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Archive for April, 2009

A missed FTF opportunity

A new cache came out close to home last night but Mrs Bolas Heathens was out for the evening so there was no chance of me dashing out for a FTF as I was looking after the children and they had just gone to bed.

I resigned myself to going to find it in the morning and was settling down for the evening when up popped a friend of ours on Facebook Chat. They live in the nearby village and had also seen the cache come out and dashed out to try and get FTF, which they did. Well done Shropshire Seekers on your first FTF :-).

This morning, I popped out to get the cache. The cache page mentions how quiet the country lane is that the cache is on. I’d had a quick look for the cache, when a Manitou (sort of like a tractor, but not quite) came down from the direction of the farm and stopped on the lane 200ft or so from GZ. No chance of searching now as I would be in direct view of them.

Then, a herd of cows appeared on the lane, coming from the direction of the farm. The farming muggle in the Manitou herded them into the field by where he was parked, before standing around (for what seemed like ages, but probably wasn’t more than a couple of minutes) to chat to his colleagues.

Eventually they all went on their ways and I was free to search for the cache again. It still took a few moments to spot though as it’s hidden at the base of quite a dense hawthorn hedge which is prickly and there are nettles starting to grow under it. I’ve emailed the cache hider to suggest they might move the cache a little as there are also two birds nests in the hedge not far from the cache.

A fun little trip out and a nice spot for a cache.

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We had to drop the children off at Wrekin College in Wellington so Mrs Bolas Heathens and myself took the chance to carry on and go and do the new Telford Bookshelf cache near the Wrekin.

The cache is situated in an old quarry that we’ve been to before to find nivekpenrith’s now archived Huntingdon, But Not In Cambridgeshire cache. This time we came from the opposite direction and parked at the bottom of the old quarry road to the north of GZ.

We enjoyed the walk up the track, through bluebell filled woods and then onwards along the floor of the old quarry to GZ. The cache must be very close to where the now archived cache was hidden as the whole area round GZ looked *very* familiar.

The cache was hidden under big boulders at the foot of the quarry wall and took a short while to find as there were quite a few places it could have been hidden.

A nice big ammo box in a great location with tons of interesting history.

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On Saturday we decided to return to the Burton area and pick up the new caches that have come out in the area since our last visit.

It’s a bit of an odd area from our experience as caches seem to get published and then get archived en-masse and you are never quite sure which caches are still there and which ones are not. Thankfully, we only fell foul of this on two caches during the day, but more on that later.

On the plus side, those caches that are there are usually great fun and you find all manner of things used for cache containers – not many lock and lock containers round here. There is even a full-sized dummy from a clothes shop used for a cache container somewhere in the area!

We’d seen on Facebook that delta68 had also planned to do the Waterside Wander series just south of Swadlincote and sure enough, as we pulled into the car park, we spotted their car. At the first find, they had thought to put the time they found it on their log – we were only 10 minutes behind them!

We dashed off to try and catch them up, having a quick find at cache number 2, before catching them all up at cache number 3. Great to meet you all again – we set off to do the rest of the series together. The rest of the series was nice and easy with the only real problems at the last cache (#14) where we had to search a few minutes before spotting the hide. Delta68 headed off to do other caches and we said our farewell’s.

The weather was still not great with light rain but the forecast said this would pass and things would clear up in the afternoon (it did!), so off we set to grab a few other local caches.

The next one was by a Church and we could not find it. I checked the live GC.com site using my iPhone and the cache had been archived. Hmmmm. The next cache was the same. We were a bit frustrated with this and decided to choose caches wisely for the rest of the day and only pick ones we knew had definitely had recent logs. This worked a treat and all other caches for the day were there and found.

Next stop was the Clueless Cache series, which is a set of 6 caches on a circular walk around a lovely lake on great paths. We really enjoyed these ones as we love the challenge of this kind of caching and the location was just fabulous. The only problem was with #6 and a quick PAF soon put us on the right track.

We then headed off to the Washlands, which is a big parkland area along the banks of the River Trent, right in the middle of Burton On Trent. We knew where to park as we’d been for two previous caches in the same area. After parking up, we set off for a long circular walk around all the new caches, going down one side of the Trent on the way out and coming back the other side of the Trent.

Some fun hides and great cache containers on this section of the walk. We loved Burton Bridge with it’s very impressive row of sandstone arches underneath. Near the end of the walk, we spotted an ice-cream shop so stopped for some very welcome refreshments.

Just time for a few more caches, so we set off towards the A38 and home, but instead of going onto the A38, we diverted to the Dunstall Circular series, just the other side of the main road.

This was another really nice walk around part of a very well kept estate. The last cache in particular was lovely with carpets of bluebells in the woods near the cache.

We were getting hungry by now so headed off down the A38 to the M6 Toll and northwards to home.

36 finds for the day.

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I saw an Earthcache come out last night at Colemere, near Ellesmere up in Shropshire’s lake country. Mrs Bolas Heathens was out so I could not dash out to find it there and then as I was looking after the children and it was getting late.

This morning, it was still unfound so off I set. It’s always a really tricky area to get to as it’s in the middle of nowhere and most roads from home that way are single track lanes. TomTom took me on an ‘interesting’ route via Whitchurch (I was expecting it to take me via Wem) but I got there eventually.

A nice walk down a deserted towpath and I was at GZ. The noticeboard was soon spotted and I took the necessary photo and gathered the details I needed to log the cache. I then took a few minutes to admire the great views over the mere, with nothing apart from birdsong for company. Fabulous!Next, I’d seen a new cache at Trench Lock in Telford come out this morning and was not confident on a FTF as surely a local would have been by now. Not only that, it was right the other side of the country from where I was now. Nothing ventured, nothing gained though, so off I set.

Some time later I was parking up by the Blue Pig pub. A short walk down an old lane and I had a quick find of the first stage. I noted the details and put them into my GPSr. It showed about 0.2 miles away and in an area I was not sure how to get to.

I think I made it hard work to get to as I had to inch up the ledge round a high culvert before carrying on down some quite overgrown woodland tracks to GZ. The cache was a quick find and I was delighted to see a clean logbook :-).

On the way back I realised the culvert was not very deep so waded over in my waterproof walking boots. Much easier! As I was driving off, I spotted a really easy way over some fields to the final cache. If only I’d spotted that earlier, but then again, I would not have had as much fun getting there!

Now back home to get some work done!

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This morning, I was in the office catching up with things from the weekend, when a new cache notification came up not too far from home. The sun is out and a FTF opportunity presents itself – hmmm, do I go out and find it or not? Tricky one – NOT!

I was soon at stage 1 and dismayed to see lots of trees that match the hint. The hint also implied the cache could be one of two possible sneaky hides. I think I’m going to have my work cut out for me here as I’ve no idea if this cache setters co-ords are generally good as this is their first hide.

I spent quite a while staring into and up the trees but could not spot it. Then a muggle with a dog came and sat on a bench overlooking GZ. No chance of further searching as he was watching me (and probably wondering what the heck I was up to by the trees) so I went off to scout the park for items matching the final cache hint. There was only one area but I could not find the cache there.

I then spotted the muggle had moved on so thought I’d go and expand my search for stage 1. I then found it after a further (quite long) search – it was 40ft off the stated co-ords. Once I’d got the very small piece of paper out of it, I saw the final co-ords were in a different GPS co-ord format than most caches so changed my GPSr settings so I could use them.

Off I went to the final cache, but the GPSr zero’d out 55ft from the nearest hint item (in an area I’d already searched earlier). Looks like the brute force approach of re-checking everywhere and trying to think of places I’d not looked is in order.

After quite a few scratches from hidden hawthorn I finally managed to spot the final cache and was pleased to say I was FTF. A really nice area for a cache and good fun to find, despite how it sounds above.

I’ve emailed the cache owner with my readings at both stages so they can hopefully update things and make it a bit clearer for future finders.

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We’d had a DNF on our Whitchurch Whereigo on Friday. I only replaced the cache last week (or was it the week before?) and it’s new hidey-hole is not the sort of place muggles would look. Or is it?

On Sunday morning, we had an hour or so spare so headed off to Whitchurch to check it out. We took a replacement cache just in case – Isaac had done a great job on the camo too :-).

We took the Oregon and Colorado, both loaded up with the Whereigo cartridge and so Isaac had one and Freya the other, and we set off to do the cache as if it was not ours. We all had great fun wandering around the town from stage to stage and were soon at the final cache.

I checked where the cache should be and sure enough, it was not there. I thought I’d check below, just in case it had fallen out of it’s hole and there it was – phew! We put the cache back where it should be and have hopefully wedged it in better.

Now to head back home and get yesterday’s finds logged.

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We were going to go to Bicester today as there is a ton of new caches there and we know it’s a great area for caching from previous visits. It’s right at the far end of the area we will travel to go caching in a day and to be honest, I did not fancy such a long drive.

While I was wondering where else to go caching, I was reminded of the Big Kids Challenge near Brownhills on Memory Map. We’d left doing these caches as they attract a heck of a lot of DNF’s and we like to find caches, not DNF them. I put a quick question about them out on Facebook and had some very positive comments back so we thought we’d go for it.

We really enjoyed the walk, with some easy finds, but mostly some quite challenging hides. Number 4 had been muggled, but the muggler’s had left the magnet and attaching mechanism behind. Number 11 had also been muggled but it was obvious to a cacher where it should be.

On the way round we also stopped for two andyandelaine caches in some woods at the top of the walk. Both were fab and made us laugh. The first because of the very appropriate container (the area was criss-crossed with 4×4 tracks – I won’t say what the container was but I bet you can guess!) and the second because I had to give Isaac a piggy-back to reach the cache, which was about 7-8ft up a slanting tree.

After that, we were going to do the other nearby series but the new March Mayhem caches were not too far away and they are really good fun – sneaky hides, no clues, no cache size mentioned etc etc and they really test your geo-skills. We opted to go and try the March Mayhem ones as we love that kind of caching.

On the way we stopped to find two urban caches in the middle of Brownhills. The first was by a HUGE statue of a miner on a roundabout (HUGE = 50ft or more in height and *very* impressive) and the second was an Off Yer Trolley just opposite a Tesco’s. As Isaac was ferreting under a bridge for the second one, a familiar voice shouted over “Hello John and Isaac”. It was Ron and Diane from The Washers. Great to meet you both again. We had a nice chat before they went off to their next cache and we headed off to the next series.

The March Mayhem caches lived up to our expectations and more – some really sneaky hides, including one we just don’t know how the cache owner though of. I won’t say more as I don’t want to spoil the fun for anyone that has not done them, but rest assured, if you are in the Lichfield area, get over there and try them. You won’t be disappointed!

Next, we headed up to Whittington to do the group of caches round the outskirts of the village. Lots of nice quick and easy finds with no problems at all for us. Nice to get a tour of the highlights of the village by a local cacher.

The last cache of the day was just south of Lichfield at some locks that are being restored into a new park. A great spot with tons of history and some really interesting information boards.

35 finds for the day and another fabby day out. The weather was wall to wall sunshine all day too – it does not get much better than this :-).

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