Sunday, 31 December 2017

Year in Review – 2017

Year in Review – 2017

Well, yet another year draws to a close.  We've been on some amazing adventures, it's been fun looking back on all the exciting trips to write our Year in Review.

Our quest to climb all the Wainwrights continued this year with a further 36 summits achieved bringing the total up to 90 out of 214.

This was fewer than we had hoped to do but we generally only head up to The Lakes when the weather is good and this sometimes clashes with other activities such as three Mega Events in the UK (The Kent Mega, Piratemania and Devon UK Mega), Caledonian CacheFest  and a trip across The Channel to GeoNord 2017 - Oxygen  took up a couple more weekends.

At Easter we enjoyed a week in  Italy - this was our first trip of the  year out of the country.  We logged nine cache types for the country including Italy's only remaining webcam.
Our event in San Marino

Part of our Italy trip included San Marino where we managed to find the maximum of six cache types which included the only Puzzle, Multi and Earthcache. A few more have been published since then though.

In September we attended our 5th Giga event.  We flew to Slovakia to attend the Giga over the border in the Czech Republic. Once again, we 'only' managed nine cache types! :D

Our little event in  Trvana

The highlight of the year was our three week road trip to the South Western states of USA in the Autumn. A totally surreal experience.  We saw so many amazing places and met some lovely people.  During our trip we visited San Francisco, we hiked to Half Dome summit in Yosemite, visited the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, flew to Seattle to do the Ape Cache (amazing) and visit Geocaching HQ to name but a few things, would love to go back, so much more to see that we didn't have time for. 

Big Sur

Half Dome Hike
Joshua Tree National Park
Mission 9: Tunnel of Light
At Geocaching HQ with Sven

As the nights were rapidly drawing in we also managed to fit in a long weekend in Spain  

We have made a few videos of our trips and put them on our YouTube Channel, we hope to add more when we have time to edit and upload them so hit subscribe if you'd like to see updates.
This years' new geocaching milestones etc:

New furthest West: The Great Lobos GC21EA - California
New furthest South: You Shall Not Pass! GC4F7ZM - California
New most finds in a day: 235 – on the epic E.T. Highway in Nevada
New cache types: Project A.P.E Cache

New Countries:

San Marino 

New cache types in previously visited countries

France: Mega Event, Event and Lab Caches
Czech Republic: : Giga Event  an Lab Caches
USA: Project A.P.E. Cache

'Rare' cache types logged in 2017:

303 Wherigos
6 Webcams
113 Virtuals
90 Lab Caches
4 Mega Events
1 Giga Event
1 ‘Maze’ Exhibit
1 A.P.E. Cache

Next year we'll try harder with the Wainwrights... although there are three Megas in the UK in 2018, a Mega in Austria, some more interesting Geoart in Spain to be done and a Giga near Cincinnati which will take up a number of weekends...... plus a few other ideas in the pipeline so watch this space...

A Happy New Year Everyone!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Castilla-La Mancha

Earlier in the year we noticed some Wherigo Geoart in the shape of a cat in North West Spain and while browsing what other caches there were we spotted another Geoart series in the shape of a goat near Madrid.  We decided to opt for the cat series first and booked our flights to Porto for the Autumn as due to work/family/existing trip commitments we weren't going to be free until then. However, while we were away in the States we were notified that the airline we'd booked with had ceased trading and all flights had been cancelled..doh!  We shopped around for more flights but found we could get much cheaper flights to Madrid instead but this meant we had to put our plans back a week which just happened to be my birthday weekend ..... so here we are.

While looking at possible places within easy reach of Madrid I noticed the beautiful area of Serranía de Cuenca and Ciudad Encantada (the enchanted city) so decided to make a start there.

Day 1

We made an early start before sunrise in sub-zero temperatures to explore this beautiful area.

The scenery and views were spectacular!

Ventano del Diablo viewpoint

Ciudad Encantrada

We were really looking forward to visiting the rock formations at Ciudad Encantada.  We have seen quite a bit of this type of erosion before but these examples seemed particularly spectacular.

The 1982 movie Conan The Barbarian was filmed here

Also on our must-visit list was Cuenca.

The Hanging Houses
Days 2 and 3

 La Marca de la Cabra

After a bit of research we realised that as we only had 2 days to do the series we would need to take our bikes with us to stand the best chance of finding all the caches, it would be too far to walk and we'd find it painfully tedious doing them all by car.

Although the weather forecast had said 15 degrees we hadn't reckoned on the subzero temperatures before sunrise and didn't think to pack our gloves so had to endure freezing cold hands until the sun rose and warmed us up and reached a gorgeous 25 degrees by mid-afternoon.

 We thoroughly enjoyed the bike ride and managed to find over 140 caches before it got too dark.

Views of Madrid - 4 torres on the horizon

On Sunday morning we had about 45 caches left to finish the series.  We set off to do one loop, once again in sub-zero temperatures when just near the end disaster struck and the derailleur which had been slightly damaged in transit finally gave up totally.  So we went to Decathlon for a temporary repair which enabled us to finish the remaining caches.  We were well impressed with Decathlon's customer service and despite the language barrier they understood what the problem was and did a temporary repair free of charge.

We cycled well over 30 miles on our bikes and has to be the best series we've done on our bikes.  Some of the caches required a long search but most had good co-ords and hints.

In preparation for our trip we'd spotted some more geo-art with a variety of cache types and although this was about an hour's drive from where we were staying we decided to give it a go and we're really glad we did.  A very enjoyable series in a lovely location.  It was about a 5 mile bike ride in the glorious autumn sunshine which we completed just as the sun was setting.

Day 4

My birthday treat, spending the day exploring Madrid.

Puerta de Alcalá

Fantastic view from the rooftop of Círculo de Bellas Artes 
La Mallorquina - a must visit!

Swamp cyprus

Palacio de Cristal


Segovia Viaduct
4 Torres
Love Spain, will definitely be back to explore other regions soon.