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Archive for December, 2009

One last cache for 2009

Isaac and Freya with the cache

We could not resist finding one last cache to round off 2009 nicely. We had to go back to Stoke to pick up the Mac we took in for repair the other day, so this was the ideal chance.

After stopping off for something else in Newcastle under Lyme, we headed off for a cache by the Etruria Canal Museum. The hint narrowed down things but despite a thorough check of the item and several other things in the area the cache was nowhere to be seen. Just in case we’d missed something really obvious (would not be the first time) we used a PAF to a previous finder. They told us the cache was in the first place we’d checked, so it looks like the nano has blown off or something :-(.

Luckily we had a Plan B up our sleeve and an easy looking cache in Tunstall was just what we needed. Isaac guided us there using Memory Map and we parked up very close to GZ. Myself, Isaac and Freya jumped out of the Jeep and walked over to GZ. The were metal fences all over the place so we started to look for a magentic micro. It was then that I spotted the cache hanging off the gatepost – that’s a novel hide to say the least, but it does blend in very well.

Happy with our find we drove the short distance to the repair shop, picked up the Mac and set off for home.

We’d like to wish anyone reading this a very happy 2010. Hope you find all the caches you seek and don’t have too many DNF’s :-).

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Isaac with the cache

We had to pop into Stoke this morning to drop off a computer to be repaired at the Apple Authorised Repair Centre in Chesterton so decided to go and find the two nearest caches while we were in the area as they were not far off our route.

After dropping off the faulty Mac, myself and Isaac headed off to Bradwell and a cache in some woods not too far from Newcastle Crematorium. As we got out of the Jeep near the crem there was this strange burnt rubber smell. Isaac asked if this was coming from the crem! I’ve no idea to be honest and it’s not the kind of thing I’d like to be thinking about :-(.

Anyway, the cache was a short distamce down the bank in some woods, with the sound of cars whizzing past on the A500 below. Isaac soon spotted it while I was searching nearby.

Last on the list was a cache close to Keele University called Mochileros 100. We parked up and after some initial confusion over where the PF starts, we were soon on the right track and at GZ. We found the cache in the second hint item we looked at.

Now back home for some sandwiches.

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Lytham windmill

We’d put off our usual Saturday caching day out as Saturday was Boxing Day. By Sunday morning we were dying to get out and walk some of the Christmas excesses off. I’d seen the huge number of caches in the Kirkham area last week so suggested to Isaac that we head that way and see where we end up.

We got off the M55 at J3 and headed a short distance north for the first three caches, down a very icy and slippery lane. All were nice easy finds, with two of them just sat there with no covering on them at all. We tried to leave them a bit better covered up but there was not a lot to work with.

Wintery views towards Kirkham

Next, we headed down to the west side of the Mowbreck Lane cluster of caches. The first two were quick and easy finds, followed by a very damp walk over a field to the third cache. We tried for one other nearby cache but there was no sign of it anywhere, so we had our first DNF of the day :-(.

We then headed into the centre of Kirkham to get the urban caches out of the way as it was still early on a Sunday morning and nice and quiet. The first was a quick find and the second was obviously muggled but we could see where it should be. Everyone else had logged a find on it saying they would have found it had it been there, so not being (too) proud, we did the same. It will save us having to come back for it if it is ever replaced.

Cross marks the resting place of old funeral processions on the way from Freckleton to bury their dead in Kirkham

We were not sure where to head next so sat for a while to study the layout of caches on Memory Map. We decided to head over and clear up a few between Kirkham and Preston we’d not had time for last week. All were quick finds apart from:

  • 1 DNF – the cache was not there and there were lots of other DNF’s.
  • 2 Pink In Clifton caches of which there were no signs of each either (we could not see any pink either – all very odd). Lots of DNF’s have been logged on one of these too. How many DNF’s does it take for locals round here to temp a cache and do some maintenance on it :-(?

Next on the plan was some of the For The Love Of Anna caches on the southern edges of Kirkham. All nice quick finds, but we did leave two of them as one we did not have the co-ords for (it’s listed as a Traditional but should be an Unknown as you have to collect the co-ords from another cache – which is also muggled!). The other one was a micro in woods and thus just did not sound like our kind of thing.

Isaac with the cache

A short drive south brought us to a Virtual Cache at Frekleton. It’s not often we get the chance to do a Virtual in the UK so we really enjoyed having the chance to stop for this one today.

Lots more easy caches then followed along the coast road between Frekleton and Lytham St Annes. Of note was one cache at the end of the runway at the old RAF Wharton with fab views over the Ribble estuary. A really top spot for a cache :-).

In Lytham we parked up and set off over to the prom for 3 caches along the front. Along the way we stopped on a bench by an old windmill to admire the views over towards Southport and have our soup (oh, and find the cache that was hidden under the bench!).

Fast flowing weir on the Lancashire Coastal Walk

After a few more easy drive-by’s, we parked up for a set of 5 caches on a circuit of Fairhaven Lake on the seafront. A really lovely walk just as the sun was going down and all nice quick finds. One of them was even something bigger than a micro – we were amazed that virtually all the caches in this area are micros. What’s wrong with putting the odd ammo box in a more secluded location for a cache? I know we LOVE finding well stocked ammo boxes :-).

We’d done with the caches for the day but had a half hour or so spare so we decided to head along the coast road and drive up the shoreline at Blackpool as far as the tower. Despite coming from the NW, Isaac has never been to Blackpool and was desperate to see the sights close up. All the lights were in place but they were all switched off and no-one was around at all. The whole place was like a ghost town which was very surreal as it’s always been VERY busy on the many times I’ve been here in the past.

Ribble estuary views

On the way back down to the Pleasure Beach area and the M55 we spotted a chippy that was open, so stopped for a bag of chips. On the way to the M55 from here, we passed the station at Squires Gate and spotted a Sidetracked cache there. How could we refuse? A nice easy find was had after checking way too many places first.

43 finds for the day, some lovely coastal scenery and a bag of chips each. A great day out!

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Caching plans for tomorrow

Kirkham caches to do

A return trip to Kirkham, near Blackpool is our plan for caching tomorrow. I ended up there at the end of the day last Saturday and only scratched the surface of the many, many caches in the area.

Isaac is keen to come to the area too, so we plan to start by M55 J3 and then work our way round as many caches as we can, including the Virtual at Freckleton as it’s not often you get the chance to do a Virtual.

In the remote event that we run of out caches to do in that area, we’ll head around the coast towards Lytham St Anne’s and then perhaps towards the South Shore at Blackpool, which will give us a quick and easy way of getting back on the M55 homebound.

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A quick cache while in Warrington

Freya with the cache

Today we were in Warrington delivering Christmas presents to various relatives. By the time we’d done our rounds it was getting late but there was just time for one cache.

We decided to head home via the M6 rather than our usual route of the A49, so a quick drive-by near Grappenhall looked perfect. The lane the cache was on was very icy and there was a sign saying the lane was closed, but the Jeep had no problems getting to GZ.

Myself and Freya jumped out and Freya found the cache instantly (that’s my girl :-)). After we’d done with the cache, we managed to find somewhere to turn round and we were soon on our way home.

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Frozen pond

Isaac wanted to plan this week’s caching and was keen to head back to the North West for a change as we’ve not been caching there for ages. Ironically enough, Saturday morning dawned and Isaac woke up full of a cold and shivering. He thus stayed at home keeping warm as going out caching in the snow and cold was not wise.

I set off up the M6 and was soon parking up near VTT2 to the east of the old vehicle test track in Leyland. There was quite a dusting of snow in the area with everywhere looking very white and all paths looking very slippy. I put my layers on to keep warm on the walk and set off.

The first cache was right by where I parked and a nice quick find. I could not decide whether to do the series clockwise or anti-clockwise but as the next nearest cache was just south of where I was, I went that way (clockwise). Needless to say I soon realised I was doing the series in reverse but that’s not a problem as there is no bonus cache to find at the end of the walk.

Frozen pond

The next part of the walk took me over a park area with only one dog walker in sight. The series then took me along a little used PF to the west of the test track (the main reason for the series appears to be to encourage the use of this path as it’s hardly used otherwise).

All the caches were quick easy finds with really good co-ords. It’s a shame Isaac was not with me as quite a few of the containers were fun and he’d have enjoyed finding them. I was soon back at the Jeep and feeling pleased with myself as I’d bagged the 12 caches in just over an hour – not bad going even though I do say so myself :-).

Next on the list for today was Nandad’s F.A.B. Thuderbirds series just to the NW of Preston. I’d read good things about this series and it’s even been awarded the NW Caching ‘Cache Du Jour’ award so I knew I’d be in for a treat.

Pylon view

The hardest bit was finding somewhere to park the Jeep while I walked round the caches. Plan A was the TomTom which lead me to a blocked off road some distance south of cache #1. Plan B was to use the parking co-ords on the cache page (why I’d not just used these in the first place is beyond me!). This failed too as I ended up at another blocked road to the north of the co-ords and with nowhere to park. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong here with all the blocked roads, but decided for the manual option of Plan C, which was to pick a suburban road near to cache #1 and then use Memory Map to guide me down some likely looking (and not blocked off) roads. This worked a treat I’m glad to say!

The first cache was a quick find. The next part of the walk was not clear from the OS maps on my Oregon so I again went with the manual option and walked down the main road looking for a likely path heading towards GZ. This worked well and I was soon walking alongside a frozen canal and some lovely locks.

Chilly canal view

Several easy finds then ensued with the only problem being me missing the obvious path alongside the canal a bit further on and going over a field to find myself on the wrong side of a double barbed wire fence from where I needed to be! A stile was close-by so I used that to get round to GZ for another easy find.

All too soon I was at the far end of the walk and headed off over the fields to the canal which would take me along the rest of the series, to the bonus cache and ultimately back to the Jeep.

The rest of the series was easy and I was soon calculating the bonus co-ords, which was an easy find. A really nice hide too! As I was walking back to the Jeep from the bonus cache it started snowing, which was the perfect ending to the series and really put me in a Christmas mood :-).

Fun sign I saw on my walk

I still had quite a bit of time left so I headed off to tackle some of the many drive-by’s between here and Kirkham, near Blackpool. Not a lot to report on these ones apart from:

  • I gave up on one cache as it was a micro in woodland with leaves and snow covering everything. Not my idea of fun.
  • A great little micro by a tree statue in the centre of Kirkham with muggles everywhere. A really nice cache location but a tricky one to actually get hold of as the muggles were non-stop. I got there in the end though.
  • A cache by a lovely old windmill that has been made into a house. What a cracking place to have a bedroom at the top of the windmill!
  • Two caches which clearly were not there and even after several DNF’s by experienced cachers and a Needs Maintenance note over a month ago, the cache owner has not done anything or even posted an intention to do anything. They have not logged on since August so I assume the caches have been abandoned and have posted a Needs Archiving log on both of them.

Icicles under a canal bridge

The last cache of the day was right by J3 of the M55 and a handy place to start my journey home.

41 finds for the day and some really fun caching, although I’d rather have had Isaac with me since he planned the trip.

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Caching plans for tomorrow

Isaac wanted to plan our caching this weekend and was keen that we head northwards for a change as we’ve been caching round the West Midlands and beyond for the last few months. Some caching in the North West is long overdue!

He quickly spotted a nice circular walk called the VTT series by Citizen Smith to the NW of Leyland, followed by a trip slightly further north to Nandad’s Thunderbirds themed F.A.B. series. After that, if there is still time he has left us in an area with loads of drive-by’s we’ve not yet done (mostly micros, but that’s ok with us) before getting on the M55 and heading home.

We’re both looking forward to it. I’m especially looking forward to the walk round the Vehicle Test Track at Leyland (VTT series) as I’ve used it many times as a navigation point when flying northwards out of Liverpool, so it will be good to see it closer up.

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