Sunday, 30 October 2011

Halloween Hides and Creepy Caches Event

After a note was posted on the West Midlands Caching group on Facebook we decided to meet up with friends for a spot of caching in Nether Heyford before heading off to the Halloween Hides and Creepy Caches Event in Bugbrooke.  We named our group Team Spooks to save on log book space.

The afternoon caches were released just before 3pm and we headed off with Team Spooks.  On the spur of the moment we decided to go anti-clockwise and managed 9 FTFs before meeting other caching teams coming the other way.  All caches were fairly easy finds and on a spooky theme.  Once back at the pub we brewed up a cuppa out the back of the car and had a bite to eat before donning our Halloween costumes and regrouping for the evening night caches which were released just before 7.30pm - (NOTE TO SELF: Never put fancy dress make up on in the dark!).  Caching in a group once again although the caching teams had changed and this time we signed the log books as Team Death.  Once again the caches were of a spooky theme although some were far more gory this time.


A fantastic event, we thoroughly enjoyed meeting up with friends old and new and we really appreciate all the hard work that must have gone into setting it all up.  Also it was great to see so many people getting into the 'spirit' of the occasion with some fabulous outfits.  We are really looking forward to next year - HH & CC Mega perhaps

Friday, 28 October 2011

Alphabet Soup


Series of 26 traditional caches set on a 9½ mile circular walk around Darley Dale in Derbyshire.

Some of our friends had done this series recently and recommended it to us, when we looked at 'A' and saw that it had over 100 favourite points we knew it must be worth checking out and plans were made to fit it in this week.  We visited the Peak District on Tuesday to do the Little Britain series and after checking weather reports decided to make a return journey to the area today.  Set off from home in thick fog at 06:45 and arrived at 08:50, still foggy but the weather forecast was for sun later so we weren't too concerned.

Great views.... of the fog :-)

The route meanders through fields, woodland and along country lanes.  Some of the paths were quite slippery due to recent rainfall and the leaf litter on the rocks.  Also some sections of the route were extremely steep up and down and at times wondered if we were taking the correct path but there were useful route instructions on the cache listings which were very helpful.

Essential caching snacks

We can't say too much about the individual caches but suffice to say a lot of thought and effort has gone into setting up the series, they are all fairly easy finds but some of them required a bit more thought to actually get to sign the log book.  Our favourites in the series were A, Q, P & J. 

Fab views

The sun came out about 11:00 and we were treated to some stunning views and gorgeous autumn colours.  We completed the walk in just under 5½ hours, this included stopping for a picnic lunch for about 15 minutes.

All in all a highly recommended series that we thoroughly enjoyed.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Little Britain

Little Britain

Little Britain Series 

When planning our caching trips a few weeks ago for half term we came across this series and knew that it had to go on the to-do list.  The words '!!!!! This Route Should Not Be Taken Lightly !!!!!'
on the listing sold it to us straight away and plans were made.  We checked the weather for the week as we know that when it gets wet in the Peak District it gets VERY wet and decided to make the trip today.

We even managed to persuade our teenagers to come along, they're not into geocaching but they love a challenging walk.

We set our alarms for stupid o'clock and made the 100 mile trip to start the walk for 8.30 as we were keen to complete the walk in daylight.

We arrived at the parking and there was already a car parked up, we guessed it belonged to another cacher.  After finding the first cache we decided the car more than likely belonged to Grandad John and we wondered if we might catch him up.  When we got to #14 his name wasn't in the log book so we assumed he must've detoured to find another cache, we met him later on at an event and he confirmed this is what he'd done.

We set off from the car at 8.45 am and headed off towards #1 , quite a steep climb to start with and continued uphill until we got to #7 where we were quite glad of the rest and a chance to take in the fantastic views and scenery.

Great views and remember... NO SLEDGING!
Nearly all the fields we passed through (and there were a lot) had cows in them but we had no trouble at all, most of them were docile and didn't take any notice of us and any that did look troublesome were behind fences but we didn't have our dogs with us today so it could've been a different story if we had.  I'm getting a bit more used to cows now, it's a shame that our dogs can't come with us on the longer walks but it is far easier to negotiate stiles and cow fields without them.

Elevation Profile

There was quite a lot of mud in parts too, nothing too serious but I would imagine that in the winter months it would get fairly bad in places, mainly due to the fact that the cows churn up the fields at the gate entrances.

The cache listings were extremely helpful in that they included a brief route description to refer to if it was unclear where the path went next.

We made really good time until we stopped for our lunch just before #18 then we started to slow down a bit as the going got quite tough with the mud and the route wasn't quite so well defined (although the route notes were a big help).

We were very relieved to reach the Bonus and it has to be the largest cache container we've ever found.

We made it to the end

All together we walked 14 ¼ miles in 8 ¾ hours and we arrived back at the car just as the sun set.

All in all the walk was easier than we'd expected as we'd read all the previous logs on the bonus and were a bit worried whether we'd be able to manage the walk in one go but we must be fitter than we thought as it wasn't as hilly as we were expecting although the climb from #1 to #7 did have us wondering what we'd let ourselves in for with still quite a few miles to go.  Also it was a much longer walk than we were expecting, I think it said 12.4 miles in the listing but we made it to be over 14.  We did find the walk a challenge though and in places the route was very muddy but we were lucky with the weather, the sun shone most of the day and it didn't rain, if it had rained then it could've been a different story.  A highly recommended walk if you are up for a challenge, all great co-ordinates and sensible hides with good hints so we weren't spending too long searching for each one.  We found all 50 caches plus 10 more on route.

The Ship pub where the event is to be held later

When planning a visit to the series we noticed by coincidence there was an event published for tonight that had been organised by Khoomfay , the cacher that set the Little Britain series.  So we decided that if we finished in time we would pop along and say hi and thanks for the series.  It was great to meet other cachers from outside the area but we could only stayed an hour or so for a quick chat and a drink as we had a long drive home and everyone was tired out after such a long day.

Little Britain series South of Macclesfield

Monday, 17 October 2011

WIAN Series - Kingsford.

Beautiful Blue Sky

WIAN Series

18 + 4 caches on a 6½ mile circular walk.

The walk starts off in the car park of Kingsford Forest Park where there is ample parking and toilet facilities.  A very misty start to the morning but once we got going the sun soon came out and we enjoyed walking in the sunshine, a beautiful day to be out caching.

We'd heard some great things about this series so were really looking forward to it.  A lot of hard work has gone into setting it up with some extremely well crafted caches.  We haven't included any photos of the hides or containers as that would just spoil it for anyone that hasn't done it yet but safe to say you won't be disappointed.  All the caches were fairly easy to find, just the right level of difficulty.  If we had to pick one as our favourite it would be WIAN # 11 Danger Mouse, it has to be the perfect example of a cache hidden in full view but only visible to the trained eye - although we did give out a few favourite points on this series.

The footpath passes through Bodenham Arboretum, where there were lots of muggles visiting, we sat on one of the benches to eat our lunch in the warm sunshine, hard to believe it's mid-October.

Quite a long stretch of the walk at the end is along the road, it was fairly quiet so not a problem and all too soon the walk was at an end and we were back at the parking.

We completed the walk in about 3½ hours and this included stopping for lunch half way round.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Castlemorton Common

Castlemorton Common

11 caches on a 5.3 mile walk

Temperatures reached 29 degrees in some areas yesterday and the forecast was excellent again for today so we were looking for a nice walk to take our dogs on this afternoon with not too many hills.  We spotted some caches around Castlemorton Common and it looked like they would fit the bill perfectly.  We parked just off the road about ¼ mile from Castlemorton Common's Cunning Caches 6 .  We were very surprised to be FTF on this one as the series has been out for about 6 weeks but looks like this one has had a few teething troubles and has had to be moved.  This meant we had found our FTF for October - we try to get at least one FTF a month, we are now on 40 consecutive months with a FTF.  From #6 we headed up the hill to Stephies Hollow which was quite a slog in the heat but luckily the only hill we had to climb during the walk.  At CCCC #4 we met cachers Treacles Trio and Wonder Webbs, enjoyed a geo chat before going our separate ways.  Always good to meet other cachers out on the hunt.

Cattle graze freely on the common

The common is a working common and cattle and sheep are allowed to graze freely.  The cows weren't any trouble at all, we kept our distance from them and gave them a wide berth as we had our dogs with us.

Poppy & Whisper having a rest in the shade

A thoroughly enjoyable walk which we completed in under 4 hours.  This included stopping and talking to other cachers and having a picnic half way round and stopping many times for water breaks because of the heat.

Castlemorton Common at EveryTrail

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Caching near Church Stretton

33 caches plus a bonus on a 6 mile circular walk

Fabulous Views

33 traditional caches and a bonus set on a 6 mile circular walk starting from Wentnor and taking in the hamlets of Norbury and Whitcot.

Yes they are running towards us :-)

Today was the hottest October since records began and didn't we know about it, it certainly was a slog at times with the hills but we took plenty of water with us and had plenty of rest stops.  Thoroughly enjoyable series with fantastic views and some great caches, all easy to find with various sizes and hides.  A lot of thought and effort has gone into setting this series which we completed in about 4 hours.  We didn't have our dogs with us today but we remember passing a few dog proof stiles so bear this in mind if you are taking dogs.

Mooove out of the way!

 Then we headed off to Marshbrook for the second series of the day. 

BEEline to Marshbrook 
19 caches plus a bonus on a 3.6 mile circular walk.

We parked at the outdoor activity centre where we understand permission has been sought to use the parking and toilet facilities which is great. 

Great scenery

We were lacking energy due to the heat but we soon got into it once we tackled the first hill.  Once again great caches and great scenery.  All the caches were easy to find apart from one that we had a DNF on but it was quite close to a private dwelling so we didn't give it as long as we usually would.  Some of the fields had cows/bulls in them but not sure if it's because we didn't have our dogs with us today or they are just  friendlier around here, or maybe it was the heat but we didn't have any bother from them at all and at one of the caches had to pass very close to a herd that were blocking a gate.

Once again a thoroughly enjoyable series which we completed in 2 hours and 20 min and would recommend to anyone that enjoys a good walk in the countryside.