Hello from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic
Today was the Big Mega Day at the UK Mega. We arrived at the Newby Hall campsite just before 10 and the car park for the non-campers was already vastly bigger than all the other days and evenings and it got even bigger later in the day. Despite the huge crowd camping and caravanning at the site and the older ones like us who have been in more comfortable Airbnb and even hotels, there are also heaps of people who are only attending for the one day.
We logged in on the sheep log and went to have a look at all the stalls around the marquee. We are really impressed with the Committee and the MegaMakers who have transformed the marquee from a birthday party area to a sales and event room with all the lab caches too. We picked up our Supporters Pack which was an Ammo tin containing eleven different sizes of cache containers including a piece of fake grass container and a fake stick container, a stick of Mega rock, a wooden coin, and a paracord bracelet to make up. Our first reaction was to laugh and then the next was “how are we going to get that home to New Zealand”. Initially, we thought we might give it away but then we thought it would be cool to keep as it will make a great travel bug hotel. We are actually going to ship a few boxes of books home so maybe we can pack the ammo can in one of those boxes. I can just see us trying to get through customs with an ammo can, that would definitely provoke a reaction! Either that or we will put a church micro at Ulcombe Church and see if GCHarribo will look after it for us.
One of the fundraising activities for the Sussex Mega in 2020 was a map with pins on it. We pulled out a pin each and won a prize. I pulled out Pickering and won a small vial container covered in wool – a sheep container and Mike won a lolly. The ladies on the Sussex stall were the same ladies who we met and chatted to on Ilkley Moor two days ago. I would love to go to the Sussex Mega as Sussex is important to us after spending so much time there. They have not released the place where it will be held yet and 2020 is a long way away, at the moment it does not seem likely that we will still be here. One of the other stalls was the Aberdeen UK Mega 2019 group. Again I would love to go but it is a seriously long drive, something like 9 hours so definitely more than that when you consider hold-ups from traffic on motorways. Maybe we can plan to be in Scotland next summer housesitting, we will have to see what happens nearer the time. Or maybe we will slowly work our way up the country over several weeks collecting church micros as we go.
We also purchased the rest of the set of Yorkshire Mega geocoins. Some we had preordered and picked up last night and today we got the rest. They make a great set with Steam over Ribblehead, Whitby, Newby Hall and Gardens, Cow and Calf-Ilkley Moor, Staithes and Malham Cove. There was also a stall from GAGB which is the association which governs geocaching in Great Britain. They have a website with regular updates, put out a two-monthly magazine named “Seeker”, write articles about caches and cachers as well as writing guidelines for geocaching and agreements with landowners etc and many other things.
SimplyPaul had a stall adverting the GeoOlympix in Aldridge Forest in October so I was able to ask him about the GeoOlympix as we would quite like to attend. There were also other stalls of people selling geocaching equipment like containers, geocoins and travel bugs, and other related things. Garmin had a stall where they sell GPS and answer questions about them. I talked to him about my GPS which has been very glitchy ever since we purchased it over a year ago and he is going to email me with the instructions for a factory reset which should help. There was even a stall selling a sort of treasure hunt game for various areas around Yorkshire where you follow instructions and answer questions and solve puzzles and finally find a location. I am not sure this was the right place to be selling such a thing as that is what geocachers already do.
At 11 am fourteen of the sixteen UK geocaching reviewers and a guy from Geocaching HQ in Seattle went up onto the stage to answer questions about geocaching and reviewing. We have met several of the reviewers. Each one review geocaches being put in in a particular area of the UK and it is not the area where they actually live so it is not their place to actually visit cache sites. There are two reviewers who specialise in all the earthcaches.
United Kingdom Reviewers
Antheia (Channel Islands and East Midlands), Church Warden (Eastern England), dalesmanX (Yorkshire), Geohatter (West Midlands), GizmoKyla (South Wales and South West England), Hanoosh (South West England), La Lunatica (East Midlands), Long Man (South East England), Lorgadh (Scotland), Professor Xavier (Southern England), Red Duster (Wiki and landowner database maintenance), Royal Oak (North West England), Southerntrekker (London, North Wales and Isle of Man), Workyticket (North East England).
Then we saw some queues forming in the marquee and realised that the lab caches had been released so we started to do them. There were ten to do and they were all around the site, not just in the marquee. One was finding all the committee members and getting a number or letter from each of their badges, lock picking which Mike did super fast, shining a UV light under a table to reveal a code, subliminal code in some photographs, balls with letters on, putting a line around magnetic pins to produce a word and many others. We were able to find them without too many problems. Everyone enjoys the lab caches as they train different skills to those traditionally used in geocaching.
After we had seen and done everything we decided to go out to find a nearby church micro which was a shortish walk from the campsite and also pick up some of the caches on a circular route at the same time. We did the route backwards but did not realise when we set off how far it was. When we started flagging from all the walking we were too far away to return so had to continue on. When we finally got back we had done 11.69 km in 2 hours and 41 mins using 17446 steps according to the app on my cell phone. We were extremely tired but on a high note, we had done 34 caches. They were all easy to find and we had met lots of other geocachers on the way as most people did it in order from 1 – 32 while we went backwards. The trail was all based on dog breed names which were very clever. Many people took their dogs and their children on the route with them and it amazes me that both are capable of walking so far and with such enthusiasm. It was a stinking hot day and because Mike had been carrying so much weight earlier in the day we had taken the water out of the backpack. We are seriously mad sometimes!!
When we got back to the marquee around 5 we sat down, after having a long drink and literally did not move for two hours. Sam539 and Zoe94 who are both MegaMakers came over to talk to us for ages as they too are very tired. They are both in their 20s but they have been working on this Mega for the last 2 years with increasing responsibility in the last couple of months. They like all the other Committee and MegaMakers have worked tirelessly this week to make this an excellent event. There is so much to organise that most people would not even consider and it is a real credit to their hard work. We met Sam and Zoe at the UK Mega in Wales two years ago and also at the Kent Mega too, I think. They are planning on getting married in the not too distant future and would like to visit New Zealand so we offered them somewhere to stay when they come. I think we could be very busy when we finally go home with friends visiting from this country. It will be great!
At 7 pm was an evening event with “Mr Jones the Band”, a 4 piece cover band which plays music from all era’s. They cover Modern, Motown, Punk, Rock and Pop. However I am afraid after a couple of songs Mike and I dragged ourselves back to the Airbnb as we were just too tired to do any more for today.
A very happy day with lots of socialising, lots of fun, lots of walking and caches.