On Sunday we attended the Geolympix Mega event that was being held on the Ashridge estate which sits almost slap bang on the borders of Beds, Bucks and Herts and is just over a half an hour drive away from us. Whilst the event itself started at around 9 in the morning and the FTF frenzy commenced at noon, we rocked up about 3pm with the intention of finding no caches at all.
No, we haven’t lost our minds? Well if we have it didn’t manifest itself in this particular instance. It was a cunning plan on our part to experience a Mega in a different way to our previous two. We went purely to soak up a bit of atmosphere, socialise and log our closest mega to date.
After we had arrived, signed the log, said hi to a few friends and wandered around the few stalls that were there we then found ourselves wondering what to do. I had noticed that our cache count was standing at a rather tantalizing 1496 prior to attending the mega and it was too much of a temptation for us not to try and make the mega itself our 1500. So we decided to go caching. Yeah, I know what I said in the last paragraph, but things change.
Our first target didn’t even need a GPS. As we stood at the table signing the log for the mega, Sam looked across the meadow and pointed out a Hollywood style sign spelling out the word “GEOCACHE” a few hundred metres away and so we headed off over to check out if it was indeed a cache. Before we got there however Sharlene spotted two people wearing orange t-shirts who seemed to be heading towards us across the meadow. There in a middle of a field in the Ashridge estate we were delighted to meet and chat with fellow bloggers Mr and Mrs HG137 proprietors of the excellent Sandhurst geocachers blog.
Whilst we were fresh and full of energy, they were nearing the end of their day having found a very respectable 20 caches and enjoyed all the mega had to offer already. After a short chat we bid them farewell and a safe journey and we continued on across the meadow to log our first cache of the day.
After this we found the next two closest traditionals and logged those as well,taking our total up to 1499, leaving us just the Mega itself to log to take us to our 1500. Despite only doing 4 caches in total on the day, reaching the 1500 milestone makes it feel as if we achieved more than we did.
After our exhausting day of geocaching it was back for an ice cream and then onto the main meeting point where we met lots of people we already knew and some we didn’t. Our good friend Geoff (a.k.a. Smokeypugs) was there and on good form as well as many others from the local Beds, Bucks, and Herts community. There were lots of people from all over the country and even the world, most notably was an American man who was dressed as a jester for a reason I never discovered.
I even recognised a few people just by their voices. Although I didn’t get to actually meet them, there was no is taking the distinct northern tones of Pete and Tracy, the hosts of the Podcache show podcast.
To round the day off we all gathered together in the small area near the stalls on the edge of the meadow for the inaugural National Geocaching Awards. It was a very entertaining hour or so spent applauding the winners and laughing at the jokes of the hosts Paul and Graham not to mention the odd amusing heckle too. I wasn’t overly disappointed not to win the award that I had been nominated for and was genuinely honoured to be shortlisted at all. I was more upset that fellow blogger Sarah (a.k.a. the geocaching junkie) didn’t win in the social mediast category as I feel her blog is a most excellent and entertaining resource. Sarah had come over from Ireland for the Mega, in fact she was fresh in from the piratemania Mega the day before and after geolympix she was heading to wales for the UK mega too. After the ceremony we managed to talk for a short while and snap a photo too.
In conclusion, we all agreed that we thoroughly enjoyed our experience at the mega. The weather was warm but not hot, more importantly it was dry. The Ashridge estate is a beautiful NT property with many great things to see and do aside from all the caches that are there now, which we will be returning for over the coming months. Most notably though the event was a success because of all the great people we got to meet and chat too. But has it changed our general attitude towards mega events? Nah, probably not
This MEGA geocaching adventure took place on Sunday 31st July and took our total cache count up to 1500. Yeah baby!