The Sketch

Mega Day! The day of the West Midlands Mega Event. So what better way to spend it than doing a few caches before the event itself got going.

Up and Atom, Fallout Boy!

First order of business was breakfast. The Boar’s Head normally doesn’t start doing breakfast until 8 am on Saturdays, which is quite late. So we opted to linger around the dining room somewhat early and ask a passing server whether they could do breakfast a bit earlier.

I forgot to mention that the “we” in this case was me and Candleford. She’d randomly booked into the same hotel as I did.

Back at the plot, an early breakfast was secured, and we were ready to head off for some caching by 8 am.

For Your Information

The target for the day was to collect the information for a bunch of multis in the middle of Lichfield. We had a heads up that they formed a loop around a country road to the west of the town, so it would be advantageous to go collect all the information in one go and work out all the answers. As it happens, there were also a bunch of other caches and Ad Labs in the middle of Lichfield, so that made a good plan.

It proved to be very easy to do this. Pretty much all of the FYI start points were near to some other caches, so there was no wasted time.

Once we’d found all the start points and worked out all the finals we jumped into Candfleford’s car and headed west to complete 26 caches in a matter of an hour. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

By the time we left Lichfield we’d been caching for about 5.5 hours and had made 56 finds. A good start to the day.

By the way, a visit to Lichfield ticked another off the list of English Cathedrals I’ve visited, although we didn’t go inside it. Lichfield Cathedral’s claim to fame is that it’s one of only three in the UK that have three spires, and it’s the only medieval one of those three. It’s kind of fantastic to look at too, because it’s really ornately decorated by carvings in a reddish sandstone, and the spires are entirely made of masonry blocks.

Mega Time

We headed back to the Boar’s Head and separated into our individual cars to go to the event itself. That increased flexibility.

I arrived on the mega site at about 2:30 (it was due to finish at 4). To be honest, that’s about my limit for an event day anyway. Plus it was hot and I was ready for a drink.

On the event site they’d two released two new sets of Ad Labs (with 10 points each). That pushed the numbers up a bit more. One set involved finding a bunch of laminated cards around the site and answering a simple question at each one. The other set was “old skool” labs, which were basically field puzzles that required you to find or calculate a keyword somehow. This set was quite good fun. It was nice picking through them on a warm August afternoon.

The event itself was, well, event-like. I wandered around some of the stalls inside but didn’t buy anything. I caught up with a few Milton Keynes and Beds/Bucks/Herts cachers and mooched around while they did the formal handover from West Midlands to Milton Keynes (because next year’s UK Mega is in my home town). And that was that.

Except that wasn’t quite it. There was a group of Ad Labs up in Uttoxeter that briefly appeared on the map, and then disappeared again. Then on Saturday afternoon they appeared again. I think one of the points required access to a private building which wasn’t accessible all the time. Obviously, the owner had boo-booed but then been to see the location and they’d agreed to stick the answer in the window of their door. So that was the end of that then. And in the car on the way out of town I gathered the information for a virtual.

The Evening, and the Summary

I returned to the Boar’s Head and had an early dinner. I was done by this point, so I stayed at the hotel all evening and sat in the bar with a couple of drinks and my laptop.

Over the course of the day I’d reached 82 finds, which is pretty good.