Charlie’s First Loop

Charlie’s First Loop

This was the first of a whole load of new caching series in Milton Keynes entitled “Charlie’s Loops” – This one looked appealing enough to warrant a day off work to do them. It was a Friday. Well, I have to use the holidays for something. I can’t carry them over from one year to the next.

The series started in Wavendon, which doesn’t have a lot of available parking at the best of times, so I took advantage of the proximity of my (supposed) base work location to park my car and then promptly did a runner off the office site and out into the village, from where I was destined for a loopy walk over to Woburn Sands, along through Brickhill Woods, and then back into the south side of Milton Keynes again to reach home.

It was quite easy going all the way around. I found 30 caches in double quick time and without really getting stressed, although I was wearing normal jeans rather than waterproof trousers, so by the end, my trouser legs were a bit wet.

The caches I found on the day were :

The Twin Turbine Trail

The Twin Turbine Trail

This one was a long Saturday walk through some rolling hills on the border between Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.

I parked up on the grassy verge outside of Hamerton Zoo Park. There’s not really many other places to park around there, and you can’t go into the car park for the zoo unless you are going to the zoo. They charge for parking and they lock the gates when they close. Neither of these is advantageous if you’re going caching. They charge you for using their toilets too. Well, you have to pay to enter the zoo if you want to use them, which is a pretty expensive way of turning your bike round.

On the radar I had two caching series which very conveniently form nice loops and which touch each other at one corner, meaning you can do both loops without either having to double back or having to suffer a long, empty gap. Excellent.

The first loop runs north and east from the Zoo and returns to a point directly south of it. The second loop shoots off at the most southerly part of the first loop. It’s difficult to explain, which is why there’s a picture of it on the page. Clever, innit?

Anyways up, the result of the 17km of walking was 81 cache finds. They were :

London September 12th 2015

Examining London

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I had a professional exam to take after a period of, well I’d like to call it “intensive study” but it would probably be better to call it “not being bothered” over the summer. The exam in question was ISACA‘s CISM exam. ISACA does its exams by paper, and therefore has to do them in fixed (and quite infrequent) formal sittings. The closest one for me was being held at London Metropolitan University in Islington, quite close to the Emirates Stadium. It was a Saturday and I had to be there for about 8 am. And I had a cold. In fact, I had a bad cold. I nearly didn’t go.

The exam consisted of a couple of hundred fairly abstract questions, a time limit of 4 hours, and a definite limit to the number of pencils you could have on the desk. I’m not sure whether I irritated everyone else by constantly snuffling during the exam, but nobody said anything, and before you could say “smoke me a kipper” I was all done. Technically, I did my usual of having a first sweep to do all the easy ones, then returning to think about the others, and then finally just guessing anywhere the thinking wasn’t working. This time around I only guessed about 10, so not too bad.

When I’d finished it was solidly “lunchtime”, so I made a quick hop back to Euston to meet up with the ladies of the house, and we sat outside in the sunshine deciding what to do whilst munching on some sandwiches and posh coffee.

I wanted fresh air, having been cooped up like a battery hen all morning, and Kas fancied going over to Greenwich, seeing as she’s previously only been there for the London Marathon, so that was enough opinion to call it “a plan”. We got there by taking the tube to Bank and jumping on the DLR down to Cutty Sark. We mooched about here for a bit before going into the shop and deciding it was an expensive visit for the 30 minutes or so that the girls might be interested in it. They were interested in some ice cream though, so we got some and decided to go for a walk up to the Greenwich Observatory. There’s a very fine viewing platform which gives a great view out over the Canary Wharf developments. There’s also a little memorial to the Prime Meridian – the line of zero longitude. There’s a virtual geocache here that gets you to measure the distance between the Greenwich Meridian and the current line of zero longitude as per the WGS84 datum. The Observatory is no longer on the zero line.

The viewing platform proved to be quite good for taking selfies.

After we’d done up there we walked down through the Royal Naval College and past a massive ship in a bottle.

We’d all had enough by then. I certainly had, because I’d been up since about 5 am, so we gave up and went home.

I found out a few weeks later that not only had I passed the exam, but I’d scored within the top 15% of people taking the exam on that particular day, so I was quite pleased, especially given my lack of preparation.