26 May 2014 (Monday) - Nineteen Point Two Miles Of.....

After two terrible nights I slept from 11pm last night right through till 6.30am this morning. I was rather pleased about that. For the first time in ages I wasn't wide awake and wasting time watching telly for hours whilst waiting for the rest of the world to wake up.
I did have a quick look at the news this morning. The election results are in. The winner is.... well, I think the polls are deceptive. With only one third of the electorate bothering to vote, I can't help but feel that the resounding winner of the recent European election is apathy. Why did so few people vote? Were there no candidtes worth voting for, or did people *really* not understand what they were voting for? After all, how many of the noisy UKIP voters actually realised that sending them all back on the next banana boat goes hand in hand with privatising the NHS?

And so on with our walk. Every weekend we go off geocaching with the dogs. It's a good hobby; it's always a clearly marked guided walk. Today was different... Should the Cache Owner of today's series ever read this I'm sorry for any offence caused. It is not my intention to be rude. I realise a lot of effort goes into preparing a geo-walk. But...

We drove quite a long way away today. We went to the furthest reaches of Essex to do a series of fifty geoocaches. Billed as "a core circular walk of about 8 miles ..... For the more adventurous there are also two loops", I looked at the map. The two loops were quite small in comparison to the main walk. And so bearing in mind that the distance of geo-walks is always under-estimated I expeected a total walk of about ten to twelve miles.

So we set off. We saw an adder. We listened to skylarks. We admired quite beatiful scenery. But... despite GPS technology we struggled to find our way. Footpaths were not maintained on today's walk. We found several footpath signs pointing into jungles which were over six feet high with weeds and nettles. Many of the geocache sites were found today by blindly following the GPS arrow rather than attempting to use non-existant footpaths.
And the geocaches themselves... I'm all for a tricky hide. But fifty of them in one series? A series of caches along a path should be just that - along a path. Under a rock, in the bole of a tree. Not ten yards deep in inpenetrable thickets. Especially not when there are plenty of obvious hides. For example when faced with a footpath signpost, the obious place for a cache is at the base of that signpost. Not six feet away under a brick which is surrrounded by nettles which are four feet high.

There's no denying that the raiin didn't help; we did get rather wet. We got back to the car rather later than planned; the car being at the start of one of the optional extra loops of the series. In retrospect we should have gone home there and then. But I for one wanted to see all of the series; surely it couldn't all be that bad... So we did the final loop. (And got soaked)

Part of finding a cache involves a hint. "Up a tree", "under a rock". One cache described as being "waist height" was in the roots of a tree. Another described as being "low down" was chest height in a tree. One of them involved me forcing my way through one hundred yards of jungle with no paths to be seen anywhere.
We went expecting a walk of ten to twelve miles; the recorded distance at the end was nineteen point two miles. I'd hoped to finish sometime in the late afternoon; we got home at 11pm.
I realise that someone somewhere put a lot of effort into preparing today's walk. But (I'm sorry to say) I cannot recommend it to anyone...

But, as always, I took a few photos whilst we were out. If nothing else it was rather scenic.

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