Back on the Bike

Back on the Bike

So, last night’s failure to complete Really Keyne was really grating and needed to be corrected. So I went back on the bike on Saturday afternoon in the name of some exercise as well as a bit of caching. In daylight, it proved to be extremely easy to find. In fact, how did we miss that last night, even in near total darkness. The thing it the size of a small planet. It is cunningly located against a wall, but I can’t show you which wall, because it’s a multi and my photos would allow you to get the cache without doing the donkey work.

Next up was ARP – Woolstone by Wavvy. This is a simple traditional under some vegetation in the park in Woolstone. It is very difficult to spot the random pond after which it is named. I think it is a virtual pond. I couldn’t see it.

After that I went of looking for Thorn in my Finger and once again failed. It must be quite well hidden. So far I have been here 3 times and haven’t got a Scooby where the cache is. It is quite irritating really. Maybe I’ll report it missing and ask the owner to confirm it is actually there.

And finally for the afternoon I found Pond Life (Ouzel Valley) by Monkston Madgirl. This is over the road into Woughton on the Green and I never knew the place existed, even though I have driven, run and cycled past it many, many times.


Donisthorpe Donder 2

Donisthorpe Donder 2

Ahhhh ! What better on an autumn afternoon than to leave the kids somewhere with the parents and dash off for a bit of tupperware hunting. In this instance, we were up in Measham and felt the urge to dash around the vicinity of Moira Furnace, Conkers and the park between Moira and Donisthorpe. We agreed an hour and a half window of opportunity while the kids went to Conkers.

This seemed like ample opportunity to walk about 2-3 miles and grab a whole pile of caches. There’s a nice circular walk that you can duck in and out of to suit. Most of the caches are by geohunter-x, so I’ll only mention the owner where it isn’t them.

First up, and very close to Conkers, was Waterside Wander 1 Marquis Bridge. This was a nice easy starter for 10 – the only potential issue is that you have to work at the correct altitude.

Next came Waterside Wander 2 Radagal Bridge, the location of which is one of the lock gates near the bridge. We didn’t actually get to search for this cache though. We found it lying on the concrete near to GZ and so because we did not know where it was supposed to be we decided the best option was to rehouse it and add a log entry to show what we had done. The owner has now sorted it out. All of this proved to be quite difficult though because of a 3 generation family of the slow moving and shouting at each other variety. They lingered around the lock gates for ages and it would have been a bit suspicious of us to spend a lot of time searching or replacing.

When they eventually moved on, we had time to rehide the cache, walk on the the next one (only 500 yds away), find it, sign the log and start walking again before they caught up with us. That one was Waterside Wander 3 Fishing Point.

Next was a previous failure – Waterside Wander 4 Moira Furnace. It was only a failure because at the time we had only the iPhone and a distinct lack of 3G phone signal. It was before we discovered the delights of iPhone Apps which save the GPX file onto the phone.

And so on to Waterside Wander 5 Bridge Over Troubled Water, which is another previous failure. It’s easy to see why we missed this last time. It is nowhere near the bridge from which it gets its name. It was a long way inland and cunningly hidden in one of those “simulated piece of nature” kinds of container.

Next up we totally failed to find Waterside Wander 11 Crossed Paths – Probably because at the time it was not there, but somehow it had downloaded in the GPX file and onto the Garmin anyway. We lost quite a bit of time here.

And so to Waterside Wander 12 Another Bridge, which was a dead easy one. Lemon Squeezy, in a handy tubular container. Closely followed by one in some trees called Waterside Wander 13 Not a Muggle in Sight, and indeed there were no muggles for miles around.

I’m sure there were some muggles around while we were at Waterside Wander 14 What is it? The cache here was a quick find in a reasonably obvious spot, but we have no idea what the object actually is.

The trickiest find of the day was GCC11 Ennstone Trail by Grizzly Pair. It is difficult to say why without giving the game away, but it did take us a little while to establish GZ, and there was a wasted couple of minutes caused by a group of teenage boy-muggles. They had no excuse for lingering around there, surely. OK, so if you’re not a cacher then we had no reason to linger there either, but please, move on will you !

And that was that, excpet it took ages to refind Granny, Grandad and the kids, because they had scuttled of on a mini train ride which seemed to take ages. Kids enjoyed it though, so it was evidently a good choice.

The following day Ami and Kev popped out in the afternoon to find a new home for a Sir Galahad TB coin that wanted to visit a few castles. Ashby seemed an obvious one so off we went, and then placed the coin into Hitch Hiking – a large and fairly easy cache just the other side of the A42.

On the way back home we had a dash at the Transatlantic Teleporter, which is in a tree in a ditch somewhere north of Towcester. It was a fairly easy find but in a remote location. The gist is that the owner will mail TBs to a friend in South Carolina. At the time we had two items that wanted to get to the USA but had so far spent a lot of time drifting up and down England. The owners of the TBs were happy for us to use the teleporter so off they went.


Wolverton ? Miles Away

Wolverton ? Miles Away

This was a Kev solo effort by bicycle one evening once the kids were in snoozy land. The real purpose was to locate a Kitey, but you can’t go around just doing one cache.

My first stop was therefore The whole 9 Yards by dhevans_6. This proved to be a very easy find in a tree. Still, by the time I got there I needed a break. It’s a long way up there from our house.

Next up was Stage 1 of Mission Impossible MK1: It’s a Killer by Kitey. This proved to a nice quiet location. Some kids in a nearby field but not close enough to know what I was doing. The goodies were easily located but sadly, as with most of Kitey’s, you need to do something else. And to achieve that something else the best idea seemed to be to think about it at home.

Next up was a right little gem. Away from the Maddening Crowds? by gotya133. This is in a little garden in between the rows of old houses in Wolverton. It is a gem because you wouldn’t expect a garden there, and you certainly wouldn’t expect that was so quiet. I did, however, get engaged by a lady who was busily tending things in the garden. We talked briefly about this and that until I finally fessed up, assuming that she knew about the cache in there. She did, so that was OK. It was where it was supposed to be. It was a nice little chat and made the trip feel more worthwhile.

Last up for the evening was No Mileage on This !  by Charlie Lima & G. This is a pretty simple job next to a milepost on the V4. Not much more to say except it is a very conspicuous location.

And after that lot, I cycled home. Total trip distance around 18km. Exercise and caching – what could be better ?


Off the Wall

Off the Wall

Why the title ? Well, it was done on first day of opening of the new climbing centre in Kingston, and it involved a scoot down Broughton Brook. Ami went climbing. Kas and Izzy watched. I went caching.

There were a number of caches marked down there but after a lot of fruitless hacking about I concluded that some of them were not actually there any more. The owner has subsequently archived both the missing ones and those that were present. In fact I don’t know why I’m typing this blog at all. It’s not like you can go find those caches any more. The ones I found were Broughton Brook – Kingston’s End and Broughton Brook – Water Carry On !, both by Wavvy.

Missing were Broughton Brook – Wind in the Willows and Broughton Brook – Bridge.

It was a nice-ish afternoon and it was probably more fun than watching kids scurry up the walls. When I returned to the climbing centre, however, I was very impressed at how high Ami had managed to climb. Maybe I’ll sit and watch her next time.


It’s Grim Up North

It’s Grim Up North

Well, north Milton Keynes. And actually, it’s not that grim. OK, maybe a little bit.

This was a Friday night special by all four of us based on the now traditional ruse of promising the kids they could have tea at McDonalds, but only after some caching.  So gear in hand, off we jumped into the trusty old bus and away we headed up North of grab a few that are required to solve some of Kitey’s finest, and a couple of others in the meantime.

First up was MK Waterfall ? by Candy Mook. This was much trickier than you would expect from the description. Mainly because it requires some rummaging inside places you normally wouldn’t dream to go. Dirty places. Places where there are sharp objects. Places that a 45-year old fat lad just shouldn’t be trying to reach. It took a little while but eventually the goodies were spotted amongst the brickwork of the relevant construction, and so on to the next one.

Poohsticks on Speed by Kitey is required to solve bit of the Mission Impossible series. As it turned out, the clue given in here didn’t help much at all. In fact, none of them helped that much. However, it was easy enough to solve the puzzle and the cache was spot on where it ought to be, so all hail to that. Easy find once the puzzle is solved.

Maytrees and Muggles by Candy Mook was a bit further along the canal. Having laid a few caches ourselves now we know that it must be at least 568ft further along, otherwise they wouldn’t have allowed it. Anyway, it was a quick easy find for Kas & Ami. Third of the night in double quicketty quick time. Must be time to let the girls have a very quick play on the nearby playpark.

Milestone Series – The Power of Numbers by Kitey is also required to allow solution of the Mission Impossible series. The location is quite public and I’m sure we were being watched by several of the local residents when we pulled up, but thankfully it was a quick find and away.

Now, where’s the nearest McDonalds then ?


Mission Impossible

Mission Impossible

Rather than a blog for a single day, this entry is more of an evolving diary covering Kitey’s excellent, if painful, Mission Impossible MK series. Nine caches with 3 pre-cursors. All positioned miles from where they are marked on the map and all involving a degree of puzzle solving. Each is a different type of puzzle requiring different skills. Inside each one are clues to some of the others. To find the final one you need to find a number from each of the other 8 to get the coords.

So whilst Kitey says you can solve them independently, but it might be easier to start at the beginning, our approach was to do lots of printing and lots of reading, and lots of trying to understand what’s going on.

We solved a couple of the pre-cursors before heading out to look for any of the main caches, and progressed with any parts we could without actually leaving the house.

The rest of this blog is a diary of the event, in number order to reflect the fact I’ve finished them. Way-hey, I’ve finished them. Apart from the one I haven’t.

Pre-Cursors

Poohsticks on Speed – It is possible to solve this using Google and one piece of schoolboy algebra. If you postulate that the final answer is not far away from the start point then you don’t actually need to throw sticks down the spillway – there is only one possible value. Work your way backwards to it once you have found the other values. At least, that is what I believe to be the case. And indeed we were correct. It was exactly where we believed it to be.

Cows, Roundabouts and…… Caches – Didn’t take long to draw up a theory on what he’s looking for, especially being a local. However, there’s a number of ways and we came up with 3 possible locations. I tried the first of these (my favourite) on the evening of July 20th, but gave up due to helicopter compass syndrome and because I was really off looking for Walter Post (see MK8 further down). I tried again on Friday July 23rd and now believe it is not at this location. We didn’t solve this before we went on holiday but then by chance we met Kitey at the Bucks/Beds/Herts event in mid-August. He verified that I was at the right place but just hadn’t found it yet. So this was bagged the following Friday on a quick car borne dash. To be honest, it was all about getting the correct tree, as it often is.

Milestone Series: The Power of Numbers – Visited the milestone and read the numbers, done the sums, located a tree and found a little plastic carton halfway up it. Cha-ching.

And so on to ….

The Main Caches – Listed in the Order we Found Them

Mission Impossible MK9: Shenley Wood – This one looks really difficult from the description but actually it proved to be really simple and we bagged it some time ago. I can’t really say why it’s simple without giving away the location, though, so basically you’ll have to figure it out for yourself. We bagged this one on an evening jaunt through Shenley Wood with the sprogs. I can confirm it is definitely in Shenley Wood…………..

Mission Impossible MK4: It’s Called a What? – For this one you have to identify a person from a series of clues and then go to a certain location in Milton Keynes to extract a series of digits from a memorial. Wikipedia and Google were of absolutely no use for any search based on the info in the description. The whole thing was sorted when Kas asked her business networking group to help and one of them came up with a name. Ah ! A name. Once you have a name it is very easy to prove that all the other bits of the clues apply. The guy was right. The location was established, and a visit made one night on the way home from work. This yielded 12 digits and hence the final location. It was then pretty simple to bag the cache and we did it together one lunchtime. It must have been a Friday because Kas had to leave to fetch Izzy back from nursery. The location proved more public than expected and the cache involved some rummaging in the undergrowth. Don’t try this one in a suit.

Mission Impossible MK2: Shenley Brook End – Kas solved this using a free decipher website she found on ‘t interweb. The coords were there in plain text. We bagged this on the evening of Friday July 9th as part of the Pre-Pub Pootle.

Mission Impossible MK6: The Fishy Cache – In this one you have to establish a year from a group of six photos and then use this to extract four numbers from four pictures of fish. No, really ! Fish. Initially this looked daunting, but then on further examination there were a couple of supplementary pictures to assist. A bit of research over a couple of nights got it sorted.  Basically, I would never have made the link to the year because I only knew what 2 of the photos were, and whilst one of those pinned a particular year the other could have been any year in a range of about 10. What gave it to me was the supplementary pictures. I immediately recognised one of them from an object I used to own. In fact, it is probably in the loft still. If only i could remember who he is. Some more research was required and once established then the rest of it dropped into place very quickly. It still took a couple of visits to find the actual cache though. The first one was an evening stop-off on the way home and was done without GPS – only the hint to help. Problem was that the only location nearby meeting the hint description was well away from the published coordinates. So I went back with Kas, Izzy and the GPS the following day at lunchtime. We had the same problem but just as we were about to give up we just switched off the GPS and went with the hint only. I had checked there the day before and didn’t find the cache, but second time around I just got a feeling and stuck in a hand, and there it was. Cool. Add that to the list.

Mission Impossible MK8: Secret Ingredients – This one is quite cryptic and based around spying. You basically have to decode a simple puzzle, then from that identify the location of a water hydrant. At that location you pick up an offset to another location nearby which contains a bunch of names of other information from which you have to dig out a set of coordinates. Mr Kitey will explain a few more bits once you are at that stage so I won’t spoil it, but I spent probably 3 hours chasing up blind alleys and trying to get hints and eventually had a flash of inspiration half way up the stairs to bed on a Thursday night. Quick check on GoogleMaps to make sure the result looked feasible and then shot out on the bike Friday night (July 23rd) to look for it. The cache was exactly where I calculated and was easy to find once there. Check the hint. If you get the right “host” object then it doesn’t take long. This one contained a lovely Geocoin that wants to visit as many countries as possible. So far it has only been to England, so we’ll be trying to drop it off in France in the next couple of weeks so it at least makes it to the Eurozone.

Mission Impossible MK7:  O Whose Workpad! – On this one, you have to uncover a secret location hidden somewhere in the description then decode a random looking set of numbers to make some text, which presumably tells you where the cache is. Well, I think I know where I was supposed to look, and have been there to gather the relevant material. I have applied the only decode scheme that seems to make sense and have basically ended up with a pile of words which all make sense individually, but when placed in that particular sequence, hmmmmmm ! Obviously I needed a further hint and I obtained it from Kitey at the chance meeting at the Beds/Bucks/Herts event in mid August. Had a flash of inspiration on what he meant the following morning and managed to bag the goodies over a lunchbreak.

Mission Impossible MK1: It’s a Killer – This is a multi-stage marvel. First you have to solve a killer sudoku. This was done ages ago at home and within Kitey’s target time of 2 milli-fortnights. The second stage is to decode some coordinates from the completed sudoku grid. However the scheme for decode requires a clue from elsewhere. This should give you a location somewhere near the photo of a clock tower somewhere in MK. I know where the clock tower is. Maybe the plan is to try to reverse engineer the grid decode by assuming the answer must be near the clock tower ? Anyway, once you get the first set of coords you have to find something which then offsets you to a second site nearby at which is the final cache. The precursors all give some clues on how to get there. I obtained all the clues, read them, read them again, and then gave up. No idea. This time no chance encounters but eventually a seed planted itself in my mind and a couple of hours later a reasonable location was established for the first bit. Got a clue from the first bit and realised I needed to go home again to work out the answer. Which was a pain because the answer proved to be within 200 yds of the first bit. Doh ! Pack a calculator in the caching bag next time.

Mission Impossible MK3: High as a Kitey – OK, we established who the mystery person “X” was and the death year “ABCD” pretty quickly. It took a while to decipher the text and then discover what needed to be done with it. Thanks again to Kitey at the Beds/Bucks/Herts event in Calverton. A hint there revealed the coordinates for the first step, which I visited and picked up yet another offset puzzle. To my shame it took millions of hours to figure what to do with this, but it turned out to be the most simple solution possible. I still managed to take two visits to actually locate the flaming thing though…………

Mission Impossible MK10: The Finale – You have to dig out a bonus code from each of the others in this series to gather enough info to calculate some coordinates. Even with all 8 to hand I managed to take about 8 visits to the location before I eventually found it. That, and an embarrassingly large number of emails to the man himself. Even when you do get there it proves to be an offset to somewhere else, but in this case the offset was simple and the certificate was bagged. It’s a miracle !

This is a tough series, but it was very rewarding to finish it, especially given that I was only the 7th finisher. Oh, and the owner is a very nice chap who feeds you enough information to keep you going whilst still requiring you to do some thinking yourself.

Not so hot off the press – There’s now another cache in this series, which I solved ages ago but have so far been unsuccessful in finding. I’ve been 3 times and as far as I can tell it needed replacing on two of those and on the other I just didn’t find it.