S²E², 91 caches + others, 13.5 Miles, Cambridgeshire

First in series: GC42VTE Walked on 30/03/2013


Day 2 of my Easter caching expedition began with a nice cooked full English breakfast!  I stayed in a B&B in Woolley, right on the door step of the Woolley Mammoth series, but I was saving that one for day 3!  Today I decided to walk the S²E² series as it was the longer of the two.  Both series have been placed by MarcusMaximi, and they cross over each other at various points, however, I decided that I would walk them separately.  S²E² refers to the four villages taken in by the walk, Spaldwick, Stow Longa, Ellington and Easton, I started the trail from Spaldwick.

It was a very cold start to the day but as we arrived at the village the sun was shinning on the old village sign. It was quiet in the village, not yet much sign of life. We parked in a side road and walked a few hundred yards to begin the walk just before 9am.The Trail left Spaldwick heading westwards along the Three Shires Way, first stop Stow Longa.  The track was in surprisingly good condition and not at all muddy. I sped along this section picking the caches up every 3 or 4 minutes but at no.9 things slowed up a bit as I had difficulty finding the right spot, perseverance paid off after a long search.

At no.10 we turned direction and headed up Bunkers Hill. With the change of direction and the hill climb came the wind and the cold but also some great views. Looking back, I could just about see the church spire back at Spaldwick. The trail continued over the hill and down the other side and at 10:12am we reached Stow Wonga, the first village having found 16 caches and a Church Micro.

Amazing Village Sign at Stow Wonga

After a brief rest at Stow Wonga, we continued on our way, the next village on the tour is Ellington but we would not get there for another 5 hours!  So for now we headed South Eastwards towards Grafham Water.  We got up a good pace to start with, walking along some decent flat paths around the fields, there was still a little snow in the ditches. Several of the public footpaths had been re-routed and were not showing on my OS map so we just trusted the CO and followed the paths from one cache to another.

Flat paths made for quick walking

At about 11:15am it became windy, cold and it began to snow, it was quite bleak at this point. We pushed on between the snow flurries.  After a brief walk along a road, the next section took us along some muddy footpaths and byways, they were very slippery and our pace slowed considerably at this point.  Along this section we met some other mad cachers out in the cold, walking the series in the reverse direction.  We were now walking parallel to the Woolley Mammoth series for a while. We reached Number 45 at 12:30pm which marked the rough halfway point, I checked the GPS dashboard and it looked like we making good time.

A huge puddle and the only way was through it!

We continued the trail passing through a caravan site and the sun was shinning but then suddenly it went overcast, the wind whipped up and back came the snow and I quickly became very cold again.  We pushed on for another half an hour to reach Brampton Wood where we could take cover from the wind for a while. As the weather conditions were not great at this point of the day, I paused for a few minutes to have lunch.

I could have been looking forward to some nice cheese and pickle on homemade bread except Pip had decided that they were for her breakfast and had nabbed them before I had even left the B&B so I had to make do with a southern fried chicken wrap from the Spaldwick services!! Thanks Pip.  After lunch we took the alternative path through the woods whilst bridge repairs were being undertaken, when we left the woods, the sun was out again.

After lunch we left Brampton Wood into the sunshine

The next village of Ellington was now in sight, I could see the village church in the distance and the sun was shinning down on it.  There were some good views from our slightly raised position on the hill. From no. 65, at the top of Madders Hill, we had to walk across a muddy field, it was hard going but at least it was down hill. However, the next field was just as bad but it was much further to cross. By the time we got to the other side our boots and paws were a maximum clogginess! Fortunately a flooded path soon followed which helped to clean the boots. We eventually reached Ellington at 03:15pm.

Ellington Church

2 villages reached, 2 more to go! We left Ellington heading West towards Easton, the church spire remained in view for a long time.  It was nice a sunny for a while along this stretch and the paths were once again in good condition so we picked up the pace again.  It took about another hour to reach Easton, which had some very nice properties.  Spaldwick was now not far away and apart from the very last field the going was quite easy. We eventually arrived back at Spaldwick and found the last cache of the day, a church micro at 4:51pm.  As we headed back to the car, I turned to see the sun shinning down on the church and nice end to an exhausting day of geocaching but a fantastic one.

The sun shines on St. James


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