Monday, 27 May 2013



A quick note about our blog:

I won't be updating this page regularly now as I've just started a new full-time job and this means I now have no time during the week for blog writing (but more money for caching trips ........ every cloud and all that ) so I'll now only be updating this page when I have the time.  I've really appreciated all the feedback and positive comments and I'm glad some of our trips have been inspiring to some of you.

So here's a summary of what we've been upto over the last couple of weeks:
Bedruthan Steps


We enjoyed a short break in Cornwall.  We haven't visited since 2009 so were really looking forward to our trip.  There have been a lot more caches published since our last trip too so we decided that on one of the days we would tackle as much of the Halo series as possible.  We decided to do the Southern loop and if there was time continue around the Northern loop.  As it happened the walk took us quite a bit longer than we'd first anticipated, mainly due to the fact that on the cache listing it says the complete walk is 21 miles when in reality just the southern loop we made to be 24 miles!  Also we were stopping frequently, thinking we had plenty of time, as there was so much to see en route.  The weather slowed us down too as it was mixed, hot sunshine one minute pouring down the next so waterproofs were going on and off and most of the terrain was quite hard going, a lot of road walking, bumpy bridleways and an awful lot of up-hills and down-hills.  At the end we were really glad to see the car as we were both very tired and our feet were very sore.  We completed the 24 miles in 13 hours.

But on the whole we had a fab time doing the walk, a real challenge but great fun.

Whilst doing the Halo series we walked through the little town of Fowey situated at the mouth of the River Fowey, a beautiful place with narrow streets, I spotted something in a shop window that I wanted to buy for Beth but it would've been impossible to carry it on our walk so we so we decided we'd return the following day to buy it and explore properly.  We got talking to the shop owner, they had come here from Northern Ireland in the early 90s, settled here and bought the shop and never looked back...... sounded idyllic and really got me thinking............

For the rest of the time we concentrated on finding a few key caches on our to-do list - We found a few wherigos,  I'm not usually a big fan of them but since Mark's had his own Oregon I've started to enjoy them a little more - Out of all the ones we did this was our favourite White River Wherigo in fact out of all the ones we've ever done this is probably the best, it was really well thought out, a great story, humorous and a fantastic location for the walk. 
Pentewan Sands


Our main reason for our trip to this area was to complete the Wirral Way caches.  A series of 80 caches plus extras along the Wirral Way, a walk which starts in West Kirby and follows the track bed of part of the former Birkenhead Railway route which closed in 1962, to Hooton.

We parked our car at Hooton Railway (80p for the day) then caught the train to West Kirby, changing at Hamilton Square.

Once at West Kirby you literally cross the road and start walking down the Wirral Way and back to the car.

We were so lucky with the weather, the sun shone all day and for once we didn't need to worry about carrying waterproofs.

Really enjoyed the walk, meeting lots of really friendly people along the way.  It's a really busy route so although all the caches were straightforward finds the tricky bit was waiting for gaps in the muggle traffic so that really slowed us down at times.

Great views to be had all along the route, then after 7 hours of walking we were back at Hooton and the car.  We made the route to be 14 miles altogether.

So for the rest of our stay in the area we did a couple of webcams, some Wherigos, a virtual and a trigpoint.

On our way home we stopped off at Tatton Park as there was a Wherigo we wanted to find in the grounds.  We had a great afternoon there, although we had to pay to park we were able to look around the gardens for free as we're National Trust members.

Then all too soon it was time to head back home after another fun-packed trip.

Monday, 6 May 2013


Lake Tisza

Back in January, when we were booking our trips for the year, we were contemplating a return trip to Spain and Mark happened across a log by a previous cacher who mentioned Hungarian power-trails.  Intrigued by this comment, we had a look on the Geocaching map and spotted this one around Lake Tisza with 303+ caches.  We like to try and visit new countries whenever we can but had never really thought about visiting Hungary before but we though this would be a pretty good reason to go.  Within days we had flights, hotels and hire car all booked.

Tisza Balneum Thermal Hotel

Jó estét

In March there was a lot of Facebook chatter about May 4th Flash Mobs and as we knew we'd be in Hungary we decided to hold our own.  It can be tricky trying to get light sabres though customs these days so we had to decide on a different theme.   There is a statue of a girl holding a pigeon in the middle of Tiszafüred that Mark had spotted on Google Earth ....... and an idea started forming. Hmm... a flash mob where attendees brought along their own Origami pigeons as these would be easy to transport and construct.  Once published we asked elisoft, a Coventry based Hungarian caching friend to translate the page for us.

Lake Tisza Power Trail

This power trail sounds great:  over 300 caches set on a flat, cycle-able path around Lake Tisza.  Just look at the map! Yeah it’s a long trail but there’s always the option of nipping back across the bridge after #212 if it gets too much.
Our Cachemobile for the week

We flew out to Budapest from Stansted and collected the hire car. A brand new VW Polo with only 17km on the clock.  The drive to Tiszafüred was easy enough although some of the motorway wasn’t shown on TomTom.  We also assumed we would find a supermarket en route to grab a bite to eat. We found plenty of supermarkets but they were all closed! This was a bit puzzling until it eventually dawned on us that May 1st was a Bank Holiday! The hotel staff confirmed this a little later.

The next morning we hired a pair of bikes from the hotel and set off with the intention of finding as many caches as we could in the one day.  The trail started off well and we were making good progress – a find every two minutes.  Before long though, the caches were placed among the trees set back from the cycle path.  So, cycle 523ft..... hop off bike ...... walk down embankment through long grass 150ft...... locate cache (a lot of which were very high up in the trees) scribble on log book.......... traipse back up back to the bikes...... check for ticks!..... and repeat. It wasn’t all like this, some of the caches were placed by marker posts on the track but the majority required this extra 300ft walk.

Oh yeah I was wearing knee length shorts so the first glimpse of a tick understandably put me off walking through the long grass!  As the day warmed up the mosquitoes became more and more of a nuisance as well.  We very quickly realised that we had no hope of completing this in one go so after about 20 miles we decided to call it a day.

We'd made up our minds we wanted to see a bit more of the area during our stay than just the power trail, also find a few other cache types and find time to relax, after all this is supposed to be a holiday right?

So as much fun as it was finding lots of caches around the lake it all got a bit repetitive and we decided to head back to the hotel arriving just in time for another delicious buffet meal which we'd earnt after cycling 40+ miles!

There are only six Letterbox Hybrid caches in the whole of Hungary and one of them is within Lake Tisza Ecocentre on the West side of the lake, luckily it was already on our list of places to visit so we didn't mind having to pay to access this one.  A really interesting place to visit with lots to see but unfortunately there were no English or German translations so we had no idea what we were looking at, interesting all the same.

We are always keen to find as many different cache types per country so now it was time to find a Multi.  Apart from a couple of nearby Multis on islands (requiring a boat), the next closest  was a  two-stage multi  in a village called Tard about 17 miles away.  If this had been 17 miles on a motorway it would have been no problem at all. Instead it was along some of the worst roads we have ever seen. The potholes are horrendous. All the locals appear to be used to them and just happily whizz along swerving around them; can be quite disconcerting when oncoming traffic appears to be aiming straight at us for no apparent reason.

Letterbox final

Another ‘interesting’ thing was the route TomTom directed us.  It appeared to be through an old military base with derelict buildings and overgrown concrete tracks (yes, this surface WAS actually better than the proper roads!) .  After a mile or two we felt very uncomfortable as we got deeper and deeper into remote countryside and when we ended up on an old runway we decided to turn around and find an alternative route.  Further research after returning home revealed that it was a former Russian reserve airbase.

The Multi in Tard started at a pair of very old cottages way off the beaten track, I won't say tourist track as I don't think it exists in that area.  We were content to just to take a photo from the roadside but an old lady insisted on showing us around and explaining how old the houses were and what it was like living there in the olden days etc, etc... or at least we think that’s what she was saying because we couldn’t actually understand a word!  At one point she dressed Mark up in a traditional outfit and we were beginning to wonder how we could get away or how much it was all going to cost us, I bought a hand-crafted traditional cross stitch bookmark from her and she didn't seem to want any payment so after quite some time we had to make our excuses about having to be somewhere else and we made our getaway.

Final location was in a graveyard.  One thing that was noticeable was that some of the gravestones had birth and death year dates as is usual but they also had the birth year of the living spouse!  Made it seem like they were eager to be able to add the final date.

Hotel Fuzfa

On Saturday, we hired some bikes from a hotel on the other side of the lake to do some more of the Lake Tisza Power Trail. This side was better than Thursday’s but as fate would have it 2000 other people thought it would be a nice day to cycle down that way as well.

Jó estét
Group Photo

We listed our flashmob event in March and had no ‘Will Attends’ until 30th April, we weren't really expecting many attendees due to the remote location but in the end there was one German, two English (us) and 15 Czechs . The event went far better than we could ever have hoped.  Most of the attendees had their Origami pigeons and we all posed next to the Girl with Pigeon statue for a group photo.  This is one of the best things about Geocaching, you can go somewhere 1,000 miles away from home and make friends with strangers instantly even when you can barely speak a common language.  A truly memorable event.

Here's a short, heavily edited video from the event...

In this part of Hungary hardly anyone can speak any English as German is their second language. We had done a bit of preparation by learning a few key Hungarian words and phrases but more often than not we had to speak German to be understood.

We checked out of our hotel Sunday morning straight after breakfast and headed to Budapest where we did a couple of Wherigos, a puzzle and two Virtual caches before heading to McDonalds and the Airport for our flight at 21:30 CET.  

Storks nesting on top of electricity poles

That was our 8 icons completed and a new country too.  We didn't spend too long in Budapest as it was very stressful driving in the city as it was so busy with tourists but it was nice to see the sights.

Another very intensive, character building, caching trip.