3 July 2016 (Sunday) - Six More Counties
Finding ourselves a couple of hours ahead of our geo-schedule we arrived in Surrey feeling rather smug. The plan for Surrey had been a spell of night caching. Personally I'm not a fan of hunting tupperware after dark, but you have little choice when doing a twenty-four hour session. After all every twenty four hour session has a night.
I'd located a series of several puzzle caches all as close to each other as it was possible for them to be; all of which looked to be relatively easy finds. So we arrived at where we'd decided to park the car, and three of us set off whilst "er indoors TM" had a little sleep.
The first cache took a little finding in the dark. The second one involved scrambling down a rather treachourous bank in the pitch-darkness. Finding ourselves a little off course the third had us scrambling over barbed wire fences at 1am.
I suppose I only have myself to blame. I should have planned more carefully. But climbing trees at 2am was rather good fun.
There was only a little blood on only one of us when we got back to the car (now two hours ahead of schedule). We made a bit of a hash of a cache hidden near a railway, then moved on to Berkshire.
We arrived just as dawn was breaking. The plan was to get two easy finds. One find wasn't that easy and eluded us, but having time on our hands we took a little divesion into Oxfordshire.
Some regatta or other had been going on yesterday in Henley-on-Thames. I've never seen such a mess, and clean-up crews were working at 4am.
It was at this point that the schedule began to slip. A short trip to Gerrards Cross in Buckinghamshire took rather longer than it should have due to a failure by the navigator (I fell asleep) but we were by the train station and rummaging in a hedge before most normal people were awake. And another failure by the navigator (I fell asleep again) had us heading back to Oxfordshire rather than on to Hertfordshire.
We got to Hertfordshire; we found our first target. We managed to disturb a dog. I don't think his barking woke the *entire* village, but he certainly was noisy. We moved quickly on a secind find, and then on to South Mimms services for brekkie.
I didn't know there was an Ed's Diner at South Mimms. It was a good find. We had a rather good bit of brekkie. But it was at this point that i realised that although I'd intended us to have brekkie I'd not allowed any time for it. Consequently we were running half an hour late when we got to Thorndon Contry Park in Essex.
Thorndon Contry Park has loads of earthcaches (which were worth lots of points to us) and on the map it looked as though the place had well-marked footpaths. It was with something of a sense of disappointment that we found that the maps of Thorndon Contry Park bear little (if any) resemblance to the reality. After an hour and a half of hacking through thickets we gave up and headed to the coffee shop for a cuppa, and then back to meet all the other competitors.
We arrived back at Farthing Corner with ten minutess to spare having travelled three hundred and twenty eight miles through nine counties. We thought we'd done well. but others had gone further through more counties, and some had even gone abroad. However when the points were totted up we found we'd come a respectable fourth. I was quite pleased about that.
We came home for a bit of a kip. And having had a bit of a kip (despite next door's piano) we collected "Furry Face TM" from his sleep-over. I then posted some photos of our adventure on-line, and we had a rather good bit of tea.
I was in bed shortly after 7pm...