Posts Tagged With: kent

Geocaching Benefits

Here is a question that gets asked a lot

“What has Geocaching given you?”

“What do you believe the benefits are?”

The time honoured answer is usually along the lines of health & fitness for all the family, to get the children away from the games consoles and television. Now don’t get me wrong, those people are absolutely correct and that is how most geocachers start out on their journies. For some of us though, that journey can become incredibly personnal, and I apologise to everyone now because my story is a personnal one.

I first heard about geocaching sometime during 2010 after a chat with my little sister. A mutual friend of ours had discovered this “walking with a purpose hobby” and she though it would be something I would enjoy… And she’s not wrong! I love it. However, I had just moved and my family and I were still unpacking boxes and getting our lives in order.

In April 2011 I took a closer look at this game via the free iPhone app while we were out on a walk discovering our new area. Well, I couldn’t get my head around the built in compass, so needless to say I failed to find anything that day. My family thought I was mad rummaging in the undergrowth while they were exploring a nearby fort, which to them was far more interesting.

Anyway, we headed home and I took a look at Groundspeak’s website, Geocaching.com to find out more and began to plot the coordinates of a nearby route onto my OS map while everyone else were either on the pc or the wii, all ignoring each other (this had become the norm). The following weekend only the girls and I went out (on our own again) and we had much success. We then discovered that a “meet” was not too far from home and decided we would go along and get some advice.

This was when we first met Top rope Ian, Sir-Lancelot, Nick the trucker and Kallescrew. Little did I know then that these first faces would become some of my closest and much loved family. A week later I was told by my husband/partner of 14 years that he was leaving. I was devastated, distraught and angry! I had been trying to find a way to bring us closer together as we all liked the outdoors, I had no idea that in actual fact he didn’t want us to be closer…

Those first couple of months were the worst of my life as you can well imagine, but something I did have was geocaching. I didn’t do very much in the way of hunting or finding, but what I did gain were the best friends anyone could hope for. You see, on the first day I met those mentioned I had also joined the Facebook group, Geocaching in Kent, and that is where I turned when I felt my world was upside down. Everyone I spoke to were non-judgemental and incredibly supportive, they took me out on weekends when my kids were away, not to geocache at first but to get me out of the house, to cheer me up and to introduce me to more geocachers/friends.

Geocaching in Kent were my support group, forget all those marriage berievement groups and guidance counsellors, these guys held me up when I was at rock bottom. They gave me a shoulder to cry on, plenty of things to really laugh hard about and they gave me support where my own family couldn’t, almost three years on they still do.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I haven’t been a burden (well I hope not, but I know they would tell me if I had) and I have been there for them too when thay have had times of trouble. We help each other out of life’s little scrapes e.g Getting the car stuck in a green lane. One thing I can safely say with hand on my heart is that Kent Geocachers will always be there for you when you need them. Friends really are the family you choose for yourself, and these friends chose me at a time when I really needed them.

I guess what I am trying to say is – My benefit of geocaching was not the health & fitness, but finding an incredibly loving family of genuine people and for that I want to publically say THANK YOU to each and every one of them for everything they have done, continue to do and may well do in the future. I LOVE YOU GUYS XXX

Categories: Geo Stories, My life, my journey | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dad’s Army – IGC2013

International Geocaching Day

International Geocaching Day

What will you be doing on Saturday 17th August 2013?

I personally will be attending another Kent County Geocacher’s meet. This month it is hosted by two members of The Royal Engineers, LA:RS and Geosoldier2647.  The meet in question is called “Dad’s Army” GC4F1FY.

Ryal Engineers

Royal Engineers

 

Standby…. Warning Order…

 


:INTENT – It is our intent to execute a monthly meeting within our tactical Area Of Responsibility. Sussex Cachers will cover us from the South and Essex Cachers to the North.

 

:MISSION – KCC are to seek out and sign the Logbook, ensuring Smileys are gained on Higher Commands mapping.

We will RV at: 1200 – 1500hours. Location – The Halfway House, Canterbury Road, Challock, TN25 4BB… where a transformation of new recruits (You Guys n Gals) into honorary Quasi-Geosoldiers for the day will take place!

You are required (if you so wish) to engage in the frivolity by attending in some form of Combat wear fancy dress…

The public house can be viewed over secure means at:

www.halfwayhousechallock.co.uk

Six OP’s (Observation Posts) will be in place for the event where you’ll have to visit and gather information on the Enemy location they’re all watching. (a field puzzle).

Dad's Army

Dad’s Army

So I’ve got my uniform starched and kit bag ready for the days mission. Sounds exciting – so much so that the event has made it onto the bookmark list for the 3rd Annual Geocaching day 2013. If you are unable to attend our event, why not check out the bookamrk list and see if there is one in your area.

Categories: Geo Stories, Geocaching Events | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kent MEGA 2014

WebsiteHeader

 

4th May 2014 

The Hop Farm
Maidstone Road
Paddock Wood

Kent, TN12 6PY

hop farm

 

WELCOME TO KENT MEGA 2014 IN THE GARDEN OF ENGLAND… 

 

oast

 

 

The Kent Mega Event 2014 will be held on the weekend of Friday 2nd May 2014. The main MEGA Event will be held at The Hop Farm in Kent on Sunday 4th May 2014. Other Satellite Events will be held at various locations around Kent.

What is a Mega-Event Cache?

A Mega-Event cache is an Event Cache that is attended by 500+ people. Mega-Events offer geocachers a day of planned activities. There are often several days of additional activities surrounding a Mega-Event. These large events attract geocachers from all over the world and are often held annually.

Help us please

Due to the anticipated number of participants at next years Kent Mega Event 2014 to be held on Sunday 4th May 2014, we would encourage you to pre-register. This would help our organising committee get a better handle on the number of people expected Click Here to register now!

gsak

WIN WIN WIN

Register now to win a GSAK licence as soon as Groundspeak confirm we have Mega status we will get a random generator to pick out the winning name.

 

Book Now – SPECIAL OFFERcamping

Day Rate £15.00 (usually £19.50)
Three Day Rate £40.00
4th day Free of charge.
Electric hook up £4.50 per day

The camping telephone line is 01622 870838 and

you can also contact them by emailing touring@thehopfarm.co.uk

Please quote: Kent Mega 2014

 

SANDRA123 & KAT15 TAKE ON “GODZILLA”

Sandra123 & Kat15

Sandra123 & Kat15

After some persuasion from fellow geocachers Sandra123 and kat15 have agreed to take on ‘MBH – Godzilla ’98 Track 3’ GC441NM. They will be helped with this challenge by Geosoldier2647 and LA:RS! The date is going to be set soon for any supporters to come down and support them on their way.

“WARNING, THIS CACHE HAS DANGERS ATTACHED TO IT.

BE CONFIDENT IN YOUR ABILITY AND SKILL SET BEFORE YOU COMMIT TO ANYTHING.”

The ladies are doing this challenge to help raise funds for the Kent Mega 2014 Event, so please, please sponser them! 50p – £1 – £2 – £3 – £4 every little helps!

Good Luck Ladies. . .

You can sponser the girls Here

 

CONTACT THE TEAM

Click to Contact the Team

Click to Contact the Team

 

Categories: Geocaching Events, Kent Mega 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Piratemania 6 – Farewell me ‘Earties

Monday 29 July 2013

Farewell me treasures

Farewell me treasures

This was the final day for all the Kent County Cachers, some were heading on to UK Mega 2013 just up the road at The Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon and the rest were heading south back to Kent. We had a slow casual pack up and in between breaking camp the lads and geokids enjoyed a soaking water fight.

Wet and not because of the weather

Wet and not because of the weather

Smif247 breaking camp

Smif247 breaking camp

We were making great progress and managed to get everything loaded just as the thunder & rain began. Heading off site towards Stratford upon Avon for coffee refils at half 1pm. Hopefully we will be back in Kent by 5pm and in time for dinner…

Oops!

Oops!

Doesn’t look like we will be going anywhere just yet. That tyre is not going to make the 180 mile trip south. A quick internet search for the nearest Kwik-fit and we’re all good. Trouble was we would be hanging around for over an hour waiting for it to be fixed. This didn’t seem to phase any of the crew, the geokids spotted a toy & model shop next door, Much ado about Toys so took a gander as to what they could spend the last of their money on.

Geowolf97 finds a distraction

Geowolf97 finds a distraction

While I was in the toy shop with the children Nick the trucker went off to grab a few geocaches, Freeview situated outside Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust, Gregory’s Grab and Infomaniac (these caches were placed for WWFM VI – Stratforde – Ye Inhabitede Islande) and Smif247 took a wander around the market place (I have a distinct feeling he may of been playing that other gps location game[Ingress]).

Well an hour passed and the car was still outside the garage, by this point I had already written most of Piratemania 6 – Celebrity Visitors and was in need of more caffiene or I definitely wouldn’t make the drive home (the busy weekend was taking its toll on my health) so NTT and Geowolf97 went in search of a coffee shop. They found more than coffee, Geowolf had managed to get an ice cream out of NTT and they took a stroll along the river and found another narrow boat.

Excersising Misty

Excersising Misty

Narrow boat tea room

Narrow boat tea room

By the time they were back the car was ready and we could make our journey home. We finally left Stratford upon Avon at 4pm, we won’t be home by 5pm then. 30 minutes down the M40 and CadencetheGeokid announces she needs a comfort break!!! This meant another stop at the Junction 10 services, not content with making themselves comfortable, the rest of the crew decided they needed more food. We finally got away and continued our journey south. Once on the M25 we caught all the usual rush hour traffic which added another hour and a half to our journey.

As we were closing in on the Cobham services I was beginning to “crash” quite badly so another stop was needed for me to rest, down more caffiene and take my much needed pain killers so I complete the last hours journey.

Then…

With only 28 miles left to go my fuel light comes on.  I had only 20 miles left in the tank, and travelling at motorway speeds I knew this wasn’t going to get us home. A little careful coasting towards a nearby fuel station, I filled up the tank (slowly & stiffly, as by now I could hardly move) and we slugged along to our final destination.

Home at last, with cars unloaded by 20:30, that has got to be my longest journey yet. And I am already looking forward to the next camping UK Mega event, just three days from now.

Hoist the sails, it's time for the off

Hoist the sails, it’s time for the off

 

Farewell Pirates, see you on the open seas

Farewell Pirates, see you on the open seas

For more Geocaching event news and Geo stories why not subscribe to the UK Cache Mag, just click the icon below.

UK Cache Mag

UK Cache Mag

Categories: Geo Stories, Geocaching Events, Piratemania 6 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Greenlane cache and dash

Advice for the adventurous…

Back filling the ditch

Back filling the ditch

Well the day started well, a sunny Saturday in Kent (The Garden of England). Luminesence and I decided today wouldn’t be an ingressing day but a caching one. As we both have our own health challenges, we decided on a local walk which has been newly published “Plumbus’s Hoo Massive”.

All started well and off we trot out to the first of our nearby caches (Football Field #1) to clear the area and stick the all important smiley on the map. A quick stroll and it was signed and returned to its safe haven, a nice gentle stroll back to the car and off we go.

20130713_165220

“I’ll just use some of this wood to raise the ground”

Before long we arrived at our first Plumbus cache, Hoo massive #1. Luminesence had pre loaded her Garmin Oregon 450 (I hadn’t, but it was safely tucked away in my webbing. I am trying webbing in place of a rucksack for weight distribution and to see how my back copes. So far so good). So first one found and a gentle stroll to get the next one. We soon found that one too. We were in fact doing the loop as a series of drive by & walks and this was all going to plan until we hit number seven, Ropers Green Lane. Lumi jumped out of the car next to gz and spotted the cache immediately but I was called on as a height issue was obvious.

Jacking the car up

Jacking the car up

Nearby was a pile of rubbish that had been fly-tipped, mainly what looked to be building rubbish leftover from someone having block paving done. “Ummm we are building raised beds at home” so I pop a pallet and a couple of the bags of ballast into the boot. At this point we looked at the map and I decided to grab the “just one more”, as time was against us. The little lane that was actually a byway became a dirt track at the cache we needed, so log found, signed and returned. A conversation ensued about turning around and going back the way we came or head on. I, being the driver and seeing the main road ahead on the satnav, decided that a “follow the arrow” aproach would be for the best. DOH! Off we went. I should point out that my car is a Ford Focus – the sport version.

A call for HELP!

A call for HELP!

Spotting two very big ruts cut by the farmers tractor in the field I thought two things.

A) It’s wide enough to get through.

B) Don’t drive in the very deep ruts. Some of which seemed to be around a good 12+ inches deep.

Everything was going ok with Lumi gripping the seat for dear life and me chugging along around 5 miles an hour. I should also point out here, I seem to only ever crash at low speed.

We can push it!

We can push it!

Next thing I know we slid into a dip and got well and truly stuck. I asked Lumi to get out as I thought all four wheels were on the ground. WRONG! The bottom of the car was on the ground and all four wheels were hanging in the air. Out came the supplies I had just procured and I began filling in under the tyres with ballast and pallet wood. No joy. An hour later still not enough. By now we had been joined by a friend who spotted our minor hiccup on Facebook (thanks to Lumi posting pictures of the predicament).

Rosieb123, Our supplier of energy

Rosieb123, Our supplier of energy

Sam (rosieb123) was soon on hand with doughnuts and energy drinks. She was followed by my plan b back up, the entire LA;RS clan and a chelsea tractor. I jacked up one wheel built up under it and so on and so forth around the car. All to no avail. Plan c – get a real 4X4 out. Phone call number 2 saw a 2 hour wait until a nice Range Rover driver came wandering up to my sunken car laughing at my predicament as had many others by this stage, including both myself and lumi.
Up he walks, “yup no problem I can get you out.” A brief discussion ensues and off he goes to get the Range Rover. With much relief, I see the back lights as he is reversing up to us, I am filled with imense joy. Which was rather short lived. As I watched an off roader get well and truly wedged and although he has offroaded all over the world without ever getting stuck, the track claimed its second victim of the day. By now my beloved lumi had been home and returned with my son, her daughter and coffee and sandwiches. Rob, Sam and the two boys (LA:RS) had also returned after finding a travelling community site and angel farm (home to the Kent chapter of the Hells Angels mc) but unfortunately no one with a tractor to pull us out.

Even the help got stuck

Even the help got stuck

With the new obstacle in my way (a 4.2 Range Rover) and a red haired helper. So with  much head scratching was going on along with “I wonder if so and so could be our plan d.” Off wanders my son in his flip flops to the traveller site and wanders back after finding a trailer filled to bursting with the female half of the community as all the men had gone fishing, after being asked in and if he would like to court any of the unattached ladies there he came back (eventually). So we were still scratching our heads as it looked like we would have to leave both the cars there till the morning. Then a new face who happens to have a JCB on tracks appears from the direction of the travellers site, “no problem” he says, “back in a minute” he said. Well I’ve heard that before.

The track takes its second victim

The track takes its second victim

Next thing I hear is the thudding of a big old engine after awhile not hearing an increase in volume as you would expect if it was nearing you. Scraping was added to the thudding, off went Ricky to investigate and the rather decent chap was now leveling out the road. By now I wouldn’t have been surprised if Father Christmas turned up with the Elves to tarmac and paint white lines on the road. Well up comes the little digger and drags the Range Rover out then parks in the hedge to let out the Range Rover.

Only a digger can save us now

Only a digger can save us now

Bloater40 turned up with his son and two big planks to see if he could help but by then the digger was back and I was hooking up the Focus. It was soon lifted free and my son happily drove it out onto the road, grinning like the Cheshire Cat knowing full well he has enough ammo to last him till the next time I off road…

Did I mention this isn’t the first time I have crashed a car at less than 1o miles an hour…

DOH AGAIN!!!

Finally being towed out

Finally being towed out

Categories: Geo Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Wolfiesworks lesson in clay

Kent County Cachers

Kent County Cachers

As part of managing Wolfie’s Facebook page (and accounts) I am allowed to have as many charms and items as I would like. I’m not about to take advantage of this as I am willing to help Wolfie make a business out of clay sculpting, especially as, at the end of the day, she is still a teenager.

So instead of Wolfie making me something, she gave me a lesson in making my own key fob. I wanted to have the Kent County Cachers (geocaching) logo. Something easy, don’t you think? Well, with the exception of the Kent Invicta perhaps, but Wolfie had an idea about that.

Step One

Decide on a base colour (We chose glow in the dark, because we wanted to try it out) and roll it out to the required size and thickness. We actually printed off a copy of the logo to give us a guide size of 6 cm by 6cm.

Roll out the base

Roll out the base

Step Two

I cut out the logo and placed it onto the base so that I was able to cut nice straight edges. I’m not particularly good at keeping a steady hand, and that helped me. Using a sharp craft knife I cut the clay to size.

Cut out the base

Cut out the base

Step Three

I then repeated the previous process with the four small coloured squares that make up the county geocachers logo. First rolling out the clays to the required size and thickness, before cutting them into squares.

Squares are really easy

Squares are really easy

Step Four

Once all the required layers are in place and smoothed out (in my case moved and adjusted carefully because I like perfection) and a hole is made so I can add either a ball chain or split ring later, place the clay item on a clean baking tray and bake in a pre-heated oven for 30 minutes at 150°. The baking process hardens the clay.

Time for baking

Time for baking

Step Five

Here comes the slightly tricky bit. Replicating the drawings of the logo onto the cooled base. Wolfie decided it would be a good idea to carefully cut out the Kent Invicta and use the clear glaze to paste it into place. This idea seems to have worked out well.

Draw on the images

Draw on the images

Then came the time to replicate the other images. We used a very fine permanent marker (0.5 nib) to do this, and my not so steady hand. However I was pleased with the result.

Step Six

Just before glazing I wanted to put my mark on the back, my geocaching name. The final stage was glazing and attaching a ball chain. Wolfie uses a clear acrylics glaze, it protects the hardened clay and any detail that has been applied. It also seems to be water resistant too. Which is very handy for most of the things she makes.

Reverse

Reverse

 

Front

Front

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And there you have it, my first ever clay creation. We added the results to Wolfiesworks and by the following morning we had recieved a few orders. So Wolfie let me make those too. I’m pleased with the results and it kept me out of trouble for a day.

Kent County Cachers key fobs

Kent County Cachers key fobs

Categories: Life goes on, Wolfiesworks | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A mile a day keeps the pain at bay

A mile a day keeps the pain at bay

Beautiful Bluebells

Beautiful Bluebells

Okay, so my doctor tells me that one of the best things I can do while suffering with chronic pain and fatigue is to ensure that I walk at least 1 mile everyday. I can in fact see his point on this. Keep exercising no matter how much it hurts to reduce the risk of immobility and muscle fatigue. I am a great lover of the outside world. I find it very calming and therapeutic, and thus over the past few years I have done my best to get out there walking every weekend (some of my adventures are included in the archives).

This week I have finally tried harder to follow his advice, this is mostly due to the fact that since I began writing about this part of my life I have started to feel much more emotionally equipped to deal with what “my condition” throws at me. Let’s wind the clock back over the last seven days…

Between geocaching and Ingress it shouldn’t be too difficult for me to have some time out in the fresh air. Friday evening I enjoyed a lovely circular walk around Rochester town centre playing the gps location game, Ingress and taking in the wonderful sights the town has to offer. Saturday was the Kent Cachers flash mob event in Herne Bay, so we grabbed a few geocache’s along the way in a series of short walks from the car. Sunday saw me back in Rochester for Ingress again, this time rebuilding portals. Monday lunchtime Smif247 & I took Misty on a walk to grab our nearest unfound geocache, a one mile round trip across the beautiful rolling fields in Cooling and Tuesday evening we were back in Rochester for another circuit of the town centre after checking out a possible business venture.

Well, what can I say! By bedtime on Tuesday night every part of my body felt like it was burning, the joints screaming at me, every muscle felt like they were being pinched. Dosed up on paracetamol and ibuprofen on top of the amitriptyline the doc has prescribed, I eventually got to sleep around 1 am.

Glorious nature

Glorious nature

Waking up on Wednesday morning in a rather doped state (took my youngest three goes to get any sense out of me), I realised how much this pain can really hurt. It is definitely the worst I have experienced so far. I just could not get comfortable and although I published two blogs that day, it took me the best part of four hours to do so (wrist and finger cramps have started too now). I didn’t go for a walk that day! I just couldn’t bear the thought of more burning on top of the current burning.

Determined to follow my doctors advice and get some regular “daily” (I use the term loosely) exercise I chose to go out with Smif247 & Misty again. I wanted to do a little bit of geocaching, I find it is good for my soul and overall well-being. So we set off to Ranscombe Farm Reserve, a beautifully maintained area of woodland with some well thought out geocaches. The plan was to only walk about a mile (maybe a mile and a half) to log Plant-cache #1 and #2. However, after not finding the second geocache and noticing that the third in the series was close by we carried on. By the time we got back to the car I looked to see how far we had actually walked, 2.8 miles. Oopsy!

I really shouldn’t have done that, because last night was the same as Tuesday, and today I am not much better. My body seems to be finding new areas and new ways to create more pain. I will not let this little flare up set me back though and I will continue to push on through. Because when you experience the divine beauty of nature while keeping yourself fit and healthy then it’s got to be worth it, hasn’t it? Especially when emotionally you feel more refreshed from being outside. I will just have to be more strict with myself and actually tell myself to stop, instead of “going for just one more!”

Misty investigating the fallen tree

Misty investigating the fallen tree

Photographs were taken at Ranscombe Farm Reserve, Cuxton, Kent
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Categories: Geo Stories, Life goes on, My life, my journey | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Geocaching A&E

A current topic of conversation in my local geocaching Facebook group, Geocaching in Kent, is all about geocaching injuries.

Scrape from a brick wall

Scrape from a brick wall

Mizmazmoz asked “After a very brambly cache hunt today myself and friend were chatting about injuries from doing outdoor sports…..so the question is what is your worst caching related injury and has anyone ended up in a&e from geocaching?”

On our Facebook group there is a file called “The Accident Book” which has a few entries and photographs of some of the scrapes we get into just to claim a lovely smilie on our maps. It would seem that some of us (myself included) don’t always remember the advice that “no cache is worth dying over!”

The question has sparked quite a bit of interest with answers like;

Nasty Graze

Nasty Graze

SS Fangbangers – “I did climb half way up an old fallen tree, following the GPS and the branch gave way underneath me. Twisted my ankle but thats it lol”  

Kalle’s Crew – “I’m currently nursing a bruised coccyx from sliding a bit quick down a very steep slope and meeting tree roots”

Borrowed Wine – “I fell of the wing wall of a bridge once, pulled all of the muscles in my arm and shoulder and had some wicked grazes, that hurt. My brother standing there laughing didn’t help much.”

And of course there is always the cuts, bruises and grazes that seem to appear out of nowhere after a days caching in some fairly overgrown wood somewhere in the county.

Last summer Winter-Smith shared a story with us about this very topic. He had been on a walking holiday with friends in The Lake District. It wasn’t specifically a geocaching holiday as some the friends were ramblers rather than geocachers, but that didn’t stop Winter-Smith from convincing the group to find a few plastic tubs along the way. During a day’s hiking one of the group slipped and subsequently fractured her leg. Miles from any road and half way up a mountain, Winter-Smith knew he would need to call mountain rescue as they couldn’t move her. He had this to say, “We didn’t admit to being cachers, claiming to be walkers instead, but I did use my GPS unit to pass grids to the mountain rescue team and helicopter.” Embarrassed to admit to being a geocacher??

Wave goodbye to Mountain Rescue

Wave goodbye to Mountain Rescue

So what’s your caching injury stories? Have you been shipped off to an emergency room? I haven’t yet, but I do have several pairs of jeans that now have large holes in the knees and on the back of the upper legs from jumping over brick walls or tripping on trailing ivy across footpaths.

Please share them with us.

In response to this post over on Google+ I have the following story to share, I laughed so hard my eyes watered. I did apologise for my insensitivity.

Dougbromac had this to say; “I would imagine that this topic will get a lot of traction.

My most recent was just day before yesterday. I had to scale a cliff and my reward a a foot-long cut down the front of my right leg. I had a hot date with the peroxide bottle that night. Good thing I clot fast.

My worst was up Aiea Loop when it started to rain as I was taking an unnecessarily hard approach to a cache down a steep hill. (I’m prone to that.)

The earth turned to slime in the downpour and there I went downhill, like in the movie “Romancing the Stone” going down the mud flume. The only thing that stopped my slide was hitting a strawberry guava tree. Caught me in the ribs and knocked the wind out of me and was surprised on inspection I didn’t have a broken rib. I just laid there as I waited for the incapacitating pain to subside, the rain pelting down, slowly rinsing the mud off my face as I stared up into the treetops.

I didn’t finish the hike. Once I could even move again, I limped and drug myself back to the car and stripped down in the parking lot and stuffed my completely muddy and saturated clothes in a plastic trash bag and drove home barefoot in my underwear. I would have needed a firehose to knock all the mud off.

Later on at home I had to take my clothes and boots to a car wash and power spray the mud out of them.

And to add insult to the injuries, I didn’t get a single cache! This happened before my first find for that hike!

Lesson learned. It’s not like in the movies. The rocks and trees and far harder than they appear and you fall much faster than you’d think.”

Categories: Geo Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

May the Fourth be with you

WWFM – Herne Bay, Kent

World Wide Flash Mob

Geocaching Souvenir

Geocaching Souvenir

Herne Bay Clocktower

Herne Bay Clocktower

Saturday 4 May 2013 was the tenth World Wide Flash Mob . A fifteen minute event that saw more than 15,000 geocachers across the globe over 350 events for fun, geocaching and activities most of which with a dedicated theme. And Kent took part this year with, of course, a Star Wars theme.

With thanks to Bacas we saw cachers travelling across the county (geocaching their way across the county) to meet at Herne Bay Clock Tower for 2pm. Smif247 and I were no exception. We left Medway early enough to grab a few select geocaches on route before arriving at the specified time with Misty (our geo-puppy).

 

Where's the log book?

Where’s the log book?

It was such a buzz when, at the strike of the chimes, a large mass of geocaching teams all pooled round the front of the clock tower waiting in line to sign the logbook, milling around catching up with old friends and new acquaintances. Introducing all the geo-hounds to each other and discussing tricky hides and the promise of new releases.

WWFM Logbook

WWFM Logbook

By 2:15pm we were all grouped up on the steps for the all important Kent County Cachers photo shoot. I have no idea what the locals and day trippers thought when we all produced light sabres from our pockets (or where ever they were hidden)!

Catching up

Catching up

May the Fourth be with you!

May the Fourth be with you!

 

The photo shoot was quickly followed by the pinging sound of mobile phone notifications as a new series of Star Wars themed geocaches (traditionals & puzzles) went live, thank you to little miss naughty for the time and effort you put in. All the hides had vouchers for free coffee at the nearby Mackari’s coffee shop as a “First to Find” prize. A great incentive to carry on the meet after the alloted time. I must say Kent Cachers are a very sociable bunch and never pass up the opportunity of catching up in a pub or coffee shop.

 

Kent County Cachers

Kent County Cachers

Photo Credits to Bacas, bloater40 and m3hxe

Categories: Geo Stories, Geocaching Events | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Geocaching Cub Scouts

Cub Scout Naturalist Activity Badge

Cub Scout Naturalist Activity Badge

Now that the weather is improving here in England it means I can take my Cub Pack out more often. We are fortunate enough to have our meeting place situated near Beacon Wood Country Park, which means that the Cubs can learn about nature, environment and local history.

The area that is now the country park has, over the centuries been used by the locals for many things. For approximately 400 years it was just rolling woodland, providing our ancestors with timber for a variety of uses. During the Elizabethan times there was a beacon atop a hill, part of the long network that was used to warn of the approach of the Spanish Armada. From 1885 the area was used for gunpowder manufacture and an orchard. Later, in 1935 the woodland was excavated for clay, for the manufacture of cement, leaving the park land pitted and more hilly.

When I was growing up, I used to play in the woods with my friends and we referred to it as “The mudhole”, but it was frowned upon by our parents as an unsafe play area.

Hudson's Railway Wagon

Hudson’s Railway Wagon

But by 1991 it had been revamped by the local council and was opened as Beacon Wood Country Park. Some of its heritage is still visible along the footpaths, sleepers from the old rail tracks and even one of the wagons was left behind, now preserved for all to see.

This term our Cubs are concentrating on the Naturalist activity badge and our task this week was to identify at least six trees and to do a pond survey. So we headed out into the woods.

Within minutes the Cubs had managed to identify four species of fauna in a 30ft radius of the park entrance. Brilliant, we were on a roll. We decided to head down to the large pond area to see if it had changed much since our visit last summer. It had! The water was almost touching the decking walkway, which made it much easier for the Cubs to spot the local pond life; water boatmen; pond skaters; water fleas and even a crested newt swam past.

It was at this point that Bagheera shared some photographs with the pack of a common newt, playing dead, that he had spotted on an earlier visit to the park. A chorus of “ooh’s, ahh’s and Eurgh” ensued, but at least now they knew what one looked like and would be able to recognise it later on. We headed away from the pond (before any of them tried to fall in) and up towards the car park & picnic area so we could enjoy a quick game of manhunt before the evening was over.

On route though, I spotted that we were within feet of a geocache and had a very good idea of where it was hiding. This would be a perfect opportunity for the Cubs to route around under rocks and fallen branches to investigate the wildlife underneath and for me to put another smilie on the map. I explained briefly about the cache Beacon Wood – Innominate (GC3VV9T) and pointed to the direction of the hiding place. There were a few possibilities but we were lucky enough to find the right one straight away.

However, it was only as we carefully lifted the hiding place that we realised how lucky we were. You see, we didn’t just find a micro geocache under there. We also got a close up of a common newt that we had only been discussing a few minutes beforehand and of course the inevitable slugs. Apparently newts like to have those for dinner!

I can’t until next week, I’m excited by what else we might find (oh and perhaps another geocache too).

Common Newt

Common Newt

Categories: Geo Stories, Life goes on | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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