26 October 2015 (Monday) - The Essex Way (Part 1)
The alarm woke me at 5am. A tad keen perhaps. Over brekkie I had a look on-line. I love Facebook at brekkie time. Perhaps I'm nosey but I do like seeing everyone else's business all over social media.
At first sight it may seem that I too stick my business all over the Internet in this blog, but rest assured that this is "edited highlights". I wonder if grandchildren and great-grandchildren yet unborn will read about dead Grandad without ever realising that his blog is just "the good bits"?
I spent half an hour searching for (and not finding) my missing gaiter, then pausing only briefly to collect more of the crew we set off to Essex.
The trouble with hunting sandwich boxes for a hobby is that you can only hunt each one (successfully) once.
There is a limit as too how close together they can lurk, and unless more new ones appear it doesn't take long before you've effectively cleared out the local ones and find yourself having to travel further to secure finds. So we were zooming up the motorway well before 7am. We met Fran at where we planned to end our walk in Chipping Ongar, and leaving one car there we all piled into Fran's car and drove twelve miles away to Epping where we met Matt (who had had traffic troubles).
Fiveof us (and two dogs) set off along the Essex Way. Needless to say there were one or two geocaches along this long-distance footpath. There is actually a series of caches named "The Essex Way"; they start from #1 at Epping railway station and go up to #450 at Harwich some eighty miles later. Today we planned to go hunt the first forty-six caches from Epping to Chipping Ongar. The instructions said that there were one or two extras to pick up along the way; We found twenty five extra ones including a loop round Toot Hill and some interesting caches hidden in honour of Pi day.
We stopped for a few minutes in the Essex village of Coopersale. I'd known for some time that my family came from that area (many years ago) and I'd been told there were family graves in the church there. As luck would have it our route took us to that church where right outside the church door was the grave of my great-great-great grandparents.
I was glad to see it was being well maintained.
We started walking just after 9am; we finished just after dark shortly after 5pm. The planned route worked very well. Footpaths were well marked, the weather was just right for a long walk, excellent company and there was even a pub at our lunch stop. And the last geocache was only a few short yards form where the car was waiting for us.
We drove back to Epping where the other cars had been left; said our goodbyes and came home. Google Maps told us the drive would be an hour and a half; it wasn't far off.
As a treat we had KFC for tea. I took a few photos whilst we were out; with tea scoffed I put them on-line.
And now... the last few geocaches we visited had clues for a rather fiendish geo-puzzle. It *looks* as if the solution to that puzzle won't be very far from where we will start walking the next section of the Essex Way. I've got photos of those clues. I need to start puzzling over them now...