Saturday, 21 April 2012

Macmillan & Midshires Meander

Macmillan and Midshires Meander

Little Brington Spire

No. of Caches 35 + 8
Length of Walk - 7.2 miles

The Macmillan Way and Midshires Way are long distance footpaths that meet to form a cross in Northamptonshire.  This series makes a figure of eight walk using this cross.

Saw this series published earlier in the week so we added it to the to-do list as it looked like it would be a good walk.  We hadn't planned any caching today as we had other commitments later on but we were able to make an early start so decided to do the series this morning.

No problem crossing the puddle
We parked near St Brington Spire and were puzzled as to why there only seemed to be a tower when there was a church marked on the map, all was revealed when we read the interesting history on the cache page.

We'd left our dogs at home so weren't too worried about meeting cows but as we approached #5 we saw there was a field with cows of all sizes so calmly opened the gate and walked through the field sticking to the edge making sure not to get between a cow and her calves, all was going well, we found #5 and continued to #6, found that one keeping one eye on our exit points then as we walked across towards #7 and the gate to freedom we spotted a jogger coming towards us wearing a hi-viz jacket, the cows went absolutely berserk (gotta keep this family friendly ) and we had to leg it to the gate, the cows chased the jogger and he took evasive action and leapt over the fence into the adjoining field!........

Then the rest of the walk was much more relaxed.  When we got to #20 we met Gingko and continued to the end of the series together, enjoyed the company it's always good to meet other cachers out and about.

I was very pleased to bag a trigpoint en route!

Really enjoyed the walk, all caches were fairly easy to find but all were very well camoed so some were quite tricky to spot.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Uffmoor Wood

Uffmoor Amble

No. of caches - 10
Length of walk - 3 miles

A series of 10 caches set on a 3 mile circular walk around Uffmoor Wood.  The caches are all placed with the permission of The Woodland Trust.

We only had the morning free today so this walk looked ideal and just the right distance for our dogs too.  It was lovely to walk around this pretty wood again with the bluebells and wild garlic just starting to flower.  We last visited back in October 2007 to find GCYG1R - Uffmoor Wood by Rubery Blue.

A very enjoyable walk, the dogs loved it, all caches were fairly easy to find with a nice variety of hides and containers.


Saturday, 7 April 2012

Coventry Canal

Children Playing Sculpture
Coventry Canal Series
Caches - 30
Distance - 6 mile linear trail

The forecast was for cloud/rain again today so we scrapped our original plans and decided at the spur of the moment to throw our bikes into the car and head over to Coventry to cycle the new series along the canal.  We love caching by bike and this series looked perfect.

The caches are set along a section of the Coventry Canal.  The Coventry Canal starts in Coventry and ends 38 miles north at Fradley Junction just north of Lichfield.

Stone Sofa by Tim Shutter
We parked up in the small car park near Coventry Canal - Exall Basin and off we went. All the caches were fairly straightforward to find but were made difficult by muggle traffic but this is the beauty of a linear series, you can always pick up the ones you miss on the way back.

As was expected, as it's an urban canal, there was a lot of litter around, which got progressively worse as we got nearer the city centre, it's always quite shocking just how bad the litter problem can be around cities.

Perch Seats

On the return leg we bumped into other cachers, The Als, StormyStorm, Butttercup and Munchtime.

All in all a very enjoyable series with some interesting historical architecture and unusual sculptures and artwork along the canal to look out for, you can see the full list of what to see here ........ and the rain held off until we were about 1 mile from the car .

Friday, 6 April 2012

A short break in North Devon

Conygar Tower, Dunster

Ever since our last trip to North Devon in 2010 we have been wanting to return, we love exploring this area so back in late February we decided we'd book up for Easter for a return trip.  We were really hoping for good weather as temperatures in March had broken records so we were hopeful that it might last but it was not to be... the forecast was for sunshine on Monday and heavy rain or snow the rest of the week *sigh*.  Never mind, we're not easily put off by bad weather (just as well).  We booked a cedar lodge in a little village called Berrynarbor which is next to Coombe Martin and about 3 miles east of Ilfracombe.

Yarn Market, Dunster

On the way we stopped off in the village of Dunster to complete the Wherigo, then we walked up the hill to Conygar Tower.  We managed to miss the direct path near the information centre and ended up taking the long winding path up the hill, really enjoyed the walk in the sunshine to find the cache , where we learnt that in medieval times the area used to be a warren where rabbits were bred for food and the name Conygar is taken from two medieval words - Coney meaning rabbit and Garth meaning garden.

We took the scenic route to  Ilfracombe along the coast road and up the 1 in 4 gradient Porlock Hill complete with hairpin bends which we always love driving up.

Exmoor Pony

Our intention was to do the Parramble series but due to bad weather we were only able to do numbers 1 - 41 then 86 - 132 on separate days.

Parramble 1-41

We took our yellow lab with us on the first day and everything was going really well until we came to a field with a bull in it.  Managed to get through unscathed, luckily he was more interested in the young heifers he was sharing the field with.  Then soon after we came to a field of cows.......

Oh great!

They came running straight up to the gate so feeling fairly brave I decided we ought to just go for it and just shoo them away if they came too close.  Ha shooing them away worked to start with but very quickly they built up speed downhill and came running towards us, we hid in the hawthorn hedge but they managed to get round the back of it so there was only one thing for it and that was jump over the barbed wire fence.  Mark passed our yellow lab over to me and I ran down the edge of the adjoining field - I ran because there was yet more cows in the field I was now in but they were over the other side and I wanted to get to the edge before they saw me.  Mark stayed in the field and he said that as soon as I'd gone with the dog they had lost interest and wandered off!!!!  It was very scary and I was really glad to get away from them and dread to think what might've happened if I hadn't jumped over the fence!!  Anyway once we were away from the cows we were able to continue the very pleasant walk.  That was the only part of the walk that was a problem the rest was fine in beautiful countryside with lovely views.

Bleak on the moor
Parramble 86 - 132

On the second day we decided to leave both dogs back at the accommodation with our son who was staying behind to 'revise'.   It was a freezing cold start to the day and after about a mile it started to snow, once we were out onto the moor at Challacombe it started to snow quite heavily and we were beginning to regret having started the walk, we were hoping it wasn't going to settle and we pressed on with the walk.  With only about 3 miles to go the snow turned to heavy rain and was bitterly cold but we eventually got to the end of the walk and we were really glad to be back at the car.

View of the Island : The 239 Steps

Whilst looking for a cache we could do after tea one evening The 239 Steps caught our eye as it was only a short distance from our accommodation.  Before setting off we checked the tide times on t'internet to make sure we'd be able to reach it as at high tide the cache becomes inaccessible.

Found it!
  The climb onto the island was quite slippery but a great view from the top.  

Exploring the rock pools

Spent ages after exploring the beach and the rock pools.  A really enjoyable cache and we'd recommend it to anyone staying in the area to give it a go.

We were hoping to complete the Parramble series on Thursday but when we got up the weather was awful so we decided to pack up and head home a day early.  We really enjoyed the walks but were a little disappointed that we weren't able to complete the series but we're hoping to be back soon to finish it off -

Sunday, 1 April 2012

A weekend of fun

Quite an action-packed weekend for caching.........


Miss Dadu
We had a text from Dadu 13 on Thursday night asking if we'd like to join them on the new Mwahppets Scooby Doo series, at first it didn't look like we'd be able to as our daughter and her friends needed a lift to a sleepover but after a few phone calls we were able to make other arrangements and the meet up was arranged.

There was a list of equipment we needed to take with us so we gathered it all together and off we went.  I can't say too much about the stages as it would spoil the fun for anyone wanting to do the series but safe to say we all had a great time.The children in the group particularly seemed to enjoy themselves and it was all very exciting.  As is usual for Mwahppet caches a lot of hard work has gone into setting it up.  This was the first time we'd come across a series set out in this way so at first it was a little confusing but we soon got into the swing of it completing the tasks along the way and before long we were at the final.  A really great way to spend a Friday evening. 

Into the dark dark tunnel

We had a few things to fit in around caching this weekend so decided to stay closer to home.

Who's Best
Pretty Primroses

Length of walk - 3.7 miles
Caches - 11 caches

Saturday morning we made an early start and drove over to nearby Welford-on-Avon to do the new 'Who's Best' series by the gnome-ads.  It's a series based on songs by their favourite band 'The Who' which I'm afraid we'll have to agree to differ on whether or not they are the most famous rock band .  The series is set on the footpaths near to Dorsington Manor.

Roberts Wood
We were quite intrigued by the private wood and the land being owned by Felix Dennis so on my return home I looked it up and it says all about the Forest of Dennis project here and on Wikipedia.

Hawthorn in flower

A bit of a nip in the air this morning but still very pleasant for caching.  There is lots of hawthorn in flower now, this is a true sign of spring and as they say in old folklore 'Ne'r cast a clout until may is out' meaning the May flower! 

New Houses

The path along the river is familiar to us as we walked along it back in 2007, just after the floods, we were looking for a suitable location for one of our puzzle caches but as the area had flooded quite badly we couldn't find anywhere suitable.  We were very surprised to see the new houses being built here and couldn't resist a look on the internet to see how much they are going for, sadly way out of our price range, they are in a great position though overlooking the river.

All the caches were very well thought out, with a nice variety of hides and sizes and all easy to find with useful hints.

We were soon at the end of the walk which we thoroughly enjoyed.

Completed the walk in a little under 2 hours.

Then it was on to Honeybourne to do the Cow and Church caches:

 Cow and Church 

Cow Honeybourne Church - Converted into 3 dwellings

Caches - 8 caches
Length of walk - 5.2 miles

The Cow and Church series is set on the paths around Honeybourne village.  Honeybourne was originally two villages - Cow Honeybourne and Church Honeybourne and we think they were amalgamated in 1953.

The series reminded us a bit of how caching used to be when we first started, a decent walk between each cache, a chance to enjoy the surroundings and where you have to use your map to decide which route to take to the next one.  We thoroughly enjoyed the walk.

We completed the walk in 2 hours and 25 mins, this included a 15 minute lunch stop.

Saturday evening we decided to take the dogs for a walk and replace the log sheet in one of our Oversley Trail caches and at the same time take in a local cache that had been published a few days ago.


Wood End

Caches - 10
Length of Walk - 2.2 miles

Across the track

This is a short but very pleasant series set on the footpaths around Wood End near Tanworth in Arden.  All the caches were fairly easy to find with good hints.  The weather was perfect for caching today and the sun shone all day.

We arrived back at the car and there were other cachers just setting off, they introduced themselves as Shortmat, enjoyed a quick chat before they carried on their way.

As we were fairly nearby we decided to go and do Special Ops Tango 3 - Target Practice as we had heard some very good things about it and we have really enjoyed the other caches in the series.  Once again we can't say too much here as it would spoil the fun but just go and do it, it's brilliant fun!

Lovely sunny afternoon

Max's Spooky Series

Length of walk - 1.5 miles
Number of caches - 6

Then to round off the day we decided to finish off with the Max's Spooky series that we'd started on Friday night.   A very pleasant short walk in the afternoon sunshine along the canal and then back across the fields towards the church.  Lots of newborn lambs in the field.

Wheesh!  That was the weekend........ it's just flown by......