Sunday, 2 February 2020

Eyam Plague

Winter sunshine

Today we visited the village of Eyam in the Peak District and learnt all about the plague which killed 260 of its residents. There was an interesting set of Adventure Lab caches which took us on a guided tour.





In 1665 a damp bundle of cloth arrived from London, where the disease had already killed thousands of inhabitants.  A tailor's assistant, George Viccars was said to have opened the bale of cloth and hung it up to dry, unwittingly releasing the disease-ridden fleas carrying the plague!
Eyam Information Centre
Within a week George Viccars was dead and he became the first victim in the village.

The plague swept through the community and between September and December 1665 42 villagers had died and by the Spring of 1666 many were ready to flee their homes in a bid to save themselves.

Historians have placed the total population of Eyam at between 350 and 800 before the plague struck.

It was then that the newly appointed rector, William Mompesson, decided that something must be done to avoid the deadly disease from spreading to the nearby towns of Sheffield and Bakewell, he felt it was his duty to intervene. 

The remarkable decision to quarantine the village was made and on the 24th June 1666 parishioners were told that no one was allowed in or out of the village - this heroic self-sacrifice helped save the lives of thousands of people.

Other measures ensured the disease stayed contained in the village, such as the boundary stone system.  Holes were bored into the rocks and filled with vinegar where coins could be left - the vinegar acted as a disinfectant.
The boundary stones are still in place today.

Also, the vicar wanted to continue to give religious services but feared having the congregation in a confined space so it was decided that services would be held outdoors at the Cucklet Delph, a short walk from the village, where families were able to stand further apart from each other.


Cucklet Delph

On 1st November 1666 farm worker Abraham Morten was the last to die.

We read some rather poignant stories as we visited various locations in the village.

One such story was that of Elizabeth Hancock, she had to drag the bodies of her 6 children and her husband by herself, dig their graves and bury them, close to the family farm.  They had all died in the space of eight days!

Riley Graves



Another particularly poignant story was that of sweethearts Emmott Sydall and Rowland Torre.  Rowland was the son of a flour miller from nearby Stoney Middleton and Emmott was a young girl who lived in Eyam.  Emmott lived in a cottage across from Mary Cooper where the plague started.  Her father and four of her siblings were among the first victims of the disease.  At first Rowland would visit Emmott in the village but when this became too dangerous and fearing spreading the disease the lovers would arrange to meet secretly at Cucklet Delph but only in silence and from a distance so as not to be discovered.  Emmot stopped appearing towards the end of April 1666 but Rowland continued to go to their meeting place in the hope that she might turn up.  Rowland was one of the first people to re-enter the village when it was pronounced safe near the end of 1666 which was when he was told the terrible news that Emmott had died in the April.





Plague facts:

  • Plague has a case-fatality ratio of 30%-60% if left untreated.
  • It was known as the "Black Death" during the 14th Century, causing an estimated 50 million deaths
  • People infected with plague usually develop "flu-like" symptoms after an incubation period of 3-7 days
  • There are three forms of plague infection depending on the route of infection: bubonic, septicaemic and pneumonic. 
  • Plague still is endemic in many countries. The three most endemic countries are Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Peru
  • From 2010 to 2015 there were 3248 cases reported worldwide, including 584 deaths.



We really enjoyed our morning wandering around Eyam.




Saturday, 28 December 2019

Devon

This is a short blog about some of the caches that we did on our week long trip down to Devon after the Christmas family festivities.

Saturday

We arrived in Bristol ready to spend the evening finding a variety of caches to break the journey overnight.


Gorgeous View
We really enjoyed our walk around Bristol, we've visited a few times since we started caching but it's probably been about 4 or 5 years since our last visit and in that time there have been quite a few caches published - we picked out a few to find and did the virtuallab caches and a great little multi.





Sunday

We were up early to finish off the lab caches around Bristol.



Underhill Yard - Historic boatyard serving Bristol harbour

Then to Brandon Hill to play the Grand Old Duke of York Wherigo which was really enjoyable and in a great location.



View from Cabot Tower!
Cabot Tower is a 105ft (32m) tower in a public park on Brandon Hill in Bristol.  The tower was built in the 1890s to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the journey of John Cabot from Bristol to Canada.  You can climb the steps to the viewing platforms and entry to the tower is free.



Then headed back out of the city to Wraxall to do a Wherigo at Ty Sculpture Trail in Towerhouse Wood.  Ty Partridge grew up in the house at the corner of Towerhouse Wood and the woods became his playground throughout his childhood but very sadly he died suddenly of Leukaemia aged 21. This sculpture trail is in his memory.

The woods were very muddy and the Wherigo took quite some time to complete and we finished in the dark.


Monday

A lovely sunny day again today and we started off with a virtual at the Turf Lock.  The lock is only accessible by foot, bike or boat!  We parked at the car park at Powderham Church to start our walk to the lock. The Turf Lock stands at the mouth of the Exeter Ship Canal.


The walk was just over a mile each way.




Very sunny and the skies were clear - it was 12 degrees and at times felt very much like Spring.

Then onto Teignmouth where we spent the rest of the day wondering around finding caches.



Tuesday

Hey the sea
We headed into Brixham to spend the day caching.  We parked at Breakwater car park which cost £1.50 for 24 hours.


It was nice to be back in Brixham, we last visited on the motorbikes over 30 years ago on a camping holiday.


We did the Trawl around the Harbour puzzle which was a great way of seeing the harbour and really made us slow down and look at things we wouldn't normally have noticed as it  involved walking around the harbour and identifying different locations from photographs from the cache page.


Golden Hind Virtual

Brixham Harbour

We also made a start on the Brixham Lights multi which was quite involved, there were two zones in the harbour itself then you had to go up to the Napoleonic fort at Berry Head for the rest of the waypoints.

There was a bit of ambiguity over one of the waypoints which led us to the wrong location, we spent ages looking in the wrong place.  After contacting the CO we decided to return early tomorrow morning as we'd run out of daylight -  bearing in mind we had time constraints for tide times at Burgh Island tomorrow.

At just 5 metres in height, Berry Head lighthouse is the shortest lighthouse in Great Britain but at 58 metres above mean sea level it is also the highest!


We had a lovely evening walk around Brixham seeing all the Christmas lights.



Wednesday

Happy New Year!

We were up early to head down to the beach to do an old cache called New Years Beach Party that was placed on 1st January 2003 so we thought it would be nice to find it on its 17 year birthday.



Then back to Brixham to find the Brixham Lights multi which was a quick find this time.

Then we headed towards Bigbury on Sea to do the virtual at Burgh Island.

Burgh Island is a tidal island and twice a day it gets cut off by the sea so we planned our visit today so we could walk across the beach at low tide.  Although there is a sea tractor which is operated by the hotel at high tide.


The island was much bigger than we expected and even had a hotel on it.  The Burgh Hotel is steeped in history.  In the 1890s a prefabricated wooden house was built on the island and used for weekend parties.  In 1927 the island was sold to a film maker who then built a more substantial Art Deco style hotel.  During WWII the hotel was used as a recovery centre for wounded RAF personnel.  Today Burgh Island is a Grade II listed building. Notable visitors to the hotel include:  Agatha Christie - it inspired the settings for two of her books 'And then there were none' and 'Evil Under the Sun'.  It was also used as a filming location for the 2001 TV adaptation of Evil Under The Sun.  The Beatles stayed in the hotel when they were playing a concert in Plymouth apparently and it is said that Eisenhower and Churchill met there in the weeks leading up to the D-Day invasion.



Hotel by night

Later we headed to Snape Point near Salcombe for the night.



Thursday



We'd planned a walk today out to Bolt Head to find a cache from 2005.  I'd spotted the walk on the National Trust website so it was a bonus that there was also an old cache and a virtual  as well.




We set off in strong winds passing the Walkers' Hut on the way, which is an honesty based cafe.

 It was a really good walk despite the windy weather.


Struggling to stand upright!

After this we headed towards Totnes stopping off at South Sands Beach so Charlie could have a swim in the sea.



There was an abandoned hotel near the beach, it'll be interesting to see if there are any changes made to it the next time we visit the area.


We spent the evening in Totnes playing a Wherigo and doing the lab caches in the pouring rain.




Friday

We spent the day doing lab caches at Haldon Forest Park.






We'd spotted an intriguing puzzle cache called The Magic Walk when we were planning our trip.  In the 80s Jamie McCullough created a mile and a half interactive walk deep in the woods in Haldon Forest called 'The Beginner's Way'.  The walk has long since gone but during the few years of its existence it attracted more than 500,000 people to Haldon Forest.  On busy days more than 1000 people were drawn to the magical walk.  It was never promoted or advertised in any way, just purely word of mouth brought the visitors which was just how the creator intended it to be, it was something that should just be discovered.  He received many offers from TV and magazines but these were always refused.  Sadly, through lack of funding the spell-bounding mazes, ladders, tunnels and optical illusion have now all gone and all that remains is an archway.





We stayed overnight near Exeter ready for tomorrow.

Saturday
Early start in Exeter

Parliament Street virtual 

Chiseled street art by Vhils



Sunday



Heading home today but stopping off on the way to do lab caches in Portishead and Gloucester and also a virtual at the Wicker Man.



Sad that such a brilliant trip had to come to an end but we've taken away some very fond memories with us and we'll definitely be heading down to Devon again soon.