It all started when I saw the article 10 Counties In a Day!! By BK and SB on Geocaching Today
With the Exeter Caching Event coming up, I thought “there’s got to be ten counties between me and Exeter, maybe I can grab this!” So I looked at the map, and found that , since I live in West London, there are actually nine within striking distance… So, where would the extras come from?
Checking with record keeper Deego revealed that the counties must be cached within a 24 hour period, so I hatched a plan! As with BK and SB There was a lot of looking at maps, and consulting GC.com, and this showed that combining the attempt with a 170 mile drive may not be the best way to do it!
Anyway, undeterred, I decided to go off on Saturday afternoon and get a few counties “under my belt” to help with the real attempt on Sunday. Surrey was first, with Army Manoeuvres and I found it at 15:19. The walk to this was a little further than I would have liked, but the cache was fairly easy to find in the end…
Next, Hampshire, and Chocaholic. This cache is hidden on a roundabout, but the co-ordinates put it in the road! Pity this, because it’s pretty public on there, and impossible to search inconspicuously. In a case like this, a good clue is a must. But the one given is meaningless. After some time searching in lethal pampas grass, I had to give up. But, I knew I could have another go at Hampshire tomorrow…
So, off to West Sussex and Bovine Cart. Nice walk through the grounds, but when I got to the cache site, I found three youths with a whole keg of beer! Obviously, they weren’t going to be going anywhere in a hurry. Clearly, I was going to have to give up on this one too!
So, right across the county to Dog Walkers Cache. Another one with rather a long walk from the car, and woodland co-ordinates (a bit iffy) but the description made up for the co-ordinates and it was quite fun being in the footsteps of Ellathedog… Found the cache at 19:14.
On to East Sussex and Ditchling Common. This was pretty close to Dog Walkers, and also close to the car park. So I was able to Make up some time! Found it at 19:45.
Next, Kent. I chose Mole’s Secret High-dout because it didn’t seem too far off the route back to West London, but it was pretty dark by the time I got there. Fortunately, I had a powerful torch which sliced through the night and made it fairly easy to get to to the cache. Found at 21:50.
Time for one more tonight? Yes, why not! It was a virtual, and close to home in Middlesex. Tabloid Tombstone requires the finding of a tombstone in a churchyard on Harrow on the Hill. And I already knew where that was! But it wasn’t till 23:40 that I got there. So much for my early night!
At 5 am, the alarm went off. And I’m afraid I just turned over! But I was up and out by 06:30.Hertfordshire, first with Batchworth Bridge. This cache wasn’t quite what I had expected, but I still found it at 07:16! So that’s six counties so far – equal to the record broken by BK and SB!
But I still had to cache four more counties to equal their record!
I was at Wooburn View a relatively straightforward find in Buckinghamshire. The time was now 07:57.
In Berkshire, I went for Thirsty Work, but couldn’t find the way from where I was to the cache half a mile away. So I abandoned that, and went for Vicar’s Tipple instead! Good choice – ten minutes from car to cache and back! 08:50. But I’m still a very long way from Exeter, and I still need two counties to equal the record, let alone beat it!
Penwood Cache was the one chosen for the second go at Hampshire. And it turned out to be another reasonably quick one. 09:50.
I went for Bird’s Marsh Woodland Walk in Wiltshire. And It was quite a walk. Trouble was, the co-ordinates suggested I should be in the field, and the clue could have referred to a dozen sites. I spent far too long searching here, and had to give up. Well, at least I would equal the record with theExeter Caching Event. So I just thrashed off down the motorway, and got there just after two pm, Even this had a sting in the tail! I had seen on the OS map that I should be able to drive to the pub, but even my friend that has lived in Exeter for years didn’t think you could! It took a moment to work this out and I was there with Stuey, Pyoung1s and the last few who had not yet gone off to find the new caches.
I had equalled the record and covered England from Kent to Devon!
But, remember those difficulties at the start? The first had been found at 15:19, but the second wasn’t logged till 19:15! If I abandoned Surrey, I had till 19:15 to get to two more! I really wanted to include Cornwall, so I dashed off down to A Fine View, and after a couple of false starts managed to park in a way that saved me most of the climb up the hill! Wonderful views, and the cache wasn’t too hard to find! At17:05 I had equalled the record again!
Now, I had to dash (not a word usually used in conjunction with the Cornish lanes!) from there up toTranquil Bridgwater & Taunton Canal in Devon. Got there just in time and found it at 19:05, but it was a few minutes before I could open the cache without being seen by a dog walking couple. Made out I was photographing a couple of swans with their six signets. The swans seemed rather too interested in what I was doing, and watched closely the whole time! Maybe they’ll take up geocaching!.
I had cached in eleven counties from Kent to Cornwall in 23 hours and fifty five minutes!
After that, I went back to the Exeter Caching Event to catch up with how others had got on with their caching in the Exeter area, and have a quick drink! A fitting end to a really mad concept!
But, I still had a 170 mile drive to do before the adventure would be over!
When I checked the mileage after getting home, I had covered 895 miles over a time period of 35 hours, so I averaged nearly 26 miles an hour. I think I need to slow down for a bit!
Highlights? Meeting a number of cachers at the Exeter Caching Meet. Lowlights? Not meeting enough people at the Exeter Caching Meet. Caches with bad co-ordinates and meaningless clues…
Will I do it again? Maybe – I’m already working out more efficient ways of multi-county caching!
Map showing the location of the 11 caches – all in different counties –
found within a 24 hour period