August 6 – Our Last Day in North Yorkshire at the UK Mega

Some church micros and long, hot drive home to St Albans

Hi from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic

Today was the last day of our 10 days in North Yorkshire and we are leaving the UK Geocaching Mega. What a week we have had! So much fun, walking, socialising and geocaching. Oh! and did I mention walking – our poor feet!

This morning we packed up from our Airbnb in Littlethorpe and headed off to Bishop Monkton which is only a few kilometres away but to the south and in a direction we haven’t been before. There was one more event at the campsite at Newby Park called “Bun, Brew And Beggar Off!” but we didn’t go as it was mostly for people who have been camping a the Mega site and did not start until 11 am and we were well on our way by then.

We thank all the organisers on the committee and to all the MegaMakers who have been amazing helpers. It has been a huge job for over two years to organise the Mega and there was so much to organise but they did a magnificent job so that geocachers from all over the world could come to enjoy themselves. We met people from Malta, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, France, Czech Republic, Australia and another couple from New Zealand. As well as putting faces to people from England who we have only ever known from names in log books before. It is always nice to put faces to names. Some people we have met before at the UK Mega in Llangollen, North Wales two years ago and some from the Kent Mega last year. Others we have met at one of the two Piratemania Megas that we have been to and some we have even met at events like “Sterling-cache”, “Higster”, “Vimmes” and “Velosaurus” from Eastbourne or at geocaches like “ReggieCat” who we met at a church in East Sussex two years ago. One of the really cool things that were organised for this Mega was giving out of wooden coins at each event held throughout the week and we have quite a collection of them. We even got a few spares for “GCHarribo” in Hastings who was unable to come to the Mega.

At St John the Baptist church in Bishop Monkton, we made a false start as I got the wrong numbers the first time, I blame tiredness from “over caching”. LOL. Is that a thing? Nah!! Finally got the right coordinates and still, we had trouble finding the cache. Just as we were thinking of giving up I found it with the logged hint of ‘sneaky’ which really helped. I can’t believe it took us so long, definitely off our stride. I hope the rest of the day goes better.

Things improved at St Mary’s church in Roecliffe and we soon found the cache after grabbing another cache close to the church. There was a lovely flower box at the village sign which was full of begonias in reds, yellows, pinks and white. Next, we went to St James church at Boroughbridge where we had been yesterday but my GPS didn’t show a cache here then. Just as well I updated the pocket query last night so all the caches are up to date.

Next, we headed for St Columba’s church in Topcliffe where I had seen a 366 challenge and found that we qualified by having found a cache for every day of the year, not necessarily in the same year. I love challenges and have quite a list of ones which we qualify for so we just need to get to the right area to find the caches. The church at Topcliffe was a lovely one with some impressive stained glass windows. There are three made by Lavers, Barraud and Westlake and one of these were designed by Burns Jones which depicts the “Annunciation”. The use of colour in these windows is beautiful. There was also a C.E. Kempe window which is the first we have seen for a while. I prefer the more brightly coloured ones. We met a really nice couple here who have an art gallery in Topcliffe who told us all about the church. The church also had a lovely reredos and pipe organ. There was also a wall memorial to Sir Metcalfe Robinson who died in 1688 and a flemish palimpsest brass to Thomas de Topclyff who died in 1365 and his wife Mabel in 1391.

St John the Evangelist church at Dalton closed but we collected all the numbers and walked the short distance to the final. Although there was a public footpath sign there was also a padlocked gate and an electric fence. Mike had to climb over the gate as others had done to retrieve the cache. This is a lovely village as all through it were crocheted and knitted decorations in bright colours decorating fences, gates, hedges and signs. There was even a crocheted cover on a bench. It was all very colourful and cheerful. A lot of work by some keen people especially the knitted bride and groom on the church gate also the Christmas chain decorations. There were also some pompom decorations too.

St Cuthbert’s church at Sessay was also closed but we quickly collected the numbers and walked the short distance to find the clever cache hidden in the rubber top of a road sign pole. In 875 AD the monastery at Lindisfarne was threatened by Danish invasion. The monks feared that the body of St.Cuthbert, the Bishop there between 685-7, might be desecrated by the pagans and so they decided to flee taking the body with them. For eight years they wandered and everywhere they stopped in their flight they erected a church named St.Cuthbert. Thus they can trace the origins of Sessay church to the period between 873-875 close to its present site. We also saw the “Kilburn white horse” on the hills around here.

St Mary’s church at Birdforth is a conservation church and is no longer used for regular services. We found the cache in a brick wall about seven feet up but a rock had been strategically placed on the ground in front to enable geocachers to reach it. St Mary Magdalene church in Thormanby was also closed but the cache was quickly found and we were on to our last find of the day at Shipton. The Church of the Holy Evangelist in Shipton was built in 1849 by the Dawnay family and is a Grade II listed building.

We stopped at a Macdonalds for a BigMac, chips and milkshake for lunch before setting off on the long journey home to St Albans on the A19 and then the A1 M. It took us nearly four hours and we stopped a couple of times at services for a break and a drink as it was a scorching hot day. Without air conditioning in the car, we had to drive with the windows down for ventilation. It was a very noisy, windy trip but better than cooking. We arrived home just after 5 so missed the worse of the traffic. We were completely exhausted after a busy, tiring but fun 10 days so after tea we unpacked, put on a few loads of washing and then we had an early night.

It has not rained in St Albans for the entire time we were away. The garden looked pretty good considering but the plants in the flower boxes will need replacing. Mike gave the garden a good watering as there still do not appear to be any hosing restrictions. The peace plant in the bathroom is flowering beautifully so I must take a photograph and sent it to Susan and Peter.

We have done 165 caches while we were in North Yorkshire but only 26 were church micros so it was a different mix of caches than we usually do. Our total now is 6371 geocaches and 842 church micros.