In which we head to the Ashridge Estate in search of the oldest mystery cache in the UK and fail entirely to find it.
The above sentence isn’t far off being all there is to report in this blog entry to be honest. Having finally decided that for our 1000 milestone we would attempt to find the oldest mystery cache in the UK, Shar and I made the 30 minute journey to the Ashridge Estate after dropping Sam at school on Wednesday full of hope and optimism to find Tim’s No 2 – The second Attempt (GC18BC).
In order to be able to locate the cache you first need to find another very old cache, also located in the Ashridge Estate. Tim & John’s 1st Re-Stashed (GC177) is the second oldest cache in England and we managed to locate it back in January when we went to Ashridge for the BBH Cake Race closing event (See Cake Race Closing Event and two historic caches). Inside the container which is hidden in the pretty woods, are directions that you have to follow to be able to find the mystery cache. The directions include a number of steps in the form, walk this many paces on this bearing, turn this way, walk so many paces again and so on. Well, Shar and I spent over two hours interpreting the instructions every which way we could and still we were unable to work out where the cache was. It wasn’t a great amount of distance involved but the directions were a bit ambiguous in places and open to multiple interpretations.
In the end I placed a PAF to our friend Bones1 who despite having found the cache almost 10 years ago, was able to give some very detailed instructions and enabled us to identify the lanmark tree noted in the hopelessly vague directions as provided by the original cache owner, and give us a very good indication as to where we should be looking. Alas, we still didn’t managed to find the thing, but we now reckon we have a pretty good idea where it should be and plan to return at some point. We decided to retreat home and make new plans for our 1000 milestone, Sharlene was in no mood to be changing plans in the middle of the woods. She doesn’t like DNFs, bless her, especially ones that have stolen two hours of your day tromping around the woods, although I do have to say the weather was ok and the woods certainly were very pretty.
We have found 999 caches so far in our geocaching career and in all that time, just under 2 years, have logged only 79 DNFs, many of which we later converted into finds. It was a bit disappointing therefore to have to be logging one that was intended to be our 1000 milestone. Having said that I did subsequently formulate a new plan for our milestone and I have to say I liked that one even more, not least because there was absolutely no chance at all of having to log a DNF on it. But, you’ll have to wait till next time for the info on that one.
This geocaching (non)adventure took place on Wednesday 11th March 2015 and did nothing for our cache count which still stands at 999.