Wednesday 27 February 2013

Bedgebury Forest

The first problem was the car park. The car park is huge, which is nice (although at this time of year, it's not much used. You're supposed to pay £8.50 for the day, which sounds to me like quite a lot for parking, but if you think about it, that's probably their sole source of income, and out of that they have to maintain the tracks (which were mostly excellent), and all the other maintenance that they have to do.

So I went to the payment point to fork out. The first problem was, it wouldn't take credit cards (a notice apologised for that), and the second problem was that they couldn't take notes. I don't have £8.50 in coins, so I went to the office.

At the office, they couldn't take credit cards either, some temporary problem. So the lady said "And if you don't have cash, I'll give you a free ticket." "I do have cash," I said.

I'm probably the only person in the last five years who said that. Everyone else would have just accepted the freebie, but, as I said, I reckon that the use of this huge and well-maintained forest for £8.50 is a good deal.

So she said again "And if you don't have cash, I'll give you a free ticket." At last, I got the message, and accepted a free ticket, for which I traded my car registration number (she already had it, I guess I've been APRed).

By the time I got out, my GPS had lost touch with my PDA, so I had to reboot both and get things going again. And then things went well.

There's maybe 80 caches there, but it isn't one route. They're scattered all over the forest. That's fine, it means I have an extra challenge of working out a good route. And that isn't easy; I want to avoid doing more hill climbing that I need to, I want to stay on good tracks and avoid mud-and-rut lanes, and I want to make the total distance as low as possible; the priorities are those three in that order. I think I did pretty well. I managed 45 finds today, and no DNFs. Most of the caches were easy, but there were a couple that took a little while, and a couple of more interesting ones. For one, I had to "go fish" with a magnet on a string to get the coords of the final.

I didn't avoid the mud altogether. I brought home a fair sample.