One Hundred What's?

Since starting to geocache in October 2011 I've become increasingly addicted to the 5/5's. (For those who don't know, caches are rated out of five for difficulty and five for terrain.) It wasn't long before I was racking up 5/5's, so it was only natural to aim at a big number. Not that geocaching is necessarily all about the numbers. It isn't necessarily so. It just... is so. Heh.

This is a collection of the logs and images from my 100 5/5-rated geocache adventures. Browse by date in the Archive, or skip back in time one by one from post to post. I've had a lovely time, met some great people, and been to some amazing places - as well as learned a new skill or two and overcome a couple of phobias...

(Since this time I've reached 183...)

Thamas - Splash and Cache


5/5 #100

Done it! At last! Though I couldn't have made more of a meal of this one.

I drove first to the pub in Radcot, but there were so many "PRIVATE" signs all over the place that I couldn't even bring myself to go in and ask sweetly if I could park. If only people were more forgiving about this sort of thing I'd have stopped in there afterwards for lunch, but as it was - no, I'll get a petrol station pasty!

In the end I parked at N 51 42.10 W 001 33.725, and dragged my kayak the half a kilometre over fields, in order to paddle it ten metres to the cache! Apart from the free parking, this strategy has little to recommend it!!!

The cache was easily found and securely connected to its moorings. The mark on the bridge supports where the flood water came up to is three feet above the cache! Thus, the log is quite wet. It's signable though, so I did, and allowed myself a little cheer for my century of adventure.

Thanks for the cache! I'm sure it's lovely from the pub....!

Flood markings three feet higher than cache...

Stert stream, going underground (1 of 3)


5/5 #99 of my Thames four-cache sprint to 100 today.

From my hasty reading of previous logs and difficulty understanding the cache description, I was not confident that I'd find the cache today, or even if it was in place. Happily it turned out that all was as it should be, and was quite straightforward. I parked for free in the car park to the west of causeway (having gingerly discovered that car plus kayak is taller than the 6'6" maximum height for the car park over the road!) and dragged the boat over the grass to the river, along the river eastwards and under the bridge to put in at waypoint BI, then paddled past the pub, and under the bridge in order to circle round and sneak back under the farthest arch and seamlessly into the tunnel.

The boat very soon ran aground and needed dragging to the pipe to tie off, and then it was just a walk to the red brick archway, and signing the cache! Hooray! The only difficulty was walking. The ground consists of largeish, loose, pointy stones which were no fun with surf shoes. I recommend crocs.

Then back out, feeling great and off to look for my 100th 5/5.....

Swift Ditch - Splash and Cache


5/5 #98 as part of my Thames four-cache sprint to 100.

This was just tremendous! Easily the best inland kayak cache I've found. Why? Because it was bloody ridiculous, that's why! I approached from the westerly end, near the marina and immediately came across several trees fallen right across the width of the river. That was negotiated safely after a quick examination, and I rather expected - falsely, it transpired - that the rest of the way would be less troublesome.


There are trees down, and sundry other things, all the way along the river - and I was frankly shocked that I managed to navigate all the way to the cache without getting out. It is possible, but the challenge is significant and the extra fun to be had immeasurable! In a couple of places it was necessary to ski the kayak over submerged limbs and for that reason alone, as well as many submerged broken branches, I would not recommend this with an inflatable boat. Some passages were less than two feet wide.

The cache was easily found, and then I learned (opting to go back the way I came) that negotiating fallen trees in a downstream direction is much harder than upstream.....

Thanks for a tremendous cache. I can't recommend it highly enough. More people should come and have a go.

None shall pass!

Thames Taunter


5/5 #97 as part of my Thames four-cache sprint to 100.

I put in at Culham Lock and paddled east then round the island to GZ dodging the many and scary weirs along the way. In the end I disembarked at Sutton Pools and dragged the kayak overground to put in just 50m from the cache and popped across. An easy find once there, of course, and reassuringly still waters too, given the closeness of the weir. From there it was off upstream to find Swift Ditch Splash and Cache, past the safety fences for the next weir in the wrong direction!

Thanks for a cache in a lovely place. I'd wax on about the loveliness, but Swift Ditch knocked my socks off. On which more later...

Church Micro 5534...Devoran - Methodist Chapel


Well, this is why I hopped out of bed and drove down here from Exeter at sick-in-the-head o'clock.

I knew this would require a beefy tide to take the Terrain rating down a peg or two, and dawn today was a nice meaty 5.3 metres. 'Ansum, as CO would no doubt bafflingly say.

The problem with dawn is that the water ain't half cold! That, plus the fact that I am always too stupid and lazy to change out of my dry clothes and just trust fate that the swell or the depth at either end will look kindly on me, made the exercise trickier than it needed to be. (I've fallen foul of this 'strategy' before... ending up in Hayle M&S wearing nothing but a towel and a cagoule.)

You live and (not) learn.

Happily, the tide this morning made the retrieval a piece of cake, for which I am utterly grateful. And the puzzle? Least said the better. Solved it on my phone last week.

Thanks for the cache Howard. Don't worry about the rating. There are people who complain that 40m rope ascents up dead trees "aren't 5/5". You can't please all of the people all of the time. The way the handy rating system works currently, it's definitely a 5/5 on paper. It's worthy in my eyes even on a spring tide. And is definitely a 5/5 on any less.

Frustration Island


Right then.... Where to start....?! Well...

1 - Thanks for an excellent cache! I'd eyed it a few months ago, but it's very far from my house (in Exeter) and I didn't fancy a long drive just to be thwarted by the challenge at GZ. Glad I did. Brilliant!

2 - But... The day started quite badly when twenty miles into my 320 mile round trip I realised I'd forgotten the little wheels I strap to the back of the kayak for long land-locked tows. Shall I go back? Eugh. No. It's only, what... 300m tops? I can probably carry a solid-bodied sea kayak that far along a cycle path without a) telescoping my spine, or b) looking like a total tool.

3 - Turns out I can't. However, I can drag it, looking idiotic, along the grassy side of the path. The occasional Dog's Egg making my life miserable, but the prospect of a refreshing immersion in the lake made that seem less awful than it was.

4 - I can't find the launch point. For ages. And the stony path is a nightmare on my delicate ladyfeet through these flimsy surf shoes. Got it eventually though after dumping the boat and jogging off on reconnaissance.

5 - Aaaand here we are! The launch point was tremendous as it was possible without even getting wet feet! Not that wet feet are an issue, but it's nice when a launch point is so perfect. The weather was sunny but cool under the trees, and it was well worth five or ten minutes exploring the lake before turning my mind to the task at hand.

6 - Cor. It's a tall island innit? The climb up was slightly treacherous. The 'climb' down was, er, not. Not a climb.

7 - Yup. Number is not evident. I agree. Two of them are, but not t'other. Though I didn't find an empty cable tie to clinch the theory... That leaves sixty combinations to tick through. I think if another number vanishes, that makes the possible combinations to check 600! It might be nice to check and/or fix the missing number. Happily I guessed it on try nine... So we're in the box...

8 - Oh you..... You.....! Right. Knuckle down to it. I've seen this trick before. All is not as it appears.

9 - Turns out it is. Exactly. As. It. Appears...! Never mind, the average number of tries is of course n/2. It could be less! It could never be try number n. That would be massively unfortunate.

10 - It was.

11 - Never mind though. It's signed! I did it! It was worth the petrol money! And I took a nice geocoin too so there's a bonus.

12 - The drag BACK along the cycle path, of course, does not have the necessary dog's-mess-douche at the end.

Thank you again for a great cache. It is a classic.



12/12/2013 DNF

Gutted! I knew chances were slim on a slippery night-time jaunt, but it was my only opportunity! Back in summer I guess...

14/02/14 DNF


Second visit. This time with the rare benefit of daylight for me in this location, having done everything else round here before dawn on various occasions. Sadly I was also contending with gale force winds, icy rain, and very stirred up and muddy water which I suspect might be critical, though previous logs suggest it needs wading, does not need wading, is seen best from below, and is best seen from above....!

Today it was simply no dice. I was alone, the tree was very slippery, and although I was all over it with various combinations of webbing and ropes I could not get my hands to where I wanted them in order to find this ABSURDLY HUGE CHEEKY CACHE CONTAINER!

I'll inevitably be back I guess! Hopefully when it is warmer, drier, and perhaps again in daylight with luck.

15/02/14 DNF

Didn't find it again!

This time with: 1) Help 2) Clarification of help 3) Further helpful details 4) Offer of PAF 5) Live PAF help in situ 6) More PAF advice 7) Even MORE PAF advice 8) Sarcastic comments.

I'm not saying it's not there. But it's not where I was...

And I was there.

If CO fancies walking his dog along that bloody limb sometime, I'd be delighted to hear his humbled apology that it was indeed missing...(!)

Not that it is.

I'm adding a fave anyway. For the challenge.

16/02/14 Sarcastic note from CO

Not sure whether it's noticeable at all but it has been a bit damp of late and the level of the water has risen somewhat?

In today's condition this cache would be more aptly named leg in the water unless you have the benefit of prior knowledge and carry the correct kit as I did on this occasion. Enough said.



21/02/14 Note

24/02/14 Note from CO

Fantastic - tremendous - remarkable - great - terrific - striking - impressive - outstanding - phenomenal

A cacher with tenacity persistence, pertinacity, determination, perseverance, doggedness, tenaciousness, single-mindedness, strength of will, firmness of purpose, strength of purpose, fixity of purpose, bulldog spirit, tirelessness, indefatigability, resolution, resoluteness, resolve, firmness, patience, purposefulness, staunchness, steadfastness, constancy, staying power, application, diligence, assiduity, sedulousness, insistence, relentlessness, inexorability, inexorableness, implacability, inflexibility.

I have placed you on my friends and family list and increased my mobile text plan in order to cope with your next visit which i look forward to. Your sense of humour at least, should be rewarded.

08/03/14 FOUND by pedro uk...!

14/03/14 DNF



I have literally lost count of the amount of times I've been here. I can clearly remember four, but there could easily have been more. It's not been my finest hour. Indeed, it was only this last couple of visits that I realised you can park in the sawmills car park and walk straight there, rather than park at stage one of the old I Dare You cache and walk from there...!


I knew the location from the previous Arboreal Adventure, and confidently scuttled out there on visit one for a quick look, which turned into a long, laborious, fingertip search of every knot and branch despite knowing the size of the container.

A review of the logs and visit two or three involved a worm's eye view of every branch, followed by a rope ascent into the high branches to look down, because some Charlie had logged that it was easier to see from above...

Two visits ago I was literally flown in from the tower, with CO texting me directions and me sending photos with exasperated captions.

Between then and last time, he gave me clear and unambiguous directions which I then followed with my carefully crafted extraction device (and galloping conjunctivitis, which is another story involving A&E and dangerous driving...) and felt around EXACTLY THE PLACE I LOOKED TODAY and found absolutely nothing...!

What's WRONG with me...?! It must be missing. I told him so.

After this, CO - who must have grown to either hate me, or pity me like a helpless newborn mouse - sent me a series of three photos which a) proved the lie to my confident assertion that it was missing, and b) provided essentially a three-panel photo story of where to look, how to get it, and how to breathe and see simultaneously, for God's sake...

So today, with my device and wellies once again, I stomped off down the hill and along the oh-so-bloody-familiar limb and, this time, before even getting solidly into place, I could see EXACTLY where it was - and grabbing it, signing and replacing was a mere formality.

Less than a minute from shore to shore.

5/5 number 93. And I've managed to make this the hardest one I've ever done!

I. Hate. You.



Ha! So... This one I solved further back than I can even remember, and it just sat there on my 5//5 list saying "Come and get me...! I'm (sort of) on the way home from Northampton to Exeter ;O) and I'll be quick, honest! So I drove over, jumped out, kitted up, and walked along to GZ.

Except it wasn't. I'd snafu'd the coords so I was just stood on the towpath looking at a duck.

However... I saw a likely structure in the distance and having descended two other similar structures for caches this very day, I felt confident that my cacher's instinct would see me alright. And it did! Five minutes from arrival to departure - you've never seen a ninja operation like it.

Nice fat cache container, craftily secured.

And Tank was gone.

Thanks for a great cache in a nice location. Sorry I blew the coords. No idea what happened there.

Not me

Hanging about Scalford Tunnel


Bit spooky doing this one on my own after finding the freshly eviscerated sheep in the field.

Still, I had a good look from all angles and couldn't see it, but had faith and climbed the rope from the bottom having not yet woken up properly (8am) and getting my thoughts in a knot, and quickly found it exactly where the hint promised. Then an easy sign in an interesting place, and on up the rope and outta there.

Thanks for the cache.

Hanging around in Whetstone


Well I rolled up to this one with a song in my heart and a skip in my step as the description, previous logs, and image gallery made it an absolute pushover.

Except it wasn't there!

But a quick message to friendly CO Paul and he was out there with me. We had a chat. Then he popped off to make a new cache for me to sign and replace for him. THAT's what I call excellent cache ownership! Thanks Paul. Nice place and the new cache is an excellent piece of field construction!

Thanks for the cache.

tree surgeons saunter #3


Took a few minutes to spot, and the trail bikers were back and looking shifty and, to be honest, a little scary, so I was looking up while laying low...! Still, DID manage to spot it and, given how climbable this tree is, I didn't try too hard to get the line in the right place here. Just chucked it up and climbed. A bit out on a limb this one, but still eminently reachable despite the stealthy climbing!

Best tree of the lot in my opinion. I like maples. And beeches. Oaks? Meh.

Thanks for the caches! 

tree surgeons saunter #1


One of the logs on this cache was from someone with a Big Shot who only did this and was keen to return, so I was a little pessimistic that maybe the other two were missing, having not been found (or seemingly looked for) for a few months. So I came to this one first as it was the best bet.

Some deadeye Dick throw line action had me right up by the cache in no time, which was lucky as I couldn't see it from the floor. Then I took a picture with it, as it has indeed seized up, hid from the trail bikers for a few minutes, and dropped down to look for number 2.

Thanks for the cache. A nice oak. Not MY favourite tree. Too lumpy.

Plane Spotting????


Aha, THIS was the one I remember reading about. I'd solved whatever had to be solved ages ago, and could remember nothing about this cache when I found it in the environs of my weekend incursion up country looking for 5/5's. Previous log mentioned a useful piece of kit around the place, and when I looked for maybe a rope but found a full flight of stairs I was both bemused and delighted!

Up. Sign. Down. And out. Without being spotted I think.

Thanks for the cache.

Extreme Dore #1


I was wondering what to do about this cache. I'd seen previous logs had found an empty green tie, and I'm not a big fan of claiming a find without signing the log, but I'd come a long way from Exeter for this (amongst others) and doubted I'd be back in the area just to perform a formality...

However, the a Caching God was smiling on me because, believe it or not, I found a cache at the bottom of the tree. Totally unhidden (apart from the green webbing little case it was in.) It had several log sheets in it with lots of signatures, and looked like a cache that someone had taken a pic of previously (in the gallery) though not the green clamshell pad in other pictures.

It seems to have been missing since August and I can't believe it's been sat here unnoticed since then, but there we are. I signed it, climbed up, and clipped it securely to the green tie.

You're welcome.


Thanks for the cache.

Jonah's Journey


This one took an extraordinarily long time. a) The coordinates are out by a long way. b) As others have noted, the directions to start from the path at the foot of the crag was misleading (today, though I think the cache is misplaced). c) There were climbers everywhere, and I wasted some time trying to be stealthy before eventually just barging my way through them and rummaging about in all the cracks!

In the end I found the cache at the top of the cliff, within arms length of the grass on the surface - such that although I had climbed down past it, it would have been possible to see it and reach it just by lying on the grass. The last entry in the logbook was from a climber who just stumbled across it and wrote a funny message and left a Chewit! I strongly suspect that the cache has been moved from wherever it was intended to be and strongly recommend that CO check it out. I will message led after finishing this, with photos and coords.

I thoroughly enjoyed the search though, and had a great climb, so thanks for the cache.