Back on the caching trail for another year, this year armed with a new Garmin Montana, which it took a while to figure out. The only question really was what kind of targets to set.

Well, having ended 2013 on 3624 total finds and having done 1500 caches the obvious target would be to attempt to get to 5000. Oh ! And to fill in those two remaining slots on the matrix. And some other stuff. Well, as I’m writing this on the 5th of January I probably haven’t really decided what to aim for. I may not decide until December.

Let’s start by posting some images and discussing a few potential targets.

Days Found

As the year started I had just two days to fill in on the “Days Found”. March 26th, which I failed last year through not allowing enough time and not having enough options, and June 17th, which I simply forgot about in the middle of 4 days when I found 150 caches. Both days for 2014 were already booked as holiday as the year started. This was a “must-do” challenge for the year. If I hadn’t finished the matrix on June 17th I’d have been upset, or surprised.

Here are snapshots of this matrix for the year only, and for the total.

2014 Only FindsEachDay.jpg 2014 End FindsEachDay.jpg

End of Year Summary – Finished – I don’t have to track this in 2015

 

Days Placed

And the “Days Placed” matrix. I completed about 15 of these in 2013. There were only 7 left so it should be easy to kill those off if I can find the relevant “source” caches in places I happen to be going already. It’s something I’ve not been deliberately trying to do.

Here are snapshots of this matrix for the year only, and for the total.

2014 Only FindsByPlacedDateChallenge.jpg 2014 End FindsByPlacedDateChallenge.jpg

End of Year Summary – Finished – I don’t have to track this in 2015

 

Months Placed

The matrix of months since caching started. Now this one is a bit tricky to complete because it requires finding some quite old caches. There aren’t so many of them around and it takes careful choice. However, as I discovered recently, if you go for older caches you tend to find bigger boxes and more spectacular locations, on average. There’s also a whole host of challenge caches in the UK that rely on this chart, so it’s worth tracking it, and attempting to fill it.

Here are snapshots of this matrix for the year only, and for the total.

2014 Only JasmerChallenge.jpg 2014 End JasmerChallenge.jpg

End of Year Summary – 8 of 33 completed – Again, I haven’t really been going out of my way to do this, so 8 isn’t bad.

 

Difficulty/Terrain

What can I say here ?

If I want to fill this one up I am going to have to go find a few that are hard to get at. Not hard to find, but just hard to get to.

I keep picking these off occasionally, but having essentially been trying for a number year last year it’s not compatible with trying to finish the D/T matrix – for the D/T matrix you have to go to specific caches.

Having had a quick look at available “grid fillers” in the UK I’m going to have to learn how to use a boat and how to climb trees with ropes.

Here are snapshots of this matrix for the year only, and for the total.

2014 Only DifficultyMatrix.jpg 2014 End DifficultyMatrix.jpg

End of Year Summary – 2 of 20 completed – I have most definitely not been attempting to get this done, and as a result I haven’t done many of them.

 

UK and Ireland Counties

And so to the counties map.

I have absolutely no expectation of being able to finish this off as it requires traveling to the furthest extents of England (mainly the South East and the South West ) to finish.

Let’s keep an eye on it for fun.

I found a challenge cache that requires me to fill in the 46 English counties. I already have planned trips to Brighton and Liverpool, which should account for a few of them.

I wonder whether there’s the opportunity to grab Essex and Kent should we happen to go on holiday through the Channel Tunnel.

And if I think about it, Lincolnshire and Rutland shouldn’t be too hard either.

Here are snapshots of this matrix for the year only, and for the total.

2014 Only UKIrelandCountyMap.jpg 2014 End UKIrelandCountyMap.jpg

End of Year Summary – Completed 15 new UK & Ireland Counties – Clywd, Merseyside, East Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Rutland, Kent, Surrey, East Sussex, West Sussex, Gloucestershire, Hereford and Worcester, City of Bristol, Somerset, Gwent, Shropshire – 5 left in England, 5 in Wales, all bar 2 in Ireland and all of Scotland. This has been on the radar all year and I think that managing this many is quite good. I made one trip specifically to work on this and the others have come from places we were going anyway (mainly for running events). Looks like I need a day “out East” and a holiday in Cornwall. And some excuse for going to the IoW.

 

UK Heat Map

You can’t beat a bit of Michael Fish.

Here’s my cunning UK heatmap from POI Editor showing the areas I’ve been caching in.

2014 Only Heat Map.jpg 2014 End Heat Map.jpg

When you see it like this, it really does look like I don’t stray far from home.

New Countries

I didn’t draw a map of these because at the start of the year I wasn’t expecting to travel so much, but this year I added the following new countries (in the order done) – Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and at various points I was also in France and Germany, adding a few more there. Most of those were done because of the decision to ride the Gigabus down to Munich – a very tiring but ultimately enriching experience for both myself and Ami.

 

Month-by-Month

So what did I actually do on the caching front in 2014 then ?

January (83 finds)

  • On Jan 1st we went up to the BBH Cakey event on the Ashridge Estate. It was very wet. Really wet. Think “swimming”. We took the opportunity to grab some venerable old caches while we were there. The third oldest cache in the UK, and the oldest puzzle/unknown in the UK – 3 finds
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  • On Jan 5th I had a near disaster when I arrived on site with BingBongLong to discover none of the caches were loaded onto the new Garmin. But his was OK and we had two iPhones, so that saw us through. We went to kill off a few puzzles near Northampton, and found a few trads while we were at it – 11 finds
  • On Jan 11th I went over to Spaldwick with BingBongLong to hit a few more of MarcusMaximi’s S2E2 and Woolley Mammoth Series (see S2E2). This time I managed to get the Garmin working properly and we bashed our way through 60 caches in 4 hours or so – 60 finds
  • On Jan 14th I made a quick lunchtime dash over to Campbell Park to grab a newly released challenge which required me to have found 5 caches with a total of more than 1250 favourite points. It turned out to be an FTF too, and got me up to 3699 total finds, which was ideal to make the BBH event in Stoke Mandeville my 3700th – 2 finds
  • On Jan 16th I dashed to Bow Brickhill Station for another one of these challenges. This one needed 5 caches for 1500 favourite points – I achieved this using 5 different caches to the previous challenge. There was also one in Dobbies Car Park – 2 finds
  • I planned to go out on Jan 26th but due to general tiredness and persistent rain I didn’t go. Booooooooo !
  • On Jan 28th I grabbed a few quickies in Little Horwood and Swanbourne – 3 finds
  • On Jan 31st I popped out at lunchtime to grab a couple of new ones in the new estate down the bottom end of Bletchley – 2 finds

February (171 finds)

  • On Feb 2nd I drove over to Aynho with Ami, where we met BingBongLong to have a bash at Gingko’s COYQ series (see The Mighty Quins) – 32 finds
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  • On Feb 8th we were up at my folks house in Measham and I went for a long afternoon drive with the lady of the house to grab a load of Church Micros in Leicestershire (see Leicestershire Churches) – 20 finds
  • On Feb 9th the lady of the house was out running in the morning so I went over to Packington to grab a new series – 16 finds
  • On Feb 15th we headed down towards Brighton for a much awaited weekend away. Kas was running a half marathon on the Sunday and we booked hotels for Saturday and Sunday nights – On the Saturday we stopped at some motorway services on the M25 and there was a cache in the car park – 1 find
  • On Feb 16th I grabbed a few caches with the kids in the middle of Brighton in the morning while Kas was running and then went for a long walk around Saltdean in the afternoon while Kas and the kids went back to Brighton to meet one of her old workmates for crazy golf and ice cream (see the Brighton Half 2014) – 42 finds
  • On Feb 17th we had a little shuffle round Brighton in the morning, sat out in the sunshine, and grabbed a few more caches. We stopped for a random church micro in a new county on the way home, then while Kas went for a coffee break I noticed another one in the Motorway Services car park – 5 finds
  • On Feb 22nd I went over to Hargrave in Northamptonshire with BingBongLong for a “full” Saturday out (see Hargrave Hobble) – 55 finds

March (117 finds)

  • On March 2nd we were in Reading while Kas was running the Reading Half (see Reading Half 2014). We grabbed a couple of nearby ones – 3 finds
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  • On March 8th I went out in the afternoon with Izzy to grab some of the new Church Micros in the Milton Keynes area – 7 finds
  • On March 15th I went up to Blisworth near Northampton to do an interesting looking series named after a Keane song (see Oh Simple Thing) – 29 finds
  • On March 26th I had one of my two remaining Matrix days to fill. It just so happened that the NUT were on strike too and so school was shut. Ami and me went over to Letchworth with our bikes to have a pop at the Letchworth Greenway Gallivant series and a few others (see Greenway Gallivant) – 61 finds
  • On March 29th Izzy decided she’d like to go and hit a few caches so we scooted over to Marsh Gibbon to do the Zoo Trip and MG Series there – 17 finds

April (162 finds)

  • On 3rd I found myself in Lytham St Annes in the evening with nothing better to do. I managed to pass 4000 total finds with a fairly uninspiring trad at the bottom of a fencepost – 18 finds
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  • On April 5th we were in Measham and Kas and me managed to pop out for an hour in the afternoon to grab a posh coffee and a Church Micro – 1 find
  • On April 11th we all went down to London for Kas’s Virgin London Marathon expo at the ExCel and then popped up to the West End to meet Happy Hunter HP20 and grab a few caches (see Marathon Weekend) – 11 finds
  • On April 13th Kas was running the Virgin London Marathon – I went down on the bus and had myself a busy day dodging crowds and looking for caches around Greenwich before meeting up with Kas in Westminster (see Marathon Weekend) – 19 finds
  • On April 14th there was an event down in Princes Risborough – I popped out at lunchtime to grab three local challenge caches and then we went to the pub in the evening – 11 finds
  • On April 16th I dashed out at lunchtime to grab a new Church Micro in Milton Keynes – 1 find
  • On April 18th (Good Friday) I had a caching day in the calendar and I drove over to Cambridge to have a go at two loops from the Cambridge CacheAthon Series (see CacheAthon Part 1) – 83 finds
  • On April 26th we were back up in Measham and took advantage of a warm Saturday afternoon to take a walk around Foremark Reservoir (see Foremark Reservoir) – 17 finds
  • On April 27th everyone was snoozing in the afternoon after a large Sunday roast – 1 find

May (158 finds)

June (172 finds)

    Rutland_05.JPG

  • On June 4th I popped out at lunchtime for a couple of quickies – 2 finds
  • On June 6th I did a “Friday Night is Caching Night” with Izzy down near Marsh Gibbon for a slightly disappointing 5 finds
  • On June 7th I shot off round the north of Bedford for a new(ish) series (see Birthday Bash) – 46 finds
  • On June 13th I did “Friday Night is Caching Night” with Izzy again, this time in Milton Keynes – 6 finds
  • On June 15th I grabbed a couple of local caches whilst doing maintenance on my own – 2 finds
  • On June 17th I had my final “Matrix” day to complete. I went over to have a bash at some more of the Cambridge CacheAthon (see CacheAthon Part 2) – 72 finds
  • On June 18th I had my celebratory Beds-Bucks-Herts event at the new pub on Tattenhoe – 1 find
  • On June 22nd Kas was doing DLRR club run at Marston Vale so I took the girls for a few extras there and then went round the north of Bedford to have a pop at some more of the series there (see Birthday Bash Deux) – 38 finds
  • And that was enough for June apart from spending a Friday night walking one chunk of the MK Boundary Walk to fix a few of my own.

July (120 finds)

  • On July 9th there was a BBH event in Bovingdon – I left home early to allow time for a quick walk around first – 18 finds
  • On July 12th I went up to Alcester with Wavvy to grab a few (see Alcester Dash) – 51 finds
  • On July 16th I grabbed a couple in the evening including an FTF – 2 finds
  • Day_1_Bruges_10.JPG
  • On July 17th I grabbed one cache at Caldecotte Lake on the way home from running whilst waiting for Ami to finish zorbing with the guides – 1 find
  • On July 23rd I dashed over to work to intercept a moving cache that found its way back into Milton Keynes – 2 finds
  • On July 24th we began our trip to Holland (see On Our Way) and I spent a chunk of the afternoon caching Bruges – 14 finds
  • On July 25th we moved from Belgium to Holland (see Over the Border) but finished a frustrating cache in Bruges first – 1 find
  • On July 26th we went to my former home in Brielle (see Old Haunts) – 3 finds
  • On July 27th I spent a couple of hours walking up and down Brouwersdam (see Not a Lot Happened) – 6 finds
  • On July 28th we went to the Deltapark Neeltje Jans (see Deltapark Neeltje Jans) – 1 find
  • On July 29th we went to Kinderdijk and I did some challenge caches in Hellevoetsluis on the way back (see Windmills) – 5 finds
  • On July 30th we went to Amsterdam and stopped in Scheveningen on the way home (see Capital Cities) – 3 finds
  • On July 31st I walked from Hellevoetsluis out to the Quackstrand beach (see Hellevoetsluis) – 13 finds

August (173 finds)

  • On August 1st I went for a run and then we all went on a bike ride in Holland (see On Yer Bike) – 19 finds
  • On August 2nd I collected the rest of a puzzle series I started in Ouddorp (see Old Trams) – 10 finds
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  • On August 3rd we did a couple of Earthcaches to get the souvenirs (see The Grevelingenmeer) – 2 finds
  • On August 4th we grabbed a single cache at the Atomium in Brussels (see Atomic !) – 1 find
  • On August 5th we grabbed on cache in Dunkerque and one at the Channel Tunnel Terminal in Calais on our way home (see Coming Home) – 2 finds
  • On August 9th I went off to the north of Bedford with Ami to finish the 2 Birthdays series (see Birthday Bash Trois) – 34 finds
  • On August 12th we had an evening dash around Caldecotte Lake to grab a new letterbox series – 10 finds
  • On August 13th I had to go to Bristol for a business trip and managed to fill in a new county (Gloucestershire) as well as doing a couple at the M4 services on the way – 4 finds
  • On August 14th we attended the Beds Bucks Herts event in Milton Keynes – 1 find
  • On August 15th we began our epic journey to Munich, passing through 5 countries on the way (see All Aboard the Gigabus) – 6 finds
  • On August 16th Ami and I attended the world’s first Giga event in the Olympic Stadium in Munich and did some of the surrounding caches (see Going Giga) – 26 finds (including lab caches)
  • On August 17th Ami and I were still in Munich and had a relaxing wander around the old town, taking in another Giga event support event at the Hofbrauhaus (see Munich Old Town) – 28 finds (including lab caches)
  • On August 18th we had the world’s longest bus journey home, taking in Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and France before finally getting back home on the morning of the 19th (see A Very Long Journey) – 5 finds
  • On August 24th I was running a half marathon on the Severn Bridge and took the opportunity to grab caches in Gwent, City of Bristol and (possibly) Somerset as we wandered around Bristol in the afternoon (see Severn Bridge Half 2014) – 5 finds
  • On August 29th I dashed out from my folks house at lunchtime to grab a few local finds – 6 finds
  • On August 31st I finished off my month with a dash up to Snibston – 14 finds

September (132 finds)

  • On September 7th I drove over to Cambridge to finish off the Cambridge CacheAthon series (see CacheAthon Part 3) – 81 finds
  • On September 20th I went down to Hampshire with Happy Hunter HP20 and Ami to attempt the Forty Sortie Challenge (see Forty Sortie) – 49 finds
  • On September 24th I attended an event in Milton Keynes and grabbed a single cache before going in – 2 finds

October (146 finds)

  • On October 4th I did lots of walking just outside Chester (see Chester Marathon 2014) – 68 finds
  • On October 5th I did a few more in Chester and Wrexham ( see Chester Marathon ) – 9 finds
  • On October 25th we all attended the annual Halloween Hides and Creepy Caches Mega Event (see Halloween Hides 2014) – 65 finds
  • On October 30th we drove through East Yorkshire so I had to “fill it in” – 1 find
  • On October 31st we had a day out at Hadrian’s Wall  – 3 finds

November (169 Finds)

    Hatley_03.JPG

  • On November 1st we were still in Sunderland and I popped out for a few in the afternoon – 5 finds
  • On November 8th I scooted over to east Bedfordshire with BingBongLong and Ami for the Walk on the Wild Side series (see Walk on the Wild Side) – 50 finds
  • On November 13th I attended an event in the new “Roundabout MK” series – 1 find
  • On November 15th I grabbed a few caches in Leighton Buzzard while Kas was running the Dirt Half 2014 (see Dirt Half 2014) – 9 finds
  • On November 16th I scooted out for an ultimately quite disappointing walk on a dank, foggy day – 17 finds
  • On November 22nd I shot up to Brickhill Woods with Ami to plant a couple of new Church Micros and did a YOSM and a Challenge on the way back – 2 finds
  • On November 29th I went up to north Northamptonshire to have a go at Izaak Wilson’s “Bulwick and Back” series (see Bulwick & Apethorpe) – 85 finds

December (112 finds)

  • On December 6th I went up to Houghton Regis with BingBongLong – 22 finds
  • On December 14th I popped down to the bottom of Bletchley to do a few new MKBW Red section caches – 5 finds
  • On December 16th me and Ami attended the BBH event in Dagnall and also collected a nearby challenge cache – 2 finds
  • On December 19th I took a day off work and went up to finish the Woolley Mammoth series (see Woolley Mammoth) – 58 finds
  • On December 26th I made a special trip out to find a cache to fill my “Days Placed” grid – 1 find
  • On December 27th we all drove around west Leicestershire looking for a few church micros (see Snowy Churches) – 10 finds
  • On December 31st we went for a leisurely stroll around Willington to finish off the year (see Willington Wanders) – 14 finds

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