Objectives

My 2013 Caching Diary is dominated by one key objective. I wanted to fill up my “Days I’ve Been Caching” matrix on the stats page. Or maybe the “Finds by Date Placed” or the “Finds by Month Placed”, but mainly the first one.

This may sound relatively easy, and in Milton Keynes it would be ridiculously easy if you were a beginner. We’ve got about 500 just in the town. A newbie could therefore do one a day for over a year without ever having to travel outside MK.

For me, however, it’s a bit more tricky. As the year started I had about 130 days left to fill. But I had less than 20 caches I could reach in under 20 minutes. The “20 minutes” is a practical constraint. I have to work during the week, and there’s no light in the evenings for much of the year. So odd ones and twos have to be done at lunchtime. Towards the end of the year, though, I started using my remaining holiday time.

Sure, a few weekdays could be safely filled with business trips and with evening events. But I’d still need about 70 or 80 on weekdays. From that perspective, maybe allowing 2 years would have made more sense than just 1.

But “Bum to it !” I had a go anyway. And there’s a whole new world of caches in the “Challenge” category that become eligible if you fill these things up.

So he’s a day-by-day diary of days I went caching, and places I went.

January (61 finds)

  • 3rd January – An afternoon dash around Buckingham to pick up some of the Buckingham Crossing series and some of the Stowe Safari, such as they were this early in the year (see Stowe Maintenance) – 11 finds
  • 7th and 8th January – A single find each in Milton Keynes – 2 finds
  • 10th January – The first BBH event of the year, in St Albans – 9 finds
  • 11th January – A quick dash to Derby with work – 2 finds
  • 11th January – A quick dash up to Bradville for Train Spotting! – 1 find
  • 13th January – A return to Buckingham for more of the Stowe Safari and Buckingham Crossing series – 10 finds
  • 14th January – A business trip up to Blackpool – 10 finds
  • 16th January – A stop at keele TB HOTEL north on the way home – 1 find
  • The 17th and 19th January – Single caches in Milton Keynes, done in the snow – 2 finds
  • 20th January – A quickie in Donisthorpe that was nearly a disaster due to snow in the car park – 1 find
  • 23rd and 24th January – More onesies in Milton Keynes – 2 finds
  • 25th January – A Friday night trip down to Aylesbury without Ami, who was away somewhere on a Brownie Camp – 2 finds
  • 27th January – A bunch of random caches in Sherington – 6 finds
  • 29th and 30th January – Single caches near home – 2 finds

February (134 finds)

March (127 finds)

March looked tricky, with a run of 8 days out of 9 to fill between the 19th and 27th. It proved to be too much. I failed on the 26th.

  • 1st March – My first ever YOSM in Great Linford – 2 finds
  • 2nd March – A dash to College Wood for one – 1 find
  • 3rd March – A mixed afternoon near Billing Aquadrome with BingBongLong – 18 finds
  • 4th March – a quick dash to Nash – 1 find
  • 7th March – I resuscitated A Bridge Two Far  – 1 find
  • 8th March – A domestic disaster nearly stopped me, but then Keyne-O Series – 1 Howe Park Wood popped up – 1 find
  • 12th March – A BBH event near Tring – 5 finds
  • 16th March – Up to Sawtry and Alconbury with Wavvy for my best day ever (see Sawtry Splurge)- 75 finds
  • 19th March – A couple in Preston – 2 finds
  • 20th March – A lunchtime trip for BUCKS RESUSCITATOR – CHALLENGE CACHE – 1 find
  • 21st March – A lunchtime onesie – 1 find
  • 22nd March – Completed Post Haste – Bancroft – site of two previous failures – 1 find
  • 24th March – A trip to Towcester in the snow with Ami (see Towcester) – 5 finds
  • 25th March – Completed MKBW VIOLET 8 [a ] Weir am I ? – A short-lived cache – 1 find
  • 26th March – Disaster. Failed on two targets, and then had to get Ami home and couldn’t be bothered to go out afterwards
  • 27th March – A evening event in Roade – 7 finds
  • 29th March – Driving to the North East – 2 finds
  • 30th March – Walking around Newcastle with the family (see Newcastle) – 3 finds

April (54 finds)

April had only 8 days to fill on the grid. I went caching on 14 of those 8 days.

  • 1st April – Still in the North East. Kas and I grabbed a few South Shields before fetching the kids back – 5 finds
  • 3rd April – Close to the Bone saw me right  – 1 find
  • 5th April – Welcome to Appleby Magna completed on the way up to folks’ house  – 1 find
  • 8th April – Five around Ashby de la Zouch on a driving lunch break – 5 finds
  • 9th April – A business trip to Sheffield completed – 3 finds
  • 10th April – Another dash around Ashby – 6 finds
  • 12th April – Another BBH event in Milton Keynes – 1 find
  • 14th April – Kas had a run in Flitwick which we all went to – 5 finds
  • 16th April – I had an excellent evening caching around Fleetwood in gorgeous weather (see Fleetwood Flurry) – 15 finds
  • 17th April – A return to Fleetwood for a YOSM that I couldn’t find the previous evening – 1 find
  • 18th and 19th April – I did a couple of quick grabs north of MK – 3 finds
  • 23rd April – I scooted out to Heath and Reach at lunchtime – 5 finds
  • 26th April – A Friday night trip to Wing with Izzy – 3 finds

May (155 finds)

  • 1st May – Two new caches a couple of miles from home – 2 finds
  • 2nd May – I dashed around the north of Milton Keynes while Ami was at Aerial Extreme with her Brownie pack – 4 finds
  • 4th May – “Star Wars” Day, obviously, but also World Wide Flash Mob day, so so we went to Aylesbury to attend a flash mob (see World Wide Flash Mob X) – 16 finds
  • 11th May – Up north a bit (see The Giddings) – 44 finds
  • 13th May – I was up in Blackpool and grabbed a few on the seafront near the Tower – 5 finds
  • 17th May – A drive round to Deanshanger in the evening – 2 finds
  • 18th May – Cranfield on a Saturday afternoon – 9 finds
  • 19th May – Towcester with Izzy for another handful – 11 finds
  • 20th May – A BBH event near Aylesbury – 8 finds
  • 23rd May – I grabbed a few MKBW Orange caches near Woburn Sands – 4 finds
  • 26th May – A trip to Emberton with Izzy – 4 finds
  • 27th May – The Austrey Amble series near Tamworth (see Austrey Amble) – 31 finds
  • 28th and 29th May – Blackpool again with 3 finds on each day, and a quick YOSM in Derbyshire on the way home – 7 finds
  • 30th May – I took the kids down to London so Kas could get some work done – 7 finds
  • 31st May – The final Stowe Safari cache whilst doing maintenance over at Stowe – 1 find

June (183 finds)

June proved to be a productive month from the numbers perspective. It was annoying in that I simply forgot about one of the matrix days. I thought I had to do a 3 day run on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. However,  on Wednesday morning I realised it was supposed to have been Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, so I missed the Monday. Bum !

  • June began with a couple of quick onesies in Milton Keynes on the 1st and the 4th and a couple of quick ones on a Saturday lunchtime dash to Buckingham on the 8th to keep the numbers rolling, followed by a lunchtime bike ride along the park outside our house for a single find on the 11th. So far, so slow – 5 finds
  • 15th June – A long planned day out with Alibags and Wavvy over to NorthBedCambshire which resulted in an unprecedented number of finds in 10 hours caching (see Ton Up) – 102 finds
  • 17th June – I simply forgot to go out
  • 18th June – I dashed up to the north of MK for a couple of finds while Ami was at athletics – 2 finds
  • 19th June – A BBH event down in Little Gaddesdon – I decided to take the afternoon off an ended up with a lot of finds (see Dunstable Dash) – 40 finds
  • 22nd June – I negotiated a couple of hours to go and walk the bottom end of Wavvy’s MK Boundary Walk: Grey stretch from Cranfield (see MKBW Grey – The Bottom) – 15 finds
  • There were simple ones in MK on the 24th, 28th and 29th punctuated by a further trip to Blackpool on the 27th – 19 finds

July (137 finds)

  • July started slowly with only 3 finds in the first couple of weeks – onesies in Milton Keynes on the 1st, 7th and 8th – 3 finds
  • 13th July – I went over to Haynes Church End and Houghton Conquest with BingBongLong on a very hot afternoon to grab a new series – 14 finds
  • 20th July – I went caching with BingBongLong again, and with Ami, over to the Little Staughton Sortie series – This trip included Ami’s 500th find (see Little Staughton Sortie) – 34 finds
  • 24th and 26th July – I did onesies in Milton Keynes to keep the calendar ticking over – 2 finds
  • 27th July – I had a “monster” day out with Wavvy doing the Kimbolton Krunch and Shelton Scooby-Doo series (see Kimbolton & Shelton) – 81 finds
  • I finished the month off with a couple of quickies up north Milton Keynes on the 30th and a BBH event on the 31st – 3 finds

August – 31 Days of Souvenirs (114 finds)

At some point in June/July a new target raised its head. Groundspeak published their intention to give a souvenir image for every day of caching in August – a 31-day streak. For some pros 31 days isn’t a long streak, but for me it is very long. I’ve had neither the time, the inclination nor the available caches to keep going for that long. So how did I think I could possibly achieve this one then?

  • 1st and 2nd August – A few simple Milton Keynes caches – 3 finds
  • 3rd August – The UK Mega Event near Warwick – 1 find
  • 4th August – A onesie in Little Horwood – 1 find
  • 5th August – A drive-by in Newport Pagnell on the way home from running – 1 find
  • 6th August – A onesie over at Stantonbury – 1 find
  • 7th August – A lunchtime dash to Winslow – 2 finds
  • 8th August – A run-by at the Coach Station before running club – 1 find
  • 9th August – Working in the office instead of at home allowed a lunchtime trip to Woburn Sands – 1 find
  • 10th August – Parkrun in Bedford – Kas ran there from home and I filled a slot – 1 find
  • 11th August – The start of our quick holiday to Dorset – a single cache on the M27 (see Down to Dorchester) – 1 find
  • 12th August – On the Isle of Portland (see Portland Bill) – 5 finds
  • 13th August – A long day out at the Osmington White Horse, Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove (see Geography Lesson) – 17 finds
  • 14th August – A very wet day on the south coast (see Not What We Planned) – 2 finds
  • 15th August – A handful in Weymouth (see Weymouth) – 9 finds
  • 16th August – A drive-by in Dorset on our way home – 1 find
  • 17th August – A quick dash from my folks’ house in Measham – 1 find
  • 18th August – A few near Measham  – 5 finds
  • 19th August – I ran down to running club via a single cache in Netherfield – 1 find
  • 20th August – A couple up in Wolverton – 2 finds
  • 21st August – A couple more in Great Linford – 2 finds
  • 22nd August – A day off work and a trip Northampton plus a BBH event in Harpenden – 35 finds
  • 23rd August – A crafty onesie whilst driving back to Measham to fetch the kids – 1 find
  • 24th August – A new series in Seale Wood – 5 finds
  • 25th August – A onesie near Measham – 1 find
  • 26th August – Two events at the same place – a cake munching BBH event and a CITO – 2 finds
  • 27th August – I scooted down to Winslow for another one of N0hope’s – 1 find
  • 28th August – Paying a one-year membership at Bletchley Park to grab Station X – 1 find
  • 29th August – A single find at Willen Lake but I had to phone the CO – They replaced it while I was out running – 1 find
  • For the last two days, Happy_Hunter_HP20 set an event spanning midnight at Coombe Hill. We split our finds between the 30th and the 31st – 9 finds

All of which means that I actually did it. It was a  struggle for motivation on some days, especially when I was working. But I got there in the end.

September (140 finds)

  • 1st September – Kas was running a half marathon in Kenilworth (see Kenilworth Half 2013) – 6 finds
  • 4th September – A quick dash up to MK city centre for a onesie – 1 find
  • 8th September -A long walk around my old caches at Stowe – 21 finds
  • 10th September – I had a professional exam to do in Northampton with time for a few while I was there (I passed the exam) – 3 finds
  • 12th September – A Northants Natters event just outside home – 5 finds
  • 13th September – A trivial cache in south Milton Keynes that had been really bugging me – 1 find
  • 14th September – We drove to Llandudno to fetch Kas’s new car – 1 find
  • 15th September – Ami and I went for a walk round a new series near Stoke Bruerne (see Stoke Bruerne) – 19 finds
  • 21st September – Ami and me met up with Wavvy and BingBongLong for a walk near Huntingdon (see Low Road Loops) – 55 finds
  • 22nd and 23rd September – I did 3 of chas49’s MK Artwalks caches – 3 finds
  • On the weekend of the 28th, 29th and 30th Kas and I were in Berlin for the marathon – Kas ran, I went caching (see Berlin Marathon) – 25 finds

October (84 finds)

  • October had a very slow start with nothing but onesies local to Milton Keynes on the 1st, 5th, 7th, 8th, 11th, 13th and 15th – 8 finds
  • 19th October – I had a bit of a splurge afternoon with Ami when we went to do the top and middle sections of the MK Boundary Walk Grey Section (see MKBW Grey, The Top) – 31 finds
  • 21st October – I popped out for 20 minutes after work to grab a nearby puzzle that had been on the to-do list for a while but I’d not been to fetch as lots of others had reported it some way away from the calculated location – 1 find
  • 26th October – We popped up to Nottinghamshire for my brother’s 50th birthday celebrations and I took the opportunity to grab 10 or so caches while the girls were doing a Saturday afternoon chiilout in his flat (see Big Bro’s 50th Birthday). We followed this up with a swift Church Micro on the 27th – 13 finds
  • 31st October – It was school half-term still and I took Ami over to Salcey Forest to do a bunch of the new caches placed for this year’s Halloween Hides & Creepy Caches Mega event, which we were unable to attend (see Not Quite Halloween) – 31 finds

Nutty November (121 finds)

After the kids’ autumn half-term I still had 9 matrix days to fill on weekdays. However, I was rapidly running out of local caches. I’d already booked one of the days as a holiday and had 4 holidays left unbooked. That meant 8 half-day holidays would be enough, so long as the boss signed them off.

  • 1st November – Four in Woburn Sands from the MK Boundary Walk Orange Series, including its Bonus – 4 finds
  • 4th November – A onesie in Central Milton Keynes – 1 find
  • 6th November – An evening event in Ampthill to celebrate an astronaut taking a trackable to the cache in the International Space Station – 1 find
  • 8th November – Back to Salcey Forest with wavvy, Norfolk12, Little Fair Bear and BingBongLong to do the night cache – 1 find
  • 10th November – Back to Salcey Forest again to do the southern and eastern edge (see Not Quite Halloween) – 17 finds
  • 12th November – A BBH event in Wendover – 1 find
  • 15th November – A morning off at to Salcey Forest to finish off the few from the Mega Event (see Not Quite Halloween) – 19 finds
  • 16th November – A drive-by in Milton Keynes on the way home from parkrun – 1 find
  • 22nd November – Another morning off, spent at Hockeridge Wood near Chesham – 20 finds
  • 25th November – A disappointing morning off in Houghton Conquest – 17 finds
  • 29th November – A full day off with Kas being at a conference in London. I set off really early to drive to Hemel Hempstead to do smokeypugs Ms Meander series, ShadyLady’s Solve & Search series, and a few others (see Meandering) – 39 finds

December (215 finds)

December looked like a bit of a challenge. I had 5 weekdays to do and 4 weekend days. The holidays meant the numbers wouldn’t be a problem, but motivation was, what with Christmas approaching. In the end, the “hard work” resulted in my most prolific month ever.

  • 1st December – West of Buckingham to finish my old caches at Stowe – 11 finds
  • 2nd December – A morning off around Mursley, Swanbourne and eventually Whitchurch – 13 finds
  • 4th December – Another morning off, spent in Brackmills Country Park – 18 finds
  • 8th December – I went with BingBongLong and Brew-a-Cache towards Riseley (see Riseley) – 51 finds
  • 11th December – A BBH event in Milton Keynes for the novelty date 11-12-13 – 1 find
  • 14th December – A Saturday and a matrix day – I went over to Fringford – 17 finds
  • 17th December – A morning off and a return to Fringford (see Shelswell Loop) – 20 finds
  • 18th December – Cache fatigue meant I stayed in Milton Keynes – 4 finds
  • 19th December – The final morning off, which I spent in Pavenham (see Pavenham Plod) – 22 finds
  • 22nd December – My final matrix day of the year, including a near disaster that made me buy a proper GPS (see Ellington Expedition) – 34 finds
  • 29th December – I went with Ami, Wavvy and Norfolk12 down to an event in Imber (see Imbibing Imber) – 20 finds
  • 31st December – My new toy had arrived from Garmin so I had to go out around Milton Keynes and pick up a few new caches, just to test it out – 4 finds

Summary

I made 1,525 finds on 186 different days, which is 4.18 caches a day, or 8.2 caches per caching day.

Matrix days to do at start of year = 130ish. Matrix days left at end of year = 2.

Five days with more than 50 finds, including one with 102 finds.

So, that’s the end of the 2013 Caching Diary. Filling the matrix should be easy in 2014, because I only had two days to get done. I’d already booked them as holidays.