Off to Warwickshire on Saturday morning, to visit a friend, drop off an unwanted turbo-trainer, and, of course, go caching. First target for the day was the Gaydon wherigo – originally published for the 2013 mega, but I didn’t have the hardware to play wherigos back then. Easy wander round Gaydon, easy find at the final … and no pen. Because neither of us had remembered to bring one, which is fairly stupid for cachers of our experience.

Then off for a wander round various Warwickshire traditionals, and the odd few DNFs, and one major backtrack because we were too busy gassing to realise we were on the wrong footpath. As you do. Back to caching partner’s for dinner afterwards – her husband doesn’t cache, but he more than makes up for it by making rather good lasagne.

I took a short detour on the way back to the motorway to sign the log for the wherigo by headtorch. Just for completeness. ::o)

And so we come to Sunday, and a West Midlands posse gathering for an assault on the “Lazy Little Paddle” series. Things got off to an entertaining start, in that one member of the team did the fall-between-boat-and-bank thing, and hence ended up scrambling out of the canal while I retrieved his boat from the middle, but that was the only dramatic moment and for the rest of the series we enjoyed what was, indeed, a lazy little paddle. The sun shone, we had a bit of a boat race (which just proved that some boat designs are faster than others, even when paddled by the unfit and talentless), and generally had a nice time.

swans on canal

Some swans a-swimming…

One interesting point is that the “boat required” ones (there were a couple in the series for which a boat wasn’t necessary) were all T4.5.

I don’t, personally, have a problem with this. My next DT grid benefits rather more from some extra T4.5s than T5s, and it’s obvious from the listing that a boat is required. As “boat required” caches go, these are about as benign as it gets – most of the canal’s shallow enough to stand up in, you can swim across it in a few strokes, there’s hardly any current to speak of and the principal danger, imho, is not drowning but catching a dose of something nasty off the water. If you find yourself getting tired there’s no problem with stopping to rest and if it really does go pear-shaped you can just walk back along the towpath. Dave made a fairly common new boater cock-up and all that happened was that he got wet.

This doesn’t apply to all “boat required” caches. Take, for example, the recent “Pirates on the Trent” event. Deep cold river, significant current, wide enough for swimming across to be non-trivial and for the wind to make things difficult when paddling into it on the return leg. So, more strenuous, at least some boat-handling skill needed, and more to think about in terms of risk management.

In other words, not all boat caches are equal.

Over the years, there’s been a bit of a convention established whereby “If it needs a boat, ropes or scuba kit, it should be T5”. My suspicion is that someone will start complaining that the LLP series “requires a boat, so it should be T5”. Trouble is, the convention’s a bit of a blunt instrument.

The day finished with a meet-and-greet event at the nearby services (which also meant a chance to dry off), and then a wander round a nearby series with a very nice lady, rather new to caching, whom I met at the event. All in all, a very enjoyable day out.

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