As many regulars will know, outside of writing one of my big passions is Geocaching – hunting the countryside for Tupperware contianiners.  What started out as an added incentive to go out for a walk has grown into a near-obsession, with over 9000 finds since I started ‘caching’ back in May 2008.
Some caches are placed in an interesting location or are uniquely camouflaged to add a challenge but some are part of series, where the hide isn’t the challenge so much as the walk.
There is huge reverence placed on finding 100 caches in a day.  It’s not an easy task mentally nor, given the rule that no two caches can be less than 0.1 mile apart, physically.  Being in the “hundred club” is a badge of honour that denotes you as a hardcore cacher.
And so it was no surprise that a large group from many miles away gathered in Essex on a mild but cloudy Wednesday morning to attempt a new series along the River Chelmer between Maldon and Chelmsford.

Many of the country’s top cachers were there and for most of us, it was not the first time we’d done a hundred caches in a day.  But after an injured foot stopped me caching for two months this year, I was keen to get some numbers under my belt.

It was a lovely walk, made better for the company as we laughed, joked and chatted as we made our way along what ended up a 17 mile walk.  The recent wet weather and groups that went ahead of us resulted in a churned up towpath that was muddy and slippery underfoot, and whilst a few of us took a gentle tumble during the day, I (surprisingly) managed to avoid accident.  Just as well as my lower back wasn’t feeling too good and was in agony by the end.

17 miles should be a comfortable but slightly tiring walk for me, but the combination of mud, bad back and lack of exercise over the past few months made this one a bit of a challenge.  I wasn’t the only one to suffer but we all made it to the end by late afternoon, 113 caches later where we were greeted by tea and cake.

113 isn’t my best day, nor 17 miles my furthest, but what makes the pain and suffering worth it (especially yesterday where stairs were my enemy and I couldn’t describe certain chaffed areas of my body without making it sound like torture porn) was the company.  People I know and have regularly cached with, people I’ve never met before, all ages, shapes and sizes, our group of 11 was just about the right size.

I’m still suffering with my back a bit today but think I’m walking a little easier now.  Which is just as well as my next big caching trip is on Christmas morning and I need to be ready for that.