Mega Sweden FAD 2018

8 11 2018

A week after WINTER GEOLYMPIX: ASHRIDGE 2018 it was time to attend another mega event. This time the journey was somewhat shorter as the event in question was Mega Sweden FAD 2018 just a 2½ hour drive north to Sundsvall. Last year’s FAD was in Uppsala and I went there with Madchicken and Ironhawk67. This year Madchicken had other engagements so it was just Ironhawk67 and I who made the trip. Of course, many other geocachers from Gävle found their way up to Sundsvall but all seemed to make a weekend of it and had driven up on the Friday. We just made it a day trip.

We made a short break on the way up to log Amors låda and Gubben i lådan, both with a high number of well deserved favourite points. I won’t spoil them by posting photos.

Our first stop in Sundsvall was the Mega itself where we registered and collected little goodies bag then wandered around. We found the fantastic dragon ”log book” which we duly signed.

FAD log(book) dragon

My nick on the log(book)

There were a couple of vendors of geocaching paraphernalia but to my disappointment the prices were much higher than at Geolympix so nothing was bought. I hadn’t bought anything at Geolympix apart from a few AAND’s as I didn’t think that there would be any difference in price but some items I saw were 10 times more expensive in Sundsvall and most twice the price.

Presentations at FAD

Mingle at FAD

We then drove into he centre of Sundsvall to do the daytime lab caches. On our way down we stopped for a very sneaky cache GC Sundsvalls Julkalender 2012 #6 St Nicholaus. A handful of people were there when we arrived but it still took quite some time before there was that ”aha” moment. I can see why the cache has so many favourite points.

The lab caches formed a multi of sorts with ten different places to visit. Each stop had a hint to the next so doing them in the right order helped even if it was not 100% necessary. Before setting off we stopped by the local kebab place for lunch. We needed energy for the walk around town.

FAD daytime lab caches

One of the lab caches was at the top of the stairs in Hotel Knaust

Once the lab caches were all found we ticked off a few trads and a virtual before getting to Panic Room, another highly favourited cache. The container was very special and I must admit to not having seen one like previously. We rounded the afternnon off with a Wherigo Sundsvalls stadspromenad. I couldn’t get the Wherigo loaded onto my iPhone but Ironhawk67 had no difficulties getting it on to his Android phone. In this case the problem was more probably the operator and not the phone.

We headed back to the FAD site to load the evening caches (GPS and smartphone) but stopped on the way up to find a couple of simple trads and a nite multi Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. This was a (very) short firetack trail that took us to a box with the final coords.

I normally use the standard geocaching app on my iPhone (usually as a complement to my Garmin GPS) but that doesn’t have the ability to load GPX files. I can see that I will have to invest 50 SEK for Cachly or 65 SEK for Looking4cache pro to get that functionailty. I also need to update the OpenStreet Map on my GPS to the latest version as the one I had didn’t show most (hardly any) of the tracks in the area around Södrastadsberget but the smartphone did of course.

After loading the night caches and warming up we set off again in the dark to find the multi FAD Sundsvall 2018 #1 – Tarzanstigen. There were other cachers out there in the dark and they had fun finding an alternative route to the cache.

Some cachers taking a short cut

We found a couple more trads before calling it a day and heading back home. I didn’t take a photo of the view over Sundsvall during daylight so I have to make do with this one in the night. Still quite a good view.

Sundsvall by night



2 11 2018

Last year I participated in my first Mega event which was Mega Sweden FAD 2017 as it ws not too far away from home. As I still had some frequent flyer miles to use I decided to visit WINTER GEOLYMPIX: ASHRIDGE 2018 as it was conveniently located less than an hours drive away from one of my brothers, and more relevantly the one that geocaches. He is half of ”zelger” and they had never participated in a mega and when I told them about my positive experience at FAD they were in.

I am not a keen myst solver and neither are they, however, we scratched our heads on the Friday evening and solved a handful of mysts. There was some lively discussion about how a myst can be listed as a letterbox/hybrid cache and even if we agreed it was stupid to give them that classification just because the CO stuck a stamp in the cache container of what is clearly a myst. It should be classed as a myst. Yes, I have read the geocaching guidelines, but I don’t need to like them. Rant over.

We started our journey mid morning and as always in England there is heavy traffic on most roads. When we got to Berkhamsted a closed road got us stuck in long queues. We finally made it and found a good spot to park on the road that passed by the night cache hub near Ringshall. Our reasoning was that there was probably going to be less traffic leaving from there than the main road in to the event site.

Even though there is no ”Allemansrätt” (free right of way) in England the woods were open for all to use and even though there are many paths we needed to leave them from time to time. As we meandered towards the event location we logged a few of the handful of mysts/letterbox hybrids we had solved including Hotter/Colder – WG2018: “Ice Cold in Ashridge!“and some of the Big G mysts such as Big G: Hanjie

Ashridge is a National Trust site where the Bridgewater Monument can be found. The main estate is popular for walking free in a forest which is not so easily done in England.

Bridgewater Monument

As we approached the event location we wondered if everything had been called off. There was a small party tent with no walls for registering at the event and for TB and geocoin exchange. There was no-one looking after that so if you were interested in trackables you just had to hang around and assume that everything there was dropped. When we were there, I was able to find nine trackables. I’m sure that if I had hung around more would have turned up. There was a stall selling a wide array of geocaching goodies and JJEF demonstrating his gadget caches of which I have found quite a few on earlier visits to England. We had a good chat.

JJEF caches

Otherwise, there were just a couple more stalls and a couple of lab caches that we didn’t bother with. We could log one lab cache and that was by pure luck. As we walked towards the event we met a guy in a green sweatshirt with a word printed on the front of it. We had no idea it was Simply Paul the main organiser. We then found that a lab cache consisted of finding Simply Paul and using the word on his sweatshirt as the key to the lab cache. Easy, peasy as a famous TV chef would say.

Not hugely impressed, we headed off to find Read The Flippin’… Yada Yada: WinterGeolympix’18. We couldn’t have missed it if we tried.

A “Large” cache

Our path then took us towards Tim & Jon’s 1st Re-Stashed (UK’s 3rd oldest/Eng#2) via The Mossy Tree which was house in an ammo can, a not too common site these days.

The Mossy Tree: Join the queue to log it.

A few years ago half of zelger and I had been in the area to find Coombe Hill, which is the oldest cache in England together with a very interesting visit to Bletchley Park, so it was great to now find England’s 2nd oldest cache.

I’m used to wandering around Sweden’s evergreen forests so it was quite a change to be walking through a forest of deciduous trees. Many of them were sweet chestnuts and there were a few people out picking them up from the ground. Roast sweet chestnuts are a delicacy.

We wandered back to the cafe and joind a long queue to get a cup of tea. The coffee was terrible by all accounts. We also took the opportunity to find a letterbox/hybrid cache Rescue This & Save the World! Winter Geolympix ’18 located indoors where we probably spent more time logging the find than was needed, but it was much warmer than outdoors.

A letterbox/hybrid in a warm location

Of course, we arrived on a dry day that gradually changed for the worse. After early afternoon drizzle we were treated to rain most of the afternoon that got heavier as dusk fell. We found our favourite cache of the day TrOll FREE in the dark as the rain turned to sleet. We headed back towards the car arriving there at 18:30 where we decided that another bunch of night caches probably wasn’t our ”cup of tea” so we left and headed back to zelgers home for a meal and a beer.

Will I visit again if the Mega is repeated? I suspect not and it had nothing to do with the weather, just that the set-up mostly based on mysts was not to my liking.

FAD 2017

9 11 2017

A Mega event just an hours drive away from home is not something you can miss! Together with Madchicken and Ironhawk67 I drove down to Uppsala on Saturday morning and found a free parking spot close to Studenternas. We had only one thing on our agenda and that was to visit FAD and find the lab caches. Everything else would be a bonus. It may seem strange but this is the first Mega event that any of us had been to and in my case I have been geocaching for more than fourteen years. Not having visited a Mega event meant that I had not found any lab caches either. That gave us a feeling of great expectations!

FAD isn’t just a Mega event either. FAD means Fumble After Dark and is an event that started many years ago in the west of Sweden and has grown in popularity and status with time. It has also had different venues. As the name suggests we were to expect night caches of various types and we weren’t disappointed. We passed the event location on our way to the car park just as the doors were opening and there were just a few people standing in line to go in. By the time we had parked the car and walked back the queue had grown in length so we decided to dive right into the day’s lab caches. The starting point was just a few meters from the entrance to the hall.

Queueing for entry to FAD

There were ten lab caches that could be found here. Finding them involved watching videos then answering various questions at chosen places. A bit like a multicache but without known coordinates. As each cache was solved the key unlocked the next in the series. Three of the caches had a TB code as the answer and were loggable as TB’s

After the lab caches we returned to the event hall. checked in and spent some time wandering around, visiting the well stocked tables of geo merchandise as well finding the lab cache Cubes and grabbing a “fika”.

Lots of geogoodies were on sale

A really good organisation for handling TB’s

We decided to try the nearby Wherigo Pelle Svanslös which was great fun and took us to new places. Well actually, I had been to the same spots previously but now saw them in a different light. Much more interesting

Pelle Svanslös behind the window

As we had no agenda for the day we didn’t feel any pressure to rush around just to get find numbers. Somewhere along the route I mentioned that we had the opportunity to try to get as many different cache types as possible in the day. A quick count told us that we could find a Mega event, Trad, Multi, Myst, Earthcache, Virtual, Letterbox Hybrid on top of the Whereigo bringing us to eight different types. It was agreed that we would try for this. We had already found a Trad on our way around the Lab cache trail Uppsala Slott in addition to two of the new Virtuals, Uppsala Slott

ds8300 blocking the view of the cathedral

Uppsala cathedral where there is an earthcache

and Gustavianum – Virtual Reward

Is the globe that small?

as well as the earthcache Minerals In The Cathedral

What we now needed were a Myst, Multi and Letterbox Hybrid. As Madchicken and I were looking for Multis and Letterbox hybrids Ironhawk67 calmly announced he had just solved a nearby myst. Yes! As the final coords for Lättare än Gormare were a fair distance away we decided that as it was lunchtime that we would drive over to the cache then eat nearby before finding suitable multis and letterboxes. We found a convenient pizzeria in Flogsta. It was then I remembered that I had scouted out letterbox caches earlier on in the week and that there was an easily accessible one not too far away. As darkness started to fall we arrived at Vernisage where we duly left our artisitc creations in the logbook.

Part of the Vernisage

Once that was done we headed back to Studenternas och parked the car in more or less the same place we had picked it up an hour or so ealier. The multi we decided to look for was an obvious choice as it started at FAD headquarters. Svandammhallarna lead us on a short hike but as the time was nearly 5 pm and we wanted to get our coordinates for the night lab caches we broke off and returned to the hall until 6 pm.

Loading the GPS was a painless process even if it wasn’t really relevant for the lab caches. It did make it very easy to know exactly where to go. I tried to download the info to my iPhone but as I don’t often use it for geocaching I am not familiar with the process. Luckily my friends had it covered. We finished off the multi then headed down to Stadsträdgården for the first five of the lab caches.

The caches were all reasonably close to the event HQ, but after the event they will be moved to other areas and be converted into multicaches. Anyway, this was our playground for the evening.

The FAD 2017 playground

The lab caches for the evening can be found here.

Again the name Pelle Svanslös turned up and was the theme for the caches. They weren’t really night caches but child and wheelchair friendly. When we started on the next series, Carl von Linné, which were located around Uppsala castle one night cache turned up but it was first when we reached the forest some way beyond the hospital that the real night caches appeared. The lab caches in both the Niklas Zennströn and the Anders Celsius series were really creative and in a couple of cases quite difficult. Nontheless we were able to unlock the finals, which were bird boxes locked with a code lock. The code came from solving the five related lab caches.

We decided that we didn’t need to do the final series, Maria Strömme and the reflex trail. We had walked nearly 25 km during the day and had a lot of fun so we headed back for home around 11 pm. The day netted us eight different types of caches including a Mega and 15 lab caches. One takeaway, was inspiration to want to copy some of the ideas that had been used in creating the caches. Let’s see what it will result in!

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