Dan Q found GC98N6Q Tar Lakes/South Leigh Loop #14 Final Destination

This checkin to GC98N6Q Tar Lakes/South Leigh Loop #14 Final Destination reflects a geocaching.com log entry. See more of Dan's cache logs.

After all the amazing containers and hiding places I’ve seen on this excellent series, this final destination almost felt… mundane, by comparison. Not that that’s a problem, and I was still happy to reach the end, be treated to a great view of the last of the sun disappearing over the horizon, and find a good sized logbook complete with the notes and praises (for the series!) of cachers who’d come before me.

An altogether delightful series that I’ve been really glad to have explored. I’m looking forward to coming back and searching for #9 again sometime soon! TFTCaches!

Dan Q found GC98N69 Tar Lakes/South Leigh Loop #13 Black Hawk Down

This checkin to GC98N69 Tar Lakes/South Leigh Loop #13 Black Hawk Down reflects a geocaching.com log entry. See more of Dan's cache logs.

Lots of deer in the fields tonight! The sun was beginning to set as I approached this, my penultimate cache for the day, so my bike lights went on again and now stayed on. I felt sure I knew what I’d be looking for, but I was nevertheless delighted by the imaginative cache container.

Leaving this GZ, I made a few wrong turns before eventually working out which path I needed to follow to the finale: for some reason, the correct path doesn’t appear on my (OSM-derived). I’ve kept a tracklog, though, so I’ll try to get the map updated!

Dan Q found GC98N5T Tar Lakes/South Leigh Loop #12 Clockwork Orange

This checkin to GC98N5T Tar Lakes/South Leigh Loop #12 Clockwork Orange reflects a geocaching.com log entry. See more of Dan's cache logs.

As I worked my way to this, the third cache in my tour for today, I realised that my local sparrowhawk – who lives up a tree behind my house in Sutton – seemed to be following me. I’d seen him atop a couple of telegraph poles earlier on and I’d heard him screech a few times, and when I looked up I saw that he was still above me. Perhaps he’d decided to come on this expedition too?

One of the things that I love most about this series is the diversity of quirky and unusual cache containers, of which this was no exception. I was also pleased to find a fresh, clean log sheet, and added my name as the first on the list. TFTC, and FP for the surprise!

Dan Q found GC98N5E Tar Lakes/South Leigh Loop #11 One Tree Hill

This checkin to GC98N5E Tar Lakes/South Leigh Loop #11 One Tree Hill reflects a geocaching.com log entry. See more of Dan's cache logs.

Deer were prancing around the fields as I came through, and I realised that the hiding place for this cache must be near a place I’d thought about once as a possible hiding place myself, when I first moved to the area and took a walk this way (before I’d looked at the local caches!). While retrieving the cache a dog walker came the other way and, seeing a cyclist on a not-entirely-cycle-friendly path, probing around looking for something, asked about my activity. He’d never heard of geocaching, but he’d heard of hide-and-seek and he’d heard of orienteering, and seemed happy enough to accept that it was some combination of these two.

Dog walker in a recently turned-over field.

Dog walker in a recently turned-over field.×

Dan Q found GC98N4Z Tar Lakes/South Leigh Loop #10 Up

This checkin to GC98N4Z Tar Lakes/South Leigh Loop #10 Up reflects a geocaching.com log entry. See more of Dan's cache logs.

Came out for a cycle tour today to complete the loop: I covered the first half – with the exception of a DNF at #9 – last month, and I was itching to get out and complete the second half. (Having gotten home after this second expedition I see that #9 has been repaired/improved, so I’ll fly by and give that another go sometime soon!)

I was glad to have brought my bike lights: even though it’s a while until sunset it was helpful to find my way in the wooded area that surrounds this cache. Great hiding place for this one: the only cache I’ve come across of a remotely similar design was my own GC7R0HB (which sadly got muggled one too many times and had to be archived a few years ago).

Dan cycling towards South Leigh.

Dan cycling towards South Leigh.×

London civil servant’s bus odyssey sparks Twitter storm

This article is a repost promoting content originally published elsewhere. See more things Dan's reposted.

When Jo Kibble, a 39-year-old civil servant from Greenwich, set out to travel as far as he could from London in one day only using public bus routes it was supposed to be a personal project. But he ended up sparking a Twitter storm, causing a debate about how to build a fairer country along the way.

“I like travelling by public transport and by bus; I think it’s a great way to see the country,” Mr Kibble explains.


Mr Kibble figured the furthest he could get in one day would be Morecambe in Lancashire – some 260 miles from Charing Cross, the geographical centre of London.

I’m sure that many of you, like me, really enjoyed The Political Travelling Animal‘s Twitter adventure up the country, last week. If you missed it (and you should really go read it if you did): Jo decided to see how far he could get from London within 24 hours via local bus routes only, and live-tweeted the entire experience for the world to enjoy too. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I particularly enjoyed that fact that he gave a nod to Preston’s unusual and iconic bus station.

Reading it, though, I found myself reminded of a time, long ago, that I planned (although never took) a similar journey. In 1999 I moved away from my family in Preston to Aberystwyth to go to university.

Before he became a bus my father was a bus industry professional and at a rest stop during the journey to Aberystwyth as he dropped me off, he and I perused the (paper) timetables to explore a hypothesis that the pair of us had come up with.

Our question: Is it possible to travel from Aberystwyth to Preston, in a single day, using local bus routes only?

After much consideration, we determined that yes, it was possible, but better than that: it was possible to do so (at the time) entirely on Arriva buses. This presented an unexploited opportunity: for the price of an “all day” Arriva ticket (£2.20, IIRC), an enterprising and poor student could, in a pinch, find their way back from Aberystwyth to Preston over the course of about 16 hours for only a fraction more than the price of a pint of beer.

This was utterly academic: in the years that followed, I would almost invariably leave Aberystwyth by train. Sometimes I’d do this to go to London: a route for which, I discovered, I could catch the 6am train, hide aboard it as it was vacated at its Birmingham New Street terminus and take a nap, safe in the knowledge that the same rolling stock would subsequently become a train to London Euston! Other times I’d return to Preston; a journey for which not even floods could stop me.

But regardless, for my first full term at university I kept on the corner of the desk in my study room the sum of £2.20, as an “insurance policy”. No matter what happened in this new phase of my life, that small pile of coins could, at a stretch, get me back “home”.

By Christmas 1999 I’d re-purposed the coins to do my laundry (the washing machines in the halls’ laundrette took pound coins and the dryers 20p pieces, so this was a far more-valuable use of spare change in those denominations). By this point I’d settled in and had become confident that Aberystwyth was likely to be my home almost year-around, and indeed I’d go on to live there another decade before saying goodbye for Oxfordshire.

But we answered the question, at least in theory: a hypothetical but symbolic question about the versatility and utility of an interconnected network of local bus routes. And that’s just great.