It’s geeky, but I have to admit, I have really gotten into Geocaching. What started out as something I did one day with friends to entertain the kids and wear them out has now escalated to something that I love doing. Fortunately Marina enjoys it too, so I have someone else that is as geeky as me.
I’ve done most of the ones in and around Chelmsford town centre, and have now given some thought to making my own. Yesterday I took a stroll around and noted down some landmarks, with a view to making a “puzzle” cache where several clues at different locations need to be solved before the final cache can be found. Ideally this ties in with seeing the local sights as you go around, and although Chelmsford is a very big place, it doesn’t seem to be too vocal in it’s historical pride.
In fact, I could only spot two official blue plaques around, which commemorated the former sites of the Essex Chronicle paper and the Black Boy Inn, which was a “notorious” pub mentioned in the Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens.
Looking on the Chelmsford government website, I can see that there are 14 blue plaques in the town, of which about 6 are in the town centre, and a further 4 are in walking distance.
My idea around doing this cache is that it gives something for people to look at – I did a similar one in Ely, and the clues took me to places of interest, and gave detail of the history of Ely, and that is something I would want to capture for Chelmsford.
But what would I direct people to in Chelmsford that is a) in the town centre and b) of interest to others. Well, we are twinned with two other towns (I don’t know how you can be twinned when there are more than two of you, but that’s not down to me) – Backnang and Annonay. Although I’ve never heard of either town, we have a section of the town (a bridge across the river and a small square) that are dedicated to the friendship between the towns. Then, moving down towards the High Street, we have the Stone Bridge which has been in place, in one form or another, for 800 years.
Heading towards the other end of the High Street, you go past the first of the two shopping centres, The Meadows, past the two blue plaques mentioned above, and then past the second shopping centre before hitting Shire Hall, which has historical value although for the life of me I don’t know what it could be.
Turning left, there is the cathedral, remarkable for the fact that it resembles a church rather than a cathedral, and also for the sheer lack of information about it on signs outside the cathedral.
The next nearest landmark is then probably the train station, which is a ten minute walk away, but would at least take you past the Judge Tindal statue, which sits prominently on the edge of the High Street.
Once at the train station, it’s a two minute walk past the new bus station to see the Marconi statue.
As tours go, it isn’t the best in the world, but there is enough information at most places to be able to put together some clues, and then I could perhaps put the final cache in Central Park, which is the main park in Chelmsford that sits near the town and has pleasant views of the river.
That’s the idea, at least. It’s a lot to plan with the only reward being satisfaction, which I can get elsewhere for a lot less hassle! That said, it’s something that is challenging enough for me to be wanting to get on with. Maybe I will.