The weather for the weekend was forecast to be absolutely awful but we could not let the weekend pass without going out caching. I work from home during the week so getting out and about at the weekend is an absolute necessity for me, otherwise I’d slowly drive myself nuts.
During the week, we spotted a new series by The Strangler, just south of King’s Norton in the countryside just outside the urban sprawl of Birmingham. The caches are based around the albums from the band The Stranglers, with most caches containing a clue needed for the Bonus cache to the series. There were also quite a few other caches we had not done in the area so it looked perfect.
We set off from home in heavy rain, armed with full waterproofs as it looked like we were going to need them. The first cache was a drive-by, not far from the M42 junction, so we donned our waterproofs and jumped out of the Jeep for an easy find.
Next, it was a short drive to the next one, which was just into a field near the road. We then headed 0.25 along the public footpath, up the hill to the next one. By this time we were thoroughly soaked and beginning to question our wisdom of coming caching in such awful weather.
Needless to say, we struggled with this one as it was in a very slippery place and you had to stand in what would normally be a shallow stream to get the cache. Today it was anything but shallow! We were not having fun at all so decided to give the cache up and return to the Jeep to decide what to do.
Back in the warmth of the Jeep, we had a good look at Memory Map and decided to hit drive-by’s and cache and dashes in the vain hope the weather would improve and we could consider longer walks to caches.
A couple of M42 Motorway caches followed. We had a nightmare at the second one as it was one of those tiny dog-tag holder nanos. After a struggle, we got the logbook out and signed it, but could we get it back in the container? Of course not. The more we tried, the soggier and harder to get back in it became. We ended up having to take it with us and leave the cache in situ with no logbook in it.
Next up, were more of The Strangler’s Studio 16 series, which were nice and easy, with some fab hides involving string, hooks etc etc. All good fun and very enjoyable.
The only other thing of note here was a major disaster at yet another dog tag nano. I was on the phone and Isaac was doing the biz with the cache. As he struggled to get the logbook back into the tiny container, the bottom of the container slipped out of his hand and rolled in slow-motion to the planks on a wooden bridge and down a gap between the planks. We had a good look under the bridge for it but it must have got washed away in the stream beneath. We PAF’d to the cache owner to apologise profusely and also let them know about the missing log in their M42 Motorway cache from earlier on.
The Studio 16 series was spread all around the area, with no clear route round the caches. We had worked out a rough plan to get round them and hopefully not miss any out but this changed on the fly as we went round.
Part way round, we were near the Hollywood Bypass series, so worked our way along the back roads picking these up, along with a couple of Studio 16 straggler caches.
Towards the top of the area for the series, we stopped for our sandwiches and plotted out the clues we’d collected for the Studio 16 Bonus cache. We realised we only needed one more clue for the Bonus, so worked out what the missing digit was likely to be and saw we were not too far away from it.
A short drive later (via an un-related cache) and we had an easy find of the bonus cache in the second of two co-ordinate possibilities we had. We then headed off to pick off a few more caches in the area, before we headed off into more urban areas for some fun urban caching (which we always enjoy in the suburbs of Brum).
First off, were four caches in Kings Norton. The first one was easy enough, but then we came a cropper at the next one as we had just started to look for it when some teenagers came to shelter from the rain under a nearby canal bridge. We had to abandon the search as GZ was in full view of the muggles. Hmmm!
Next was a really interesting spot a bit further down the canal where there was this really unusual guillotine style canal gate. The cache page had lots of interesting information on it that we really appreciated. We love this kind of thing.
The sister cache to the last cache foxed us though. We arrived at GZ on the edge of the canal by the site of an old swing bridge (no longer there). We searched for a while in a place that matched the hint, with co-ords down to 3ft but no cache was to be found. We gave up and have since noted that the cache is actually on the other side of the canal. No wonder we could not find it!
A few more urban caches around the southern suburbs of Brum followed, with nothing particularly special to note. All good fun though!
By this time, we were getting hungry so started to head for home, but not before picking off an inner Ring Road cache we’d had a DNF on last Christmas (it was missing last time we looked for it). We also tried for “one last cache” at a Sidetracked cache near Aston, but the cache seems to be missing as the hide was obvious, the co-ords were bang on, but no cache was there.
A great day out which we thoroughly enjoyed, despite the damp spirits at the start of the day. 31 finds too!