Getting The Freelander Muddy

My off-roading chums organised a green lane trip on Salisbury Plain.

The gang

It was billed as “non-damaging” so I decided to take my Freelander 2 (which we call “R2”).

Freelander2

The Freelander doesn’t have the ground clearance of the Range Rover or Discovery 3’s in our group but, apart from a couple of lanes with deep ruts (which I dealt with by straddling the ruts) and a water splash which looked very deep from where I was (and which I chose to miss out), R2 took everything in his stride. Most of the time I had Grass/Gravel/Snow selected on the Terrain Response, switching to Mud/Ruts when required. At one section – which was a bit of an axle twister – R2 had one wheel in the air several times! When we encountered a steep climb I let R2 negotiate the start in first gear with the engine pulling along at idle, once it got steeper I just gave him a bit of welly and he simply shot up the slope with no drama.

Here’s our navigator checking the byway signs. As the Plain is a military training area, access to civilians is controlled and we had to ensure the byway we wanted to drive was open. We didn’t want to get shot at!

Checking the Byway signs

The only lane I had a problem with was a fairly narrow one enclosed by hedges and small trees and it was inevitable that these would rub along the side of the vehicle.

A bit of a narrow lane

Half way along, we encountered a huge pile of fly-tipped rubbish. It’s so disappointing; some unscrupulous people will fly tip anywhere just to save a few bucks. Getting past this obstacle wasn’t easy to do without risking a scratch or too and unfortunately I collected a few. No lasting damage though. Now that I’ve washed the mud off I’m sure the scratches will polish out with a bit of elbow grease.

I love the openness of the Plain. If the weather’s nice you’ve got all that “Big Sky”.

Front and back

In the middle distance, lots of evidence of the Army’s tank training:

Big sky

We didn’t see any tanks. 😦 The only Army activity we saw were a couple of platoons of squaddies doing some running, some of them carrying bergens or mortar ammo. At their RV they had a strategically placed Land Rover ambulance! 🙂

A boy’s day out

In which we do some green laning, move a tree, rescue a horse and FTF a geocache.

Plain lane

At silly o’clock, Bob picked me up in his Range Rover Classic and we set off for the byways of Wiltshire. I don’t normally do early mornings but we had to be at the RV just north of Devizes by about 08.45 and it would take us a couple of hours to get there. As well as us, there was our geocaching mate Jeff in his Discovery 3, plus four non-geocachers in two more Disco 3’s. The day was officially a geocache-free day, however Jeff managed to get us a “pass” to look for a cache he’d DNFd some time ago – GC36MA9 – Log it. It was on the first byway we were going to drive so while the 2 non-caching Discos drove on, we paused to find the cache. As we drove to catch the others up, we met a fellow cacher, who happened to be standing right next to another cache – GC36M9G – It’s miles!  – so we jumped out of the Land Rovers and found that one as well!

After that, we caught up with the others and the laning began in earnest; we set off in the general direction of Avebury and its famous stone circle. Unfortunately, the winter weather had left several of the byways extremely wet, these had voluntary restrictions on them which we complied with and so we didn’t drive them. This meant a bit of “recalculating” by our navigator but he soon had us back on our planned route.

Later, we were driving along a rutted lane which followed the hedge line of a field, when we came upon a fallen tree completely blocking the lane. We could have driven “off-piste” around it but we stopped instead. Jeff made short work of the branches with his trusty bow saw, until the tree was sufficiently manageable for us all to lift the tree and move it off the track and into the hedge. At that point, Jeff managed to get his Disco stuck in the rut and it took a gentle pull from one of the other Discos to help him get going again. At that point we all decided to back up and leave the lane for another, drier, day.

After a while, we agreed that it was time to find a suitable lunch stop and we parked up in a secluded lane which ran next to a field. This field contained several horses and a couple of donkeys. We stood around munching our sandwiches and chatting to the friendly horses who came up to the fence (presumably hoping to snaffle our lunch). I noticed that one of the horses had got a back leg caught in the strap of his overcoat making him a three-legged horse . He was hopping about trying to free himself. Along with Nick (one of the Disco drivers) I hopped over the gate and the two us approached the horse. He wasn’t going anywhere in a hurry so we soon caught him. With Nick holding his head, I, being careful to keep away from his legs (as I didn’t fancy being kicked), reached under said three-legged horse and pulled his foot clear of the strap. As soon as he was back on four hoofs he scampered off across the field. Not a word of thanks. Typical horse!

Anyway, after we’d finished our lunch we continued on our route, navigating our way in a southerly direction towards the byways which crisscross the eastern side of the Salisbury Plain Training Area (SPTA). The army are using most of the SPTA for a major exercise but the eastern side was (fortunately) open to civilian traffic over the weekend. Finally, skirting Tidworth, we reached the end of our planned route.

End of the route

cleaning the Rangie
Just enough cleaning to keep it road-legal.

Looking at the map, we found that we were very close to a cache (GC401F7 – Devil’s Ditch #3), so, freed from the no-caching constraint, we set of to find it. On the face of it this was an easy one, although we still made a meal of it, eventually finding it in a place we’d allegedly searched thoroughly a few minutes earlier. Duh! After that, we drove a short way up the byway opposite and made another quick (and easy) find. Back on the blacktop, we stopped once more for what we thought would be our last cache of the day, then we set off for home.

As we drove homewards along the M3, we discussed some new local caches which had been published that morning while we were en route to our RV. I called them up on my iPhone and discovered that one of them had not had a find logged. Could it be that nobody had FTFd it all day? I input the cache’s coordinates into Bob’s satnav and we continued on our way with a slightly amended plan. When we got closer, I checked again – still no log on the website!

So, at about 19.05 we arrived near to GC5NXZT – A cache with a view too. It seemed only a minute or so before I spotted the container. We opened it and… a clean log. FTF! Incidentally, that was my first FTF for a whole year – partly due to my unwillingness to compete with the local FTF hounds – so it was a super result. Bob and I were pretty pleased with that; we jumped back into the Range Rover and drove to the other new cache (which had already been FTFd) and found that as well. Well we had to pass it on our way home anyway.

After that it was back home for tea and medals. For a non-caching day it had turned out to be pretty successful: 7 caches found and one of them a FTF. Excellent!

93 out of 109

Saturday’s planned greenlaning was scrubbed so I found myself with a day pass & I thought, “Chiltern Hundreds!”. A short while later, after loading the relevant PQs onto my GPS, I was off. The major section I had left to do was the Chartridge Ring which started at number 83 and finished at number 109. (As I think I mentioned before, Dr Solly’s Chiltern Hundreds actually comprises 109 caches plus the bonus). I parked up at the Chartridge Reading Rooms – which as far as I can ascertain is the only safe place to park on this series – and set off.

The first few caches were pretty straightforward, I was pleased to find them though; there is nothing more disheartening than scoring a DNF on the first cache of the day.

CH100_2

By one cache, I found a gate which was not attached to a fence at either end. At least the land owner hadn’t bothered to padlock it.

Today I was reminded that the good Doctor is fond of climbing trees, or at least fond of making other cachers do some climbing to retrieve caches. Today I did more tree-climbing than on the rest of the CH100 combined. At another cache, although I had spotted the container from afar, I had to reach for it without being able to see it at the same time which resulted in me grabbing a huge slug. At least I have the correct accreditation.

BSS

After that, a walk along a lane called Herbert’s Hole via the interestingly named Little Hundridge Lane.

CH100_1

From CH098 the route doubled back in a Westerly direction along a tarmac lane, even so I encountered no more than a couple of cars and it was a simple process to pick off the caches as I walked up the gentle incline. Before I knew it, I had found and passed  cache number 100. I soon had to turn off the lane in order to pick up CH104, off a lane running alongside the Chartridge Park Golf Club. Now, not many people know this: I was a golf-orphan when I was younger. I found it amusing to listen to the Pringle-clad twits as they tried to decide whether to use a Spade mashie or a Mashie niblick. They were soon left behind as I retraced my steps down to Pednor Bottom. I had already had to deal with several non-caching folk, waiting until they had gone before grabbing the cache, etc. By the time I had found CH108 I was following a bunch of these walkers with a very barky (is that even a word?) dog. I gave the group a head start before climbing the hill towards the last cache of the series.

If you know the area covered by this series you will know that many of the paths choose to ignore contours. If the path wants to go straight up a steep hill then that is what it does. This particular one was so steep they (The Council?) had built in a series of steps.

Steep hill, steep steps

Even with that it was a big push to the top and I was glad to be able to stop at a stile where the aforementioned walkers had halted to watch the Red Kites soaring magnificently above us. At this point I decided to stop for lunch so I picked a spot in the lee of a hedge and admired the view while I munched my sandwiches.

CH100_4

After lunch I set off once more, passing the walkers who by now were stopped for their lunch, and made my way to the final cache – CH109. This was an easy find, so after signing the log I made my way back to my Freelander.

I knew that there was a short run of caches I had missed out before (I think one or two were missing last time I was here) so I relocated the car to another familiar parking spot before setting off to find them via Captain’s Wood and CH033.

I was keen to get this one as I had DNFd it many months previously. Having read the recent logs it was now evident that the cache was nowhere near the published coordinates so I searched a radius of about 20 Metres from the coords. I was considering calling it a day when I spotted something which tallied with the hint item on the cache page. At first I couldn’t find anything. Just then, I moved a dead tree branch and heard the distinctive sound of wood striking hard plastic. Yay! It was the cache!

After that it was off through the woods to pick up the final 3 planned for today’s trip. Two of the three were found without drama, however one which already had several DNF logs proved to be a problem. I even went so far as to burrow on all fours into a hedge to check all around GZ but to no avail. All I found were the crusts of someone’s sandwiches. Nice. Later on, when I was logging my results, I saw that another cacher had apparently found the missing cache the very same day. Hmmm.

Anyway, after that one I successfully found CH078 – my last of the day, then it was back to the Freely and home.

Map

Summary for today – 28 finds and 3 DNFs. As to the Chiltern Hundreds, I have found 93 and DNFd 16. What is slightly annoying is that for 20 of my finds the bonus code is missing. I need to get that fixed so that I can go for the bonus cache.

The Washknight Tapes

Ha ha, well not tapes exactly but an interrogation nonetheless.

This chap I know, who caches under the pseudonym Washknight, has been pestering inviting the blogging cachers (or should that be caching bloggers?) he knows to post a response to a set of 20 questions. So I have, finally, managed to sit down in front of my Mac, roll my sleeves up in a purely figurative way, open a bottle of my favourite “thinking mixture” and, cracking my finger joints in the manner of the best piano virtuoso, peck out this missive on my keyboard.

1. When and how did you first get into geocaching?

A few years ago at work, the topic of geocaching came up a couple of times; finally one of my geocaching friends (you know who you are!) pulled up the map and it turned out there was a cache very close to my house. I went and had a look but didn’t do anything about it. Some weeks later another friend (The Bongtwashes) arranged an off-roading day in Berkshire. We stopped for lunch on our way to the off-road site and it “just so happened” that there was a cache nearby, so we set off to look for it. What I didn’t realise at the time (but  subsequently discovered) was that it is standard practice to arrange routes, lunch stops etc. so that they pass near to geocaches! Anyway after that I went back to find that local one near my home and that, as they say, was that.

So, David and Bob, I blame you for infecting me with this bug for which there appears to be no cure. 😀

2. Do you remember your first find?

Certainly do! It was the one I found with The Bongtwashes. It was “A Different Approach to Recycling” . What was extra special was that when Bob read out the hint I immediately knew where to look and I found the cache before he did! I think that is the last time that has happened (LOL)

3. What device(s) do you use for locating caches?

When I started out I used my iPhone running the Groundspeak App but, being a clumsy sort of fellow, I quickly became concerned that I would drop it into a puddle (or worse). At this point I bought a Garmin Dakota which is still my main device. This is backed up by my iPhone which I use mainly for mapping (more screen real estate so I can see the map and caches in a wider context) and for interrogating the web while I’m out and about. The GPS on the newer models of iPhone is generally excellent and I sometimes use it solo for urban caching, the ocassional ad hoc cache or the increasingly rare FTF attempt. Oh, and I always put my iPhone in an “All Terrain” case.

4. Where do you live and what is your local area like for geocaching? (density / quality / setting etc)

I live in Hertfordshire, and the borders with Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire are only a few miles away; there are thousands of geocaches as far as the eye can see. The nearest (my second find) was less that 0.1 mile from my house. There’s a good mixture of easy trads, naughty nanos and tricky puzzles plus some really good rings.

5. What has been your most memorable geocache to date, and why?

This has to be the Virtual cache “The Empire Strikes Back”. A cache in New York. What’s not to like? It also scores as my “Farthest from Home” and “Farthest West”.

We visited the ESB on the night of September 11th, 2012. To say the views were spectacular would be putting it midly. To top an amazing evening we were able to see the memorial twin towers of light which were beamed up from the site of the World Trade Centre towers on every anniversary night. Stunning and moving. Just wish we didn’t have to see it.

6. List 3 essential things you take on a geocaching adventure excluding GPS, pen and swaps.

Just 3? Hmmm. Leatherman. Torch(es). Hat.

7. Other than geocaches and their contents, What is the weirdest thing you have discovered whilst out caching?

Other geocachers. 😛

Seriously, and perhaps a little disappointingly,  I haven’t found anything really weird. I have however found some unexpected things, some beautiful countryside and spectacular views. The strangest thing I can recall finding was an old-fashioned “Tanoy” loudspeaker high up in a tree, in a wood miles from any building of any sort. Very puzzling.

8. On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is I am obsessed by numbers and 10 is I am all about the experience and the quality of each individual cache. Where do you put yourself?

“I’m not a number, I’m a free man!” 🙂

If you look at my yearly stats you’d realise it isn’t all about the numbers for me. I have always enjoyed walking and so being out in the countryside, (preferrably with Skye our West Highland Terrier) is something I really do enjoy, so I guess it’s about the journey as well as the geocaching.

9. Describe one incident that best demonstrates the level of your geocaching obsession.

That’s difficult to answer because I’m not obsessed. There was a time when I would dash out for a FTF and I did get extremely wet completing a series of FTFs with The Bongtwashes in the pouring rain once. Note emphasis on the “once”.

10. Have you picked up any caching injuries along the way?

Only the usual scratches and dents from thorns, brambles and barbed wire. Usually on my head, which is why nowadays I always put my hat on when I have to burrow into anywhere and I always carry a simple first aid kit.

11. What annoys you most about other geocachers?

Hmmm. I don’t want to offend anyone. Some of them seem to take it a bit too seriously.

12. What is the dumbest thing you have done whilst out caching?

Trying to walk on something slippery such as sheet ice. That always ends badly in my experience.

13. What do your non caching family and friends think of your hobby?

In my house it’s called “Nerding”. They think I’m slightly mad. I’m not sure I have any non-caching friends…

14. What is your default excuse you give to muggles who ask what you are up to or if you need help?

My favourite is “I lost my dog” or variations of that. This excuse works even when I don’t actually have Skye with me.

15. What is your current geocaching goal, if you have one?

To complete the Chiltern Hundreds. Because it is there.

16. Do you have a nemesis cache that despite multiple attempts you have been unable to find?

There’s a micro in Pinner which I’ve never been able to find, mainly because of the muggle traffic. It has recently had a spate of found logs so maybe I’ll go back for another go soon.

17. What 3 words or phrases best sum up what geocaching means to you.

Challenging. Outdoor fun. Mud!

18. What prompted you to start blogging about geocaching?

I started my first blog in October 2005 as an evolution from MySpace (remember that one?). On my blog I write about whatever interests or (sometimes) annoys me, not just about geocaching.

After I found my first cache I posted a short item about it, it’s only recently that I have been writing about my geocaching adventures on a more frequent basis.

19. Which of your own blog entries are you most proud of.

I’m not sure I’m proud of any of my writing but I quite like this one  because it describes my best caching day (for numbers) and combines geocaching with another of my favourite pastimes – Green Laning.

20. Which other geocaching blogs do you enjoy reading?

To be honest I’m only just discovering the geocaching blogs, with two exceptions.

Washknight’s Geocaching Blind  which I’ve been following for a while now. His posts are entertaining and I like the fact that he is happy to take the p*ss out of the fact that he can’t see jack. Yes, I know he triggered this post but no, that’s not why I’ve singled him out for a mention in dispatches.

The other blog of note has to be Dr Solly’s.  It’s not just about caching, his technical tales appeal to my techie side. I’m not going to elaborate here, as he says; you either know him or you don’t.

Well, that’s the 20 questions answered, Paul. That was an interesting challenge which gave me pause to think, and travel back in time in order to research a response to some of the questions. I hope you (and anyone else daft enough to read to the end) enjoys reading my answers. 😀

Defender fun

Had another invite to the Land Rover Experience, so this time me and Bob decided to drive the Defender 110.

LR Defender 110

Our nearest LRE site is based on the Luton Hoo estate, so that’s where we went. Our instructor – Dave 3 – was extremely knowledgeable and a thoroughly nice bloke. So we spent 3 hours taking it in turns to drive a variety of terrains around the extensive estate; rock fields, steep climbs, very steep side slopes, and a ridiculously steep descent, all set in scenic farmland.

Here’s me driving. We spent a lot of time at this sort of angle.

Although it was the middle of July, Dave 3 was keen to give me some advice about driving in deep snow in my Freelander 2, which on the face of it sounds bizarre but was actually related to the use of my Freelander’s Terrain Response in gravel and deep sand. Of course, the Defender doesn’t have Terrain Response.What it does have is an excellent Traction Control system, buckets of torque, a low range transfer box and diff-lock. There’s nothing it can’t handle.

So long as you know what you’re doing. 😉

Here I am negotiating an extreme side slope. This feels and looks the most terrifying from the passenger seat, because the ground seems so very close to your side window and surely it’s only a matter of time before the Defender falls onto its side! Of course the Land Rover is more than capable of dealing with this sort of terrain provided, as I said before, you have the necessary skills.

side slope

Also out on the estate were a Discovery 4 and a Range Rover Sport. Here’s the ‘Sport doing a spot of cross-axle-ing. Just look at that suspension travel.

Range Rover Sport

And here’s Bob about to do a bit of wading.

After a great afternoon trying to get the Defender muddy it was back to the LRE base for tea* and medals.

(* Other beverages were available)

Here’s one last wistful glance back at the Defender. It is a real shame that production will end in 2015. It’s an absolute classic.

Land Rover Defender

Guess I’d better start saving… 🙂

Images © Steve Bryant & Bob Haigh

 

Back to Chesham

I’ve been aiming to get back to the Chiltern Hundreds but on the rare days when I’ve been able to go, the weather has conspired against me. It’s not just the rain (I don’t mind getting a bit wet) but more the recurringly-soggy ground making walking along the footpaths an unpleasant undertaking.

So, today the weather stayed fine (or at least fine enough to go geocaching). Me and Skye piled into the Freelander and headed off to the outskirts of Chesham. I had worked out a small loop of CH caches and a few Captain Jack caches. We had a good trip, the only con being a slog up a very steep hill. Phew, I must be so out of condition.

Found 10 with just one DNF. I’m pretty sure I know where the cache is but I’m nowhere near tall enough. I’ll have to come back to that one with suitable equipment to see if I’m correct. 😉

Mud, glorious mud

Yesterday Bob and I had a day out getting his Range Rover muddy.

With a small group of LR Discoverys we spent the day driving on Salisbury Plain.

Discovery driving on the plain

Much of Salisbury Plain is MoD land used for army training. Luckily it is criss-crossed by numerous lanes which we can drive legally (byways open to all traffic). The MoD also allows civilians to use some of their other lanes – “Permissory Byways” – which they close when they are using the area for training or live firing. You have to watch for the signs and the red flags.

Permissory Byway

Part of the training area was closed today and for much of the day we could hear the artillery firing on the Larkhill ranges while we pottered about at the other end of the plain.

Thanks to the rain we’ve all had to put up with over the last 4+ months, there is still a large quantity of water everywhere, some of which we could drive through and some we couldn’t. The Land Rovers collected assorted mud and vegetation negotiating the watery bits, on one such occasion we were lucky enough to dredge up this fellow.

it's a dead frog

Judging by the state of him he was long gone, although no one wanted the job of unhooking him from the bumper.

It’s worth mentioning: the SPTA DIO have imposed voluntary restrictions on some byways to give the land time to drain & recover from the flooding and to stop damage from vehicles. Please bear that in mind if you are thinking of going there yourself.

Back to the Chilterns

I had another chip away at the Chiltern Hundreds on Tuesday. I decided I would try to complete the bits of the Chesham Ring which I hadn’t yet done before moving on to the next ring. In case you aren’t familiar with it,  the Chiltern Hundreds series is conveniently divided into 3 – The largest (49 caches) is the Chesham Ring. The other two are the Asheridge Ring (33 caches) and the Chartridge Ring (27 caches). Now, if you are any good at arithmetic you’ll have realised that makes 109 caches rather than the 100. Actually there are 110 because the good doctor has also set a bonus and the extra ones are there in case some are out of action or simply not found. There’s more info on this website.

Anyway, I parked at Chesham Station and set off to CH001 with Skye. As you can probably tell I haven’t been doing the ring in numerical order; actually I started at number 9 some time ago and have been working my way round in an anti-clockwise direction. CH001 was an easy find but I had been anxiously watching the darkening sky and at that point it started raining heavily. Rather than carry on we dashed back to the car and took shelter until the rain eased; we took the opportunity to eat some of our rations. Afterwards we set off again towards a short run of caches (Nos. 47, 45, 44 & 43). That involved walking around an ornamental park lake and Skye got great pleasure from watching the geese jump into the water as she approached them 🙂

After that, it was simply a matter of walking from one end of the park to the other. Finding the caches was not difficult, the main problem was traversing a very slippery grass slope. I was sure that I was going to slide uncontrollably and end up on my arse but my luck held. By now the rain had stopped and I was optimistic about the next part of the trail. We retraced our steps, stopping at No. 49 (yes I know!) before collecting the car and driving to our second parking spot.

With the sun now out (sort of) off we went along a decent metalled footpath. Unfortunately I couldn’t find one cache, I think because of fallen trees etc., and another I couldn’t even look for because, as we approached GZ, so did about a dozen dog-walkers. Turns out this was a convenient place for the locals to take their dogs and they were all taking advantage of the dry spell. Normally I’d have stooged around for a few minutes until the coast was clear but I could see this wasn’t going to work today. Ho hum. Onwards and upwards!

We set off in the opposite direction, away from habitation and into the countryside. Unfortunately the path was a) uphill, b) very muddy and c) underwater. I hoped that conditions would improve with the increase in elevation so we pressed on, finding the next two caches easily. After we found the first cache the path got worse, the Council had started what their sign said were “Footpath Improvements” – they had excavated the path out to a depth of about a foot and then abandoned the site, leaving their plant behind and what amounted to a shallow river. By this point I was carrying Skye over the worst bits in a vain effort to prevent her getting too muddy. Some hope! Then it started raining again (not that it made any difference to the amount of surface water), by now we were struggling to make headway along the path. At the GZ of the last CH cache we had aimed to find, the path was completely submerged and there was no sign of the expected hiding place. I carried Skye a bit further until we reached the junction with Bottom Lane which I had always intended to use as our return route. This path had a totally different character – the surface had been washed away to reveal a gravel bed, it still had water running along it so as we made our way uphill once more it was like walking along the bed of a stream. Thankfully my walking boots actually turned out to be waterproof. Which was nice. En route we picked up the Captain Jack cache I had planned on getting.

After that it was just a question of getting back to where we’d left the car. Overall I was pretty satisfied with the day’s outing, 10 finds and 2 DNFs.

And when we got home, Skye had a much needed bath. 🙂

Quick, it’s stopped raining!

Today was one of the very few days in living memory* when it hasn’t rained. Most of the paths I’d ideally be walking to do the “serious” caching that is on my to-do list are still too wet but I decided to grab a few local caches anyway.

One of the caches was quite interesting, as it requires the seeker to be in possession of a particular travel bug. This is because the TB dog tag not only has the coords stamped on it (so you need to have seen the TB in order to know where the cache is) but also attached to the dog tag is a thing which is needed to open the cache container (in order to sign the log). I’ll leave you to discover what it is for yourself – the cache in question is GC3G0Z7. As luck would have it, I had gained possession of the TB yesterday so, given the absence of rain, there was no time to waste.

After finding that cache I picked up another couple of caches before heading home. Even so, the metalled road they were on – closed to vehicles since the building of the M25 – was still extremely muddy and flooded in places. I was glad I’d left Skye at home. Wish I’d brought my wellies though. Like pretty much everyone in the UK – and by that I mean not just geocachers 🙂 – I’m waiting for the rain to stop for a decently long-enough period and for the sodden ground to dry out a bit. I  really do want to get back to the Chiltern Hundreds series but I’m not so hardcore that I ‘m prepared to get my feet wet if I can help it!

* Mild exaggeration

One Thousand!

So I made it.

1,000 finds.

Yesterday Bob and I were off to an event in Wendover and I needed to find 3 caches to bring my tally up to 1,000. Rather than simply go to the event we decided to look for a couple of the new Aylesbury Ring caches first so that the event became my 1,000th cache. In addition, the caches we were targeting happened to be some of the eleven remaining unfound, so that made finding them even more desirable.

The first cache – AR 09 Eider – Cows Aand Calves – was an Unknown using AANDs to fill in the missing values to get the coordinates. This was done in a similar, less complex, way to one of my own caches (AAND it’s a nice walk from Gaddesden Row if you are interested). Once we had the final coords we drove pretty much up to GZ and, after negotiating some delightful cow-pat-and-mud mixture followed by a bit of searching we found the cache. Actually Bob spotted it first. And we were pleased to find a clean logbook so that was my 57th FTF and Bob’s (ahem) 627th.

Back in the Freelander, we relocated to the next cache on our list: AR 08 Eider – Bridge Farm. Unfortunately, despite a good search, we couldn’t find it. So I still needed No. 999. It was getting a bit late so we set off for the event. On arrival, we parked up but before going into the pub we walked a short distance to another Aylesbury Ring cache – AR01 Pochard – The Start. Found that one! Off to the pub and No. 1,000!

Wow and Phew. Finally that’s that milestone in the bag. Now for the next thousand and let’s hope it doesn’t take me another three years.