October 19 Day 292 Caches Found 2 Cumulative Total 374 (+1 bonus, +2 cachers’ meets)

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

Our second day in and around Milton Keynes was to include a visit to Bletchley Park, and to the National Museum of Computing.  We’ve both worked in IT and we both like codes and puzzles, so this place had been on the bucket list for a long time.  Hence we’d prepared just two caches for the day.  The first was a simple cache and dash very close to Bletchley Station.

The Mansion, Bletchley Park

The Mansion, Bletchley Park

The second was in honour of the occasion; Bletchley Park was the home of British code breaking operations in World War II.   The cache, ‘Station X’, was a difficulty 5 cache (the hardest, and also the first we had attempted) which required the deciphering of a chunk of text to find the cache location.  We’d both spent a while trying to find the key to the code, but without success.    Then I spent a couple of hours reading up on methods of enciphering text, and another hour or so repeating what I’d read to Mr Hg137.  He retired to the bath with a copy of the code … a while later there was a shout of triumph … he’d cracked it!  I spent the rest of the evening deciphering the message … and the cache was really easy to find once that was done.  We picked up three trackables from the cache, then spent the rest of the day being tourists.

A real Enigma machine!

A real Enigma machine!

Colossus - well, part of it

Colossus – well, part of it

Bletchley Park is a fascinating place, well worth a trip. You can see a real Enigma machine, visit the huts where the codes were cracked, and look around the Mansion House and grounds.  The National Museum of Computing occupies the same site and we spent a couple of hours here very easily. You can see the first ever electronic computer in the world (Colossus); this was running on the day we visited and is fascinating, but so unlike today’s computers – and crikey, all those valves give off so much heat!  If you’ve ever played computer games, there are plenty of historic examples – BBC micros, ZX81s, etc, etc, on which you can revisit your skills.  And there’s a computer room where some of the larger computers are running.  It was here that Mr Hg137 had a real surprise; one of the techies stepped out from behind a computer and hailed him by name; they knew each other way back, over 20 years ago.

It’s a great day out and we’d recommend it.

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