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Archive for January, 2010

Cockshutt hill in the snow

The weather has been looking dire all week with snow covering all the areas we usually cache in and it being too cold to want to venture out for long. We thus ended up calling off our usual day out caching this weekend and settled for a few caches each day to keep the caching itch from needing to be scratched too much.

Friday 8th January

I had to pop out to Stoke for something else but had not really planned to do any caching. One thing lead to another and I ended up also having to visit Stockport. TomTom wanted to take me up the M6 but I had other plans as the scenic route up over the Staffordshire Moorlands before dropping down into Macclesfield and through Hazel Grove sounded much more interesting!

On the way I was looking out for caches that I might pass on TomTom and sure enough, I spotted one in Endon, just as I was coming out of Stoke. A quick check of my iPhone (I did not have a GPSr with me) gave me all I needed to know and it was a really easy find without even needing a GPSr.

The Rudyard Lake nano

A bit further on I spotted another cache near the southern end of Rudyard Lake so stopped for another quick find. This one was a nano and I had no pen with me so had to make do with a picture of the cache container to prove my find.

On the way from Stockport onto the M60 a bit later on I stopped for another drive-by right under Stockport Viaduct. This one was not to be though as the snow was really deep and I was looking for a micro at ground level. Ah well, two out of three ain’t bad :-).

Saturday 9th January

I had to drop Isaac off at school this morning so could not resist going to look for a few caches nearby which had been sat at the top of our closest to home not founds for way too long.

Snowy views over Telford

The first four caches were on the Cockshutt hill near Oakengates and looked like a nice linear walk from where I had planned to park.

The first cache was right by the parking spot and a nice easy find. I then carried on up the steps to the top of the hill but failed to spot the next cache. I thought I’d leave it for the way back and carried on for nice quick finds at the next two caches. The second of these had a HUGE hole in the corner of the box where a rat had chewed through but was thankfully dry inside as the weather is too cold for it to get damp. On the way back to the Jeep I managed to spot the cache I could not find earlier :-).

The chewed cache box

Just time for one more quick cache so off I set for the next nearest which was in Shifnal (to the east of Telford). I was soon at GZ but my heart sank when I was the amount of ivy :-(. I had a good look but after spooking two lone female dog walkers (I was on my own and must have looked a bit suspect!) I resorted to a PAF. The cache was then a really quick find 2 inches from where I’d already looked.

Now for the drive home for a nice drink to warm me up.

Sunday 10th January

We had to drop the children off at their Grandparents but could not resist a quick look for the two new snerdbe caches near White Ladies Priory. We walked up past their existing cache which we’d found ages ago and soon found the first of the new ones. A quick walk out of the woods and up the next field had us with the second of the caches in hand.

White Ladies Priory

On the way back to the Jeep we took the chance to have a look round the old Priory ruins again.

Monday 11th January

Mrs Bolas Heathens had an appointment in Gobowen (just north of Oswestry) this morning so I came along to do some caches afterwards before a nice dinner out in the area.

After we’d done with the appointment, we set off to find the nearby multi cache. We’d had a DNF on this last time we were here as it was dark and we were short on time for a good search. This time I put my hands on the cache in the first place I looked – result :-).

Urban caching in Oswestry

We then headed off into Oswestry for some urban caching, all of which were easy enough apart from one DNF where the owner had taken the cache home for maintenance but not temp’d the cache. I’ve added some notes to my DNF log to advisewhat they need to do to temp the cache as I think they are quite new cachers.

We were getting hungry by now so stopped for dinner at the lovely looking pub the last two Border Meet’s have been held at. After we’d finished dinner we went outside to find the cache at the other side of the car park. The hide was clear but no cache was there. After checking we were looking in the right place with a previous finder we left a slip of paper to prove we were there. I suspect the cache has slipped into the wall further and is now in-accessible. We’ve posted a Needs Maintenance log to alert the cache owner to this.

Whittington Castle remains

The next cache was a Christmas themed cache and GZ was obvious, but behind a fence. Hmmm – we’ve not done any caches by this hider before so could not be sure they did not want you to climb over the fence. The coast was clear so I went in for a quick look but the cache was nowhere to be seen. I checked with a previous finder who told me the cache had been moved yesterday as the fence had been put up a few weeks after the cache was hidden! Armed with the new co-ords, we drove to a closer spot and went in for a really easy find.

Just time for a couple more caches before we really must be getting home. The next cache mentioned you might get your feet wet as the cache was on an island. Sure enough it was, but the island was jumpable from the bank and I soon had the cache in hand.

The frozen pond where I had to jump over to an island

Last one for the day was a short walk down an ex-road that is now closed off, not too far from the A5.

10 finds for the day, which is not up to our usual tally but not bad for a couple of spare hours each day.

We’re hoping to return to a proper caching day out next weekend as we really missed it this weekend, despite the fun we’ve had on the few caches we’ve found.

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Sunset over Earlswood Reservoir

After all the over-indulgences of the Christmas period, myself and Isaac were keen to get out on a good walk to not only get some fresh air, but work off some of the above excesses.

A new series just to the west of Coventry looked to be getting good logs and looked a nice walk so we settled on that as the target for the day. We knew this would not take us all day so spotted loads of caches near Hockley Heath (where the M40 meets the M42) which looked like they might keep us occupied for the rest of the day.

Old vehicle remains near a cache

Isaac directed us to the suggested parking for the Coventry caches, at the southern end of the walk. The walk consisted of starting off on the Peppa Pig Trail before joining up with the adjacent George Pig Trail and then finally finishing off the rest of the Peppa Pig Trail caches on the way back to where we’d parked. The George series were all stand alone caches but the Peppa series involved collecting visual clues at various parts of the walk, which then lead you to a bonus cache.

We set off on our walk and had a series of easy finds. One had a dog poo bag right on top of the cache sticks, which was nice (not!). Pity the lazy dog owners don’t take their rubbish home with them rather than hiding then in tree roots – who in their right minds would hide something in the roots of a tree in the middle of nowhere anyway ;-).

Lovely old tractors seen on the walk

Part way round the series we joined up with the George series and set off to loop round them. Lots more easy finds followed, with the main thing of note being that we recognised part of the walk from a puzzle cache we’d done in the area absolutely ages ago. We actually walked past the puzzle cache hiding place and had a quick look to check on it. It was not there and we now know it’s been archived for quite a while as someone had changed the combination on the padlock on the cache box, so even the cache owner had to break into the box!

Soon we were joining back up with the Peppa series and calculating the bonus co-ords. We plotted these and realised they were on the way back to the Jeep (how handy!) and there was another, un-related, cache we could grab on the way past.

There was an old cache hidden somewhere in this picture

Once back at the Jeep, we headed off for the next set of caches near Hockley Heath. It did not look far on the map but seemed to take an age to drive to. Luckily time was on our side so far today :-).

Once in Hockley Heath, Isaac took us to a quick drive-by before a short walk to a cache at the side of a very ornate garden with a big house in the distance. The cache was called ‘Dragons Den’ and it’s obvious someone with too much spare cash lives there, but I suspect it’s not a Dragon. Whoever it is has very questionable taste as the whole garden looked just a little big tacky to us. Each to their own though – it would be a boring world if we all liked the same things.

Great views

Next on the list was a cache down a green lane. Perfect for a drive-by in the Jeep. I’d not have wanted to try this in a non-4×4 though as the lane was pretty muddy and had HUGE potholes to navigate over.

We enjoyed this so much we headed straight for another set of caches along another green lane. We’d driven down this lane for a puzzle cache ages ago (I won’t say which one as I don’t want to spoil it for others) so knew it was passable. All nice easy finds with some really fun, if not a bit scary ;-) containers.

Driving down the green lane

Just time for a few more caches before it goes dark, but we’ve almost run out of ones to do around here. A quick check on Memory Map showed us there were lots we could try to the west of the M42 near Earlswood. This is an area we’ve cached in many times before and we’ve always enjoyed the caches there.

We were soon parking up for a quick drive-by on a lane we’re sure we’ve done a previous cache on – the lane was called Lime Kiln Lane and I’m sure the cache was something like ‘Tutti Fruitti – Lime’.

Next stop was Earlswood Reservoir. The sun was just going down over the far end of the reservoir now and the sky was awash with purples, crimsons and yellows. An absolutely spectacular sight, so I took some photos whilst Isaac did the biz with the nearby cache.

Obelisk cache

Last of the day was a walk down a PF with 6 more Max caches on them. Max is a caching hound (I think) and seems to have hidden fun caches all over this area – that’s our kind of dog :-). All were nice easy finds, even though it had now gone fully dark.

We decided to head off to the motorway and homewards, but spotted a quick The Strangler drive-by just before we got onto the motorway. How could we resist?

37 finds for the day, some great walking, some really good green lanes and a thoroughly enjoyable time was had by both of us for our first caching of 2010 :-).

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