I am so glad that I blocked out the whole of last week. With hindsight I should have blocked out this week as well.
So last weekend saw my 10,000th cache find. As a rule, I don’t do milestones. I originally planned one for my 500th find and had everything lined up for it to be Stonehenge until I failed to find one of the caches and it put my entire plan in disarray. As a result I’ve largely avoided them since.

I can only describe it as akin to a Space shuttle docking with the IIS, waiting until the very last minutes to slam on the brakes (not that a space shuttle has brakes nor would they work if they did, but I am still recovering so will allow myself lazy metaphors).
At all times I was either too far ahead or too far behind, and I was thankful to friends who came out caching with me several evenings last week to try and keep everything on target.
Add to this several other layers of complication. The weekend saw a very rare occasion in the geocaching world: two mega events (events with over 500 people attending) in the same country on the same weekend. The plan was to do both, to travel up to Derbyshire for Piratemania on the Saturday and then head to Oxford and the Geolympix event on the Sunday. EXCEPT: As part of Geolympix there was a challenge to do 11 different types of caches in 11 hours. This meant being in Banbury for a Flashmob at 8am and trying to get in a couple of the icons before the event in Oxford.
Confused? Yes, well so was I.
In the end I cheated a little. For the last 50, I waited before I logged them on the site, allowing myself a few spares in case of DNFs (Did Not Find). It was easier to make Geolympix my 10,000th and work backwards, with any left overs logged on the Monday.
Last week saw a flurry of activity to get things lined up as best as I could. Add to this an unhealthy dose of Geocaching politics which meant that an event got cancelled at the last minute. In the end I just told my friends to not worry about my find count and I would fix it in the logging. Given all the pettiness that went on last week, I still think it was the right choice.
We stopped off in Shropshire on the way up, going for an unfound cache (because the thought of getting a First To Find over 100 miles from home amused us) but alas it was not there. From there it was on to Ashbourne, on the edge of the Peak District and a campsite full of geocachers dressed as pirates. According to the people getting cachers to sign the event log, there were over 600 cachers there.

We went straight out on the new ring that had been set. I did a walk the previous Monday and whilst it was only 6 miles, with my twisted spine I really, really suffered. In the end I let Heff and Westie go off on their own. This worked for me. Normally I am a very consistent pace, but since the back injury, the slightest incline sets it off. So it was nice to be able to take 5 minutes to get up a hill and not worry about people waiting for me at the top.
The route was quite busy, most dressed as pirates, although I don’t think flip flops is the best footwear for a route that saw shin deep mud in places. Most had started early and were coming from the other direction so soon the crowds dried up and I was on my own. Met up with the others in my team towards the end and although my back was killing me, I felt happy with the 6-8 miles I’d done.
Back at the campsite, everyone had gathered together to BBQ their dinner, and this was nice. However the organisers were throwing doubloons for the kids to gather up and were doing this far too close to the BBQs. We tried to say but we were just ignored. Which is a shame as a little girl, desperate to grab a recent thrown doubloon, leaned right over the 1 foot flame coming out of our BBQ and would have seriously burned herself if someone hadn’t unceremoniously yanked her out the way at the last second. With many of the kids wearing flammable synthetic fabrics in the form of fancy dress outfits, this was just a disaster waiting to happen. Thankfully it never occurred.
If I’m honest, this ruined the event for me. There were too many near misses that I wasn’t able to relax.
We were leaving at 4am so didn’t camp and I ended up speaking to a couple who’d gone for a nighttime First To Find at 2am. Tired, and joined by Josss, Metal Bijou and Hippy we headed to Banbury for the next stop and the start of our 11-11 challenge.

There was a fantastic turnout for this, over 200 cachers packed into Banbury cross to claim the webcam cache and flashmob event. I was delighted to see my father and brother had decided to come and take part. My father had constructed a special trackable for me for the weekend in the form of a replica Olympic torch and it was nice for him to see so many people logging and commenting on it.
At 8am the web cam picture was taken and we were off, a four car convoy dashing over Oxfordshire to try and get a few more icons before heading into Oxford for 10am and the Geolympix event itself.

This was vastly different to Piratemania. It was held in Oxford Town Hall with talks and stands. Loads of people wanted photos of me with the torch and were very congratulatory when I told them that the event was my 10,000th cache. Apparently over 950 people came to Geolympix and it’s fantastic to think that the UK caching community has grown so that it can support two mega events in the same weekend.

It was hot outside, and the walk around town to get the newly released Wherigo cache gave us a First to Find.
We did a few extra caches and got dinner before heading to the outskirts of the city and the final icon of the day, the evening CITO event, where 200+ cachers turned a stretch of footpath into an area devoid of any rubbish. Those of us at the back had a hard time finding anything to pick up. Some good work done and a fantastic way to finish off a great weekend.