Sunday, 16 December 2012

Back to Oundle

Oundle and Back

Today’s plan was to go to the Nearly Xmas in Yaxley Event and find a few caches beforehand. The Oundle and Back series looked quite enticing and we suspected that a few other cachers from the West Midlands would think the same thing so we decided to team up.

Got up at some unearthly hour for an 8 o’clock rendez-vous with Monki, Basketcase Crew, Unowho67, Blue Nora, Pfaffabouters, Shorty, lgxkls, Matt Smith and Sukigoeswandering at McDonalds Rothwell along the A14 - TAG and Lime Candy were supposed to meet us there too but there had been some confusion over which McDs we were meeting at and they had gone to a different one ......  Anyway, after a quick hot beverage and/or something more substantial, we headed to the parking by Oundle and Back #1 and were joined by TAG and Limey a few minutes later. The walk was classic izzacwilson with easy hides and good hints so all the caches were found easily.  Mind you, with 13 of us there would have been something very wrong if there had been any DNFs!  Half of us were from the West Midlands Geocaching region and half from the East Midlands so we signed the logs using a temporary team name of East Meets West to save space and time or EMW for short.  At the end of the walk it was clear that the West had won with the most finds hands down and could only leave the East team in awe of how things should really be done

Really enjoyed the walk, although the mud was a bit hard going in places as it was really sticky.  Along the way lgxkls handed out Stollen and Basketcase Crew had brought along Toblerone to share which helped keep us going.

Running across the muddy field to save time

We finished the 9 mile walk in 4 hours and as we'd bought loads of mince pies along with us we went back to the cars to share them out.  It was a bit like a mini-party as [Monki] had brought yummy chocolate along too.

The Oundle and Back series meets Glapthorn and Back loop here and it was a no-brainer really to do that loop as well. Well, for the rest of the team it was but we had already completed it back in October so we said that we would see them at the event and went off to do something else.

James decided to find one for the East team

Normally we would just jump in the cachemobile and re-park for another walk.  Not today though, oh no! Today we were in my nice shiny new car and I am NOT going to let it get all muddy – EVER! We changed out of muddy trousers and donned clean footwear before getting into the car.  Neither of us were too keen on having to put muddy boots back on so after a few drive-bys we parked up in Oundle to do part of the Sonny's Moo Poo Series.  Looking at the map, the section from 13 to 24 looked like it was going to be on tarmac footpaths or something – nice and ‘clean shoes ‘ friendly.  As it happened, the tarmac path soon petered out and changed to grass but it was nothing to be overly concerned about.

Right! Time to go to Yaxley. Amazingly, we pulled into the pub car park just seconds behind Pfaffabouters and co.  We hadn’t had a proper lunch – just mince pies and Stollen, so we were keen to order some food right away. We hadn’t planned to do anymore caching this evening but there had been eight new Yaxley Nano caches released so after the Event we decided to go and find them as well.  Night-time urban nanos are so much easier in a group.
Night-Caching around Yaxley

After the 91 mile drive back home, we toasted our sandwiches on the George Foreman for supper! A perfect way to end a very enjoyable day.  The car even stayed mud free!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

A Day in Woodnewton


Length of Walk - 8 + 5 miles
No. of Caches - 2 x 33
Walk starts from - Woodnewton, Northamptonshire

Church of St Mary, Woodnewton

The plan for this Saturday come rain or shine was to head up to Northamptonshire again to do the caches around Woodnewton - we seem to spend a lot of time in this neck of the woods at the moment - loads of great walks to be had.
Beautiful Pyracantha

Arrived in Woodnewton for 8.30am the, temperature had just dropped below freezing on the way but the sun had just come up and looks like we're in for a good day.
Abandoned Guards Van

Woodnewton is a very charming village and we later learnt that its main claim to fame is that Nikolai Polakvos, Coco The Clown, retired here in 1973 and died there shortly afterwards and is buried in the graveyard of St Mary's Church.

We decided we'd complete both walks without going back to the car, this looked ideal as we prefer, if possible, to do all the walking without having to reposition the car as it's hard to get yourself going again once you've lost the momentum.  This worked out perfectly as we completed the walk in 6½ hours before going on to do a short multi.
Deserted farmhouse

All caches were easy to find with good hints, only a couple of DNFs but it's possible these may have been washed away in the recent floods.  Quite a lot of the walk was very muddy underfoot but this is to be expected this time of year and especially with all the recent rain and flooding in the area.

There was only 1 field of cows and they weren't any trouble at all although Mark did have to do his usual 'commanding them off the path' before I agreed to continue through the field (see below)
Ah that did the trick

A fab walk that we'd highly recommend - in fact we'd recommend any IzaakWilson or Poshrule caches.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Woolley Mammoth Series

Is this the woolley mammoth?

The Woolley Mammoth Series by Marcusmaximi

Length of walk - 11 miles (this included a short detour to a trigpoint and a couple of other caches)
No. of caches - 60

The walk starts at Woolley, a small village in Cambridgeshire, although we decided to park outside the pub in Spaldwick and start at #20 with the intention of popping in for a quick drink afterwards, and then goes out to the villages of Easton and Ellington.

Thick fog

We'd been trying to plan a weekend in the area for a few weeks then when this series was published we looked for a Travelodge cheap deal and found one at Thrapston.  Last weekend the forecast was for rain all weekend and by Tuesday the weather was looking good for today so we went ahead and booked the room and our plans were started.  Rather annoyingly yesterday the forecast was now saying rain for the whole weekend - we checked all the usual weather apps and sites and there was no mistake, yet more rain was on its way *sigh*, undeterred we packed our overnight bags and thought we'd go for it anyway.

Cache a bit wet

We set our alarms for 5am and left the house at 6am in thick fog and the temp gauge showing -1°C.  We made good progress and arrived in Spaldwick at a little after 7.30am.  Just as we parked up we spotted a familiar face in the car next to us, it was Poshrule - he was waiting for a load of other cachers so after a quick chat and getting togged up we decided to press on with the walk as we had hoped to do another walk afterwards.

On the way round we bumped into Monki, Blue Nora and Unowho67, they were doing the series in reverse, we enjoyed a nice before going our separate ways.  Oh yes.... we also spotted some cute alpacas

We'd spotted there was a trigpoint near #54 and that a previous cacher had successfully found it so we decided to make a short detour around the edge of the field and nip across to bag it.

When we approached #5 we could see someone searching at the bridge, it was daboiwunda, we only gave it a brief search as we knew that other cachers had already given it a long search and as it was now spotting with rain we decided to press on.  Within 15 mins the heavens had opened and out came the waterproof gloves/rucksack cover/phone cover etc.

Making use of my birthday prezzie
We arrived back in Spaldwick at 13:10 - we completed the walk in 5½ hours.

Really enjoyed the walk, all the caches were easy to find, with precise hints and mostly good sized containers.  There were no cow fields and only a few stiles.
What is it?
Our son & daughter could do with one of these each on their doors
A bit of Googling when we got home suggested that it's a device to monitor wind speed in order to see if a location is viable for a wind turbine

We decided against popping into the pub as we were soaked and muddy, instead we headed off to Maccys for coffee and to decide what we were going to do for the rest of the day.  We finished off with a few drive-bys and revisited a church micro that we guessed might have been replaced during the day and then after a bit of umming and ahhing decided to head home.

Had a great day in the area despite the bad weather and we'll be back soon to complete some more great walks. 

Woolley Mammoth Series

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Challenge Cache Mission

46 English Counties Challenge Cache

Mark spotted this Challenge when it was first published but didn't know if we'd fulfilled the requirements because we'd never used mygeocachingprofile stats and the GSAK FindStatGen uses a different county list.  Anyway, we signed up for mygeocachingprofile, uploaded the MyFinds PQ and waited with baited breath....  Would City of Bristol be coloured in?  YES! Luckily, we'd had to go to Bristol last June in order to buy a rather specialised violin for Pegz and we just had to find a couple of caches while there - so thanks for that Pegz ...

Here's the proof:

UK and Ireland County Map

UK and Ireland County List

FTF on the 46 Counties Challenge Cache
So without further ado we decided to plan a visit to this cache, the earliest we could get over to Nottingham was on our planned day off today as it's a 70 mile drive.  When we arrived at GZ we wondered as it had been published for 10 days whether anyone might have pipped us to it but luckily I found a nice clean log sheet.

The Stilton Cheese Pub, Somersby

The traffic was really bad with yesterday's floods so the journey took us much longer than anticipated, we'd planned a figure of 8 walk by The Bonhams in Somersby near Melton Mowbray but only had time for half of it, it was really muddy underfoot and hard going in the high winds but a very enjoyable walk all with easy to find caches.

On the way home we stopped off for a short walk to a YOSM at a trigpoint at Burrough Hill Country Park at an iron age hill fort.  It was really windy up there but interesting place and some great views.  A great way to round off the day.

Somerby Circuit

EveryTrail - Find hiking trails in California and beyond

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Caching in The Wrekin

Concrete Jungle Series

Caches - 60
Length of Walk - 10.5 miles approx

As per usual we'd been keeping our eye on the weather all week - not that it really makes any difference as we'll go out caching in all weathers - but the forecast for today was for heavy rain all day, it was only last night that the forecast changed to rain for the afternoon.  So we togged up for heavy rain and we were pleasantly surprised when the sun came out around midday and shone for the rest of the day!

The first part of the walk from #1 to #10 was quite hard going through the woods with no obvious paths to follow but it wasn't really a problem as we just followed the arrow until we came to the next one but it did slow us right down and we began to wonder if we'd allowed enough time to complete the walk as we had to be back home in time to take Pegz to Stratford-upon-Avon as her band were due to play a gig in the evening.


At #17 we realised we were following Stag Ramblers - this really made us laugh because we bump into them or follow them on a trail so many times when miles from home - we hoped to bump into them later in the walk and when we got to #33 they'd signed the log with the time so we could see they were only an hour ahead.We texted them to let them know we were on their trail and they replied to say they were only a few caches ahead and had stopped for their lunch.  We thought we'd be able to catch up with them but.............

At #32 a sheepdog came running over to us just as we'd found the cache, it hung around until we'd replaced it and then proceeded to follow us through the field, it stayed with us for the next 3 caches - each time we tried to shoo it back the way it had come but in the end we just thought it would go home eventually. By the time we got to #37 it was clear that it wasn't going to go away as it kept running off to other people - even chasing a car down a lane - but always coming back to us (very obedient ) so we decided to ring the number. on the collar; at this point we learnt that the dog was called Molly. As we'd suspected, the dog had come from the farm near where we'd first seen it and the owner was very grateful that we'd called and said he'd come and meet us.  We looked around for something to secure the dog as we thought it would be just our luck that the owner would arrive and the dog would disappear - luckily we found some bailer twine to use as a makeshift lead and we backtracked through the wood and out to the lane where we waited for Molly's owner to arrive...........  So all this faffing around had delayed us by about ½ an hour so we decided to stop for our lunch as Stag Ramblers would probably be too far ahead of us now to catch them up...........

Really enjoyed the walk, great scenery, mostly good paths (apart from the bit at the start and the end) and all easy to find (apart from one) caches.  One thing we did keep saying to each other as we found the caches was how on earth had the COs managed to lug all the caches around with them!!!  If you do the series you'll see what we mean

 All together the walk took us 6½ hours.

Concrete Jungle

Sunday, 4 November 2012

A Wet Walk in Northamptonshire

Upper Benefield Trigpoint
IzaakWilson Caches - Corby, Northamptonshire

After having a lovely week away in sunny Spain we decided to embrace the British weather and head over to the East Midlands to do a spot of caching, we've really enjoyed finding IzaakWilson caches recently, all good walks and caches easy to find with sensible hints.  The forecast wasn't good but we decided to go for it anyway. 

As we drove up the motorway it looked like the clouds might break up and the skies started to clear but as we got closer to Corby the heavens opened and it rained heavily.  Undeterred we decided to set off on our planned walk which was to start at #20 Benefield Gallivant with the intention of completing Benefield Gallivant, Deenethorpe and Back and Causin to the Wind all in one walk.  We'd already completed Brigstock and Back on a previous trip.  Well best laid plans etc .... it rained.....and rained.... and rained heavily all day and the paths started to turn into streams then the streams turned into rivers.  We decided it would be pretty foolish to continue the walk as we were concerned we may get cut off as the fields were flooding.  So we decided to cut the walk short after completing part of Benefield Gallivant and Deenethorpe and Back.  On our return leg to the car we approached the bridge at #5 Benefield to Deenethorpe Link and we were shocked to see that the bridge was nowhere to be seen but was now submerged under deep flood water!  So we had to trudge through the neighbouring field before jumping the ditch to get back on track.  After reaching Benefield Gallivant #13 we decided enough was enough and headed straight down the road and back to the car.

We arrived back at the car after walking 9 miles, thoroughly soaked through, our waterproofs no longer keeping out the rain - although have to say our feet were still nice and dry!!!  How on earth we managed that I'll never know but that was down to having good boots I suppose - mental note to reproof the coats!

I didn't take any photos all day as it was just too wet apart from one at the end where we bagged the trigpoint.  As it was I had to dry out my iPhone rather rapidly when we got back to the car.

But all in all we really enjoyed the walk, all easy to find caches with sensible hints - we'll return again soon to do loops we couldn't do.

Then on the way home I was checking my emails when I noticed some new caches had been published in Leamington Spa which was on our route home, so as we still needed our FTF for the month we decided to go and find them.   We weren't holding out much hope of being first as the caches had been published for over an hour and we know BigBatch is very quick off the mark in this area - we headed off to the closest two which were just a short walk along the canal and they had already been found by BigBatch so we decided to call it a day as we were freezing cold as we were still in our wet clothes - then I noticed another new cache published down a bridleway and we thought it would be tricky for BigBatch to be in two places at once so we decided to go for that one as well.  We set off down the bridleway and the area was quite flooded so I hopped across to where I thought the cache would be hidden and in the process managed to slip into the water and get my foot soaked!!!  Anyway the log book was blank!!! Just as I was about to replace it we heard a voice and it was ... yes you guessed it ... BigBatch!  So we walked back up the track towards the cars together and then went our separate ways.

.... and the end of another great caching day 

Friday, 2 November 2012


Calella De Palafrugell

Roses, Catalonia, Spain

We'd both booked this week off work back in the summer but hadn't decided what to do with it, so we kept our eye on different deals and had a few ideas of places to go. We were also keen to go to a new caching country.  I've been to Spain many years ago but this was all in pre-caching days.
Our Hotel

We don't get these in Tesco!

We spotted a fairly good deal flying to Girona in Spain and a work colleague had visited Roses in Spain many times and highly recommended it so we started looking into that area, it looked really nice with lots of caches to do in the area too.  So the flight was booked and hotel arranged.

Salvador Dali Museum
Our hire car for the week

Anyone looking at the Geocaching map would not fail to see a long trail of caches leading from El Port De la Selva in the North East down to Alcarras some 235 miles away! This is the CSJ series and follows the Catalonian Way of Saint James.  Anyway, we naturally thought we’d have a go at some of these and managed to bag a few although being a linear walk it meant a lot of back-tracking to move the car.

Aiguamolls Bike Ride - A bit flooded in places

One of the things we'd planned to do this week was to hire some bikes and do the 'Aiguamolls Bike Ride' which is also known as the 'Granny Sue Route' a cycling series not far from Roses.  We weren't really sure how long the ride was but Mark had initially said that he thought it would be about 20 miles and that we should have just enough time to complete it in daylight but along the route we came across many flooded roads and paths after the recent heavy rain and found that we spent a lot of time struggling through flood water, muddy tracks or doubling back to pick up the route again so towards the end of the day we realised unless we cut out a large chunk of it we weren't going to finish.

Part of the route took us through Empuriabrava, an area that is often referred to as the Venice of Spain because most of its residential area is built on and around a system of canals - 40km of waterways in total! The majority of the residencies have a private mooring at the end of the garden making it the largest residential marina in Europe.  There's also an airport which specialises in skydiving, restaurants, bars cafes boutiques and shopping centres.  We can only imagine how much it would cost to buy a property here.

Altogether we completed 26 miles - 4 miles of this was going to and from our hotel - but although hard going the route was fantastic and we had a lot of fun doing it and the scenery was just amazing.

 .... and we were back in time to see the sun set over the bay.

On the final day of our holiday we headed back towards Girona picking up a webcam cache on the way.  Luckily our caching friend Gaz_Zippy was able to help us out again with the screen grab - he must wonder where on earth we are going to ring him from next

Great fun getting this lot through airport security
Then it was back home to chilly Birmingham and time to plan the next trip
Could get used to this!

Aiguamolls Bike Ride