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The Sketch

A day of hacking around East Midlands Airport trying to achieve a bit of a goal. A couple of weeks ago I was in a discussion on Facebook about filling up the cacher’s Difficulty/Terrain Grid and we got round to a discussion about finding 5/5 entries. Often difficult because a terrain 5 is generally something beyond my less-than-nimble physique. However, there are a number of caches in the UK which are terrain 5 only because of the qualifying criteria. Ones where the cache itself is quite easy. Oh yes ! The “Challenge” variety.

My only current 5/5 is Dr Solly’s Chiltern Hundred Bonus, which requires about 25km of walking to collect at least 100 of the 109 traditionals around 3 loops in Chesham. I completed this a while back, so it’s probably time to attempt another 5/5.

So back at the Facebook discussion, a couple of “Challenge” type caches were mentioned as possible “5/5 lite”, by virtue of them requiring a long drawn-out effort rather than any particularly stunning feat of athleticism. More of a marathon than a sprint, you might say. The two suggested were :

The first is more hair-raising from my perspective. You have to complete a line horizontally and vertically through your “Days Found” matrix. On the face of it that sounds like a nightmare, but having done the calculations I actually only need about 3 days for a vertical line and about 7-8 for a horizontal, so I might as well go for it.

Today was the first must-have day for the vertical line. It’s also a current “zero” day, so is required generally for filling the “Days Found” matrix anyway.

The Doings

Ami decided she’d come with me, and our target was a 10-11km walk around East Midlands Airport, which is only about 10 miles from where my parents live in Measham.

Doing a full breakdown of the day would be quite time-consuming, so I won’t bother. So here’s a few highlights :

  • The listed parking at the Aeropark on the North-West corner is NOT open every day. We thought they were late so we drove down the road, did a couple of caches and came back at what ought to be opening time, but no-can-do. Shutski ! So we parked on Diseworth Lane outside the pub.
  • We replaced one of the “Walk on the Winged Side” series (after checking with the owner first because I didn’t want a dodgy non-smiley on my face). Kas bought me up a selection of camo pots from home when she came up.
  • It was cold. Speed over muddy terrain was actually quite good at the start because the mud was frozen. There were a few flurries of snow too.
  • There weren’t anything like as many planes as I thought there’d be. Must be a quiet day for it.
  • When we got near to the airport access road Kas picked us up and drove us back round to the pub where we had parked – we had a nice family lunch there. Two mucky individuals and two clean.
  • Then Kas drove us back to the access road and we continued where we left off.
  • On the homeward leg we missed two caches so we were trying to find a couple of drive-bys to make the numbers up to 30 after the walk, but darkness and hunger got the better of us and we gave up with 29 finds.

All in all a good day out. Ami was a little star and we had a good old walk despite the cold. We didn’t get particularly filthy, which is novel for the last few weeks, and by the time we got home we’d had enough. But that date for the Double-Digit Blockbusters Challenge is well and truly done. I now have a vertical run down all the way to the 3rd week in January. So now I have to start thinking about the horizontal run as well.