PAT and Charlie’s 7th

PAT and Charlie’s 7th

No, not “PAT and Charlie’s Seventh Loop”, “PAT” and “Charlie’s Seventh Loop” – It’s a double series mega day with a few drive-bys, random odds and sods, and the like.

It was a Sunday, and the girls were at home doing what they do during the afternoon. Kas went out in the morning to run the “Rocket 5k” event in central Milton Keynes.

I scooted out without really having much of a plan in terms of how long I’d be out. I’d sort of thought about doing these two series and then going somewhere else, but I also needed to be a bit careful as I was running a half marathon the following day. It turned out to be one of the most painful half marathons of all time. Too unfit, and stiff from the walking the previous day.

So the PAT series is over near Thornborough and consists of about 20 caches. When these were placed it forced me to rework some of the plans I’d got for my “Flags of All Nations” series, which caused some minor pain, but then it serves me right for planning something and then not doing it. I parked in Thornborough and walked them clockwise. A couple were obviously missing and I’ve yet to go back for them.

Charlie’s Seventh Loop is a series on the south side of Milton Keynes which runs from Caldecotte Lake down to the far end of Water Eaton, through the Waterhall Park. Being one of Charlie’s Loops, the caches are tougher than the average bear, and take some time. There are lots of field puzzles and multis to do. I think I missed a couple of these simply because I couldn’t solve the puzzle whilst at the cache. I can honestly say I’d never walked the path from Dobbies through to the bottom of Caldecotte Lake, and nor had I come back to the Red Lion pub and along the Grand Union Canal into Fenny Stratford, so a bit of Milton Keynes I’d previously never seen. If I remember correctly though. the weather was a bit up and down, and there were a couple of bits at the start of the series where I was receiving far too much attention from cattle, and in one case, from a farmer too. The cattle were a bit scary.

Caches found on this day were:

No More Heart Attack!

No More Heart Attack!

This was a day for finishing off a few small loops that remained on the Hatley Heart Attack. “At last” I hear you say, “you’ve been doing them since last year”.

I had three loops to complete. The first was on the north side Toft. I’d done a massive loop around the south side in February (see “Will This Heart Attack Ever End“) but had run out of time on that particular day. At least I’d left myself a convenient set of 25 or so still to do. The walk around them was 6.9km long.

The second loop was to the west of the Wimpole Estate, and was a straightforward looking loop of about 30 caches, packed closely together. These went well except for the last stretch of about 10, which all seemed to be hidden in hedges with a ditch to cross. I failed to find one of them. This loop was 8.3km long.

To finish off I had to do the loop to the west of Wrestlingworth. This section was one I’d been putting off for several months. Previous visits had included caches from this loop as a result of sections that form part of two different loops. This section was 10.9km long.

On these parts I made a habit of finding every other cache, but leaving the others so that there was something worth coming back for (i.e. I didn’t leave any gaps more than 500 metres). Nearly half of this loop was composed of bits I’d walked before, and the result was that finishing this section looked quite unappealing as there were some pretty large gaps.

I have to admit also that I’d had previous experiences in this village where I couldn’t find anywhere to park and where I got the distinct impression they weren’t much used to people from out of town. Someone once shouted at me for not walking on the public footpath into a particular field, even though it was very clearly marked as a footpath. It was kind of a slow walk round this bit, but I found all the caches.

On this loop I also found the final code needed to solve the Bonus, having all but given up and assumed I’d missed it somewhere. I was in the process of texting the owner when I started this loop, because it was the last chance saloon, but as it happened I managed to find the code before he replied.

The Bonus was a massive affair up near Hatley ( I suppose it had to be there ), and I decided to go fetch it while I was out and about. I’ve no reason to go back that way unless and until the big series is removed and replaced by another. I had just about enough light left. I was hobbling a bit as I went, though, having walked 26.1km during the day ( that’s 16.2 miles in old money ).

Imagine my disappointment when I got there and found the coordinates for the Bonus Bonus, and discovered it was all the way back near Toft, and a good mile walk away from any roads. Bum to that, it was nearly dark. So that means I won’t be finding the Bonus Bonus ever, because just I’m not motivated to drive an hour to find one cache.

It looks quite impressive on the smiley chart when you’ve done them all though. It’s miles and miles of little yellow smilies, charting several very long days worth of wandering round the countryside, mainly in the depths of winter.

Caches found on this day were :