Monday, 26 November 2018

Weekends go too fast!


Today we headed over the Pennines to view a flat with our daughter and spent the rest of the day mooching about in Sheffield - I love going to Sheffield, so many great places to visit and a trip wouldn't be complete without stopping off at the Unwrapped Shop to fill up our empty jars and containers.

The peanut butter machine is so much fun to use! 😍

It would be great if we had a a zero waste shop on our doorstep.

We stayed overnight in Castleton in our usual spot ready for a walk the next morning.


A bit drizzly first thing but it soon cleared up and we set off on our walk.
The Parish Church of Edale 

We parked at Edale Station to do the BL series which is a short series of 14 caches on a 4 mile loop.  The first cache of the series is very close to the start of the Pennine Way.
Pub which marks the start of the Pennine Way

The Pennine Way National Trail is a 268 mile (429 Km) walking route from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders. It was the very first National Trail and opened on 24th April 1965.  It's a trail I have always wanted to do, we have walked bits of it over the years but to set off and complete the whole trail would be amazing.

Including stopping for lunch and dawdling for muggle walkers and generally enjoying the scenery the walk took us 3hrs 19mins but we weren't in a hurry so if you were pushed for time you could easily do it much faster.

One of the caches, Oh Noe Not Again, required wading in the River Noe so we decided to go back for that one at the end of the walk with our wellies.  We were able to park right next to it, the water was quite fast flowing but it was great fun.

Oh Noe Not Again

We rounded off the day with a few Church Micros and a multi from 2006 called In Search of Thomas - sadly we didn't find Thomas because by the time we got to GZ it was dark and the leaf fall was heavy so after a long search we had to admit defeat, we'll have to return in daylight to find that one.  Sometimes it's fun finding caches in the dark but the one thing I miss is seeing the scenery, not long to wait now until the nights start drawing out again 😀

Monday, 19 November 2018

Autumnal Weekend in The Lakes

We haven't managed to get up to The Lakes anywhere near as much as we'd liked to have done this year, in fact the last time was June!  So when we saw how good the forecast was for this weekend and we had no other plans, the Lakes was our obvious choice and hopefully bag a couple of Wainwrights too,

We have bagged 101 Wainwrights to date.  In 2010 we did our first one but at that time we weren't really aware of the challenge so we officially started the challenge in 2016 when we moved to the North West.  That year we bagged 53, then 2017 we managed 36 and this year we've done 11.


Saturday morning the plan was to hike to Harter Fell (649m).  Harter Fell is a mountain in the western part of the Lake District.  There are several routes to the summit but we decided to walk from the Birks Bridge car park in the Duddon Valley.
Wrynose Pass
The route to the car park involves negotiating the tricky Wrynose Pass (393m).  Wrynose Pass is a mountain pass between the Duddon Valley and Little Langdale and is one of the steepest roads in England.  We have driven this route a few times now and once in icy conditions which was pretty hair-raising.

We had a leisurely start to our walk with coffee and cake in the van before setting off in the autumn sunshine.

The Birks

Looking back at The Birks - an old working farmhouse.  The property was owned by the Forestry Commission and occupied by a tenant farmer until the early 60s but is now owned by the Grove School in Shropshire and utilised as a field studies centre.

The first part of the walk was really boggy underfoot then after this section the path becomes very steep with loose rocks, tree stumps and bare roots.  We stopped regularly to take in the amazing views.

Autumn walks on sunny days are by far my favourite.  I love the contrast of the blue skies and the autumn colours.

It was just under two miles to the summit which consists of three distinct rocky tors.

We found the cache then it was a bit of a scramble to get up to the highest point which is the true summit.

At the true summit
There's also a trigpoint which isn't the highest point, luckily we'd read this in our A.W. guide book before we set off.

The views were stunning and we spent ages admiring them.   The Duddon estuary and Morecambe Bay could be clearly seen to the south and to the west we could just make out the Isle of Man.

After eating our packed lunch and sitting enjoying the views and sunshine we headed back down again.

A truly enjoyable walk on a beautiful autumn day.

After this we sat in the campervan relaxing with a cup of tea and I read my book for a bit then we decided to make a start on the new virtual in Buttermere.  You need to visit five waypoints so we thought we'd try and tick a few of them off over the weekend.

Later on, we were driving down the lanes in an area between Coniston Water and Windermere when we spotted something rather large at the side of the road in the headlights, we slowed right down and saw what we thought was a very large pig, but then we soon realised this was no ordinary pig it was actually a wild boar!  We'd never seen one in the wild before so this was an amazing sight to see.

The dash-cam picked it up very nicely.

This came straight after seeing a beautiful barn own perched on the hedge, unfortunately the dash-cam didn't pick this up as it was too dark.

After this we headed in to Ambleside for a few supplies.  When we arrived we'd just missed the town Christmas light switch-on so the place was looking really festive.


Today we drove along Hard Knott pass and parked in the very small parking area for the walk up to Hard Knott summit (549m).  It was a bitterly cold wind today but luckily the sun was still shining so that helped keep the temperature up a bit.

It was a very straightforward walk from the parking to the summmit, the route isn't particularly well trodden and in areas it's quite boggy so its a case of picking the driest route.  Once again stunning scenery as the skies were so clear.

There is a cache to find at the top which we is always a bonus when Wainwright bagging.

We didn't hang around long at the top so once we'd admired the views and found the cache we headed back down to the parking.

The weekend was over far too quickly, we've had a fab time, hopefully we'll be back up to the Lakes again very soon.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Winter Geolympix

Where is the year going?  I'm so behind with writing blog posts, can't believe I haven't done one since the Yorkshire UK Mega.  I'm going to put some time into catching up with posts over the next few weeks, we've had quite a lot going on non-travel or caching related so the blog had to take a back seat.

So I'll start with a post about this weekend.

Thursday night we headed down towards Ivinghoe for the Winter Geolympix, we stopped off for a few hours in Solihull on the way to visit our son.  A 180 mile journey and we arrived in Brill about 01:30 where we'd planned to stay overnight.

Up early Friday morning and started the day with a walk around Brill to find a few caches.

Still some lovely autumn colour around.

We last visited Brill back in 2008 so it was nice to come back for another look around, still the picturesque little village we remembered it to be.

Brill is well known for its windmill.  Brill Windmill provides one of the earliest and best preserved examples of a post mill in the UK. In 1967 the Council installed a structural steel framework that helps to support the mill's ancient timber frame but means that the mill is static and can no longer turn to face the wind.

From here we headed to Gibraltar.  Yep you did read that correctly - Gibraltar.... the small hamlet in Buckinghamshire.  We visited Gibraltar - the British Overseas Territory - last month (blog to follow) and whilst we were there we did a couple of multis and a letterbox where the final locations were here in Buckinghamshire.  From Rock top to Rock Bottom: Long-range LB/H!, Triumphant Triple: Plaque Buildup 3 (Ultra-Multi) and Gibraltar twinned with... Gibraltar? (Ultra-Multi)  So it was good to finally bag those.

We were hoping it would be a little warmer in Gibraltar

Flashback to sunny Gibraltar

After this it was time to check into the campsite for the weekend.  We stayed at Town Farm Campsite in Ivinghoe which was the suggested campsite for the Mega Event.  A nice little site with really good facilities.

Sunset at Ivinghoe
After checking in we headed off to the Beacon Sandwich? Winter Geolympix Torch Procession event on Ivinghoe Beacon.

Ivinghoe Beacon Trigpoint
It was really cold and windy at the top of the hill so we didn't hang around too long, we enjoyed chatting to a few other cachers before heading back down again.

Then back to the campsite ready for an early start in the morning.

Saturday - Up bright and early ready for a day of fun-filled caching.

Porridge with a View

The Mega Event wasn't due to start until midday so we decided to find as many caches as we could on our bikes before heading to the event.

We had a great time cycling around the Ashridge Estate on our bikes, chatting to lots of cachers along the way.

You can just about make out the mega event behind the trees

The weather started off lovely and sunny but by mid afternoon the weather had turned very dull, cloudy and cold.  We later heard reports that it was the coldest October day in 25 years!  Not sure how correct this is but it really was bitterly cold.
One of the lab caches

We then headed to the parking area ready for the night caches.

It was such a shame that it rained heavily the whole evening, so much effort had gone into setting the caches up, it was still a really good turn out despite the awful weather.

We had such a great time and the weekend went far too quickly.

We headed back to the campsite ready for another early start on Sunday.

We stopped off in Aylesbury on the way home mainly to find the new virtual and play the David Bowie Wherigo.  The virtual and wherigo were both at the new David Bowie statue.

The statue was unveiled in March this year as a tribute to David Bowie who died in January 2016 aged 69.  The money was raised by a crowdfunding appeal and through that they managed to raise the £100,000 needed.

Why a statue in Aylesbury?  Aylesbury was once home to Friars, the venue where Bowie first performed as Ziggy Stardust and debuted two of his albums.

Sadly the artwork has been vandalised twice in six months - the first time within 48 hours of it being unveiled!

There is a live stream webcam available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so if you go along be sure to let your friends and family know so they can look out for you 😎

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

10th Anniversary UK Mega Event - Yorkshire 2018

Well it's hard to believe that the 10th Anniversary UK Mega Event has been and gone.

Back in September 2016 we attended the 'Yorkshire 2018 - The Venue is Revealed' Event.  We met up with a bunch of other cachers on The Stray in Harrogate and took part in a long 'treasure hunt' which eventually led us to Newby Hall, the venue for the 2018 UK Mega Event.

The Stray - 2016

Newby Hall - 2016

A year later in September 2017 we attended the Push the Button Event at  Newby Hall where the Mega Event was published.
Push the Button Event, Newby Hall - 2017

Those two years just flew by.

We'd originally planned to camp at the Mega Event for the whole week and attend all the side events but unfortunately we weren't both able to get that week off from work so we attended from Friday to Sunday.

10 Free Brews in the welcome pack, perfect!
42 Ribblehead Mews - Our address for the weekend
We arrived on Friday and were shown to our pitch which we thought was very professional.  The camp site was really well organised, there were plenty of toilets and hot showers and considering the site had been occupied for five days already we were amazed how spotless it was.

Hot showers

As soon as we'd set up camp, which doesn't take long in our camper van to be fair, we had a quick bite to eat and headed to the event which was an 80s themed disco.  It was a great night, we chatted to lots of friends, some we only see at the Mega Event every year.  We were so busy chatting I've realised I didn't take any video or photos of the evening ... doh.
Camp View by Antony Christian

Saturday - Mega Day!

Up bright and early and off to sign into the main event.

We started off by doing the lab caches, these were all situated around the same area on the mega site, so they were easy to get to and fun to do, and as always a great way of chatting to others as you mill around doing them.
Looking for a lab cache answer
'Ask a Reviewer'
Last year in Devon we missed out on the Lock Pick Village so it was great to see that it was here again.

We spent ages working our way through the different locks and the grand finale was picking a lock to get a lab cache answer.

In our welcome packs we were given a ticket for free entry into Newby Hall so we enjoyed a quick look around the gardens before heading back to the site for an early tea as we hadn't eaten since breakfast.

At the end of every UK mega event, there is a hand over slot, where the current Committee hand over the golden ammo can to the new committee, we arrived back at the marquee just in time to see the ceremony.
The Handover
After the ceremony we started on the YM18 puzzle series.  We'd originally intended to do them on our bikes but we ended up teaming up with some other cachers to complete the series, this was great fun.

We rounded the day off by heading over to the marquee where the band Mr Jones were playing, it was another great night, enjoying a drink and chatting to friends.

Breakfast View
After breakfast we popped out on our bikes to find a few local caches as it was such a lovely morning.

At 9:00 we headed to the marquee again to attend A Touch of Tartan event. This event was hosted by the Aberdeenshire Mega Committee and a chance for everyone to sample some Scottish grub, meet the committee and play a few games.

Irn Bru

Scottish nosh
We are one of 17 caching teams that have attended all the UK Mega events from 2008 to 2018 which are as follows.

The UK's First Mega Event
The UK's Second Mega Event
Mega Scotland: The UK's 3rd Mega event
Mega Wales 2011 (The UK's 4th Mega Event)
North West England 2012 - The 5th Annual UK Mega
UK Mega 2013 - West Midlands Region
UK Mega Event 2014 - Ayrshire and Arran
UK Mega Essex 2015 - The 8th Annual UK Mega
Devon UK Mega 2017
and this year's 10th Anniversary UK Mega Event - Yorkshire 2018

All 17 caching teams have been awarded a special TB by Richlay, the chairman of the Yorkshire Committee.

It was a lovely surprise to be given this.  We have thoroughly enjoyed all of the Mega Events, well let's face it if we didn't enjoy them then we wouldn't go to so many would we? 😀

Heading home
Around midday we decided to head towards home, stopping off for a few caches along the way.
We've seen this transmitter from a distance a few times recently and have wondered what it is, we got much closer on Sunday, it's Emley Moor transmitting station and at 330.4 m it's the tallest freestanding structure in the United Kingdom - fun facts 😀

the 1964 Denby Dale Pie Dish
Another interesting find - The Denby Dale Pie is a huge communal meat and vegetable pie baked to commemorate special occasions.  Each pie has to be larger than the last.  There have been ten communal pies:

1788 - To celebrate King George III's recovery from madness. A game pie baked at the White Hart pub.
1815 - Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo. The pie, contained "two sheep, twenty fowls and a half a peck of flour".
1846 - The Repeal of the Corn Laws.
1887 - Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. The 1 ½ ton pie proved to be rotten, possibly through poorly-handled game, including what appeared to be a skinned fox. It was paraded through the streets in funeral style and buried in quick lime.
September 1887: The 'Resurrection Pie' baked (without game) to replace the failed Jubilee pie.
1896 - Fiftieth Anniversary of the Repeal of the Corn Laws. 2000 portions supplied.
1928 - To raise funds for Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. 16ft. long, 5ft. wide.
1964 - Celebration of Four Royal Births.
1988 - Bicentenary of the First Denby Dale Pie.
2000 - The Millennium Pie, in a dish designed by The University of Huddersfield School of Engineering, measured 40ft by 8 ft, held 5 tons of beef, 2 tons of potato, a ton of onions and nearly 200 pints of John Smith's Bitter.

Denby Dale Viaduct

Longwood Nab End Tower

To sum it up, we had an absolutely fantastic weekend.  The Mega Event was brilliant fun and the Committee and Mega Makers have worked tirelessly over the last couple of years and it really shows, they put on a truly professional event and we've taken away with us some very happy memories of a top weekend.