If you read other UK geocaching blogs there is a good chance that you have come across one or more articles recently about this year’s UK Mega event that was held in Essex at the beginning of August. This entry is one more to add to the pile but I suspect that mine might stand out for the simple reason that we didn’t really enjoy it!
There were no disasters, the weather was great, the drive easy, none of us were ill or got into any fights with anyone else and we didn’t feel like we had been ripped off at all. We just discovered that perhaps it isn’t our sort of thing. Too many people, too much to try an understand and absorb in a short space of time and all a bit too much like a country fair. None of these reasons make the event a bad thing as such and it is fair to say that hundreds of people enjoyed it very much but just not us.
We have been to a Mega once before, the 2013 Halloween Mega but had a completely different experience there, mainly because of the insanely creative caches that the event is centred around. That event seems to be all about the spooky caches with a few other things thrown on top, like a couple of stalls etc. The UK Mega this year, for us, was something different. That is not to say that there weren’t things that we could appreciate or take pleasure from. I like the log book very much.
We did also do a couple of the lab caches that they had there, one required you to grab a specific piece of paper containing a code as it was blown around you with loads of others as in the old Crystal Maze TV programme. We sent Sam in for that one although I kind of wanted to do it myself but would have felt a berk and there was a massive queue forming behind us. Take that cache, put it in a forest in the middle of nowhere and I would rave about it and award it a favourite point. And this is getting to the nub of it.
We talked a lot about it on the day and afterwards and I think we came to two conclusions. That sort of large scale event might be more enjoyable for us if we were staying on site for a few days and had all the time in the world to soak up the experience but even then it is still only a might. But I think the single biggest reason as to why we didn’t enjoy it is the same as the one why we love geocaching so much. It gets us out in the great British countryside where it is peaceful and quiet and allows us to participate in something exciting and secret. Caching on our own or with a couple of friends in the woods is like being on a secret mission or a treasure hunt. The Mega was a little like going to a theme park, everyone was there to do the same thing, 50 people watch you make a berk of yourself and you had to queue up to do it.
I applaud the organisers for staging an impressively large event with such precision and efficiency, they deserve a great deal of appreciation for the amount of work that goes into putting a Mega on, but I think it is unlikely that we will be attending future ones. It wasn’t a wasted day though, we learnt something about ourselves and got to log a mega event and 2 lab caches as well.
The UK 8th Annual Mega event took place on Saturday 1st August and it took our total cache count up to 1202.