3 May 2014 (Saturday) - A Challenge
It's no secret that I was reluctant to go geo-camping this weekend. One of the main reasons was that I thought it would be rather cold in May. It was cold; we woke this morning to find a thick frost on the cars.
We had a rather early start today, we collected Lisa from Paddock Wood railway station at 7.30am, and then got on with the business of the day.
There are twelve different geocache types. Some are sandwich boxes, some don't actually exist, but require people to spot and report on something they find. Some are meetings of cachers. The rules forbid two particular meetting types to be held on the same day, so the most cache types anyone can find on any one day is eleven. Today four of us were going to do eleven cache types.
I'd planned the specific caches and the order in which we would do them.
We started in Camer park for a meeting cache - a "Cache In Trash Out" tidy up of a park in North Kent. We spent an hour and a half gathering rubbish, pausing only briefly to collect two other cache types. A traditional cache wihich was up a tree, and a puzzle cache which was in a thicket. It was at this thicket that we met one of the elite group of people who adjudicate on the validity of potential geocaches prior to their being accepted and made live. He said he'd been present when his mate had found this puzzle cache a couple of weeks ago, but couldn't help us with any hints as he'd not been paying attention at the time.
From here we drove to a nearby church where we easily found a multi-cache, and then on to another church where we struggled to find a letterbox hybrid cache. This one was rather difficult to track down, but had we failed I did have a backup plan. Fortunately for my nerves we didn't need the backup plan.
And then to Holly Hill where we did a virtual geocache; we did have some problems here. The find was easy enough, but the cache owner decided to delete the logs we made because they weren't in the correct format. Whilst the fellow was well wiithin his rights to do so, part of me did feel it was a needlessly pedantic thing to do; especially when we were on a mission. I eventually managed to get my phone to sort out an acceptable report; even if the phone was overheating by the time I'd done so.
By now it was mid day. With six cache types under our belt we had equalled our previous best score at this game. So we went on to Yalding for a pub lunch in the sunshine, and then half ann hour was spent playing GPS games to get our seventh cache type - a Wherigo. Wherigos are rather obscure and can be time consuming. I was pleased to have got success here; failure on this one would not have been disastrous, but would have involved a rather time-consuming Plan "B". Having got the thing we went back to the pub for a pint and to watch everyone else doing the GPS game. I even shouted a few helpful (!) comments at one of two cachers.
The day's eighth cache was the one which *had* to work. In Tunbridge Wells there is a webcam cache. We had to stand in the right place (with our hands in the air) and then use our phones to get a webcam image. It took a little fiddling to get the webcam picture, but it was fiddling we had to do. Had we fallen at this hurdle we would have had a problem; webcam caches are very rare. If we had drawn a blank here the next closest webcam cache is in North London.
Whilst in Tunbridge Wells we went to Toad Rock for a geology lesson, and with the Earthcache completed we went back to base.
Cache type ten was something rather special. Geocache HQ are experimenting with new types of geocaches and forr the first time in the UK we had the chance to do a Lab Cache. In fact we had the chance to do ten. We did one today. Given a list of names of cachers attending the mega-event we had to spot the fake one.
Back to camp for tea, where we were joined by Dave who came up for the Mega. and with tea scoffed we went down to the pub for a crafty half and the eleventh cache type of the day. Cache eleven was a meet; and after the meet was a spot of night caching. I'm normally not a fan of night caching; but being guided by the C.O. and with several hundred people along for the ride, tonight's night hike was an experience I wouldn't have missed.
By now we were cached out, so it was back to base where we drank beer and port roound the camp fire until bed time. It was a rather cold evening, and by midnight Lisa had rather cold toesies; a fact which was broadcast far and wide...