A few days ago it was pointed out to me that the 360° Challenge I completed was not sufficient to do the cache in Northamptonshire. I did 360° from my home. The challenge cache needs 360° from the location of the cache. So having thought I was done with it, it turns out I’ve actually still got over 50 to do. Conveniently, four of the missing ones were in a contiguous arc running through Brigstock, in Northamptonshire.
So I agreed to meet Candleford somewhere up there at 8 am so we could have a go at one of the walking series there, plus whatever else we had time for. I didn’t have a huge amount of time though, because today was the day to drive down to St Albans in the evening for beers and curry with my old workmate Lee. This particular social event had already been delayed 3 times as a result of various shenanigans.
Anyway, as seems to be the case these days, when I know I’m going out caching I don’t need an alarm. The plan was to get up at 6 am and head off at about 6:30, but I was wide awake by 4:30. I hung on until just after 5 am and then just got up and got on with it. Somewhat before 6 am I was ready to go.
I tried to do my normal routine – diesel, coffee and snacks at the garage on the way out. On this morning though, that proved troublesome. Various shortages caused by the unpopularity of Russian products, the fact that most people can’t use red diesel anymore, and the fact that various protesters have been fastening themselves to oil terminals, meant that on this day diesel was short. I passed through 3 garages in MK with no luck. My tank was fairly full of fuel anyway, but I did need snacks and drinks.
I was heading north up through Olney today, and when I got to the “big” junction at Wellingborough there’s a Tesco with a garage, and it appeared to have fuel. So I pulled in and topped up on fuel, snacks, coffee. Because it’s a different retailer from usual, the only thing I could get that was in my “normal” portfolio of caching goodies was the Wispa Gold. Even the coffee was a different brand, but at least it was one of those make-your-own machines from the well-known high street brand that sounds like a bit of Spanish coastline. No bother, job done.
Fermyn Woods Country Park
As I was “well early” I had time to do a bunch of caches we’d planned for the afternoon. There’s a set of ad labs, plus a few other bits in the Fermyn Woods Country Park. That meant by the time I met with Candleford at 8 am I’d already found 8. Candleford had signed a couple with our team name of MKGC too, so when we set off walking I’d already done 10. Can’t be bad. We’d parked at the Village Hall, by the way. It has a nice big car park.
From Brigstock to Geddington
There’s three series here that form a big loop to the west of Brigstock. The first was titled “Geddington to Brigstock”, so we were evidently going round backward. That saw us through 26 caches, including a very nice pink ammo can in a private (but still public) garden on the edge of Geddington.
We did all those in under two hours, which was good.
Geddington to Stanion
Next up was “Stanion to Geddington”, so I guess we were doing those backward too. This was a somewhat shorter stretch of 13 that took us around an hour to do. This put me on a total of 50 (ish) finds, which is good for 11 am. Stanion Village had a Church Micro and a couple of others which added to the total too.
Stanion to Brigstock
We got back to Brigstock with a very functional walk along the main road doing the “Brigstock to Stanion” series. So I guess that makes three series we did backward. This stretch was hard going because of the very busy road nearby. It was noisy. We got honked at by a van at one point. No idea what he was on. But ho-hum!
Around Brigstock Village
When we got back to the cars we stopped for a few minutes for some lunch. It turns out that as well as a car park, the Village Hall also has unlocked doors and clean toilets. Result. It didn’t seem to have any occupants, even though the car park was quite full. They can’t all have been out caching.
Back at the plot, Brigstock village had another dozen caches. They were mainly Ad Labs that Candleford had done, except there was a trad plus a new set of labs that she hadn’t. They were all knocked off pretty quickly, including a TB hotel that had 7 actual TBs in it.
Whilst driving out for the bonus of one of the sets of labs we also continued on so I could sign the Explorer 224 Challenge. For that cache you have to find 224 caches in different 1km squares on the Ordnance Survey Explorer Map #224, which covers this area. I was a long way short but I might as well sign it while we were here. Some day I might qualify.
Anyway, that meant I’d found about 76 caches and it was not yet 2 pm.
The plan for the rest of the day was to give our feet a rest and go grab some lab series instead of starting another walk. On the way past though there were a couple of church micros in Geddington that needed to be done. One of them was really close to Geddington’s Eleanor Cross. It’s the best-preserved of the remaining three (the other two are at Hardingstone and Waltham Cross. Candleford parked right next to it while we did one of the caches. That was a nice find.
Rothwell had a whole Ad Labs series just dedicated to its churches. We were able to do all of those fairly quickly despite misfires on a couple of the locations. Otherwise it seemed an uninspiring kind of place.
Desborough was also an average kind of town. It had a set of Ad Labs that we were mainly able to drive to. It also had an earthcache and a TB hotel right next to each other, so we were able to complete those.
This made things look quite healthy, and it looked even more healthy when we returned to fetch my car from Brigstock and walked over the cricket field to grab one that was there.
The only downside of the day was that whilst driving home down the A43 I managed to hit a massive pothole and apparently bent one of my wheel rims a bit. I found a guy who could straighten it (or “round” it, I guess), but nevertheless? It happened when I adjusted my line to avoid a pothole I could see, and consequently went straight through a larger one that I couldn’t see. I was not a happy bunny.
By the end of all this, I’d made 93 finds on my day around Brigstock. They were: