28 July 2013 (Sunday) - St Margarets
I've been following a hand held GPS unit in eBay. It sold today. I feel I've missed out on not winning it, but I don't know why.
I'd quite like one for geocachical purposes if only they were actually any good. Over the last year of watching other people's GPS units I've come to the conclusion that I must be missing something. The maps on GPS units let them down. On the one hand I have my phone which shows me all the footpaths across the countryside. On the other hand I can spend out good money on something which doesn't show any footpaths or bridleways at all and cannot tell what side of a river we are on. (I'm told that by saying so I'm being unfair to GPS units...) Logging finds is the work of five seconds on my phone, but is another fiddle-about at home with a GPS unit.
The only advantage of a hand held GPS unit that I can see is that it has a better battery life. On the one hand there is something I have for free (well, £2.50) which does the job but eats batteries. On the other there is something which is utterly inferior in every way (other than battery life) and will cost me £100. However I am the only person who can see this. I am clearly missing something vital. I wish I knew what it was.
And so on with the business of the day. Troops rallied, and seven of us (and two small dogs) met up behind Dover Castle. We walked down to the White Cliffs then along to St Margarets. As we walked we looked out for some tunnels we'd been told about. First of all to Langdon Bay where we found the tunnels we failed to find last year. Going down into the deep shelter was a tad slippery, but once down we had a really good time exploring. I scrambled into the underfloor spaces and got as far as I possibly could until the crawlspaces got too small for me to get any further. I then had to crawl backwards for about twenty-five yards. I always thought I was claustrophobic. I don't think I can be.
A spot of lunch overlooking some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, and then on to Fan Bay. Our sources had assured us there was another deep shelter there. GPS technology failed us entirely, but we did find two nearby magazine stores. One of our number had a nasty slip on the wet ground. No harm was done; it's easy to say that when someone else falls over. But it was a reminder that tunnel-ratting isn't the safest of pastimes.
We then went on to St Margarets. Last year we found a wonderful deep shelter there; hundreds of yards of tunnels to explore. Today we found then sealed. Officialdom can be a real killjoy sometimes. So we pressed on to other underground tunnels we'd found before and found them (mostly) accessible; even if I did clout my head in one of them. I banged my head on an old ventilation shaft. It did echo.
We got to the bus stop to find we'd missed the bus back to Dover by ten minutes. The next bus was in one hour and fifty minutes time. Over the road from the bus stop was a pub. As often happens in my life, we activated Emergency Plan "B". ("B" stands for beer). One pint of Shepherd Neame's "Whitstable Bay" and two pints of MasterBrew slipped down very well. Whilst we were drinking beer in the sunshine our phones beeped. Email. A new geocache had gone live in Lydd. We'd not been on a caching mission today, but had picked up a few caches as we'd walked. With the tunnelling done for the day and us on the way home (albeit waiting for a bus which was still an hour away) we thought we'd go for a First to Find. There's no denying that with having to wait an hour for a bus, a bus ride into Dover and a twenty mile drive meant that our hopes weren't high. But we were lucky - we got the FTF.
As always there are photos of the day on line. I think I caught the sun - I feel rather tired. Or was that the beer...?