I could not decide on where to go caching on Saturday. We loved the long walk round the Chiltern Hundred last weekend so thought something similar would be perfect as we could not see anywhere closer on the map jumping out saying “find me”.
The UK Mega series was the obvious choice: we’d done the northern loop earlier in the year so had the choice of the southern loop or the new Mega Series 2 loop. We opted for the latter with the idea that we would pick off a few caches from the southern loop if we had time too.
I was also anxious to go and bag the Chiltern Hundred Bonus cache while I was down south. It’s not exactly close to the UK Mega series, but it would be about as close as I’m planning to be for a while!
Isaac was doing things at school this weekend so it was just me on my own. I decided to stop overnight just outside Basingstoke on Friday night so I could get an early start on Saturday morning. This in turn would hopefully give me time to get up to Chesham for the Chiltern Hundred Bonus and then back home for a reasonable time on Saturday night.
The hotel was a bit of nightmare as the promised WiFi did not seem to be working and there was no 3G coverage so my 3G dongle refused to work. Luckily I was not there too long so just had to do without internet access for a while. I read a book instead!
Saturday morning dawned and it looked a promising day with clear skies and the sun shining. I drove to Bentworth to start the trail.
I’d read that the last cache of the series – #057 – was opposite a pub and a bit of a nightmare to look for later in the day when people were sat outside the pub. Luckily I found a handy parking spot right next to the cache so did that one first.
I then got my bike out of the Jeep and set off round the trail, doing them in the right order for a change. I was debating if the bike was a good idea but most of the series looked bikeable on Google Earth and another cacher who had done the series confirmed it should be ok.
As with the other Mega Series caches we’ve done, most of them were big containers with swaps and all were quick and easy finds. I won’t go into detail on each cache as there were a lot of them, but will summarise a few highlights below:
- A few stiles to navigate at the start of the trail, but not a problem as it was easy to lift my bike over them.
- At around #012 I bumped into a guy from the local hunt, who was driving round the fields in his 4×4 checking for hazards in advance of the hunt on Sunday. I stopped chatting to him about the countryside and ancient Byway’s for quite some time :-).
- I bumped into a group of middle aged bikers on a Byway around cache #20. They stopped for a chat and were telling me about part of the Byway being downgraded to a Restricted Byway by the council. I guess this was the part that a cacher fell foul of the law on when he got his vehicle stuck in mud there.
- Mud, mud and more glorious mud. I suspect it must have rained for the last week around here as the whole walk was seriously muddy. My feet were sliding all over the place but it all added to the fun.
- I did not even bother trying cache #051 as it was in some roots on the side of an old quarry and very dangerous to get to. If I’d had a rope and someone with me I’d have given it a go, but on my own I did not want to risk it.
All too soon I was back at the Jeep and had made good time. The whole series took just under 6 hours to complete. I decided to do a few quick ones from the southern loop that were near the village before heading off to Chesham and the Chiltern Hundred Bonus cache.
After I’d done the quick caches in the village, I headed off towards the M3. On the way I did a couple of quick caches that I spotted on TomTom as I drove past: one called Panda Stone and a quick Motorway Mayhem at J5 of the M3.
After a long trip up the M3, round the M25 (surprisingly quiet today which was good) and then through Chorleywood, I arrived in Chesham just as it had gone dark.
I’d plotted the Bonus cache on my GPSr and noted a few ways to get to it. My favoured route went through a farmyard so I ruled that out as it was dark and I did not want to get arrested loitering around a farm with a torch in the dark.
Plan B was called for and involved parking up on a quiet lane, away from houses and then walking over the fields past some caches we did last week to the bonus cache. Off I set, accompanied by the sounds of fireworks going off in the distance.
As I entered the woods, my torch started a lot of birds who were settling in the upper branches for the night and they all took flight. The co-ords were bang on thankfully and lead me to an obvious cachers trail, which then took me in for an easy find. Boy am I glad to get this one ticked off after the disaster at the end of last weekend’s trip!
I then got settled into the Jeep for the long drive northbound to home. I ended up back home just after 8pm which was not bad at all. 64 finds for the day which is also not too shabby :-).