Out and about with my good mate WhiteFriar for our regular mid-week outing on another absolutely glorious day with blue skies and very pleasant temperatures. Our plan was for the usual mix of Church Micros, challenge caches, large caches, rare caches and anything else that takes our fancy.
We started with a run of three Church Micros (2793, 3519 & 3520), all straightforward before getting to the first set of challenges - the "All About A Challenge" series. We don't qualify for "Motorway Madness" (yet) but we picked up the other four, the only one giving us difficulty being "Supermarket Sweep" which gave us a big chunk of grief before it was finally found.
Next up was our first Earthcache (Is the river coming to get you) followed by two more Church Micros (3294 & 3516). Then "366 Challenge" with some slightly dodgy parking at the trailhead. Fortunately we were not there for long. On to a virtual (The Royal Oak) which I had attempted previously and made a mess of. No problems this time.
Time for our first significant walk of the day to pick up the four "Icon 100's" challenges and the three traditionals you pass along the way, including "Up you go" where I replaced the cache in its correct position (as confirmed by the CO that evening). Regrettable I do not yet qualify for the (x6) challenge but signed the log anyway, in anticipation of getting there eventually, though whether on Events or Earthcaches is difficult to say at the moment.
Our antepenultimate challenge (Find a cache placed the day you started challenge) presented no problems. Nor did "A liddle middle riddle", our first large of the day and a bonus of an extra 'unknown' icon as I claw my way up to a 1000. Next a Church Micro (2872) followed by another walk to pick up "Liam and the Coombes!!!!!" (another inexplicable failure of mine back in 2011 - we had no trouble this time) and "Enter the Can-a-Coombes!!" for our second 'large' of the day.
Two more easy finds, Church Micro 2799 and "Maggie's 5000 Challange", our penultimate challenge of the day. Next a Letterbox (Firtastic) that gave us a massive amount of grief and very nearly a DNF as we were on the verge of giving up when we finally spotted it. The nearby "Bangers & Smash" proved much easier, providing us with our third 'large' and me the Ruby badge. (Only 130 more required to get to Diamond!)
"Aldermaston Oxbow Lake" was an earthcache I particularly wanted (for its terrain rating, for a challenge) but although we had come equipped with waders the river, in its current condition, looked way too deep and too fast. We will come back after there has been a two month drought!
From here on we fairly rattled through the list: Church Micro 3037, Ufton Nervet Moat and Fish Ponds, Happy 100th (Challenge cache), Rushall Farm Chalk Face - Pang Valley (my 50th earthcache and another ruby badge), BC2 'Walking in circles' and five more Church Micros (3232, 1703, 3253, 3251 & 2954).
Finally it was time to pick up our seventh icon of the day (and complete my qualification for a jazzy jessup challenge cache!). Yes, it is time for the pub and the "Monthly Mid-Week Bash in Berkshire", which, being on a Tuesday, we could make. Good to meet some of the people whose caches we had found and pick up some useful information about some American caches we will be after later in the year plus a useful tip for a puzzle that had had me baffled. We will come over again the next time you have your event on a Tuesday!
PS. Qualifying caches here: http://www.15ddv.me.uk/geo/chal/EL-JO_challenges.html#03