Yaxley to Conington

Yaxley to Conington

There’s remarkably little to say about this day. I think I set off with the objective of trying to make over 100 finds, and I’d decided that the A1 to the south of Peterborough would be a good place to go, as there’s a string of caches alongside the old Great North Road and a number of loop series.

I decided to go from top to bottom, starting with the longest of the three loops at Yaxley. This one was about 10km in length and yielded 44 caches in under 4 hours. Excellent start.

From here I headed south, collecting 5 drive-bys, before reaching the short (but perfectly formed) Fen Lane FTF series – a short walk of just 4 km that yielded 14 finds in an hour. That made 63 finds in under 6 hours.

I continued heading south and picked up another 7 in the car before arriving near Conington for the Conington Criterium series – an 8km walk (it is supposed to be done on a bike, I think) around tarmacked roads that yielded a further 30 finds in a little over 2 hours. It was really quite quick going. I did miss out on the Church Micro here though, because there was a gymkhana going on in the field next to the church, which meant there was a bunch of bored kids farting about at the site of the cache. They didn’t move so after 10 minutes I gave up and moved on.

When I got back to the car it was getting into the evening and I’d been out all day, but I was tantalisingly close to a new personal record for a single day – only three short, in fact. I was therefore duty-bound to attempt another three, but thankfully there were three easy drive-bys in between where I was parked and the nearest southbound entrance to the A1, which was a happy coincidence.

103 finds in the day, taking around 9 hours and involving 88 caches done over 22 km of walking, with the balance being done as drive-bys as I passed between walking loops. When I arrived home I’d had enough for one day.

The caches I found on the day were :

Liverpool Rock ‘n’ Roll 2015

Rockin’ Remix

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A return to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half in Liverpool. This time it was Kas’s turn to run it and my turn to look after the kids.

It was being held in the middle of June this year, as for some reason they’d managed to find some other use for Liverpool City Centre on the second May Bank Holiday. So it was in the middle of term time, and therefore it meant that we had somewhat limited time to enjoy the experience.

We drove up on Friday night and were booked into the rather plush Jury’s Inn, right next to the race start/finish, which was good.

On Saturday we did not much in particular, except that I went caching over on The Wirral during the afternoon (see Wirral Wander). Seem to remember getting very muddy and smelly and ending up late for a dinner appointment with the family. Not good form.

On race day I was tasked with looking after our two kids and also Rob & Tina’s son Finlay (as they were both running). How hard can three be compared to two, especially when one’s a boy ? Apparently, it can be just fine and dandy.

So Kas did the running and I did the breakfast, standing by the roadside, and going for a coffee (in sequence, not concurrently). The kids did some climbing on statues.

After the race we decided not to linger around for beer o’clock, so we headed out along the riverside towards Crosby and to the beach that is home to the rather entertaining Another Place. We had ice cream, drinks and lunch up there before heading back down the motorways to get home again.

Wirral Wander

Wirral Wander

While we were up in Liverpool again for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon ( see Rockin’ Remix ) I took the opportunity to go and do a bit of caching on The Wirral. We’d had quite a long day already, as we’d chosen to do a new parkrun in Long Eaton on the way up, so had been on the edge of Nottingham until about 10:30 am and had left home in Milton Keynes before 7 am.

Getting to The Wirral from central Liverpool involved catching a train from James Street Station, just up the road from our hotel, over to West Kirby, which is kind of at the posh end of town.

The Wirral has an absolute mass of caches, and if I’d got a few days I could easily spend ages there and grab hundreds of caches. As it happened though, I had an afternoon.

My first stop was over by the seaside, to grab one of the U’s few remaining webcam caches. Actually there are two of them on the Wirral, but the other one is a long walk from the nearest station and nowhere near any other caches. The one I did was by the harbour in West Kirby.

From here I decided to attack the first few from the massive series that runs along the Wirral Way. It was really just a question of how far I could be bothered to walk down there, or, I suppose, deciding what was half as far as I could be bothered to walk because I’d have to come back again.

I got down as far as #10, about a mile and a half from the start, before turning inland and walking past a seemingly endless stack of caches I couldn’t find, before eventually descending onto the Saughall Massie Road and then over some fields towards Hoylake Railway Station to get home again. Walking down Saughall Massie Road was rather dangerous. It’s not that wide, there are no paths, and there’s loads of massive hedges that mean cars can’t see around the corners. I didn’t enjoy that part.

The reason for going that way was because there was supposedly a load of challenge caches in the fields that I was eligible for. Four of them, to be precise. I found two. At one of the ones I found, I initially picked the wrong route, found that the cache was on the other side of a ditch from me, and promptly failed to jump the ditch, resulting in me getting wet feet and getting covered in mud. Bum!

Of the two I didn’t find, one was apparently underneath a very rickety old bridge on a farm track that looked as if it would collapse by virtue of me standing on it. The other was supposedly close to a fence at a field boundary, but the area was thick with undergrowth and the hint might as well have said “blade of grass in middle of grass” – Not a prayer. I didn’t spend long there as it was obvious to me that I wouldn’t find it in a hurry.

And so back to Hoylake Station, stinking like something very smelly and leaving a trail of muddy footprints behind me – left foot only. At least no one sat next to me on the train. Nor, indeed, did anyone stand next to me on the platform.

By the time I got back to James Street Station I was cutting it a bit fine for meeting up with Kas and the kids to go out for dinner. By the time I’d got back to the hotel, had a shower, washed my boots and got dressed again I was well late.

The caches that I managed to find on the day were :

Letchworth Disaster

Letchworth Disaster

It was a sunny Saturday and I had an afternoon of caching planned with Daughterus Minimus.

We decided to head off to Letchworth to finish off a series I’d started with Daughterus Maximus the previous year (see Greenway Gallivant). On that day we travelled by bike, moved really quickly, and gave up halfway around because it started snowing.

On this day we walked, in very warm weather, for most of the day, and at the end of the day suffered a bit of a disaster.

We parked the car at Standalone Farm” on the north side of town and headed off northwards to complete the Letchworth Greenway Gallivant series in a clockwise direction.

It was easy going all the way around the Greenway until we got around to the Baldock side of town. It’s basically a wide path suitable for cycling, so it’s got a hard gravel surface all the way around. The hills are present but not steep, and all the caches could be reached without walking more than 5m away from the pathway. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy (other citrus fruits are available).

It was also quite easy, if a little more urban, coming back through town. Here we did a series of smaller caches of the magnetic variety, in locations that were quite public.

My Caching Log for the Offending Cache

Forgive me while I swear. I sacrificed my GPS at this cache. I put it down on one of the metal bars while signing the log, then as I was going to pick it up I knocked it and it fell off. It bounced end-over-end and disappeared down the open cover of a small drain. If it had landed sideways it wouldn’t have gone down, but it went end-on and as a result, straight into the open hole. There was a crash, and a couple of bangs, then a splash. I looked down the hole to see what I was up against, and could see the lit-up screen peering back at me about 6 feet down. Absolutely no way I was going to get down there. So if you’re more slim and svelte than me and you fancy pulling up that big metal manhole cover there’s a Garmin Montana 650t down there for you. It might be a bit smelly and non-functional though. Good job I’d got the phone with me too so we could finish off our walk.


The disaster happened close to the end of the day. I was a bit angry at myself, but we were still a handful of caches away from the car. Thankfully I could remember the exact route we’d walked and the caches we’d done.

So what actually happened? How can I describe it? No better way than by reading my log for the offending cache, in the bubble to the right here. The offending one was Letchworth Walkabout 6. I sort of got away with it though, because our home insurance covers replacement of items lost or damaged outside the house (so long as it’s in the UK). So the insurance offered me the cost of a Montana 650T from the Garmin website, minus my policy excess, which turned out to be the same as the cost of a Montana 650T on Amazon. In effect, all it meant really was that I had to survive a week and a bit of caching using my phone instead of a handheld GPS, including the afternoon on The Wirral.

The caches we found during this day were: