achievements.
Today’s expedition was back to Kent to pick up some more Challenge caches and a few extras I happened to be passing. The first of the extras was an earthcache in Well Hill, all about Kent Ragstone. Easy peasy, once the obligatory selfie had been taken!
The Mission Church at Well Hill was an interesting little place, where I picked up the only letterbox hide of the day.
My park and ride route took me to Orpington, Swanley, Knockholt, Crockenhill and Eynsford, so it was quite a winding little loop. I was pleased with the total of 16 challenges picked up today – it often takes longer to prove you’ve qualified than actually finding the pot! And that now brings up my Challenge finds to 94!
My main target was the long-windedly-named The Experienced Cacher-EarthCache Challenge Cache near Orpington, which was actually the first find of the day. But it filled in another blank DT square in the form of the rather juicy 3/5:
That leaves me with just 8 gaps at present. I know how to get another 4 of them filled – but that requires a boating expedition with some geobuddies, so it will have to wait until the weather improves! For the moment, I will have to plot how to fill the others from the comfort of my armchair.
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 out with Kitty!! and Mr Crow again today. Our first target for the day was the D1/T5 hide, the Cottage Pie Bonus cache near Ongar. A tree over water, Kitty volunteered to scale the obstacle, and the cache was quickly spotted.
This nicely fills another DT square fore (and us all). My grid now looks like this, 10 left!
After that success, we relocated to Takeley to attempt Run Around’sTakeley Trail. But first there was time to find the Church Micro to pick up. There were lovely patches of snowdrops in the churchyard.
We had mixed success with the trail, there were lots of great hides but we also failed to find 6 of the 17 on the loop! And we had to take quite a diversion on the walk to avoid this collapsed bridge:
This one was an easy find but more tricky to open! It took at least 4 hands, glad I wasn’t trying to do this one on my own.
Fantastic log book here, very original.
Kitty!! and Crow (meanies) handed me this one to open. They both have similar puzzle boxes and knew its secret. I got there eventually.
So, a good day out, but it’s a shame we were so rubbish at finding so many. We’ll be back to try again another time.
I’ve been meaning to get out caching again with rachel’n’rio for a few weeks, but we’ve both been ill and our diaries haven’t had a convenient mutually free slot until today. We decided to tackle The Running Well, as it filled the blank D1.5/T4 square for us both.
I visited the previous cache which was here, now long-archived. But I hadn’t had a particularly enjoyable experience then, so I had been putting off a revisit on my own. However, with some company it promised to be more fun.
We still weren’t 100% sure about the legitimacy of footpath access to the cache, but approaching from the west we got there quite quickly and the slippery banks which I had encountered previously were much firmer this time around. The baying dogs were safely snoozing in their kennels today too. Job done, we posed for a selfie next to the well:
With another DT square filled, it now means I’ve completed the T4 column, and have just 11 left to do. I’m hoping to polish off another one tomorrow with Kitty!! and Mr Crow near Chipping Ongar. Watch this space!
I planned a day out with Kitty!! and Mr Crow today, initially to find The Tapper near Hatfield Peverel, which required some wading and me being part of the brawn to pull Kitty out of the river!
It was freezing in the river, so I was glad Kitty had volunteered to do the wading. She retrieved the big box quite quickly.
There was a fab method of “signing” the log! We loved it.
Once we had done that one, we dropped Mr Crow off for a walk to do some maintenance on some of his caches and we headed off to A Bad Sine – which I had solved ages ago but had been putting off finding. Since it filled a DT grid square, I had resolved to try it soon. Kitty agreed to accompany me, even though she had already found it.
Job done, we retired to a nearby garden centre for a hearty late lunch and to wait for Mr Crow!
The we went onto Rally Round 80 Mr Crow and a few others, but RR80 filled a second DT grid square for me. We also picked up a few more along the way.
I had another trip to Kent today to find some Challenge Caches and a couple of earthcache hides, and mopping up a few extras along the way.
My first stop was Church Micro 3151 Horton Kirby – a Challenge cache which I qualified for on Sunday with my 20 CM finds. This hide also filled in the D4.5/T3 square of my DT grid (actually I did this one twice today!).
There were a couple of Letterbox hides which I picked up in passing, too. We don’t seem to have that many in Essex but the folks in Kent seem very keen to set them, so I grab them whenever I can.
VS~480 Fawkham Green (Dip slope Earthcache) is an unusual high DT Earthcache and recent addition to the Village Signs series. I hadn’t realised until I logged it that it’s actually the same D4.5/T3 which I had just bagged this morning. So that’s good for Loop 2 of the DT grid! I also enjoyed a jolly good lunch at the Pub near the village sign, I can recommend it if anyone is passing.
The final earthcache of the day was at Church Micro 2372… West Kingsdown- St Edmund which I hadn’t had time to investigate when I was nearby a few weeks ago doing the Cool Cuban Spirit series with Kitty!! and Mr Crow. It’s also near three more Challenge caches which I picked up while I was about it.
So all in all, an enjoyable day out. The new DT means I have just 14 squares left to find now. Onwards and upwards!