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Archive for April, 2009

After we got back from our day out caching on Saturday, we’d spotted a new cache not for from home but had missed FTF as a cacher who was on his canal boat 0.5 miles from GZ got there first.

Overnight, another new cache had also been published near Woodseaves so I set off to find both this and the one that was published last night. The (mildly) annoying thing was we had been *really* close to both caches on our way home last night, but obviously not realised they were there.

Woodseaves was the first target and after parking up in the village, I headed off on foot down the PF, over a field and down to a bridge by the cache. The cache was a quick find as when there is a bridge is involved at GZ, the cache is inevitably hidden under it. The only tricky bit is working out which end of the bridge to look first (guess who always gets this wrong first time!).

Next, it was a cross-country route along some very narrow lanes to Goldstone and the second cache. I parked up by a bridge over the Shroppie and walked along the towpath past some fishing muggles to GZ.

The cache was very well hidden and I did not understand the hint, so it took me a few moments to spot it. My walking pole strikes again though as it’s great at finding caches like this, without you having to root around by hand.

This was the first hide by a new local cacher and a really nice one too. As a child, we had many a happy holiday at the caravan site behind the Wharf Tavern, just to the north of the cache. It was our favourite place to go for a few days away and always a pleasure to come back to even now :-).

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On Saturday, we decided to try and clear up newer caches in Staffordshire.

Isaac had been on a sleep-over at his Grandparents in Blymhill so it made sense to pick him up there and then start the day’s caching on the 6 caches that make up the Hatherton Canal series, near J12 of the M6.

We parked up by the bridge near #1 and set off on our bikes. There were two very dodgy looking guys in combats nearby who were telling us about a sighting of a deer in the nearby field. They looked like they were out hunting rather than admiring the deer so we do hope the deer are still around to tell the tale.

The canal series was nice and straightforward with some fun hides and nice scenery. The canal is disused and has been kept in a great condition, meaning there is tons of wildlife making it their home now. We did manage to pick up two punctures on the way back to the Jeep though. What is it with canals and newly cut hawthorn hedges :-(.

Next, it was onto the M6 for the journey northwards just past Stafford and then cross-country to the Sandon Saunter series. This is a circular walk of 9 caches around the area at the back of the lovely Sandon Estate (home of two caches we adopted off MarcB – ‘The Urn’ and ‘Revelations’).

As we set off, a farmer with a flock of sheep and newly born lambs was coming up the lane. We stopped for a chat and when he realised we were going where he wanted the sheep to go, he asked if we could herd them up into the field. The gate was shut behind us so the sheep could only go up the green lane and into the field. Isaac really loved this and took great pride in his herding :-).

The series was nice and easy with quite a bit of terrain, which made for some excellent views over the area. On the way round we bumped into the Hide and Streets, some cachers from the Fenton area of Stoke-on-Trent. We stopped for a nice chat before going on our way as they were doing the series in the opposite direction to us. We bumped into them again later on in the walk and were able to help them with a cache they could not find, further round the loop.

Next, it was a short drive up to Swynnerton, not far from J15 M6 and the ring of 12 caches there. We parked up to the south and set off to do them clockwise. The sun was shining and it was an absolute pleasure to be out walking in such lovely countryside. The series was soon completed with plenty of straightforward hides and one stinker of a hide with co-ords that were slightly off.

Our only small grumble of the series is there were way too many micros in locations that could easily support *much* larger caches and there were some huge gaps between caches (half a mile on quite a few of them). Still, it’s a lovely walk and we didn’t mind too much.

After that, we were getting hungry so headed off home, via the Co-Op in Eccleshall for a top up on drinks as we were looking forward to something ice-cold.

A nice day out with lots of lovely walking and 30 finds in total.

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We’ve been meaning to get over to Whitchurch for a few weeks now so we can check on our two caches there. Today I had a free hour or two so off I set.

First on the list was our Behind Enemy Lines – Tilstock cache. The last finder had reported that the cache was ok but there were 3 muggle logs in since the last finder. Sure enough, I found various muggle logs, including a really racist joke :-(.

I removed the offending pages from the logbook and as the hide had been compromised, moved the cache to a new hiding place that teenage muggles will hopefully not spot. The hint on the cache page has been altered and all is good to go.

The only downside was that the muggles seem to have made off with the lovely geocoin which was in the cache. It’s always a shame when this happens – we’ve emailed the coin owner to let them know :-(.

Next on the list was our Whitchurch Whereigo cache. I strongly suspect the cache is being cleared up with leaf litter by council workers so have changed the hide slightly so it won’t happen again.

It’s now a new preform cache (so we could get away with not having to hide a micro) and hidden in a slightly different place. I had to re-learn the Whereigo Cartridge authoring system so I could update the hint and upload a new version of the Cartridge to the Whereigo site.

Two caches, all sat ready and waiting for their next finders :-).

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When I checked my emails this morning, I spotted a new cache had come out less than 10 miles from home. It was by a church that Mrs Bolas Heathens thinks some of her ancestors may be buried at, so we thought we’d combine a caching trip with a good look around the churchyard.

We soon arrived at the church but for some reason my Oregon said we were in a field when we were clearly stood in a lane. I think it’s still trying to catch up after the shock of being darn sarf last weekend ;-).

It soon settled down and realised the error of it’s ways. Isaac spotted a possible place for the cache, between two houses at what looked like some disused steps up to the churchyard. A quick furtle around revealed the cache – we were FTF!

After we’d put the cache back, we went off to find Mrs Bolas Heathens and Freya. They had been exploring the graveyard but had not found any names on the graves that they were looking for. There are a heck of a lot of people with the surname James buried here though!

She’s going to do some more research on it and perhaps come back another time for a look as it’s possible her relatives may be in another nearby graveyard.

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Two *Almost* FTF’s

Last night we were relaxing at home when two new caches came out not too far from home, but far enough to have to think about dashing out for a FTF. We opted for the easy route and leave them for another time.

Today, the children were due round at their Grandparents and with a slight diversion on the way, we could take in the two new caches. Both were still up for FTF as no logs had come in on them overnight.

We parked up by the side of the main road for the first one and myself, Isaac and Freya set off for the short walk over the fields to the ex-railway line the caches are now on (it’s part of a walking path called the Way For The Millennium now).

Freya spotted the hide right away and dashed over to check the logbook. Drat – we’d missed FTF by 15 minutes. Not a problem though as we had fun finding the cache and the location is nice.

The second one was do-able as a drive-by and as time was short we opted for doing it that way. A short drive round and Freya again found the cache. Another one we’d just missed FTF on.

Anyway, we enjoyed both of the caches and it’s especially heartening to see they are both by new hiders and they are both well thought out and not micros. We look forward to trying to find more hides by these people.

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Isaac has been asking about making a start on this epic series for a while now, so with the clocks going forward the other week and longer caching days, we thought it was about time to start.

We’d seen from other logs that people were taking between 9 and 12 hours (or more) on the northern leg, so set ourselves a target of 9 hours for the ring. As there was around 72 caches, this meant we had a handy yardstick of 2 caches every 15 minutes or 8 an hour to measure our progress by.

With such a long trail, we realised we needed an early start and as it’s a 3.5 hour drive from home, we booked into a hotel on the other side of Basingstoke, not too far from the caches on Friday night.

We set off after tea on Friday night and had intended to grab a couple of caches on the way, but ended up going straight to the hotel.

The next morning, suitably fortified by breakfast, we headed off to the start point of the walk: the layby in between caches 005 and 006. We parked up and got kitted up for the walk.

There are too many caches to go into detail here, but some of the highlights of the walk were:

  • Getting very close to the approach lights at RAF Odiham (really close in fact, as one of the caches was hidden right next to them).
  • Seeing some deer in the distance across the field from one cache.
  • Odiham Castle and it’s beautiful setting.
  • A swan on it’s nest by the old Basingstoke canal.
  • Watching motorised gliders swoop and swirl overhead during most parts of the walk.
  • Seeing an unexpected thatched pagoda near to one of the caches.
  • The walking and scenery in general. The terrain is very easy and the cache finds in general were too – we’ve never seen so many really obvious tell tale piles of sticks! Is this common in the south? We don’t know as this is the first time we’ve cached down here but it doesn’t half make for easy caching (which is a good thing in our books as caching is more about the walk and the locations to us).
  • Stopping for lunch not far from Byway and siting in the lovely sun relaxing, before tackling the next section of the walk.
  • Not really a highlight, but worthy of note: Totally missing the PF sign about half way round the trail and doing a reasonable diversion the other side of a river through a Nature Reserve to get back on track. It cost us 2 caches in time (15 minutes) but was worth it as we got to see the Nature Reserve.
  • Another not really a highlight, but worthy of note: Running out of drinking water about 2/3 of the way round. It was really dull and dreary when we set off so only took one large bottle of water with us. The sun soon came out and remained so all day so we ended up drinking more water than we expected. Boy were we glad to get back to the Jeep for more cool water at the end of the walk.

All too soon the village we’d parked in was in sight and we were back at the Jeep. Just time for a couple more caches on the way home.

Isaac had a few in mind and directed me to one on the road from Basingstoke to Newbury. A nice quick find. We then continued on the main road and diverted off to another one by a lovely stream in a village. A very nicely engineered, unexpected hide was soon in hand – a great bonus at the end of the day.

Last cache was to be in a park in Newbury, just before we got on a fast road northbound. We were thwarted though as the cache was missing. Luckily Isaac had spotted there was a Sidetracked cache just round the corner so we went and found that instead (not before going to the totally wrong side of the station and seeing the GPSr’s pointing over the other side of the tracks – doh!).

Many thanks to Lord Cacher (we think we know who you are ;-)) for all the time, trouble and money you have put into setting up the series. We hope to be back for the southern loop very soon.

72 finds for the day. Very satisfying!

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