Sunday, 26 February 2012

Meon Hill

Meon Hill Series


Meon Hill is a series of 22 caches set on a 7 mile circular walk.

The series starts and finishes in the village of Mickleton which is the northernmost village in Gloucestershire and lies 8 miles south of Stratford-upon-Avon.  There is a village store near the suggested parking which is ideal if you need to stock up food or drink for the walk.  There are also a couple of pubs in the village, can't vouch for those as we haven't tried them.

A bit of a late start for us this morning, set off on the walk just after 11.30 but a beautiful day to be out caching.

We have very fond memories of caching in Mickleton back in May 2007, our children used to enjoy coming with us back then and our dogs were young and fit, just the two of us today.  We remember walking past the greenhouses between #2 and #3 and having a conversation with a nearby home-owner on the history of the area.  The greenhouses have become somewhat more dilapidated since our last visit.

Old Greenhouses

The walk takes you along well maintained, undulating footpaths with fabulous views around Meon Hill and will take you on parts of the Heart of England and Monarch's Way.  You will pass Hidcote Manor which is well worth a visit if you have the time (check opening times) and Kiftsgate Court Gardens and in the summer months there's a Maize Maze in Hidcote which we've enjoyed a few times when the children were younger, again check times etc to avoid sad faces .

We saw quite a few cute lambs on the walk, lovely to see them and lots of signs that spring is well and truly on its way. 

Aww so sweet
At #6 you could make a slight detour to a handy farm shop with toilet facilities, only open Tues-Sat though.

Refreshments anyone?
Our favourite part of the walk was from #16 to #18, the walk through the wood with the sun coming through the trees was very pretty then out into the open and some fantastic views.

Gateway to paradise!
Is it really only February?

We completed the walk in 3 hours and 34 minutes, this included stopping for a picnic en route.  

A thoroughly enjoyable walk, all caches were fairly straightforward, some of the co-ords were a little out in places but with great hints this wasn't a problem.  We'd highly recommend this walk to anyone who loves walking in beautiful countryside.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Hargrave Hobble

Hargrave Hobble

Hargrave Hobble

Length of Walk - 11 miles
Caches - 55 + 5

The Hargrave Hobble is an 11 mile circular walk of 55 caches set along the footpaths, byways and country lanes around the village of Hargrave in Northamptonshire.

We were planning our caching trip for the weekend on Tuesday when this series came up, looked like a good walk and the forecast was for a sunny day so we pencilled it into the diary.  

We had to drop our son off at work for 7am in Stratford-upon-Avon so we left home at 6.30am and arrived in Hargrave just before 8.30am, parked at the suggested parking and off we went.  We hope to complete the walk in 5 hours as we need to be back home at a reasonable time as Mark and Steven are going to a Rammstein gig at the LG Arena tonight.

All the caches were easy to find with useful hints, they are all set to be found which meant we could keep a steady pace going throughout the walk.

Just after finding #16 we were approached by the farmer, he asked us what we were doing, we didn't know that he'd seen us get the cache as we'd waited for him to go out of sight before we retrieved it but he must've been watching us from somewhere as he explained that there had been a few others doing the same thing in the last few days.  We said that we were out on a 10 mile circular walk from Hargrave, he wanted to know where we were from and where we were staying for the weekend, we answered all the questions then continued on our way.  After finding #18 we heard a quad bike speeding along and getting closer, it was the farmer again, this time he demanded to know what we were up to as his neighbour had called him and said she'd seen us disappear into the trees (at #17).  So this time we decided to explain all about Geocaching.  He was absolutely fine with it and if anything was relieved that that's all we were doing.  Apparently they and other farms in the area have had a spate of cattle and machinery thefts in the past few weeks so imagine all sorts when they started getting more people on the path than is normal.  Probably not the best location for these caches, the farmer was fine about it with us and some of the other cachers that followed us but not sure if he'll feel the same way after there's been a hundred visitors.

Pretty village of Covington

Just as we got to #24 we had a message from Pffaffabouters asking which one we were at, they were only at #6 so it wasn't worth hanging back for them but we phoned them to let them know we'd spoken to the farmer about caching.

Time for a cuppa

Thoroughly enjoyed the walk, all caches were found easily with great co-ords and useful hints.

We completed the walk in just under 5 hours, then it was back to the car for hot soup.  Then we headed home after picking up a couple of Just Northamptonshire caches.

A great morning of caching.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Snowshill Scramble

Snowshill Scramble

St Barnabas Church, Snowshill

Length of walk - 8.45 miles
Caches - A series of 24 caches + 3 extras

We'd initially planned to go to an event this morning but couldn't make the early 8.15am start so decided to make other plans and when we saw that the forecast was for sunshine today we thought we'd head out and do this new series instead.

Geocaching has brought us to Snowshill many times in the past 5 years, we love walking in the area, in fact caching in the Cotswolds is what got us hooked on caching and we've spent many a happy weekend finding Wrighty's caches, until we'd found all of his and then we had to go elsewhere for our caching trips so it was really great to be here again.

The best time of year to visit Snowshill is when the fields at Snowshill Lavender are in bloom, it really is a stunning sight and worth a visit.

Snow on the ground in the shade

Anyway about the walk ..........

We parked up next to the church in Snowshill at about 10:00 and off we went. The stretch uphill between #3 and #4 was quite slow going due to the mud, we think the path here is always muddy as we've walked along it in summer time and it's still been really muddy .  Between #6 and #9 you pass through some very pretty woodland, there was snow on the ground and it was very sheltered here and we could hear a noisy water pump clanking in the distance, the other logs mention it so it must be working all the time.  We spotted an information hut through the trees so we popped inside to have a look.

Information Hut

Griff Groff has gone to a lot of  time and effort to set this series up, all the caches were easy to find, the most difficult bit was having to wait for passing muggles, it would seem the sunny weather had brought everyone out and quite a bit of the series is along the Cotswold Way which is  a very popular walking route but it wasn't a problem as it gave us chance to stand and admire the stunning views.

Stanway House
We have been to Stanway and Stanton a number of times for caching trips and it was lovely to walk through the villages again and see the Cotswold stone buildings and well kept gardens. 

 In Stanton we stopped off to do Stanton Calling no more, where the phone box has now been utilised as an information centre, an excellent idea!  On our travels we've seen this done a few times with one village making use of their phone box for book swapping!

Tourist Information

 It was a great opportunity for us to do Twill Surely Rain by Wrighty, this cache was published after we'd completed all of the others in the area back in 2008 so it had been stuck by itself for a long time, so we made the slight detour to find it today.  The funny thing is, just as we arrievd at GZ it clouded over and we both looked at each other and said 'Hmm Twill Surely Rain' .... but no luckily it didn't and the black clouds eventually disappeared.

Twill Surely Rain

A thoroughly enjoyable walk which we completed in 5 hours and 20 mins, this included stopping for a picnic in Stanway and making a half mile or so detour to bag a trigpoint to satisfy our other hobby of Trigpointing .   We didn't take Poppy and Whisper with us today as it would be a little far for them now but the walk is completely dog friendly as there were no stiles and no fields of cattle.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Classic Bikes

Classic Bikes 2 by Marrow Bone 


Walk length - 6 miles
Caches - 20 + 1

This series is called Classic Bikes and all the caches are named after motorbikes of the 50s and 60s.  

The forecast had been for heavy rain this afternoon so we decided to stay fairly local to home and get a walk done in the morning.  This series looked perfect.  We parked up next to Chesterton Church and off we went.  Some of the fields were very muddy and sticky but nothing too serious and the listings mention it so we were expecting it

Hint was 'LOOK HARD'
The caches were a mix of hides and sizes, some of them well crafted and well hidden, all with hints so no problems finding them all. Just as we arrived at the last cache it started to rain and just as we got back to the car the heavens opened and down came the torrential rain.  We completed the walk in 2 hours and 40 mins.

We sat in the car eating our hot soup and rolls hoping the rain would subside so we could go on another shorter walk but it didn't so we decided to call it a day and head home.  We'll be back to find some more in the area very soon.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Keyston Kache Kaper

Keyston Kache Kaper
The Keyston Kache Kaper is a 9-mile walk of 47 + 4 caches set on a 9-mile figure of eight walk starting in the village of Keyston in Cambridgeshire.  The route takes you along bridleways and footpaths, with a short section on quiet roads.

A frosty start
The forecast for today was for heavy snow so after checking the met office website we decide to make a very early start as the snow wasn't due until about 15:00 and we worked out that if we set off straight after dropping our son at work at 07:00 we could be in the area before 09:00 and then back home well before the snow set in.
Just as we arrived at the parking another cacher pulled up, it was Gladstone8, we enjoyed a brief chat and exchange of TB codes and then went our separate ways as they were waiting to be joined by friends and we were conscious of our time constraints with the weather today.

Water Tower

All the caches are hidden to be found so all had good hints and were straightforward to find so we were able to enjoy the walk and surroundings.  We managed to find all the caches too, which is unusual for us because we nearly always have at least 1 DNF on a Poshrule series

We completed the walk in 3¾ hours and then it was back to the car for our well earned soup.

We did have another series planned for the afternoon but didn't want to risk hanging around as we knew the snow was on its way.  I'm sure we'll be back to do that one very soon.

Hope we get back before it sets in

Thought we'd give the Garmin track log a try instead of Everytrail:

Friday, 3 February 2012

Animal Letterbox Series

ALS - Animal Letterbox Series 

The Animal Letterbox Series is a series of 14 Letterbox Hybrid Caches which are placed in two different locations.  The first half starts at  ALS 1 and the second half starts at ALS 8.  After finding all 14 caches and noting down all the necessary information you will be able to work out the final co-ordinates for the bonus The first half takes you on a 2½ mile walk, starting from the church at Bradley Green, a small village not far from Redditch and the second half is a short walk a little over 1½ miles around Haselor which is about 1 mile east of Alcester.

St John the Baptist Church - Bradley Green

Parked at the church and off we went.  We remember the location from a cache we did back in October 2007 called Bradley's cache which was archived some time ago.  

A lovely sunny afternoon for a walk.  On the three previous occasions we've walked through this field we've had to encounter cows and mud but no problems at all today as the ground was frozen solid and there were no cows to be seen anywhere.

Poppy making friends with the horses

We took Poppy and Whisper with us but we had to lift them over at least 2 stiles so wouldn't recommend so not particularly dog friendly.  The only animals we encountered were some very nosey sheep and three very inquisitive horses.  All the caches were easy to find apart from one which we resorted to phoning a friend to see if we were looking in the right place, they confirmed we were so we kept on searching and we eventually located it.  It was fun collecting up the necessary bonus information, we completed the walk in just under 2 hours.  All we need now is to find the rest of the caches in Haselor....... fast forward to Sunday

Snowy walk

Parked up next to the stocks in Haselor village for a late afternoon walk.  We've had quite a bit of snow over the weekend so it was a bit tricky finding one of the caches as the hiding place was buried under snow but the rest of the caches were all easily found with useful hints.  We didn't have Poppy and Whisper with us this time as we'd already taken them on a 5 mile walk from home to Oversley wood and back in the morning so they were a bit too tired for another walk.  From what I can remember I'd say it was fairly dog friendly with maybe only one dog-proof stile.  No cattle on route either but in the summer months there are usually cows in the fields near the church.

On our way round we realised we'd be walking past a cache that we'd been FTF on back in 2007 but we felt sure it had been archived, curious to see if it was still there we had a look for it and lo and behold there it was..  It had moved from when we'd originally found it but it was still in great condition and as it was pretty much geo-litter now we decided to remove it.  Reading the log book was interesting as it seems that a muggle found the cache and took it home to show her family and then some time later returned it, then it was archived but muggles have continued to find and sign the log book after it was archived.  Also we were surprised to see that there was a TB in the cache so we were very pleased to be able to liberate it.  Here are the muggle logs:

Enjoyed the walk very much, collected up the rest of the bonus info then just as the sun was setting we were back at the car.  We completed the walk in just under an hour.