The weekend found us travelling to Surrey for an event.
A spontaneous camping trip hastily arranged. A last minute look at local caches and I was thrilled to see our campsite was surrounded by night caches.
Night caches are quite special. Just searching for a regular cache by torchlight this is not.
Night caching takes searching for a cache in the dark to a whole new level.
I like them.
However being completely scared of the dark they also absolutely terrify me.
Night caches use reflective markers to guide you through the dark to a cache.
You won’t find the cache at the listed coordinates.
It’s up to you to follow the trail. And not get lost. Or eaten by Lions and Tigers and bears. Oh my!
With a friend due to meet us the next day I casually mention the phrase night cache in a text.
I was thrilled when several hours later she had driven 120 miles to come and join us.
Having friends as caching crazy as you? Priceless. And bloody good fun!
Having all set up camp and dusk finally setting in it was time to set off on a night time adventure.
The trouble of course with night caching in Summer is the long evenings, but one late night won’t hurt us. Besides night cache trails are usually quite short…..
Armed with head torches and every single, back up, light emitting tool we could lay our hands on we set off from the campsite having plotted a suitable route on the map.
The map looked fine. A fair walk but the footpaths plentiful and fairly direct. We should hit the woods as darkness fell. Perfect! What could go wrong?
All was going well.
The children giddy at being allowed up late and full of excitement for the adventure ahead.
The footpath lead us on a track beside farm buildings. As a regular geocacher and walker, this is something I’m used to, it always make me a bit edgy but I trust the maps for my rights of way….
And there goes an alarm…
One of the children yells ‘Ruuuuuun” in the fashion of a true rascal.
The children leg it, leaving us grown ups to deal with any consequences and also impressed by the children’s ability to dodge trouble – they’ll go far in life 😉
With a hasty walk down the track we reach a gate. The OTHER side of it displaying an ominous Strictly private sign.
Mr Muddy blames me.
I blame the maps.
Without being shot, chased or arrested We reach a bridleway.
We get a bit confused.
The map says it’s a bridleway. A sign says It’s a bridleway.
A home made sign declares it strictly private unless you have a horse.
There’s only one thing to do.
Mounting our imaginary horses
we I trot up the lane.
If you don’t believe me… you don’t know me very well 😉
The houses that line the bridleway are stunning and well guarded. From the gardens nearby dogs snarl at us.
It actually sounds as if fluffy has been moved from Hogwarts and now resides in leafy Surrey.
It’s safe to say we are getting a bit jumpy.
It’s still not even dark, and we haven’t yet made it to the woods.
Finally we reach the edge of the woods. Darkness is just beginning to fall. We reach the given coordinates for the cache.
That moments hesitation when you think a night cache is doomed before you even begin when you fail to spot the first marker.
But then, there it is.
Something shining back at us off in the distance. Not just a small reflective marker of the type I’ve seen before but great big strips of reflective tape. The markers are regularly placed and take us around the edge of the woodland.
We reach a gate.
Another Whopping great private sign which hints at the fact we will be hung, drawn and quartered if we dare to step beyond the gate. *Gulp*
A moments hesitation but luckily we spot another marker.
It leads us a mere 10m beyond the gate.
It leads us to a kissing gate and footpath, leading into the very same woodland.
Surrey. You confuse me!
The markers lead the way down the footpath however like Belisha beacons, so dutifully we follow.
It’s now dark.
The children start to squeak and grip the hands of the adults.
The markers begin to lead us off the beaten track. A-ha!
The previous night caches I’ve done have been quick to finish once you leave the path. We must surely be nearly there….
Somehow I find myself leading the group. Eek! Why do I have these silly ideas to do these things?
I navigate the group through the woods. We climb over branches, trip over roots and doge under fallen trees. The children stop shaking long enough to encourage me to ‘Limbo limbo limbo..’ under the fallen tree.
Still the markers lead us onwards.
This Cache owner certainly likes a long walk.
The group behind me grows quiet. I’ve seen enough Scooby Doo in my time to know that this means the monster of Spooky Wood has plucked them off one by one and only I remain.
Sneaking a peek behind me I’m thrilled to see they are all still there, albeit by now a bit tired.
Then finally three markers together. The end is in sight.
I approach the tree and am thrilled to find an ammo can. we’ve made it!
Only now to head back out. Luckily I’ve kept my GPSr on and recorded my tracks.
For once however they aren’t really needed, the markers visible from the reverse too. The journey out of the woods should be easy, if a bit long.
Just as we start to head off, a huge explosion.
Has the farmer from earlier tracked us down?
Thankfully however it’s just fireworks, only being in dense woodland we can’t see them.
This obviousy has a calming effect on my already frazzled nerves. 😉
Finally we navigate our way out of the woods, tired, relieved and wondering how on earth we will get back to the campsite. The path we came on is unanimously declared absoloutely not an option.
The long way round it is then.
The very long way round.
It’s very late and children are starting to flag. It may just be me but I also suspect the husbands are getting a little grumpy. 😉
As we finally trudge our way into the campsite the heavens open.
I try not to laugh.
Mr Muddy, as he staggers through the door of the tent declares he is ‘Never going Geocaching again.’
Me? I give the cache a favourite point! 😉