Not all geocaches are found at the base of an ivy covered tree or on the back of a road sign. Some require a little more work; such as solving a puzzle, climbing a 60′ tree, abseiling half way down a chalk cliff or in this case using a boat to access the cache.
You see, a time comes in your geocaching career when you’ve found a few thousand geocaches, filled in every day on your calendar and you then decide to complete the difficulty/terrain grid. This time had come for Top rope Ian and he wanted to grab some of the Float Your Boat series in Northampton.
The first step was a meet in Denford (GC44NWG), giving Kent cachers the opportunity of meeting up with the locals and if we were really lucky, the cache owners of the Float Your Boat Series (GC2T8QF). It was pure luck that the venue had only re-opened just a few weeks prior to our chosen weekend, despite the event listing having been published two months in advance. A small crowd of mad geocachers filled the little bar of The Cock Inn, Denford including our new muggle friend, Inflatable Gary; who lowered the tone of the weekend within minutes of arriving.
It wasn’t long before talk turned to geocaches and trackables. Ian had bought along I Ning Board (TB3EW6B) and Sir-Lancelot pointed out that Inflatable Gary (TB3N3J1)was not as much of a muggle as we first thought!
A few of the crowd decided they wanted to attempt Float Your Boat… Duck (GC2TPJ7) during the meet; in the dark, with an ironing board & inflatable rubber man. They were accompanied by Splendidz (the cache owner) and a couple of other locals. I think this was when Kent Cachers were dubbed as being totally insane. You know, I think they might be right! How many geocachers do you know would take a life-sized inflatable man to do a geocache? Or even an ironing board for that matter! I decided to save it for daylight.
Saturday morning arrived and our plan was discussed over a Little Chef breakfast. It was decided that due to the weather we would drive over to Float Your Boat…The Weakest Link (GC2T8QF)) and have a quick recce of the area before preparing the kit. Top rope Ian & Sir-Lancelot lead the way with myself, smif247 & nick the trucker following behind. It wasn’t long before we all got separated. I got distracted by a footpath that led beneath the bridge (photo opportunity), while smif247 & nick the trucker headed off in the opposite direction to
Stonebreakers 1 (GC2VJFF). Once we found them and signed the log (& took more photo’s) we returned to Bacas and the parked cars to prepare the boat and collect all that we would need to grab the cache. We did get some rather odd looks from passing traffic as we crossed the road with a half inflated kayak.
Arriving close to ground zero, we surveyed the river and surrounding area. The water was fairly fast flowing here so we decided that we should use a safety line to prevent any of us from being swept downstream. Sir-Lancelot was the first to try, confidently rowing across to the other bank, only to realise our safety line was too short. Take two: more successful and Sir-Lancelot was moored up, signing the log and returning to the safety of our bank. Nick the trucker was next, no problems at all until Top rope Ian and Sir-Lancelot decided that he should return to the bank in seconds, causing a bow wave and soaking Nick from the waist down. Well, somebody need to get wet, it does have a water attribute after all! Smooth sailing from the rest of us and we were ready to hit the next cache in under an hour.
We took stock of the weather conditions, the fast flow of the river and the fact that we would be rowing against the current, and decided that for safety we would walk to Float Your Boat… Branching Out (GC2TT45). We must have looked very strange trudging around the footpaths towards our next goal. Upon arrival, again we surveyed the area and quickly spotted that the geocache was in fact on our side of the river. One by one we took turns to lean out across the water to sign the geocache. Even Nick who arrived shortly after us in dry clothing. Good progress I must say.
Our next stop was another trip to Float your Boat… Duck, via one of the Thrapston Trail (GC3WVRQ) caches. We were greeted by the confused faces of a couple of local farmers, as we routed around in the soggy, muddy undergrowth searching for Thrapston Trail 17. Their faces became even more confused as we attempted to explain geocaching to them. Picking up the boat again, we carried on to Duck, and Bacas (who had been picking up less challenging geocaches along the same route). Now was the time for the less adventurous of us to grab the micro here. Another quick signing done we all decided to visit The Cock Inn (www.thecockinndenford.com) again for a spot of lunch. The landlords were very accommodating by allowing Bacas to use the back garden of their fine establishment to prepare some hot food while the rest of us carried on to Float Your Boat… Sign In (GC2TQAZ).
Faced with some more odd looks from passers-by, we carried the now filthy boat along the main road towards our destination. 20 minutes later we walked back along the road, past the pub, and back cross the home of Duck! We eventually found a suitable drop in point and spotted the most likely hiding place for our final cache of the day. A new plan was needed here, as the river flow was much faster than it had been further down river. We would work in pairs, one to hold on so we don’t float off and the other to retrieve and sign. An end to an amazing day!
My thanks to Top rope Ian for organising another mad cap idea, The landlords at The Cock Inn for allowing us to deplete their tea, coffee & milk stock, Bacas for the lovely stew, Sir-Lancelot & Gary for the laughs, nick the trucker & smif247 for the equipment, Splendidz, Harbcache, gladstone8 & Brigstock Dolphins for coming out to meet us and finally to Splendidz & The Buffs for the geocaches.
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