… with 25 caches found so far we needed just 4 more caches to break our record… but we only had 5 caches left to attempt !
What lay ahead us, was a climb to the Ridgeway footpath. Earlier on in the day we had ascended from the South, now, much later in the day our tired limbs had to climb from the North. The Southern side was on footpaths, sometimes grassy, sometimes chalky. The Northern ascent was on a road.. a hard, tarmac road. The road led to a couple of farms and a car park, and should have been empty, but in a half mile section we dodged various items of traffic.
Fortunately the tarmac was punctuated with 2 caches to find. Named very strangely, JSW40.02 and JSW40.01. Most cache names have some relevance like the location, the type of container or in the case of the ‘Chocolate’ series we had still yet to finish, set by cachers known as the ‘Coffee and Cake Club’. But JSW40.02 and JSW40.01 completely baffled us!
The first we found (02), was an easy find – the film canister was hidden in a small piece of log, just away from the roadside.
However JSW40.01 was completely different. Needing to break our record, we couldn’t afford not to find the cache. At ground zero, there was huge log with lots of crevices for hiding a cache.
We looked again.
We couldn’t find.
We widened our search, and still couldn’t find. After some 30 minutes we were about to give up, when amongst the leaf litter there was a 35mm film canister! It contained a log book, which we signed and replaced where we thought it should be.
(It was only when we returned home that we noticed the cache had been visited that day by another cacher. They found a ‘clip lock box’ not a film canister.. since this double finding day farmers have cleared much of the area at GZ so its not clear to us whether we found the true cache or not. Still a cache was found and a log signed – that seems good enough for us).
Our climb up the hill continued, until the very welcome sight of the geo-car in the distance. We has three caches to find all on the flat. Phew!
The first, right next to the car !, was the ‘worst cache of the day’. Part of the chocolate series, the lid no longer kept water out. The cache had well over an inch of water at the bottom. The log was sodden. We decided to dry everything as best we could by laying everything on the hot metalwork of the car. We had a drink (needed after the steep hill climb) and then moved the whole cache contents inside the car while we spent 10 minutes (!), looking for our two remaining caches.
The first was hidden near the Ancient Monument of Scutchamer Knob. Originally called Cwichelmeshlaew or Cwichelm’s Barrow, it is recorded as having been the place where King Edwin of Northumbria killed Cwichelm of Wessex in AD 636 and, in the Middle Ages, became the meeting point of the Shire Moot (or market) which was abolished in 1620. It was long thought to be the actual burial place of Cwichelm but the mound has been excavated several times without serious finds. In 1006, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle states that the Danes marched to Cuckhamsley Hill as they believed that if they reached the Hill, they would never return to the sea.
The cache was hidden some distance from the ‘Knob’ and although our GPS was bouncing around, we though we’d found GZ. A youngish tree, with a hollow root ball and more importantly a pile of sticks. But no cache! No sign. We searched around and about … no sign. We gave up. Our record breaking attempt depending on finding the last cache of the day (Raspberry Cream).
A short walk and we were there.. would it be there ? Given the difficulty we’d had with the last few caches, would we finish on a high…. another fence post.. a quick swish of the geo-pole and voila! We found it! Our 29th cache of the day!
We could go home happy (and quite exhausted) !