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Archive for April, 2010

The cache we DNF'd is in this picture somewhere. Can you spot it?

The cache we DNF'd is in this picture somewhere. Can you spot it?

Yesterday afternoon 3 more caches in an ever expending series around the Gnosall area came out. I’d been out in Stafford most of the morning so needed to get my head down and catch up with work so did not dash out to find them (it was raining as well ;-)).

By mid-evening they still had not been found, so I raised Allun from the Shropshire Seekers on MSN to see if he fancied a trip out to look for them. Much more interesting than watching the Political Debate on BBC1 too ;-). Needless to say we were both on our way to Gnosall very quickly.

The first cache was a quick find and in a place I’d literally almost driven past this morning on the way back from Stafford, an hour before they were published! A nice FTF. Off we set for the second cache…

The walk to one of the caches

The walk to one of the caches

The second cache was a short walk over a field and into some woods. We soon realised the co-ords were a bit off as the lowest they would go was 35ft, with the GPSr’s pointing into an (obviously) private field. To add to our woes it was starting to go dark and there was no cache size or hint on the cache page. This was never going to be easy!

Needless to say we checked everywhere and could not spot the cache so gave up and moved on to the third new cache and had a quick find and another FTF. On the way back we returned for a second look at the cache we could not find and still could not spot it.

When I got home I emailed the cache owner to check we were in the right kind of area – we were. I thus returned this morning and could not believe it when I spotted the cache in the foilage as I walked up to the area where the distance to go minimised. How the heck we missed it last night in the dark as we’d been within 1.5ft of it last night, but looking at the obvious tree in the other direction to the cache!

That’s the third of three FTF’s :-).

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Ranton Abbey, seen from part way round my walk

Ranton Abbey, seen from part way round my walk

I had to pop to the bank in Stafford this morning so decided to stop by and check on our Alchemy Quest ~ Steel (Staffordshire) cache as the last two people who went for it could not find it. I took a replacement cache as I suspected it was missing.

After a lovely walk down to GZ it was clear that the woods where the cache had been hidden had been heavily coppiced and the cache was nowhere to be seen. I set about scouting out somewhere to hide a replacement cache nearby. With the new cache in place, I took a few co-ord readings and checked they took me to the right hiding place.

As it was such a nice morning and I was thoroughly enjoying myself, I carried on and made it into a nice circular walk :-).

After I’d been to the bank in Stafford I popped along to do a quick cache in the suburbs, which turned out to be nice and easy.

Once I got home, I updated the Alchemy Quest cache page and posted it back as available for the next finder.

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Old millstone in the centre of Audlem, right by the cache

Old millstone in the centre of Audlem, right by the cache

I was working away today, trying to catch up with things after our extended holiday in Florida last week and spotted 5 new caches had been published. 3 were near Gnosall and then 2 were near Whitchurch. I was too busy to dash right out for them but after I’d cleared up a few things I though I’d give them a go.

The first one was down a very remote lane near Gnosall and I thought I might manage a FTF. It was not to be as the Nozi Parkers had beaten me by 15 minutes. Undeterred I set off for the second one, knowing they may still be doing it as it’s a 0.6 mile walk each way and they would not have had time to walk there and back yet.

Needless to say I was right and bumped into Angela on her way back from the cache. She walked back with me to watch me find it before giving me a lift in her car back down the bridleway to where I’d parked. We then set off in convoy for the third cache.

We could not work out how to get to this one so as the coast was clear we risked skirting round a field and then over a fence to GZ. After that it was an easy find and a Joint FTF to boot :-).

Me with one of the Gnosall caches

I said my goodbye’s to Angela and headed off to Whitchurch to try for the other two FTF’s. The first was a very tricky find and took me ages. Eventually I managed to spot it from the wrong side of a fence and really liked the sneaky container.

The other cache was right in the middle of Whitchurch and not far from an Iceland store my step-brother used to be Manager at ages ago.

On the way home, I diverted off into Cheshire to find a cache that had come out in Audlem (Cheshire’s most southerly village) a few weeks ago and was cluttering up my closest to home not found list. A nice quick find here, after dodging lots of muggles.

Later on in the evening, I was catching up with work when another cache just a few miles from home came out. A quick check with Allun from the Shropshire Seekers on MSN had me picking him up 5 minutes later. We were soon at GZ and quickly found the cache. I bet the views from GZ over towards The Wrekin are great from here in the daytime too :-).

That’s 2 FTF’s and 2 Joint FTF’s. Not bad for two unexpected caching trips!

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Some of the litter at the ASDA cache

Some of the litter at the ASDA cache

Isaac was taking part in the school open day on Sunday afternoon playing his guitar and had asked if we would go along to see him performing.

I knew there was a new(ish) cache on open ground behind the school so we set off down a footpath to do that one first. A nice quick find was had, but it will be a different matter in a few weeks as there are nettles growing fast all around GZ and the cache will be very hard to get to soon!

After we’d seen Isaac perform, we only had half an hour before we were due to pick him up to go home, so decided to pop back over to Donnington and the ADSA cache we’d failed to find on Saturday. Not the nicest of places for a cache (in fact if I’m being honest it’s probably one of the worst caches we’ve ever done) with litter absolutely everywhere (see the photo above).

Luckily I had spoken to a previous finder after Saturday’s DNF and knew exactly where to look. I thus had an instant find and am very glad to tick that cache off the list. I’ve tried to be honest in my log and even suggested there were lots of nicer places to hide a cache than this. I live in hope perhaps the next cache from this hider will be in a much nicer place :-).

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Newly born lambs near to a cache

Newly born lambs near to a cache

While we were stuck in Florida last week we’d seen a new set of 18 caches come out in Beckbury, not far from the caches we’d enjoyed in Badger a few weeks ago. I could not resist heading for these on Saturday as it’s a beautiful area for walking.

I dropped Isaac off at school and headed off to Beckbury. The caches are spread out all over the area and not on an obvious walk so I decided to park up right in the middle of them and see how I got on. Just as I was getting my gear ready a guy came down the road holding a GPSr. It was andycpuk – great to meet you :-).

On the way to one of the caches

On the way to one of the caches

Andy had nearly finished the series and only had 3 caches left to find. I decided to head off with him for these three caches and then carry on from there. A plan which worked really well!

After I’d said my goodbye’s to Andy at the third cache I carried on, opting to make a loop out of the first set of caches and return to the Jeep to re-position it for some more of the series down the road. The walk was absolutely beautiful with a bit of terrain, some woods, some open fields, a stream or two and LOTS of wildlife to see. My kind of caching in a nutshell :-).

Lovely old bridge near to one of the caches

Lovely old bridge near to one of the caches

The only thing really of note was on a cache by the River Worfe. I had just started to sign the log when a guy came out of a nearby garage and shouted over “what are you doing there”. Ooops – I’d been well and truly muggled! I explained about caching to him and said he might see a few more people over the next few days as it was a new series. He seemed ok with this thankfully.

At the last cache in the series I spotted some other cachers had found it today so texted them to see where they were up to. We arranged to meet by the road in Badger as I was driving through on my way to Bridgnorth. Great to meet you all – [monki], unowho67, Lime Candy and Blue Nora! We had a quick chat before continuing on our respective ways.

Sandstone cliff in the woods

Sandstone cliff in the woods

The next two caches were replacements for an old multi that used the same walk and was one I’d got a FTF on when it initially came out. Needless to say the walk was every bit as lovely as I remembered it and the caches were great too.

Next on the list is a cache hidden down a Byway Open To All Traffic just south of Bridgnorth. The cache page says to say in your log whether you did the cache on foot or in a 4×4. I’d met the cache owner at a recent event and promised him I’d do it in the Jeep as every finder so far had walked it.

Driving down the Byway to the cache

Driving down the Byway to the cache

I parked the Jeep on the narrow Byway by GZ and had just got out to look for the cache when two other Jeep Wrangler’s came down the lane. I spoke to the first driver and asked if he was ok waiting a moment while I found the cache. No problem he said, but with pressure to find it quickly I just could not spot the cache and gave up the hunt.

I thus carried on down the Byway, round the block and back again down the Byway, hoping it would be quieter this time. It was and I soon spotted the cache – in a place I’d not looked earlier – doh!

Open parkland near the River Worfe

Open parkland near the River Worfe

I then ticked off a nice micro in some lovely countryside, followed by a wander round Low Town at Bridgnorth doing a multi cache we’ve been meaning to do ever since it came out. A fab location for the final cache here too!

There was still a bit of time left so I decided to head off nearer to home and try and find some of the newer caches in the area. On the way I stopped at ASDA in Donnington for an awful cache which I soon gave up on as there was litter everywhere and it was just plain horrible to look for.

It's this way to the next cache

It's this way to the next cache

The rest of the caches were easy enough, with some more nice countryside walks and great scenery / views. I even had the pleasure of walking along the side of a field full of newly born lambs and their protective mothers :-).

Later on in the evening, 3 new caches came out in Gnosall so off I headed to find them. I had not dashed out so was not surprised to miss the FTF. I bumped into Allun from the Shropshire Seekers at the second one and stopped for a good while catching up with each other.

My route round the cache for the day

My route round the caches for the day

Last cache of the day was near Bishops Wood and handily placed as I was due to pick the children up from a party at the Village Hall there.

30 caches in total, which I was really pleased about as I’d not intended to go out and find that many today.

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The must have shot of Cindarella's Castle at Disney's Magic Kingdom

The must have shot of Cindarella's Castle at Disney's Magic Kingdom

We don’t usually post about holidays as we just don’t have the time to sit down and write blog posts that we’d be happy with. This holiday was no exception!

We got a couple of quick caches just after we arrived in Orlando but left the main caching day until the next day as we knew we’d be up early and so decided to work off the jet lag with some caching. After scouring the maps from home we decided the caches along State Road 44 between Eustis and De Land were the ones to head for.

Isaac with one of the State Road 44 caches

Isaac with one of the State Road 44 caches

The caches were all quick and easy, with a nice variety of hides and containers to keep the interest up. We ended up the day with 85 finds and finished in good time so we headed off for dinner in a local restaurant :-).

The rest of the holiday we did not do that much caching and instead opted to cache as we were out and about doing other things. We managed to find at least a few caches every day and really enjoyed some of the sneakier hides.

Isaac and Freya with a cache in Celebration, FL

Isaac and Freya with a cache in Celebration, FL

There is not a lot else I can really add apart from we had a great time and really appreciated the creativity of the local cacher’s. The variety of hides is much wider than we find in California and perhaps even more so than the UK too. We’ve also picked up some great ideas for new caches we can set at home [insert evil a grin here].

Last cache of the holiday - the Sanford Airport TB Hotel

Last cache of the holiday - the Sanford Airport TB Hotel

As a footnote, a volcano with an un-pronounceable name erupted in Iceland the day before we were due to fly home and cause all UK airspace to be shut for the best part of a week. We were thus delayed coming home to the UK by 5 days, but enjoyed the extra time in Florida as Disney World and Sea World were giving stranded passengers free access to their theme parks. Needless to say we took full advantage of this and had a whale of a time :-).

We even managed a FTF on a Florida cache during our extended stay.

168 finds for the holiday in the end :-)

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Beautiful daffodils seen near to one of the cache

We’d enjoyed our caching run on the Skeg To Ness series last week so thought we’d finish off the series on Saturday, with the leg from near Mansfield to the end of the trail in Skegness.

We also had 3 caches we’d missed out near the end of last week as they had been temp’d. They had now been confirmed present / re-located / replaced (one of each for each of the three caches). We decided to start on these ones as they were not far from where we come off the M1 and end the day on the beach at Skegness with an ice-cream :-).

Love this waymarker

The three caches we’d missed from last week were all easy finds. The only item of note was this guy in a house behind the second one who seems to have been christened “Mr Nutter” on the cache page as he shouts at every cacher who comes to look for the cache! Needless to say he shouted at us too, but we managed to placate him for long enough to find the cache (just out of sight of him, handily enough) and go on our way.

Next, came the caches we’d not tried yet, starting with #100 (we’d finished with #101 last week). A few caches into the series we bumped into our first cachers of the day. They initially looked a bit like Team Rocket from Alsager but it turned out to be johnno2, who we’ve not met before. We had a (very quick) chat before continuing on our ways.

Drainage on the fens

A few caches later we were just signing the log when another car pulled up. It was missfruitcake and daughter, who was signing the logbooks with the most excellent caching name Wiggly Woo (I think that was it anyway – either way, it raised a smile on both our faces :-)). We bumped into them at another cache a bit later in the day as they were on their way to visit relatives and not stopping at all caches.

Can you spot the cache in this picture?

Later on in the day we were signing the log at another cache and some more cachers pulled up. This time it was Lorri-Ann & Kev. Great to meet you both :-).

As went along the series we stopped to find any other caches we went past, which included some in this lovely woodland called Potter Wood. We also had a section of the series where it crossed some fens (very open and VERY flat landscape with drainage ditches separating the fields). The fields around this area were obviously used for growing daffodils and looked more like we were in Holland than the UK!

Herbie heaven!

Nearing the end of the series, we did a cache which turned out to be a nano on a bench. It was not in the usual place they are in this situation so took us a few moments to spot. Just as we were signing the log Isaac commented that there was some people in a nearby far waving at us. I looked over and realised it was Des and Bren (snerdbe) and they must have watched us searching for the cache :-).

We went over for a chat and were relieved to hear they took as long as us to find the nano. Phew! We had a great chat before continuing to our next cache where we bumped into them again as they walked up as I was signing the log.

Peaceful cemetery near to a non-series cache we did in the day

A few caches later and we were at the sea front at Skegness looking for the last cache in the series, which was an easy find.

It’s a 3.75 hour drive home from here so we went off to get a bag of chips each before a quick ice-cream on the beach enjoying views of the North Sea.

Skegness pier and the North Sea

105 finds for the day and some very satisfying power caching. It’s not often you get to do this kind of caching in the UK – in fact last week was our first time ever outside the USA – but we always enjoy this kind of thing as a total break to our normal caching which involves a lot more walking.

Next week, something entirely different…

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A short break in London

Isaac at Piccadilly Circus

Isaac has been asking to go to London for as long as I can remember. The nearest we’ve got in the past is Heathrow airport, which does not quite do the city justice.

As he’d broken up from school a week earlier than Freya, we decided Isaac and myself would go for a few days in London to keep him from getting bored about the house. He really wanted to see the touristy sights but also wanted to do caches as we were in the various areas of the city.

Day 1: Monday

Isaac at Tower Bridge

We got the train down to London and arrived about dinnertime. After dropping our bags off at the hotel, we set of for a walk round my old University – Imperial College in South Kensington. Isaac really wanted to see where I’d gone so I took him round the main parts I remembered. On the way we had a half-hearted look for a cache by the Royal Albert Hall, but did not get much chance to look as too many muggles were around.

We then headed off to the Tower Of London and Tower Bridge, taking in a couple of interesting virtual caches while we were there. The second one in particular took a while to do as the plaque with the information on blended in to the building it was on and was not that easy to spot.

Doing a virtual cache

We then relocated to the Houses Of Parliament and headed off up Whitehall taking in a few more caches, notably two Sherlock Holmes virtual caches (that were listed on GC.com as Multi’s for some bizarre reason!). After working our way up to Piccadilly via some more caches (and the Apple Store!), we took the tube to Tottenham Court Road as we had tickets for Queen’s excellent We Will Rock You show at the Dominion.

Before the show we had time for an excellent curry and one final cache just down a street opposite the theatre.

Day 2: Tuesday

Our Abbey Road webcam picture

Isaac is really into The Beatles so we decided to start the day with a visit to the famous pelican crossing that is on the cover of their Abbey Road record. Isaac had researched where to go, so off we set. Of course, I’d noted there was both a webcam cache and a virtual cache at the studios, which we did while we were there ;-).

We then headed off to Green Park to walk over to see Buckingham Palace. On the way we bagged yet another Flonopoly cache. After we’d seen the palace, we headed off into the Victoria area as there are quite a few caches there to do. We managed to do quite a few but had a DNF on one that was definitely not where the hint said. I’ve since seen the owner has checked on it and says it’s still there, so I can’t imagine where it was. Very odd!

View down the Thames on the way to the London Eye

We’d bought tickets for a ride on the London Eye earlier in the day so headed off there next. On the way over Westminster Bridge we bagged another quick cache by some lion statues. The ride on the London Eye was really good but it was raining so some of our photos are not quite as good as they could have been. Another excuse to come back to ride it again methinks ;-).

We walked over the Millennium Bridge back towards Trafalgar Square, taking in a few more caches on the way and ended up near Covent Garden, where we did a quick virtual cache and had a lovely Italian meal.

After we’d eaten we headed off to do some shopping.

Day 3: Wednesday

Hidden corner of Ravenscourt Park

We started off with a trip out to Ravenscourt Park (just west of Hammersmith) so Isaac could see where I lived in my second and third years at University. There were two caches in the park next to this, so of course we went off to do them. Rude not to ;-).

We then headed back to South Kensington and the Science Museum. There is a Puzzle cache based around picking up clues in the museum but it’s quite involved and so we left it for another time as we wanted to look round the museum at our own pace.

A fabulous African capital cities photo exhibit at the Design Museum

After we’d done in the museum, we decided we just had time to do the virtual cache at the Victoria and Albert museum round the corner. This involved locating a statue in the museum and using some text in a nearby sign to prove your visit. Isaac was reluctant as it’s not his kind of museum (not mine either come to think of it!) but it did not take too long and ended up being good fun.

Next stop was London Bridge station and the walk down to the Design Museum. Both Isaac and myself really appreciate good design and so we were both looking forward to the museum. We were not disappointed :-). On the way we bagged two more caches, which were to be our final caches in the capital.

On the way home after a great trip

We then headed off for Euston station and the train home. 29 caches found in the short trip, which is not too bad considering all the muggles everywhere.

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