Easy Like Sunday Caching

Kas planned to take the kids away to her mum’s for a few days to finish off their summer holiday and I was due a couple of days to go caching. I’d managed to worm my way into a two-day pass as a result of some good behaviour at some point. So I planned a big day in Kent. Or possibly two.

The target was to attempt to find 100 puzzle caches in a single day. I thought if I was lucky I’d be able to manage that. Yeah, I know! That’s an aggressive target, especially if you’re starting your day a hundred miles away. But not to be deterred, I left home while it was still dark and made it into Kent the fastest I have ever done. It’s funny how the M25 is fairly quiet at 5 am on a Sunday.

The QEII Bridge was also kind of quiet, and a sailed through it quickly as a result of them having installed a cunning ANPR system, which means you no longer have to stop to pay a toll. You do have to remember to pay online within a certain time though. Or Plan B, you can set up an account on direct debit so they charge you whenever you cross. I’d set up an account a couple of months previously after our trips to Dover ( see Doing Dover ).

So meanwhile, back at the plot, my first target was the “Cool Cuban Spirit” series. This was a long loop of puzzles on the same theme – the British Rail Class 60 Locomotive. I started by parking in West Kingsdown and walking around in a big clockwise loop. It was quite easy aside from the three that I couldn’t find. 58 finds up in about 4.5 hours was a pretty decent start to my attempt at 100 puzzles in a day.

Not as Planned

I then ventured into West Kingsdown village and parked up to do a bunch of Church Micros (puzzles, pre-solved) and a couple of nearby Challenge caches. Again, so far, so good.

But then in the early afternoon it all started to go a bit Pete Tong. I’d set aside whole groups of puzzles and challenges just to the west of West Kingsdown that looked like easy walks and easy finds. However I started to get bitten by the twin bugs of caches not being there, and me not being able to find them.

I became increasingly grumpy at the high DNF rate. By about 5 pm I had concluded that the 100-in-a-day target was a no-hoper. There was one series of 10 or so challenges where half were either missing or too awkward to get at. Then there was another series based around the Solar System where I missed 4 or the first 7, and couldn’t be bothered to try the remaining ones.

Enough is Enough (I Can’t Go On)

Up to this point I’d made 80 puzzle finds and 3 random others, and there was still was still some daylight left. However, the 16 DNFs I’d had on puzzles I had banked on finding now meant that I’d have to drive 30 minutes and start a whole new series to be able to get to the 100 target. So at that point I basically decided enough was enough. I just drove down to my hotel for the evening.

Had I found half of the ones I’d DNF’d I might well have kept going. But once it got to 6:30-7 pm I didn’t have the will to try to find a further 20 puzzles. So I gave up on 83 finds, 80 of which were puzzles.

The hotel was the clean, tidy but uninspiring Campanile that sits right under the Kentish end of the QEII Bridge. At least you couldn’t hear any road noise.

The caches I found over the course of the weekend were :