Hmmm ! How can I describe this afternoon without totally giving away the game on the prime purpose. Ahh bum ! It isn’t giving away much really. The point of the afternoon was to plan the route for one of our own caches – MK Schooldays: 10Km Race, but obviously you can’t cycle that far around Milton Keynes without finding a few caches as well. So off we went, Kev Kas and Ami under their own steam, and Izzy under Kas’s steam as well.
The general idea of the 10km Race is that we were trying to set a course of around 10km ( surprising, huh ? ) that you have to follow in sequence to get to the cache. At each kilometre along the route you have to find an item from which you read some letters or numbers, then you do a few sums and get the coordinates for the next kilometre marker. Is that clear ? If not, read the cache description. It probably won’t help you understand, but at least by the time you get back to reading this blog post I might have finished writing it…..
So the job for the day was to measure out lengths of 1km around a loop starting from Shenley Brook End school, and ending as close to that same point as we could manage. We didn’t do too badly, as it happens. I’m going to skip over most of that though as the cache will give you all that. We did the route a bit out of sequence but then we had planned it using http://www.gmaps-pedometer.com first – a very useful resource for planning routes before you set off, and stuff like that.
We started with kilometre marker 2, which is the closest to home. It’s in Emerson Valley. Quick photo, then off we go. Next was kilometre marker 3 in Shenley Lodge, and then marker 4, also in Shenley Lodge. At number 4 we took advantage of a little stopping off to let the kids have a quick run around while Kev ambled off to bag MK Aeolian #2: Shenley Lodge. It was a quick easy find behind an obvious feature.
So back to the bikes and on to kilometre marker 5 in Knowlhill, and time for a snack break for the kids. This proved handily close to Ware the Weir – Redway Rambles. This one involves pacing around some green space just inside Loughton looking for this and that. I seem to remember there was a bit of debate over “that” but “this” was easy. Anyway, calculated coordinates in hand we proceeded up a bit of a slope and started a bit of searching around. I’m not sure if our GPS was off or whether the cache owner’s were off, but it took us some time to find it. We got there eventually. Correction, Ami got there eventually.
Just time then to cycle round to kilometre markers 6 & 7 before the girls got an attack of the grumps and that was our lot. Kas took the kids home while Kev hacked on for a bit. Kilometer 8 and then over to a previous failure (or, more precisely, a non-event). Dry Stream ? proved to be quite and easy find, but I think it’s fair to say we were rank amateurs last time we came. The iPhone 3GS was undecided as to whether the cache was there or not, and the GPS was taking us round in circles. This time though, it was easier than Jack McEasy ( I must find a new cliche to use, mustn’t I ? ). Anyway, it was where it was supposed to be. The iPhone 4 got it spot on. Magic !
And so on to the end of a bit of an epic journey. An adventure. A quest, no less. In fact, the end of Kitey’s excellent Mission Impossible series. The last one, for some reason, is numbered 5 of 9. No idea why. Anyway, the is a whole blog post dedicated to just this series, so more details there, but I had previously visited where I thought Mission Impossible MK10: Finale ought to be probably 6 times. I had been in and out of bushes and hedges, into a wood and down a drainpipe, but all to no avail. I had worn out all available Brownie Points with Kitey himself by continually emailing him – Is it there ? Is it really there ? I can’t find it. Is it where Google Maps says it should be ? Blah-di-blah, warple, warple. I had kind of resolved that this would be my last ever visit. I had all but given up hope except for one hint from Kitey. I can’t even remember if it was in an email or verbal, but anyway, I had a fresh bit of info to work with. This one proved spot on. It allowed me to focus my search somewhat. Somewhat enough, in fact, to actually find the thing. Success, joy, deep satisfaction,…..,disappointment. It’s a Kitey, so there has to be another stage, doesn’t there. And there was. I’ve been at this one for so long though that I was more than familiar with what tools I needed. Just didn’t know what I would need to do with them. What I needed to do was to cycle another few hundred metres and go hunting in a tree. The final part of this was probably the easiest bit of the whole series.
So we are the 7th team to complete the Mission Impossible series – I have a little laminated card to prove it, and everything. That must be enough excitement for one day. Anyway, Kas will be wondering where I am, and I’ve still got to find kilometre markers 9, 10 and 1, in that order.
Job done !