Saturday, 26 February 2011

Our 6000th and a new county!

We wanted to do something a little bit different for our 6000th and thought this one in a tunnel would fit the bill.  We had our eye on a few other caches in the area so decided to pick those up en route.
Dumbledore's Retreat
Dumbledore's Retreat - because it was set in January 2002 and that now completes that year for our 'Finds by Placed Month' grid.
2002 Complete!
Then we continued onto 'Help! Peter's in the Rushes' as we like to pick up old virtuals and this was also our first one in Nottinghamshire, we've no idea why it's taken so long to get one in this county as we past through many times before.  An interesting location at an abandoned cemetry on the site of a former church, St Peter in the Rushes.

300+ year old gravestones in remarkably good condition

We then carried on to Schrödinger’s Ghostly wormhole paradox picking up a few other drive-bys en route.  Having spent most of the morning in the rain, predictably it stopped raining and the sun came out just as we headed into the tunnel!  We had read the cache description and a few of the previous logs and it suggested letting someone know where you were going so we rang home leaving a message where we were starting from for our son just in case we didn't make it out again by the time he got in from work .  No problems finding the cache and the tunnel was nice and dry underfoot, a stark contrast to some of the tunnels we've been caching in previously.  The croaking toad was a nice idea, we heard it but couldn't see it anywhere.  Spent a bit of time exploring before heading back out the tunnel and back to the car.  All in all it took us an hour to complete, then a quick phone call to home to say we'd made it out in one piece.  We really enjoy exploring old railway tunnels and this was great fun, although we don't know if we're just getting used to doing them but this was considerably easier than others we've done in the past.

Yay our 6000th

Whisper & Poppy in the tunnel

Having spent a fair bit of time in the car today we decided it was time to stretch our legs, spotted a circular walk nearby which looked ideal.

St Peter's Church, Kirby Bellars

Wreake Valley
8 + 1 caches in 3.8 miles

A pleasant dog friendly walk although the recent rain had made the mud very slippy underfoot.  After #3 we continued along the track to find The Old Canal by Ed, looks like a disused canal but on further research on our return home it seems it may have been a channel to divert the river water to the mill but has long since fallen into disuse.  A very interesting location and history,

Disused Mill Race, Frisby on the Wreake

Disused Mill Race

Then off to McDonalds for a cachers' tea

Wreake Valley

Saturday, 19 February 2011

'nother trip to Northamptonshire

In the Shadow of the Tower

The main reason for our trip to the area on such a drizzly day was to find In the Shadow of the Tower.  Last October we placed a 'Challenge Cache' called Resuscitator.  In order to log this cache, cachers first have to find a cache which hasn't been found for over a year.  Soon after setting the cache a carbon-copy cache was placed (with our blessing) in Surrey.  So, that's the reason why we chose to do this cache today; to qualify for the Surrey Resuscitator GC2HD75 which we hope to find in March.

Anyway, back to this cache. We parked in the lane to the west and followed the bridle way up towards the eerie, mist shrouded tower.  Found cache in the first place we looked and can confirm it is in good condition.

Cache successfully resuscitated!

As the weather was so bad we decided to find some more of the Just Northamptonshire caches which is a series of drive-by caches all set just inside the border of Northamptonshire.  We'd already found 10 and found another 9 today.  By about 3pm the rain had stopped so we decided to go for a 4 mile walk near Southam.  It was very muddy and slippery underfoot but it was an enjoyable walk where we found 8 caches.  The walk took us past the RLS Polo Club and the surrounding fields were full of ponies, presumably polo ponies.

The Holy Well
Another point of interest was the Holy Well, a scheduled ancient monument and a Grade 2 listed building.  It is reputed to have been used by monks in the area, hence the Holy Well.  The spring water is exceptionally cold and comes up a stratum of white Lias from below the quarry area on the Coventry Road to the north of Southam.  The water was reputed to be very efficacious for many eye ailments.

The walk took us 2 hours to complete then we were back at the car and home for tea

Friday, 18 February 2011

A Stroll Around Barford

We had to go to Stratford this afternoon and as we needed to fill in the 'days found' grid for today the nearest unfound caches were in Barford, a pretty little village not far from Warwick.

We last visited Barford to do the now archived Llamas Lair (GCVRF8) cache back in 2007 before the bypass had opened.  For many years the A429 through Barford carried heavy traffic over the Grade II listed bridge which was constructed in the 1700s.  The bypass was welcomed by the villagers to ease traffic congestion and also to protect the bridge from damage.

A Bridge Too Bar(ford)

Barford Bridge

Whisper having a great time
Enjoyed this cache, Poppy and Whisper enjoyed a splash around in the water while we found the well hidden cache.  We were just saying to each other that it was nice to be able to search out of view of the nearby houses when we heard movement behind us and a workman appeared at the gate, luckily as we had our dogs with us he probably just thought we'd taken them down there for a dip in the river .

From the Church to the Wasp

St Peters Church, Barford
A pleasant walk through Barford to this one, there were lots of children and dog walkers around as it was end of school time, luckily we blended in fairly well as we were also walking our dogs.  Then back to the car and home for tea.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Caching Trip NW Walsall

Willow Catkins
Sadies Walk Series and Cassie's Bell Series
27 Caches - 5 miles

The forecast was rain for today but as we'd already booked the day off work we decided to go caching anyway. We headed off just North West of Walsall to do a couple of series in Rough Wood Country Park a nature reserve situated between Willenhall and Walsall.  We set off in our waterproofs and soon forgot about the rain.  We decided to leave our dogs at home today, Poppy our black Labrador will be 12 this year and is finding she needs more rest after some of our longer walks so today it was just the two of us.

All the caches were fairly easy to find, just challenging enough to keep things interesting with variety of hides and sizes with decent hints, some were quite cryptic but not impossible.  The only downside was the amount of litter in the nature reserve, it was a real shame to see this and it's a pity something hasn't been done to clean it up, maybe a CITO event could be organised for the future 

An enjoyable walk despite the rain which we completed in 3½ hours.

Rough Wood Country Park

Coven Circular
9 caches plus a bonus - 1.85 miles

After lunch we just had time to drive to Coven Heath to do a short series before heading back down the M6 and home.

Still pouring with rain but undeterred we set off.  The walk started off on a bridleway and then the return leg of the walk was along the Staffs and Worcs Canal.  All the caches were very easy to find with spot on co-ordinates and good hints although we were completely eluded by #8, the co-ords took us to a hedge with lots of hiding places and prickly brambles, we seached high and low and the previous logs all stated it took a long time to find so we decided to give it 15 mins and then had to leave it.  I've noticed this morning that someone was able to find it today after a half hour search - think maybe either the diff rating needs increasing from 1½, not that this will make it easier to find or the clue improving.  Anyway, all in all it was a lovely little walk which we completed in 1 hour.

Then it was home for tea

Coven Circular Trail at EveryTrail

Saturday, 12 February 2011

A Sunny Day in Shropshire

Caer Caradoc
As the forecast was so good for today we decided to head over to Church Stretton for a walk around Caer Caradoc Hill (1,506 ft) and also to do the series of caches that were set for the gFab event last year. 

Circular walk starting at Chatwell Hall

16 caches
3.9 miles

What more could we ask for - beautiful weather and out caching, the perfect day.  A great walk in lovely countryside with fab views the whole walk.  The only downside were the dog proof stiles, there were about 7 or 8 in total but in fairness this is mentioned in the listings but we just hadn't noticed until we'd already set off.  Quite a bit of mud on the route too but this all adds to the fun.

One of the caches was called Lawley View, coincidentally my maiden name is 'Lawley' so it was unusual to see it on so many of the signs in the area.

Lawley View

It was great to see so many signs of spring today - lots of lambs, snowdrops, daffodil shoots getting longer - very uplifting to think that winter will soon be behind us.

Circular walk near Cardington

We completed the walk in 2 hours and 20 minutes, then it was back to the car for our lunch before repositioning the car and heading off for a walk on Caer Caradoc Hill.

A walk up, over and around Caer Caradoc

8 caches - 3.9 miles

Drove along the unclassified road towards matt misson 4, parked in the obvious parking place and set off.  The walk up to Three Fingers Rock was very steep and we were glad to reach the top where we were rewarded with stunning views of Church Stretton, we spent quite some time here before heading down the other side to find more caches and continue along the route for the climb up to Caer Caradoc.... and it certainly was a climb, quite a short climb but very steep, once again at the top the views were just amazing, you can see for miles around, well worth the climb up. Of course, apart from the view, the other reason for slogging all the way to the top of the hill was to look for the cache Caradoc which was inside a small cave, luckily we had our headtorches so it was an easy find, would've been difficult without torchlight.

Three Fingers Rock

This was our first visit to the Shropshire hills and we were amazed at how peaceful the area is without any intrusive motorway noise in the background, also there were hardly any other walks around today.  Then it was back to the car for a well earned cuppa.  Completed the second walk in 2 hours 50 mins.

Caer Caradoc

While planning today's  outing we realised that we'd be able to find a few caches to fill gaps on our Difficulty/Terrain statistics grid.  Tres Digiti rated D2 T4 was one of them.  After leaving Caer Caradoc we drove a few miles South to find WW2 Series - A Bridge too Far - Pole Cottage. The cache (rated D1 T4.5) is on an island in a boggy pond thing and we had to balance some planks across a series of wobbly partially submerged logs in order to reach it! We really enjoyed this cache as it was a really novel idea and it would be great to see more caches like this...

We headed home via McDonalds in Shrewsbury and the M54. Just as we though the day was over with regards to Geocaching, we received a notification of a new cache about nine miles from home. This was nine miles in our direction but still a good 45 miles away! Yup! You guessed it! 45 minutes later Mark had a nice blank logsheet in his hand!

The end of a fabulous day out.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Blithfield Reservoir

Blithfield Loop

17 caches + a bonus and 1 extra on the trail
6 mile circular walk

We'd been keeping an eye on the weather forecast for the last couple of days and hoped that they'd got it wrong for today.  We set off from home about  07:30 and arrived at the suggested parking at Blithfield Reservoir at 08:45.  The skies were looking very overcast and the wind was very blustery, keen to get going before the rain started we set off straight away.  There were numerous boats on the reservoir, presumably anglers, are they mad??

We'd got about half way and it started drizzling with rain then when we had about a mile to go it turned to a heavy shower so we quickened our pace.  There were lots of stiles, but luckily none of them dog-proof.  Great views of the reservoir along the route and all caches were easy to find with good hints.  

An enjoyable walk which we completed in 2¾ hours. We were glad to get back to the car as we were quite wet.

The bonus was a short drive away in a really interesting location which I won't say too much about here, as we don't want to spoil it for others but I will say that it's a really pity it wasn't open as we love exploring this type of thing.

Blithfield Reservoir

We'd planned another walk but as the weather was so awful we decided to pick up a few shorter walks and drive-bys before heading home much earlier than planned.  

We found a few of the Constellation caches but not enough to collect the bonus information and we were also keen to find The Haywood Hornet's Joy Jar cache.  The J.J. Joy Jar caches were a series of caches set by some of the attendees of the January Jovialities event back in 2009 using special little 'Joy Jars' that were handed out at the event.  J.J. Joy Jar - "Haywood Hornet Chirps has been set using two Chirps.  To find the cache you need a Chirp compatible Garmin GPS and then go to two separate locations before going for the final.  This is the second of this type we've done and it will be interesting to see how Chirp enabled caches evolve over time.

Hope to be back in the area soon, hopefully on a drier day!


Thursday, 3 February 2011

A couple of caches in Shottery

We'd just finished our evening meal and were about to take Poppy and Whisper for their walk when the 'cache alarm' went off alerting us to a new cache in Shottery so as we were still needing a FTF for February we decided to dash out in the hope of being first.  On the way I'd read that it was 'A somewhat unusual cache', it was listed as size 'other' and that the co-ords might not be accurate due to tree cover... hmm ok we'll give it a go.  .Arrived at the parking and headed down the path in the dark.  Looked in all the obvious places then resorted to a systematic search, we looked for a good 5 mins then, I had to nip back to the car, when I got back I met Mark and JimJinks coming back up the path, just after JimJinks had arrived Mark had spotted the well hidden cache.  Then we headed off for a longer dog walk down to Where there's a Will There's a Hathaway which was a fairly easy find in the dark, having dogs with you is great cover when doing a spot of night caching.

Great to get our caching fix part way through the week, can't wait for the lighter evenings!

Anne Hathaway's Cottage