Homeward Bound

Homeward bound, but I probably didn’t wish I was. It had been a good weekend, but all such things come to an end. However, I wasn’t in any hurry to get back at all. It was a Tuesday, and a regular work day, but I’d taken it as leave so I could wander back home at a leisurely pace. What I planned to do was to slip into Kendal and then Lancaster to grab a few more caches. Can’t have too much of a good thing.

So I was up at the crack of sparrow fart again to get one final hotel breakfast before heading south. I’d done most of my packing the night before, and had got up early enough that I carried most of my bags down to the car before going for breakfast, so I could make a quick exit.

Kendal

In all my born days I had never previously been into the middle of Kendal. Given the number of times I’ve been to the Lake District that seems strange, but I’d never been there. It has a compact town centre that contained a clutch of lab caches plus a handful of others. That made it a good place to go and spend a couple of hours

To get there I drove down the M74 and M6, and then in the middle of the high-point at Shap I ventured off onto the A6 to complete the drive down into Kendal. Finding a car park proved a little troublesome, partly because the first couple of places I looked were full, and the entrance to the third was obscured by some guys in a roadworks van. I ended up down a very narrow street and had to execute a dodgy turn by backing in and out of someone’s private parking spot. On the return the entrance to my chosen car park was more visible, so in I went and paid for 3 hours of parking. That ought to be enough, as I needed to be away and into Lancaster too.

Varied Scenery

I started off by walking around Kendal’s pedestrianised shopping streets and then onto the side of the River Kent. Initially, I walked north along the river to grab a Wherigo and then came back through town trying to do a couple of multi-caches. I failed here. One was, I’m sure, not there. A second pointed to a location that I just wasn’t willing to hang around. It seemed to be on or in a private property on what seemed to be a very overlooked residential street. I tend not to like searching in places like that.

So back at the river I walked south, completing bits of various lab series. I got as far down as Kendal Parish Church and the Nether Bridge before turning back into town up the main street.

Irritatingly Uphill

Carrying on from here – there was a sequential lab series which, for some reason, the CO decided to start right at the top of the hill (above Castle Howe). That meant I had a “slack” period of caching while I walked all the way up there. It did mean that I got a beautiful view from the top though. There’s a memorial on the top of Castle Howe that has great views across the town (and a couple of caches, naturally).

This particular set of lab caches earned itself quite a low review score though. One point removed for being sequential (there was no need because there was no logical flow through the five locations). Another point or two was lost because more the final location required you to go to three different places to gather the information (over a spread of 150m or so). It wasn’t completely obvious which buildings I was trying to look at. That makes it hit-and-miss plus a test of patience, which it shouldn’t be.

All in all though, a nice few hours spent in the town with some lovely weather. Shame I missed a bunch of the multi-caches, but never mind.

See below the map of Kendal for a description of my trip to Lancaster.



Lancaster

Kendal to Lancaster via the M6 is not the most time-consuming trip, to be honest. Lancaster is another English town (well, city, in this case) that I’d previously never been to. The town centre had all the hallmarks of a provincial English town. A mix of traditional stone buildings and newer brutalist concrete things, and a mix of commercial and residential buildings. Central Lancaster has a very specific residential building in its centre, which is a bit odd. There’s a grand looking castle on a hill above the station which was converted to a prison.

The Caching

Back at the plot, I parked on the north-east edge of the town centre and walked in a vaguely anti-clockwise loop around town. As with Kendal, there was a selection of lab cache series intermingled with a few traditional types. Most were quite easy to do and took me to some of the best pieces of architecture in town. I guess that’s one good thing about lab caches. In an urban environment they tend to focus on bits of architecture that you otherwise my not take any interest in. Two of the lab series took me to various “blue plaques” commemorating famous people or events. A third one took me to five of Lancaster’s most historic buildings.

Towards the end of the walking loop I found myself in a large square in front of the Town Hall. It has a very impressive statue of Queen Victoria in the middle, and I took the opportunity here to rest my feet a little whilst contemplating a final traditional cache.

I was in the middle of Lancaster for a somewhat shorter time than in Kendal. The caches were more tightly packed together and there weren’t any sequential ones. I think I was only there for about 2 hours before getting back to my car.

That’ll Do

I came home from Lancaster along the traditionally stressful route down the M6, but to be honest it was much quieter than I expected. It was after 4pm when I left Lancaster, so I was expecting to get stuck in traffic around Preston or Manchester, but it was clear most of the way.