Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Dead End Dash # 2

Dead End Dash #2

We needed to find a cache today to fill the 30th November square today and this one fitted the bill very nicely! ;-)

Sunday, 28 November 2010

The Postman's Walk

The Postman's Walk

Inquisitive Alpacas

Just as we set off our caching friends Sumadartson drove past, they were just about to start the walk so we waited for them to catch us up. The first field had alpacas and cows in, we were a little concerned to start with as we had Poppy & Whisper with us but luckily they didn't take much notice of us and stayed away. A bit of a chilly start but we soon warmed up once we got going.

We were lucky enough to meet Flo, the Gnome-ad's dog, she was really friendly and we noticed she was also trackable!

Whisper & Poppy make friends with Flo

A very enjoyable series in great company - 8 caches and a bonus over approximately 3 miles.

with Sumadartson at the final

On our way home we made a slight detour to the lovely little village of Pebworth to do Where's the water tower ,a straightforward little multi at the church.

That was all we had time for today, now home to a nice warm house and a cuppa :D

Saturday, 27 November 2010

An Arboreal Adventure and 5 FTFs

We had planned to go to an event in the Brecon Beacons today, a 9 mile walk around Pen Y Fan, alarms set for 4am and we were ready to leave the house by 5am but then it started to snow and was covering the road outside quite quickly, we set off, our local roads were quite slippery but we thought once we got out to the main A46 dual carriageway the roads would be gritted, wrongo, the roads were treacherous and hadn't been gritted and just seemed to be getting worse the further we travelled so after about 6 miles we decided to turn around and head back home *sigh*
Too snowy!-
Decided to stay a bit closer to home and head out Stourbridge way instead where some new caches had been published last night. Stopped off in Churchill village to do a quick cache and dash at the village pound, we've seen a few of these since we started caching, interesting little spot.

Impounded tree...
Churchill Pound

The Arboreal Adventure series consists of four Multis and a bonus cache. Although the bonus is listed as a Puzzle/Mystery, it is infact a Multi because co-ords for all the required waypoints are listed on the cache page itself and there is no need to actually find the four other caches if you don't have a head for heights!
At first it looked a bit complicated as to which order to do the caches but it soon came together.

One of the way points had us stumped for while so after a prolonged search we contacted the CO who reassured us that no climbing was required for the stages.
Sunny now!

Apart from number 3, all the final locations were easily located. This one took a bit of detective work looking for signs of branches having been stood on as the cache was situated a lot higher up than expected

View from Number 3!

Nice array of fungi at number 2

Whisper wasn't at all sure about the gravity defying antics

The bonus cache was hidden in a totally different type of location but still required some climbing. ;-)

All in all an enjoyable set of caches in a lovely woodland setting.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

FTF in Bishopton

Bishopton Church
Bishopton Church

A very interesting little cache, just the sort of thing that grabs our interest, we had no idea there used to be a chapel in Bishopton.

We were hoping to go out to this one last night as we really hoping to see 'the lady in white' but just as we picked up the caching bag Mark's work phone rang and by the time it was all dealt with I'd already walked the dogs and settled down in front of the TV for the night so that was that. This morning I had to go to Tesco so on the way thought I'd have a go by myself.

Parked in a nearby road and walked to where I thought the chapel used to be - all the times I've driven this way and I'd never noticed this lane! Found the required information and headed back to the car to work out the final co-ords as my fingers were frozen. No problem working it all out so off I went in search of the cache, got to GZ and realised I'd left the hint info in the car, back to the car a second time...... worked it all out but couldn't get the hint to make any sense so went back to GZ for another look, rang Mark for moral support and he came up with a few suggestions like 'Don't come back until you've found it!!' ;) ..... so looked again but not confident with the hint so returned to the car (yes a third time) ..... this was getting ridiculous, just about to call it a day when I decided to check all the figures again and recheck the hint, yes I'd made a mistake decrypting the hint NOW IT MAKES SENSE!! So off to GZ and straight in for a nice little FTF.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

New piece of caching kit!

Digital Voice Recorder

This piece of equipment is just brilliant for recording notes on the move. Quite often I'll log a find on the Oregon but then you don't have the ability to edit the note so I found I was keeping other notes or trying to remember details when I came to log finds on GC.com.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Pike's Pool Loop

Pikes's Pool Loop
A series of 10 caches (plus 2 existing ones) near Finstall, Bromsgrove
2.6 miles/1¾ hours

A new series was published last night near Bromsgrove, so decided to make an earlyish start after dropping our son off at work. Parked up at 7.55am, there was already a car at the parking space, didn't recognise it so hopefully we'll bump into them later.

Started at #1 and had a long search, we were getting cold so decided to have another look at the end. On our way to #2 we met Shropshire Seekers and his dog, he was doing the series in reverse order and hadn't yet found the cache so we joined in the search, luckily Mark went straight to it and signed the nice blank log book, yay a FTF!. Enjoyed a geo-chat SS very kindly gave us a hint for #1, then we went our separate ways, always great to meet other cachers out on the hunt.
We recognised the location at the top of the hill from a previous cache we'd done back in August 2007, Bertha's Hill, fab views at the top. Found Birmingham Scouts Navigator Badge cache then on with the walk. #3 was a nice easy find, well it was for me anyway as Mark had already found it when I arrived, I'd held back to take photos of the views. #4 was very well hidden, we knew it was there somewhere as Shropshire Seekers had mentioned that he'd found the rest of the caches, so we persevered and there it was!! Hopefully the nearby houses are far enough away not wonder why there's a sudden interest in the style ;)

#5 was very easy, although we were so busy talking we almost missed it. Great views all around.

#6 On the way to this one a stampede of crazy sheep came hurtling past us. Found the cache easily then continued through the farmyard, not sure if they are used to walkers going through the gate but we were watched quite closely as we walked through the gate.

#7 a DNF here, the hint was of no help and there was quite a bit of rubbish and spiky hawthorn bushes in the ivy covered hedgerow, we had to give up after 5 mins as we'd promised our daughter we wouldn't be much longer than an hour :D

Nice to see there's still some autumn colour on the trees.

#8 Another DNF, not sure what the hint was all about as it didn't really lead to us to anything in particular.

#9 No problems here, unusual sign, looks home-made.

#10 Walked down through Finstall and an easy find in the only place it could be now for #1, hopefully we can find it with the extra hint. As we approached it became obvious which side of the fence we should but it was still a long search, eventually found the cache but the co-ords were showing about 80ft out. Lots of fungi around the trees here. Now back to the car and home for elevenses.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Fungimanforager caches

Headed out to the Kidderminster area today to do some of Fungimanforager's new caches.

Ever felt like you're being watched?

Parked up at GC2J36D - Depression to do a circular walk of just under 2 miles/5 caches. Then picked up some of the others that were either cache and dashes or shorter there-and-back walks. We were pleasantly surprised to be FTF on 5 of the caches as they'd already been out a couple of days! Some of the caches were quite challenging for one reason or another which I shan't say here but safe to say if you do them you will enjoy them ......... unless you don't like a challenge of course.

Interesting lichen on the footbridge

A very enjoyable day, good walks and great caches.

Luckily the rain held off until we were heading home at 3pm, making a detour to Abberley on the way to replace one of our own caches.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Caching Memories

I came across some old photos when sorting out files on my PC this morning and it got me thinking about the fun we've had and the places we've been since starting caching back in March 2007. Here are some of our favourites, all memorable for one reason or another:

This one was such good fun, we spent a fabulous sunny afternoon solving the puzzles 'out in the field', a great cache for a family to do, we stopped halfway round for a picnic.

We'd met the cache owners when we were out caching the previous week and they said that we ought to give this one a go. This was the first cache of this type that we'd found and we were very impressed.... if I say any more it might spoil it for anyone that hasn't done it yet.

Broseley Red Church
- (now archived)

We'd enjoyed a day out at the Coalport museums and decided to do a couple of caches on our way home. We all really enjoyed this one, it was a very creepy location, I remember reading out the details of the area and the local folklore concerning the church and after that, rather oddly, everyone wanted to leave.

This one was memorable to us as it was the first cache we had to complete in the dark and our children thought it was great fun (pity they still don't). We had to visit a few other caches first to gather information so took some time to complete but great fun and the added bonus was that we were FTF on it and got a lovely Gingerbread Man geocoin as a prize which was our first geocoin, sadly he's now gone missing, last seen in Ohio.

We still chuckle when we think of the surprise we had when we found this one, don't look at the spoiler pics on the cache listing if you want the same surprise!

On a day out to the Buxton area we visited this cache at Grin Low. Unfortunately we couldn’t find it and returned home. We knew it was tricky as there had been lots of DNFs so when we got back home we studied the previous logs and the spoiler photo supplied by the CO and decided we didn’t want to be beaten so headed back out 3 weeks later, a 90 mile trip and found it spotted it straight away - doh!!

The Grinshall Ghoul
by MarkandLynn

This was our first night cache and what an adventure it was. We decided to do this one on our way home from a short break in North Wales, doing a couple of nearby caches first waiting for darkness to fall. The cache is set in an old quarry and in a very remote location, we set off in the pitch dark armed with our torches, the trail was fairly straightforward to follow but very spooky. As we were approaching GZ we became aware of voices and torchlight coming from the other direction, we didn't think for a minute it would be cachers as we'd have expected them to have come from the same direction as us but yes it was Shropshire Pirates and Budgie Smugglers returning to the cache via a quicker route to drop off a TB. Finding our way back to the car without the fire-tacks to guide us was very challegning! Highly recommended if you like something a bit different and like caching at night.

Shropshire 2007 - The Philosopher's Stone
by PopUpPirate and The Cache Hoppers

This was our first event, as it was fairly local to us we decided to attend for the day. As soon as we arrived we were greeted by a very welcoming Pop Up Pirate and directed to the all important tea tent :D Everyone was really friendly, it was nice to meet other local cachers that we'd seen in log books and contacted via email.... Mr and Mrs Wrighty, Cakemaker, Brynric to name but a few, and we soon got to know lots of other cachers from further afield that were camping for the weekend. The evening talent show was the best we've ever seen. We returned on the Sunday to do the local caches series and met lots more cachers on the way round, a fab event and we couldn't wait to attend the next one!

Wye Valley Ghost Train
by The Flying Boots

This is probably our all time favourite cache.

We’d heard about it from other cachers and are so glad we were able to do it before it was archived.

The cache was placed inside the Tidenham Tunnel, on the disused Chepstow to Monmouth line. From the parking it was quite a long descent on rough track, then once at the mouth of the tunnel about ½ mile in the pitch dark. Torches were essential, as once inside the tunnel it curved around the hill and there was no natural light

This was our 500th cache! Thought I would just cut and paste the log for this one as it explains it so well:

'Mark had been keen to do this one for a while but Donna had flatly refused to go anywhere near. Not taking 'no' for an answer, Mark declared last night that we were going to do it today for our 500th After all, over 100 people had already lived to tell the tale. Donna was still unsure but thought perhaps maybe we could go with another team (safety in numbers) also quietly confident that no one would be available at such short notice - One phone call later and it was arranged. We met up with L8HNB and embarked on the adventure en masse.

Got to the tunnel entrance and the gate was locked so one by one the six of us squeezed through the hole in the fence About a third of the way in we spotted a torchlight further down the tunnel and realised we were not alone.......the torchlight got closer and closer until .... 'Urban Bexs' introduced himself, he accompanied us to the cache location and shared all sorts of interesting facts about the tunnel with us. Found cache easily then continued further along to the main air shaft which was an impressive sight.

Returned to the tunnel entrance just as our torches were fading, crawled back out the gap in the fence and realised how wet and grubby we all were (dogs especially).

Thoroughly enjoyed this one and thanks to Linda & Henry for agreeing to meet up at such short notice.

Took: Bat pin badge
Left: glow in the dark witch fingers and some halloween erasers.
#500 '

'The adventurous will require boots (preferably wellies) and a good torch'
Anything that says this on the cache listing grabs our attention instantly!
Once again the log explains everything perfectly:
'We must be mad (true purists) We came to the area 2 days ago and found the virtual but our torches were running low so vowed to return very soon to complete the cache as intended. Fast forward to today and here we are again, wellies and fully charged torches at the ready!! We all thoroughly enjoyed this one and so did our geo-hounds. Found the cache easily. We'll certainly be recommending this one to others!
Took: Garmin geocoin

Looking for Linda by SidAndBob

The cache listing stated 'may require wading' and 'you must take a torch' that was all we needed to read as it sounded like just the sort of challenge we enjoy.

A unique cache and a brilliant name which had us laughing for ages after, a truly memorable cache.

This was our 1000th cache. and the toughest 2* difficulty we've ever done!

........ this list is not complete this is just a few from the early days, we've done so many great caches, I will add to the list when I have the time.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

A Birthday Treat!

A few weeks ago I'd asked if we could all go caching as a family on my birthday, we decided to take the bikes up to Grafham Water in Cambridgeshire intending to do the series of caches around the reservoir.

We set off and it all started quite well on a good path but very soon it got muddier and muddier and it was a struggle to stay on our bikes in places.

Then it was back to good track again and we were able to whiz along the paths.

This was quite short lived and the route took us along a bridleway which in dry weather is probably great for cycling along but today it was really tough going and I had to get off and push.

It became clear that to complete the series it was going to take a lot longer than we'd anticipated due to the terrain, also the cache containers were all film pots, a lot of them without hints so we were only giving each search 5 mins, then down to 1 min..... we decided to cut the ride short and head back to the car via a bridleway that was virtually impassable by bike and our wheels quickly became clogged with mud. Eventually we got back to the main path around the reservoir and carried on around picking up a very nice little cache on the way George's First Bike Ride, a good sized container with somewhere to sit and sign the log book (always a bonus).

All together we cycled 10.4 miles in just under 4 hours, it was really good fun caching by bike even if in places it was hard going, anyone looking to do this series by bike I'd say leave it until the drier weather, otherwise by foot it's probably fine any time of year.

Spotted this sign on the way back to the car, made us all laugh, poor 'wall face' what on earth did it do wrong LOL!

Fab sunset on the drive home!