This weekend was supposed to be pretty chilled out, I was home, I was happy and I wanted nothing more than to just kick-back and catch-up on all the missed episodes of Dr. Who – gawd bless iplayer… what would I do without you! But all my well-laid plans of chillaxing with the doc went straight down the pan when I heard about something called Geocaching.
After a little light googling I found out that geocaching – pronounced ‘g-e-o-cash-ing’ is a global treasure hunt – well now, I’m a true sucker for treasure hunts, follow the clues, x-marks the spot, and this was a GLOBAL one… well now, how could I resist?
Sunday morning started a little slowly (hey, it was a heavy Saturday night), but a bowl of weetabix and a cuppa cha goes a long way to fixing me up for the day.
Picnic packed and armed with the GPS co-ordinates to six ‘caches’, J and I headed off on our tour d’ adventure. I have no idea what that means, seeing as how my French only goes as far as saying ‘hello’, ‘how are you’, my name is…’, will you come to bed with me’, ‘suck my c**k’, ‘f**k off’ and ‘goodbye’… hopefully never to be uttered in that order. The two ludest ones are the only two I can remember from the multitude supplied to me by C, the very best French housemate ever – damn that girl knows how to party!
In the immortal words of Girls Aloud, “I can’t speak French, but I’ll let the funky music do the talking, talking, yeah.”
The first stop in our search for the geo-cache stash was a trifle easy…. my beloved iphone quickly pointed us in the right direction, leading us to our first (and what would turn out to be our only) geo-cache find! Oh the excitement I can tell you. Like two excited children on Christmas morning we opened the little black, old-school 35mm film container to find a geo-coin, a roll of paper and a tiny pencil inside. We turned the coin over in our hands (hoping it would bring us good luck), before signing our names on the paper and rolling it up side the container along with the tiny pencil.
One down, five more to go.
The next one was slightly trickier… the beloved iphone was slightly confused (as is everything in the Dee) and we ended up rambling up hills and through hedges for a good half hour before J called out:
“I’ve found it, I’ve got it!”
“Oh, no hang on, it’s just a golf ball.”
“You know people have left comments on this sheet you printed out from that website. One guy wrote here that he couldn’t find the bloody thing.”
What? Couldn’t find it! No, I refuse to give up, not after we’d been searching for over half a bloody hour!
But there was more:
“Here this guy only left that comment two days ago. He seems to have done quite a lot of these things. Says he’s done 58. If he couldn’t find the sucker I don’t think we’re guna.”
Bollocks. J was right. I hate it when J’s right.
Accepting that number two had eluded us, we moved on to number three. I suspect now that a dog, sniffing through the undergrowth, probably found cache number two and carried it back to its owner, who then quite likely thinking it was rubbish, chucked it in the nearest bin.
After refuelling on ham and cheese sandwiches from our picnic we were convinced cache number three would be a doddle, a walk in the park… quite literally.
Yes, number three was in a public park, with joggers, children, elderly couples and dog walkers milling about – did we care that we looked like eejits, following a iphone through the ‘rough ground’ around the park, lifting rocks and digging through flower beds – did we sod. Did we find that little bugger of a cache – did we sod.
On to number four. Determined not to be completely beaten by these well hidden caches we tried for our fourth one – only to have the beloved iphone die… it too was losing the will to live by this point.
Devoid of any GPS device to follow, we headed back to the car to recharge the iphone and discuss our next cache hunt. I wouldn’t say we ‘gave up’ on the fourth cache, rather the iphone did. Yes, I’m blaming the iphone and its lack of enthusiasm for the fourth cache.
Cache number five was different, cache number five was exciting, cache number five was ‘delicately’ hidden in the delapitated graveyard of an old abbey – oh yes, at cache number five we got our mojo back.
En-route to number five we took a small detour through the Manor House Park to see if the Manor’s strawberries were ready for picking – a punnet of freshly picked strawberries would have gone down a treat as a celebration for finding number five (so sure were we of its location). Unfortunately the strawberries were not ready yet, not a one victory strawberry could we eat – I saw this as a bad omen on cache number five.
The old graveyard is small and enclosed by a tall stone wall. I can’t particularly say I enjoyed this one – the graves are packed tight together and you literally have to walk across broken headstones to move in it at all. The iphone was suggesting several possible locations where the cache could be hidden (damn thing was possessed). Though we checked every nook and cranny in both the outer wall of the graveyard and the abbey wall itself – number five was still MIA.
“Have you read these stones? They’re so old, like hundreds and hundreds of years old, and they all died real young. Look, that girl there was only 17, and that guy was only 16, and look his brother was only 14. That’s awful, is that why they had so many children back then?” – J had given up looking for number five completely.
Being the superstitious Irish being that I am, and after having my iphone point me in a ziggity zagged maze around the graveyard, I decided that maybe we were having a prank played on us by the ‘youthful spirits’ underfoot.
Time to go, yes it was indeed.
By this time I can’t say we were particularly enthusiastic about searching for the sixth cache. In fact we had all but decided to give up, moaning about ‘crappy GPS co-ordinates’ and ‘thieving muggles’.
“Bet someones stolen them all for a laugh. Am I laughing? Thieving muggles.” – J has never read a Harry Potter book in her life, I doubt she actually knows what a muggle is… bless her socks.
Having already driven a good few miles down the coast on our quest for the caches, we decided that driving a few more couldn’t hurt, so we called down to a lovely little restaurant in a fishing harbour for food. It is in actual fact one of my favourite restaurants in Ireland and is very aptly named The Quays.
The famous haddock and chips were ordered and eaten with relish – best darn haddock and chips in Ireland. Those guys deserve a medal… maybe an OBE for services to food and hungry bellies.
Turns out a tasty dinner was all we needed to renew our interest in the final cache…. With only one cache ‘find’ under our belt and four epic fails since, we decided to try for the sixth cache.
The sixth was located on a rocky outcrop just off the shore that can only be reached at low tide. Lucky for us, it was low tide, and we walked across the sand right out to the rocks.
We were not only relying on GPS co-ordinates this time, oh no, this time we had been left with a clue! The cache was hidden in the grassy area on the highest point of the rocks, the point that wouldn’t be underwater when the tide came in – easy, the grassy area was about the size of two double beds put side by side.
Not so easy, came the realisation that critters (most likely seagulls) had carried off the cache since it was no where to be found. Damn birds.
So one find, five epic fails, one golf ball, four ham and cheese sandwiches, two haddock and chips and a (once again) dead iphone later and I can honestly say that I had a thoroughly good time! It was a massive disaster in terms of treasure, success, attention span, etc….. but damn it was good clean fun! Just the ticket for a sunny Sunday adventure.
Maybe naming it the tour d’ treasure was our first mistake.
Peace and love,