Posts Tagged With: walking

Tintagel, Cornwall

Panoramic view of Tintagel Castle

Panoramic view of Tintagel Castle

Last week I took the geokids to Cornwall for a few days, so that Wolfie could spend some of the summer break with her boyfriend (yes I made him cache too). Anyway, Cadence and I found ourselves at a bit of a lose end on the Wednesday.  The weather was overcast but still warm and we really didn’t fancy a boring day at our basic campsite (it hadn’t got anything there for children to do).

As I had always dreamed of visiting the home of King Arthur of Camelot, with a romanticism of the medieval past imagined from all the stories, novels and television shows that have fuelled my enthusiasm for English history for as long as I can remember, we hopped into the car, loaded the GPSr to direct us and headed out.

The Old Post Office, Tintagel

The Old Post Office, Tintagel

The first thing we noticed about Tintagel was the age. There were ancient buildings amongst modern builds. One beautiful example was The Old Post Office described by The National Trust as “a 14th-century yeoman’s farmhouse -With a famously wavy slate roof and over 600 years of history”, and then there were the tourists. They were everywhere. (Now of course I knew that we were tourists that day too, but at least we had the decency to walk on pavements rather than in the road.)

Cadence loves a good sculpture

Cadence loves a good sculpture

Sorry I got distracted… back to ancient Cornwall. As I said there were beautiful buildings (I do love ancient architecture especially knowing a little about the crude tools that were used to build these perfect homesteads), and there was one little place where we were able to sit and admire Fore Street in all it’s hustle & bustle and bag ourselves a geocache at the same time. Tintagel – Extreme Stealth is a difficulty 3/terrain 1 traditional geocache in the heart of Fore Street, Tintagel. The cache owner, SMacB, describes it as “Nano, extreme stealth required. Possibly one of the busiest areas of the village” and repeatedly mentions stealth is required. Now here was a challenge we were not going to pass up. With a scratch of my leg the cache was in my hand and the passers by had no idea I was acting suspiciously, log duly signed and with another scratch or two the cache was returned to it’s home and the tourist’s were none the wiser.

Halfway up the cliff trail to Tintagel

Halfway up the cliff trail to Tintagel

Job done it was time to find Tintagel Castle to see if it lived up to my high expectations. The easiest way to do this was to follow everyone else as they all were going to and coming from the same direction. In no time at all, Cadence and I were trekking down a very steep and very long footpath & unmade road towards what is possibly one of the most famous attractions in the UK – Tintagel Castle. Home of legends, myths and magic.

On the crest of the cliff's

On the crest of the cliff’s

Despite the looming grey clouds which have a tendancy to make everything look miserable, I was still in awe of the medieval structure, although now all in ruins it still looks impressive and you can just imagine how imposing and intimidating it must have been at the height of King Arthur’s reign. Atop the opposite cliff looking over at the towering heights I felt very much at peace and at home. We spent a long time with mouths agape, speechless, at the top of Tintagel, imaging the knights enjoying their banquets and Merlin hiding out in his cave at the mouth of the sea.

Merlin's Cave

Merlin’s Cave

A time well spent dreaming and back to the task in hand – finding the geocache. Tintagel Castle was placed by Lunchbox back in Sept 2001 and has accrued a staggering 151 favourite points. Well knowing it had that many favourites and 1,170 found logs, Cadence and I thought it may be an easy find. We followed the arrow in the direction of the cache, read the description when we were close to ground zero and the hint (because we couldn’t see any obvious hiding place) and began our search.

Looking in the wrong place

Looking in the wrong place

Because of the strong breeze I decided that it wasn’t a good idea for Cadence to join in this hunt, so left her in charge of the camera. After some belly crawling, finger tip searching and more belly crawling I gave up and we sat together enjoying the view while I read up on the found logs. That was when I discovered we were in fact too high up the cliff. We hunted around for the path described in the logs and on closer inspection my fear of heights got the better of me and we logged a “did not find”.

Despite our slight failure we were not despondant, we had enjoyed our time in Tintagel, dreamed glorious dreams of Camelot and were now ready to move on to the next village that held more hopes and dreams – Boscastle.

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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.

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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

A Geocachers’ Kit List

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What’s in your backpack?

For quite some time I have wanted to share my geocaching backpack with you. Mostly because I find it quite heavy and don’t really know what I am carrying. My backpack has been part of my caching adventures for two years now, and I am forever filling it with extra items “that may come in handy”.

When I began geocaching all I would take was my smart phone (with only the free Groundspeak app installed), a pen and the local OS Explorer map with the geocaches already plotted. It was only after attending some of the county events and learning about the other things that geocachers’ take with them that I decided it was time to invest in a rucksack.

Today though I thought I should take a better look at what I carry about with me (other than a packed lunch and drinks).

  1. 10l backpack
  2. Piratemania V trackable tag (yes my backpack is trackable)
  3. 4 pens (one has a light for the all important night time finds)
  4. lock n lock box full of swappable swag
  5. St John Ambulance First Aid kit (old habits die hard)
  6. Micro fleece travel towel (you never know when you will get wet)
  7. Emergency Poncho
  8. Dog poop bags
  9. 3 hand torches
  10. 1 head torch (with red & white light)
  11. Rolson mutli tool
  12. Spare log sheets
  13. Spare nano geocache containers
  14. Spare bison containers
  15. Spare 35 mm container
  16. Telescopic magnet with torch
  17. Spare rechargeable batteries
  18. Garmin Oregon 450 GPS unit
  19. Personal field note book (for puzzles/multi’s and other notes)
  20. Personal stamp book (for letterbox hybrid geocaches)
  21. Spare notebook
  22. Emergency whistle
  23. Current trackable inventory

Okay, so that was a lot more than I thought, no wonder it is heavy… And not forgetting that smif247 also has his backpack too with much the same in. In addition to all the geocache tools (penknife, tweezers etc) and waterproof coats, we now have to carry an extra water bottle and food (for Misty).

Then there are days where we need to take even more:- climbing gear! That’s a whole other bag.

20121124_103311

Ropes!! What for?

Here we have three harness’s; two climbing ropes; two static lines; gri-gir’s; ascenders; prussiks; carabiners; chalk; slings galore. A whole heap of gear and for what? Well it would seem that not all geocachers are happy with “base of tree” or “ivy covered post”, so what do they do? They set geocaches at the top of tree’s (or suspended between two trees), some of which are not safe for free climbing, or on the underside of a bridge which you will need to abseil to and even half way down a chalk cliff face. I also saw a video on you tube once of a geocache on a dam. This brings me to the next bit of geocaching kit!

A Boat!

A Boat!

Are we going just a little too far now? Some bright spark thought it would be a great idea if there were geocaches out on small islands that were home to forts (Fort Micro #13 – Fort Darnett) and others even went as far as placing caches along rivers that are mostly accessible by boat alone (Float Your Boat).

I forgot to mention that a few times we have even had to take skateboards along for a ride (in long spider strewn tunnels). So what is next I wonder! I am rapidly running out of storage space for our extended geo-gear.

Skateboard as a mode of transportation

Skateboard as a mode of transportation

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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

KCC Meet #39 – IT’S CHRISTMAS

The Christmas season got off to a flying start in Kent with the meet on 1st December 2012. I had heard about other counties giving out awards at their monthly geocaching meets and thought it was about time Kent County Cacher’s started their own tradition of certificates. I do hope they were well received and below you can see who achieved what;

Kent County Cachers

Kent County Cachers

ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

100 FINDS

Sians

200 FINDS

CadencetheGrokid, Geowolf97, Joeytjap, QB and DB

300 FINDS

happy-fairy, mumsy, froggie25, LardyBloke,

400 FINDS

Bean & Sprout

500 FINDS

tia67uk, LA:RS, KennyBell17, Jmizio

600 FINDS

TheHurks, Kalle’s Crew, windy-miller, little-miss-naughty

700 FINDS

LisaSullivan & Earle, mankybadger

1000 FINDS

Winter-Smith, rosieb123, Geosoldier2647, Addict1, SueAtSea, kitkave, smif247, nick the trucker, borrowed_wine, MartinWalks, Sludge bucket, Slumped, philatryewood

2000 FINDS

BaCas, Sir-Lancelot, dave-harris, dps-gps

3000 FINDS

Saints1, Charlton11

5000 FINDS

JJB’s

6000 FINDS

kat15

7000 FINDS

Sandra123, Fudgeman

8000 FINDS

Far Away

SPECIAL AWARDS

The following awards were given with fun in mind. Some of which fellow geocacher’s voted for during the meet. We had a lot fun thinking up some categories and we hope to have different ones next year.

Sat Nav Un-Savvy 

For not being able to find geocaching meets around the county and for needing assistance to find tupperware in the woods

nick the trucker

Sat Nav Un-Savvy

Sat Nav Un-Savvy

Lat Long Lassitude

For a track record of publishing the wrong co-ordinates for the Naughty Weekend Away camps

little-miss-naughty

Lat Long Lassitude

Furthest travelled to the meet

We had a few possibilities for this one; Mug C Girl came from Wales, Saints1 & Fudgeman travelled from Dorset, borrowed_wine raced down from Glasgow;

but DubaiDiamonds actually live in Dubai and were over here to spend Christmas with daughter, Kalle’s Crew

Furthest travelled

Furthest travelled

Sir-Lancelot was recognised for building www.tee-bees.co.uk, www.challengespotter.co.uk and for helping other cachers to jazz up their listings pages.

Most helpful geocacher

This was awarded to the team that has been most helpful this year, whether it would be for “phone a friend” or puzzle help.

dps-gps were clear winners

Most helpful geocacher

Most helpful geocacher

Most extreme geocache

This was awarded for the geocache that had provided people with the most exciting, hair-raising extreme experience.

Down, in, up by Ginger4x4

Most extreme

Most extreme

Following the arrow

To qualify for this award, geocachers voted for other’s who they thought deserved to be recognised for taking the most direct route regardless of obstacles in their way. The winners were shocked that others knew about their embarassing experience of being locked in at Brand’s Hatch golf course and trying to drive their way out on to a nearby road, which wasn’t a road at all, it was part of the golf course. Well done to Sandra123 & kat15.

Following the arrow

Following the arrow

FTF Chaser

This was awarded based on how many first to finds had been found and it went to Baby kitkave for having found 59 with the first being at just 3 days old.
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Light feedback from Cadence

Over the few years of caching, my family and I have encounterd lots of weird and wonderful geocaches including lars (doesn’t) lights the way  and many more (to go over them would take a million years).

Many people seem to be addicted to geocaching or just simply have no idea what it is, but we are neither, like the land between the trenchs! We do a lot of things in our life but geocaching sort of holds it all together even if I don’t admit it often. Without geocaching many more people would be sitting on the sofa watching tv or playing computer games. Unhealthy but enjoyable!

Not everyone enjoys caching but we do, not every one likes the outdoors but we do! Without us the world would be full of unknown forts and castles! They would be myths on television or cartoon games on the computer not live and in your face, not rough or smooth nor fun!

I may moan and groan about caching and long walks but I know deep down that I enjoy them that they hold me together and make me, Cadence, me!

Please remember I am 10 🙂

Cadence

Categories: CadencetheGeokid, Geo Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Knights Quest

Young Knights on their first quest

How many of you remember the adventure books from the 1980’s/1990’s? You know the ones… at the end of a chapter you had to make a choice, a or b, one choice would almost certainly lead you to your doom and the other may get you closer to the end of the adventure or just prolong the agony of failure!

If you do remember then you’re showing your age, just as I am, but that is not the point. A while back someone pointed me in the direction of a puzzle geocache in Deal, Kent that had the theme of those adventure books. Well, not just the theme, the whole geocache was written and presented in the same style as the adventure books.

The Knights Quest by seamanrob (rob & royst), rated a D3/T3.5, with the potential to cover between 6 & 8 miles depending on how you “play” the story looked incredibly interesting and very different.

The journey begins

The introduction reads “As the legend foretold, the hero would come with technology beyond our understanding – an ability to seek far and wide, to communicate with many and the ability to battle with heart and mind. It seems the legend may well have come to pass. Are you the brave soul who desires to take up our noble struggle?” The Phantom Knight hovered ahead, awaiting your response. It was a long time since he last set eyes on a traveller with the potential to solve the mystery that had vexed him for all of his life and still now, more than 1000 years after his death.’

We took a wrong turn and found this

With our interest piqued we knew we had to go and give this a good go, so as a family we went out during the summer break, laden with supplies and with a couple of extra “knights”, kallescrew & nick the trucker. We arrived at the start early on a Sunday morning and began the story, choosing our first weapons and the first route we headed out into the unknown, confident that we would complete the quest!

The new team of Knights listening to the introduction

I had to learn very quickly how to use the crib sheet and deocder as everyone seemed to be relying on me to give them accurate co-ordinates for each stage.

Although we all chose to stay together on the quest, we did all choose different weapons which made the day a little more interesting. Unfortunately at the 4th stage of the quest I died along with kallescrew and Jellybeans, but the lads and CadencetheGeokid were safe and able to carry on. However their route went down the hill then back up the hill and a few times we found we had crossed the same path several times.

A little further on Cadence also succumbed to death and the boys were on their own… their victory didn’t last long however, as they were unable to find one of the stages which was vital for their completion and the quest had to be abandoned after having walked the best of part of 6 miles in over 5 hours.

Intrepid searching

But my tale doesn’t end there. Smif247 had been in touch with seamanrob and it wasn’t long before he gave us the heads up that the quest was back on and all stages were back in play, with the story re-written in places. A quick post on Facebook inviting other Kent “Knights” to join us on the quest and a new plan of action evolved.

15 September we met up at 10 am at the parking co-ordinates with fellow “knights”, LisaSullivan, Sueatsea, Addict1, Manky Badger, Tia67uk, Martinwalks, Winter-smith, earle140465 and geodog Fudge. We decided to stick together as a team, however again we all chose different weapons at the the first stage, so we could help each other out where possible.

Giant fungi

 

As you will read in our logs on the cache listing we came up against a 40 minute issue quite early on in our quest, but that didn’t deter us in the least, we just reversed up to the previous stage and took the other alternative. The bonus was that smif247 and I had been out before, so when we knew we were walking past a stage, we stopped off and grabbed the relevant clues so that we wouldn’t have to do all the back & forth like last time. I mean, there’s almost a mile between most of the stages with the exception of one that is only 90 ft away but very cleverly hidden.

Along the way we did manage to loose a couple of “knights” however we do believe in not leaving a man behind, so we “carried their bodies with us” to the end.

Interesting tree

The end, well now there’s a story, we read the details in the last container only to find we were missing a vital piece of the puzzle. This meant we had to back track to the area we spent a long time looking at earlier in the day. Supplies were running low and so were our energy levels, but back track is what we did.

An extra hour of hunting, with 10 pairs of eyes, back and forth over the same piece of ground, emails back and forth to the cache owner because this last tub was eluding all of us completely. By this point several of us began rechecking clues and numbers to see if we had made a mistake, while smif247 decided to widen the search, 150 ft up the path he went (he doesn’t like to be beaten), and a further 10 minutes or more passed before we heard him yell “I’ve got it.”

Smif247 will NOT be beaten

At last the final little piece of information was in our hands and the final stage was now within in reach. Relief on all our faces as we punched in the final set of co-ordinates and began the last leg of the quest to the resting place of the log book.

Is it this way?

By the end of the day we had covered almost 9 miles in six and a half hours and all for one smilie on the map. But I have to say this is one of the best geocache’s I have ever completed. It was well written and well executed and it must have taken the cache owner months to plan and set. To support your journey, seamanrob has created crib sheets, help guides, decoders and even mp3 audio files for each stage, and finally there were bonus questions to answer so that you can claim a certificate. I also know that during the re-write he has added two bonus caches which will be available soon, needless to say I grabbed the relevant details for them so that when they become available we can run out and claim the finds for those.

So if you are beginning to get tired or bored of the same old 35 mm film canisters at the base of an ivy covered tree and you are looking for something a little different and more challenging then I can highly recommend this adventure. It’s not all about the numbers…

The quest is complete

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It’s all about the Numbers!

CBN-110 geocaches, 14 miles

Chelmer & Blackwater Canal

Most of the country are either sat at home in front of the television or at Olympic events. Smif247 and I on the other hand decided we wanted to avoid the Olympics for just a little longer and attempt to better our daily records, both distance walked and the number of finds.

Chelmer & Blackwater Canal

On Saturday 28th July 2012 we decided we would join a few good local friends, Winter-Smith, Nick the Trucker and Martinwalks, to do a 14 mile series of caches in Essex known as Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation (CBN). This is a series of 110 geocaches, all but one are traditionals. The walk starts at the Heybridge Basin where the canal meets the estuary to the North Sea and finishes in Chelmsford at CBN 110.

Beautiful views

My personal record was just 10 miles with 51 geocache finds from last July when I went and completed the Meopham March. There are rumours that the Meopham March is due to be archived sometime in September. So if you want to grab yourself 52 finds in a day, then go out and get it this summer.

On my way to a personal best

We knew that the day was going to be tough on us for a variety of reasons. Neither of us have ever walked that far and certainly not at approximately 2 miles an hour (including stopping time to find geocaches). I still suffer a lot with fatigue and pain so the route was definitely going to be a challenge for me and frankly I didn’t think I was going to make it to the end.

Smif247 having a well earned breather

What made the walk much easier was the great English weather. We have had highs of 30+ C all week long and I was concerned that Saturday was going to be too hot, but the weather was on our side and we enjoyed more comfortable temperatures of 20 C with a nice light breeze at times as we progressed along the picturesque canal.

Cows trying to keep cool

Another bonus was some of the beautiful scenery that we experienced throughout the day. We saw beautiful clear water, summery flora and fauna, exquisitely decorated canal boats and river homes, animals trying to keep themselves cool and lots of people enjoying the area with picnics, barbecues and cycling or walking.

Decorative canal boats

There were even times of playfulness. Smif247 decided to turn one of the bridges into a set of monkey bars, while the rest of us were searching for a letterbox cache that we hadn’t realised was actually archived and no longer at its ground zero.

Monkey Bars?

And at other times, Smif247 thought it would be a laugh to move some of the lock gates! Thankfully he didn’t have a lock key or he would have drained a lock too.

So glad he didn’t have a key!

Early on we decided on the tactic of leap frogging, as one person is signing a log, the rest of the group move on towards the next cache, this gave us a good chance of finding all the caches before dark. A good idea considering we didn’t leave CBN 001 until Noon.

Martinwalks looking for a cache

We noticed that we weren’t the only ones out attempting this power trail and we finally caught up with Flexburyites somewhere between CBN 40 to 50. After a lovely chat with him we sped on towards CBN 065 so that we could stop for “lunch”.

Winter-smith signs a log

We arrived at the Papermill Lock Tea Rooms just after 4pm where we took a well earned rest with teas, coffees, sandwiches, ploughmans and home made cake. Just as we were beginning to sort ourselves out to carry on, Flexburyites had caught up with us again, after a quick wave and chat off he ventred. We hung around a little longer enjoying the afternoon sun and the canal atmosphere, and of course a photo opportunity.

Papermill Lock

Leaving the tea rooms just after 5pm, feeling very pleased with ourselves for having got that far and knowing the only way was onwards towards the car at CBN 110, we set off at a reasonable pace. Not as fast as the earlier part of the day but still making good progress, roughly 8 minutes between each find.

Another log signed

I began feeling the strain and pain around the 80 mark but I kept pushing myself, determined to finish. The guys were great and gave me plenty of chances to grab short rests so that I didn’t hold anyone up.

Are we nearly there yet?

One of the breaks was when we grabbed a cache that wasn’t part of the CBN series but still along our route. Boys being boys went to sign the log and play around in the pill box very close to it while I stayed on the tow path and waited patiently, regaining energy, ready for the momentum to keep on.

“I can see the end!”

We didn’t just grab 110 finds from the CBN series, we finished the day with 116 finds thanks to the other caches along the route with virtually no detours. We arrived at CBN 110 at 2030, and what a relief this was for me! I don’t think I have ever felt so excited to find another micro, but believe me, it meant that I had done it. I had surpassed my personal bests. Beaten my body and beaten my fatigue; even if it were just for one day.

WE DID IT!

Kent Cachers on Tour end the day with a well earned drink at The Old Ship

 

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Categories: Geo Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Job hunting in education. AGAIN!!!

Throughout my adult life I have been continuously told that the best way to find and stay in a job is self-promotion. Compile a good curriculum vitae with a detailed section on personal interests, on job applications always describe other skills that may not necessarily be relevant to the position you are applying for; something that I did when I applied for work in secondary education last summer, resulting with a position at a new academy in Kent.

I was awarded a position within the academy on my own merits and for that I am grateful. I enjoy my work supporting lower ability students in the classroom and I am confident that I am making positive progress with the young people I am assigned to.

I am not just a newly qualified teaching assistant (Level 3 obtained Summer 2010), I bought with me several years’ experience of 1:1 and classroom support at both KS1 and KS2 education, therefore understanding the needs and difficulties of students who are struggling to rise above SATS levels 2 and 3. Many of the children I have supported since 2005 have not just had learning difficulties; they have also been diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum, emotional and behavioral issues or have ADHD.

In addition to providing support in schools, during my free time I started a successful Beaver Scout colony in 2007, once established I progressed to Cub Scout leader, planning and running balanced programs for 8-10 ½ year olds. I am now in my sixth year as a fully qualified and warranted Scout leader. This position is not just about sparing an hour and a half a week, but often includes extra time planning and researching a wide variety of subject matter and then delivering it to the young people in a fun format, teaching them new skills in a way they understand and remember.

Having this experience and relatively new skill proved invaluable when faced with a KS3 class, whose teacher, who in unforeseen circumstances, failed to arrive for a lesson and no cover or supply had been provided, leaving me to deliver a lesson without preparation or back up.

In addition to this skill, I have developed my own learning, mostly with an interest in the outdoors; walking, hiking, map reading, camping and geocaching, all of which I have obtained and maintained over the past six years. During my teen years I was an avid archer. Regularly breaking club and county records, some of which I still hold today. Thanks to this talent I have often assisted other Scout leaders (who hold GNAS qualifications) to deliver taster sessions on activity days and camps.

After having been informed by human resources just a few weeks ago to look for work as there was no guarantee of an extension to contracts, the principle hosted a compelling assembly to the lower school. Explaining to the students about taking risks, find their hidden talents and not to wait for opportunities to fall into their laps. That they would have to work for their goals and dreams, In essence self-promotion!

Following on from that assembly, I read an article in a local paper about the principles pledge of “Local jobs, for local people!” This compelled me to write to him, outlining my existing skills, and as a local who supports his school and his vision, in the hopes that they reconsider their position on continuing existing contracts.

Support assistants are often the image of consistency in secondary education, especially in an establishment that still has a high turnover of teaching staff due to the ongoing changes and teething problems that come from having a brand new school. Is it fair for pupils to continue to put up with a long list of supply teachers and cover supervisors? Only to have all the support staff laid off at the end of the academic year!

I am not just a little upset that twelve months on I am having to look for work again and self-promote to schools and academies that may not necessarily be looking for someone with my skills and talents, but I am saddened that I may not be there to see the students I have helped this year, to grow, mature and achieve to the best of their abilities. They are great children and I have developed a good working relationship with them, in that I am a common face with common interests, a familiarity when they are faced with yet another new member of staff!

UPDATE : 26th JUNE 2012
Well it would appear that it is official and my self promotion letter did not work. I really do now have to pull out all the stops and appeal to all schools in the area! Why, oh why do teaching assistants have to go through this every year.

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Categories: Life goes on, The Freelance Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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