I had a couple of days holiday booked to spend in Lincoln with Ami. She had a couple of days of training for a mentoring job she’s doing, so someone needed to take her up there. As it turned out, she was also able to get the keys for this year’s flat. She successfully negotiated Year 1 of University, so she’s now heading into Year 2. I was heading into a couple of days of geocaching.
The drive up involved the usual stop at a local garage to refuel and get a “mobile” breakfast. This was followed by a slightly fraught drive up the motorway. Why? Well, my car decided today was a good time to tell me the tyres needed some more air. I suspect it was maybe because of carrying half of Ami’s worldly possessions in the back, but also maybe just because I hadn’t checked them for a while.
Anyway, I was on edge for the whole drive up, but when I got to Lincoln I got a grip and realised I couldn’t possibly have got three punctures, so it must just be that they needed a pump up. We arrived in Lincoln in time for breakfast, but neither of us wanted any. So we went to Morrison’s garage to fill the tyres up instead. And from there we still had half an hour, so we went just up the road to collect the key for Ami’s flat. We had an afternoon slot booked to empty the car, but figured that would be quicker if we already had the key.
Just after I dropped Ami off the weather took a turn for the worse. It looked like I was going to be spending my day in the wet.
I started off at a cemetery to the south-east of the city centre, where there was a quick series of Labs. I toyed with walking around the larger park here (on the Lincoln Edge), but it was much bigger than it looked on the map, and I didn’t fancy it in the rain.
So I moved myself down to Hartsholme Country Park. On the way, the car was still moaning about the rear tyre pressure. I guess the tyres would still be warm when I did them before, so I decided to go to another garage and give them another go. Hartsholme was a pleasant walk around, despite the rain, because it was mainly under trees. It had a mix of lab caches and regular caches, so it was a fruitful walk. By the time I finished there it was about 12:30. Ami was due to finish at about 2:30, or maybe earlier, so I decided I didn’t have much time left.
I ventured over to Boultham Park, where there was supposedly another set of labs and a handful of regular ones. I started on the western side, where there were two outliers. The lab cache wasI got the lab easily enough, but I didn’t find the other one.
Anyway, back to the car to move around the other side of the park, and I immediately became aware of an unpleasant smell.
Turns out I’d stood in some dog poop and then climbed into the car. I’d smeared the stuff onto the floor mat of the car. That needed attention immediately, because frankly it smelled gross. One advantage of having Ami’s stuff in the car was that I had all her cleaning materials. So I nicked a cleaning cloth and proceeded to use the nearby puddles as a source of dampness, taking care to rinse in a different puddle from where I was “wetting up”.
It was rudimentary, but it got enough off the carpet and shoes to allow me to more on. I’d lost the urge a bit though, and anyway Ami had pinged to say she would be free at 2 pm. So I dashed round the park and then set off to fetch Ami back.
After all the messing around, I needed a quick break, so Ami and me walked over to the High Street so I could wash my hands properly, and we grabbed a Maccy D’s for lunch. This filled all the time until we could go and unload the car.
It was general “moving in” weekend at Lincoln University, so they were being a bit tight on parking cars at any of the main student residences. We had a one hour slot from 3 pm. They told me they would be strict on that, even though there was frankly nobody else there.
Anyway, her new flat has stairs instead of a lift, and that meant there was no advantage to getting a luggage trolley. We just took stuff through by hand. She only had about 10 boxes/bags anyway, so it didn’t take long. We discovered we’d taken two duvets instead on one duvet and one mattress topper, so that would have to be corrected over the weekend.
This year she’s in a shared flat with people she already knows. One of the others was also moving in on Thursday, so we had some company.
We got it all done within the allotted time, and so we were ready to go and find out hotel.
We were booked into the Lincoln Hotel. We normally don’t stay here, but our usual choices were all booked up, and it looked fine.
It turned out that the rooms were a bit dated but otherwise pleasant. However the view was quite good. We were on the top floor and had a balcony, from which we could stare straight out at the north side of the cathedral. We had a bit of a snooze before getting ready.
Ami had booked us into a tapas restaurant around the other side of the castle which turned out to be very nice, although they were really quick with service, so we weren’t there for long. We were back at the hotel before 8 pm and sat for a while with a beer. I would say I read for a while, but I didn’t really.
I called Kas and by then Ami was done, so we decided to give up. Back at the room it was a warm night so we stood out on our balcony and had a discussion about change ringing and Westminster Quarters. And we had to try to count the bells – Thursday night was obvious bell ringers’ practice night. As we were only 100m or so away from the main tower, the bongs were extremely loud.
Thankfully, the main bongs seem to stop at about 11 pm and the change ringers went home. So we got some sleep, and were ready for some breakfast at about 8 am.
Breakfast was good and we were ready to get out fairly early to get Ami down to a different building. The morning had been foggy, but as the sun rose it was clearing the fog quickly and it looked like it would be a lovely day. The fog drifting around the cathedral looked very impressive from the balcony, though. We should come here again.
After dropping Ami off, I started my caching morning at the Lincoln Arboretum, which was totally beautiful on a bright, sunny morning.
I parked on the north (uphill) side. On a map, you sort of expect that somewhere in Lincoln will be flat, except, of course, there’s the Lincoln Edge. The arboretum was built on the Lincoln Edge, and so faces southwards and is on a very steep slope.
The first cache I had to find was right down at the bottom, but I figured I should do the set of labs in order. So down the bottom I went. And then I climbed all the way back up again. The last of the labs was down at the bottom again, as was the bonus for the series. And so I had to climb up again to get back to the car. That was a lot of upping and downing.
I’d decided not to stray too far from central Lincoln again, as we were expecting Ami to finish at 2pm again. So next up I drove all the way round to the southern edge of Hykeham and parked up for a walk around the Millenium Lake. Much like the previous day’s walk around Hartsholme, this involved a circular walk around a lake with a mix of traditional caches and labs. Unlke yesterday though, it was warm. Very warm. I picked up the details for a multi before I set off, but it wasn’t on the walk.
The walk was very pleasant, and I was back at the car in an hour or so. I was running out of planning options but there was that multi, plus another series of lab caches that were a bit spread out. I decided to drive around those, and discovered they were a humourous fake “history of Hykeham” – it made me chuckle a little bit to see what the owner had done to make it look like various everyday objects were (in the description) items of great historical significance. Have yourself a Scooby Snack for that one.
The last of that series was at a small local shopping centre, so I took the opportunity to grab myself a chilled drink while I was there. I noticed it was past 1pm, so I didn’t really have time for much else, and I ended up just driving back to the agreed pick-up point and waiting in the car for Ami to come out. It was nice just having a snooze for a while.
One for the Road
We had one more diversion to make on our way home. For most of this year I’ve been tracking my Difficulty/Terrain grid. I had about 3 gaps when the year started, and up to this point I’d filled two of those. One was on a day of heisting caches out of trees down near Winchester and the other was an earthcache in the Lake District. So I had one left to go. I needed a D4.5/T5. Those are quite rare beasts, but I noticed (or “I was told”) that there was one near Sleaford that I should do.
The cache concerned is a challenge cache, and therefore its difficulty and terrain reflect the difficulty of completing the challenge, not the difficulty of getting this one cache. The challenge was to have cached on 365 different days of the year. I completed that task away back in 2014, but I’d never noticed this challenge, and nor would I have made a special journey for it apart from it filling my D/T grid. So that was the plan.
The cache itself was a couple of miles to the east of Sleaford, along a pathway beside the River Slea. It was a pretty easy find, that was in the second place I searched. So that was the end of my first lap around the D/T grid. My 17,946th total find completed my frst lap around the D/T. Maybe I should try to spread it around a bit more. I hope it doesn’t take me another 18,000 finds to make the second lap. That all depends, I suppose, on my ability to find T4.5 and T5 caches that I’m able to do. Most require a boat or some climbing ropes.
Anyway, enough of that. The drive home was a bit quieter than I might expect for a Friday night. We were back home at 5pm. I’d made 49 finds over the two days.