The Sketch

This was my final day before having to go back to work. I’d been off work for ages, having spent a fortnight in Crete and then come to Uttoxeter for some geocaching. The plan was to walk from Sudbury to Tutbury across a bunch of fields. The walk very conveniently started at my hotel. It was a day where I sort of forgot to take any photos, so you’ll just have to look at the map at the bottom and pretend I’m a better-organised person than I actually am.

I was joined on the walk (or I tagged onto the walk) by Candleford, Steve (of Church Micro fame) and Andy “The Long Man”

Sorting Out the Arrangements

The first thing we did on the day was to drive over to Tutbury and park Candleford’s not insubstantial vehicle on the High Street. It’s a one-way walk so leaving a car at the far end counts as good planning. Anyway, we had loads of time. Steve and Andy weren’t coming round until 9am.

That meant Candleford and me could return to the hotel (we had randomly booked into the same place) for some breakfast. There were a couple of other cachers in the breakfast room. It’s almost like there was an event going on, or something.

We’d left plenty of time for a good breakfast and then to pack up the rooms and then get out of the rooms and throw all the stuff into the back of my car. Steve and Andy arrived a little later than planned, but still in plenty of time. We began walking at 9:20am.

Stage 1 – Sudbury to Hanbury

This first stretch was all across fields. The caches were a bit spread out, so it was quite slow going. At one point also we were diverted by a herd of cattle standing right where we wanted to be. They made us walk along a field, through a hedge, down a hill, and then back to where we needed. That probably wasted 20-25 minutes.

Other than that though, the weather was good, and the company was good, so the slow progress wasn’t exactly depressing.

At Hanbury there were a series of caches from the “FYI” series, which caused us to break the linear walk.

Hanbury to Tutbury

The next stretch of the walk took us north-east and finished at Tutbury Castle. There was a little loop of FYI caches around there too.

Once in Tutbury, Candleford when to fetch her car and we did a couple more caches as drive-bys on the way out. We made our way back to the Boar’s Head car park to split up and head off.

Not Quite Finished

I had a serious opportunity to get past 16,000 total finds, so I wasn’t quite ready to give up. I only needed 4 more at this point, but I couldn’t face more walking. So I had a quick chat with Candleford and we decided to head to Castle Donington for cluster of Adventure Labs. They all looked like they could be done quickly.
There was one series in Castle Donington, one in Hemington and one in Lockington. All could more or less be done from the car. Plus, of course, there were a few “real” caches on the way which couldn’t be done from inside the car.

And then to finally finish off my caching day we drove up to the Aeropark on the north side of East Midlands Airport to do a set of Adventure Labs that appear in the middle of the runway. They are designed to be done by people travelling through the airport, so they’ve been set with a very generous zone to make sure you can actually get them from the terminal building. I wasn’t sure we could get them from the Aeropark, so we parked up and gave it a go. We were in range, so 5 more finds were added in about a minute.

Homeward Bound

There was no sitting in a railway station involved, nor, indeed, were there any diminutive but very talented American songwriters. There was just me, my car, and the M1.

On the journey from Sudbury to Tutbury I’d made 68 finds and had waltzed well past the 16,000 total. So this made me start thinking about whether I could get to 17,000 by the end of the year, and whether I could get close to 3,000 total finds in a single year. It seemed distinctly possible.