Saturday, 25 July 2015

A day out in the Peak District

Monsal Dale
One of our favourite areas of the country to visit is the Peak District but we don't visit anywhere near as often as we'd like to.  Our daughter is at Uni right on the edge of the Peak District and has enjoyed many walks with the uni walking club and is always showing us photos of the fantastic places she's been - when we go there it's usually just to pick her up or drop her off, or most recently to move her belongings from her flat to her house so there's usually very little time to go on any decent walks.

We were only free on the Saturday this weekend so decided to visit Piratemania just for the day and at the same time take the opportunity while in the area to find some must-do caches.

Harry's Place

This was a virtual at Monsal Dale.  The car park at Monsal Head wasn't free so we managed to find free roadside parking further down the road.  The view from Monsal Head is breathtaking, we have driven this way before but have never found time to stop so it was great to finally be able to explore the area.  The walk down into Monsal Dale was simply beautiful and we thoroughly enjoyed the walk.  We made a circular walk of it which took us back along Headstone Viaduct and into Headstsone Tunnel which is part of the Monsal Trail. 

The Monsal Trail runs along the former Midland Railway line for 8.5 miles between Blackwell Mill, in Chee Dale and Coombs Road, at Bakewell.  The route was opened to the public in 1981 but four of the six railway tunnels remained closed due to safety reasons and reopened again in 2011.  We walked through the tunnel and back again before heading back up to Monsal Head.

The Tunnel is one of six on the Monsal Trail.  We will definitely be back another day to cycle the full Monsal Trail as it looks amazing.

Then it was off to Froggatt Edge to do Jonah's Journey.  This has been on our to-do list for many years, in fact we originally had the plan to come here when we were at the first Piratemania back in 2008 but ran out of time, since then it's been pushed down the to-do list but finally, today was the day - and also it meant that it would tick off the Geocaching Road Trip Let's Get Extreme Souvenir rather nicely.

Then it was back to the mega event to finish finding the lab caches and to play the Wherigo, Pegleg's Treasure (which we'd finally been able to download after driving around to find network coverage for our phones).  This took quite some time as we were stopping to chat to lots of other pirates along the way so by the time we'd finished it was time to set sail and head back home.  Stopping on the way to find LQ: Derbyshire.

Little Quest

We're making quite good progress on this series - the last few months we've been combining trips to National Trust properties (another of my many interests) with ticking off more LQ caches.  It's been so much fun and has taken us to some great locations.   Our latest find, LQ: Derbyshire, was in a great spot next to Riber Castle which overlooks Matlock - a great location with fantastic views.  Incidentally, Riber Castle was used as one of the filming location for the 2004 film 'Dead Man's Shoes', I remember watching it back then recognising the location from a previous visit to the area in 2001 so I was really pleased to see this cache was near to it.  Unfortunately the area is fenced off so we couldn't explore.

We had such a fantastic day and we are definitely going to make the effort to explore this area more often in the future as our visit has left me craving for more.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Luxembourg Mega

Luxembourg Mega

We'd stopped off in Luxembourg in September 2010 on the way home from a family holiday in Belgium. We only had time for one cache but that was enough to ‘colour in ‘ the country on the stats map.  However, since 2013 we’ve tried to find different cache types in each country we visit so the one solitary cache for Luxembourg stood out in our ever increasing list

So, when a Mega event was announced we knew we’d have to go. The timing wasn’t ideal as we'd already booked a short break to Berlin for the week before.  Anyway, a plan soon took shape and the idea was to drive down to Kent on the Wednesday evening, cross on the tunnel early Thursday and return Sunday evening

We hadn’t reckoned on ferry strikes and watched the news with interest as this obviously had a knock-on effect for Eurostar.  In the end we decided to shorten the trip and make the crossing early Saturday morning and return Sunday hoping that the worst of the ferry problems would have blown over by then.

Shortening the trip meant that Donna wasn't quite so keen (can't understand why) so I decided to go it alone.  I left home Friday afternoon and made my way down to Kent  to do a couple of Wherigos on the way.  I took my time going to Kent and by the time I got there the mpg-ometer was showing an average of over 63 mpg!

The crossing was booked for 3:20 so I arrived early in the hope of getting on an earlier crossing. No such luck.  Although the access road was jammed full of queuing lorries, the car park was almost empty and the crossings were being delayed due to illegal immigrants in the tunnel at Calais.

Eventually arrived in Calais and headed to Luxembourg -  a mere 260 miles or so.  Arrived at the Mega venue, paid the 10 Euros fee and headed into the building.

The venue appeared to be a disused warehouse and contained the usual assortment of stalls. Chatted to few cachers and played the new Mastermind themed Wherigo before heading off to do the Lab caches.  Some of the Lab Caches were at the Mega venue but others were quite a distance away.  No problem though with my handy geo-bicycle.  Called in at the Mystery solving event, and also found a solved-at-home-puzzle.

One of the Lab Caches was in a wood at the top of a hill and in the heat.... oh yeah I didn’t mention the heat.  It was hot – very hot!  34 degrees!


Abandoned machinery at the top of the hill

By the time I’d reached the top I was fit to collapse, running low on water and having difficulty thinking clearly.  I needed a Multi and one started at the same location so I worked out the final but decided it would take too much effort in the heat to get to GZ.  The whizz back down the hill was nice and cooling and the sudden downpour on the way to the Wherigo final was pretty refreshing.

Anyway, time to go further afield to find a few more cache types so back at the car, thirst quenched and aircon on. I soon started feeling human again.

Next cache  Letterbox Hybrid. There’s only four in the whole of the country and luckily the closest one (about 10 miles away) looked the easiest.  No problems, now to find a Virtual
Once again, there’s only four in the country and the closest one (about another ten miles away) looked pretty quick and easy.


No problem – now for a Multi. The selected one was about a mile or so from the Virtual as was a bit unusual as it was a three-chirp cache! We’ve done a two chirp before but never a three. Pleasant walk through a cool wood.  The Oregon detected the chirps perfectly and the cache was a quick find.

Next cache type EarthCache.  The road to the parking location was closed and the satnav insisted on taking a spurious long route to the other side but didn’t actually get there! Returned to the original route, drove past the barrier and parked by the part where a bridge was being repaired which was actually ideal parking location for the EarthCache.  No problems with the EarthCache, - beautiful location.

Now all possible cache types done for the day so headed off to do another Wherigo (only two left in the country to do) before heading back to Dudelange for the evening. There was music blasting out at the Mega and lots of people drinking and eating hotdogs etc but I just took the opportunity to rinse out my salt encrusted T-shirt before turning in for the night.

Had a pretty good nights sleep and after breakfast headed to the car park for the CITO.  First to arrive about  07:30 - I had planned to cycle round the town doing a few more caches but after getting about 100 metres up the road decided it was far too hot and returned to the car to wait for the organisers and other attendees to arrive.

One of the organisers had brought croissants for everyone to enjoy before the litter pick – very nice.
The park itself looked pretty tidy at first glance but it was surprising just how much litter there was and very soon quite a few bin bags had been filled. Refreshments in the form or bottles of water were very welcome and then it was time to depart.



Great idea for a logbook!

'Bin' to a CITO :)

Cachers starting to arrive..

One of a few piles of bags

Next stop, the final Lux Wherigo. Another enjoyable walk around a wood 

What a great word!

Right! The only thing left on the to-do list was a French Wherigo.  Although there are more Wherigos in France than in England, none were near to our usual routes by Calais – until now that is! One was published near Gravelines just a few months ago so I stopped off to play it on the way back to the channel tunnel.

Arrived at the Channel Tunnel early and was offered an earlier crossing – super!

Finally arrived home at 22:25 having driven 1024 miles with the car showing an overall average of 48 mpg.  Pretty good I thought.

Time to start planning the next trip.......