The Sketch

So back to the geocaching after a whole week since the last time I went out. How did I survive that long? Today’s task was to find a minimum of 48 finds to keep the Shifty-Fifty Challenge moving along. I’ve yet to get a bike that’s suitable for caching on. Well, I’ve bought one, but I don’t have it yet. So my options are still limited to drive-bys or Shank’s Pony. I opted for a bit of walking and a further assault on the plasticine canine-based series over at Barkway that I started four weeks ago (see Animated).

The weather looked like it would be challenging. The forecast said “probably” dry in the morning un until about 2pm and then “bad” for the afternoon. By bad I mean 80-90% chance of rain to add onto the guaranteed high winds.

Off We Go

As the weather looked like it would get worse over the day I got up early again and set off while it was dark. I did toy with assuming it would be wet all day. That meant planning to do all drive-bys, and looking for areas where I could pack Adventure Labs into the same space as regular caches. Ultimately though, I decided to stick with the walking plan. The part I needed to do would take 5-6 hours, so my plan was to start walking at 8am and hope that meant I could get round without getting wet.

So I left home at about 6:45 and stopped on the way out, as ever, to buy fuel, coffee and snacks. It’s about an hour’s drive across from home and I was in the car park in Barkway just before 8am. I chose to use the same car park as I did four weeks ago. That meant I was on one side of the main walk, but if conditions were good it gave the option of another walk in the other direction afterwards.

Across the Top

My walk took me west out of Barkway in the direction of Reed. I think I walked this slightly differently the last time I was here but the result was similar. Ross had set two parallel lines of caches here – one from the Gromit series and one line of his “Congratulations” caches. That meant there was no simple route here to capture all of them. A bit of backwards-and-forwards was required.

Reed required a bit of “round the village” action as there were a number of caches that were offshoots from the main walk.

Head South

From Reed the walk took me due south in a straight line for 10 caches, which I assume is therefore about 2.5km. When I got to the road at the bottom end I’d found about 33 caches in 3 hours. That’s quite good going.

Looping Back

The route then turned east to head back towards the south end of Barkway. It wasn’t a straight walk though. There’s a stretch back into the middle of the loop and back to the road which meant that 2.5km as the crow flies was more like 5km and had 21 caches on it.

As I was exiting that inside part I passed a bloke with two dogs who asked if I was out caching. Yes, definitely. Turned out he was the CO’s grandad. Excellent. Then when I got to the road, two other guys approached. They turned out to be the CO himself, and his dad. It’s weird meeting him for the first time given that we’ve exchanged IMs quite often. And because more than 10% of my total finds are on his caches.

Anyway, it was nice to meet them all.

Enough is Enough (I can’t go on!)

No, not Donna Summer. But by the time I got back into Barkway I really had had enough. I could feel several things but none of them were love. So I decided that I’d go back to the car and drive for a while, maybe stopping halfway home for an Ad Lab series and/or a few drivebys. As it happened though, it started raining just as I got back to the car. Literally right as I got back to the car. It was dry when I unlocked the doors, but I was soaking by the time I’d changed my footwear.

It was really raining quite hard, so I decided I’d just grab the local drive-bys and go home. That made a total of 68 finds, so 20 more than my minimum acceptable level.